A few people said they’d like to know more about how I organise for a Japan trip so I’m sharing updates about what I’ve been doing. Read all the posts here. You can also read my Tokyo Shopping Guide online and buy my Japan zines.
What have I been doing since the last update?
Booking my rail pass week
The Japan Rail Pass is a real money saver if you plan to travel around Japan and especially if you can cram in as much as possible. I’m going to spend the middle week of my trip getting round a few places. After many headaches, my route goes Tokyo > Hiroshima > Osaka > Arashiyama/Kyoto > Osaka > Nagoya > Tokyo and then I’ll probably tack a day trip to Yokohama or Kamakura at one end, depending which gets best use of the rail pass. Thanks to the speed of the Shinkansen I should be able to fit a lot into each day, especially if I try to travel in the mornings since nothing much opens until 11am anyway.
A little note on booking. I’ve been using Expedia almost exclusively because I just like how it all works and there’s a handy app for me to check my itinerary. Booking the week of hotels was VERY STRESSFUL. I printed off a calendar before I booked anything and I’ve been writing in all my flights and events and using it to plan the best days to travel. I also used a spreadsheet to save hotel links while I made decisions. Hyperdia is indispensable for checking train times and durations. Make sure to check the opening times of anything important you want to visit. Japan Guide is great for that. I was pretty close to booking my hotels before I discovered I would be in Nagoya unable to do either of the two things I am going there for since they close on Tuesdays rather than the usual Monday. No bunny cafe!
I now have all my flights and hotels booked for the whole trip so that’s a big relief and means almost all my big purchases are made. Just the rail pass itself and a new camera left really.
Travel insurance is also done, so I’m not out of pocket if anything happens before May (and during the trip obviously). It’s my first travel document for this trip so I made a cute travel folder to start saving everything important.
Adding even more things to my itinerary
Did you know you can visit all the JAXA space facilities? That there are loads of flower festivals and a bunch of botanic gardens? I really need to calm down soon though and start collating and choosing what I really want to do (and publishing it all for you guys to use for your own Japan plans). I don’t want to plan out my days too much in advance so I can still have some flexibility, but I’ll be looking out for events and classes and booking anything I really want to do.
Reading all the Japan guides
I pulled out all my books and zines and guides to look through for more ideas and tips. I have quite a lot! I definitely plan to make a list of all the most useful ones. I also went through my box of travel souvenirs from previous trips and found some guides and maps. I re-read my Next Time in Japan zine recently and spent the whole time being somehow surprised that it was full of awesome stuff that I really want to do. Well done past me.
Following even more Japan blogs and accounts
Now is the time to get all the updates. I want to know what events, festivals and markets are happening and, most importantly, what pop-up kawaii cafes are next to launch! One cool thing so far is that Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is releasing a greatest hits album while I’m in Japan. It will be really fun to see all the promo around Tokyo and I imagine she’ll be on TV a lot too.
This is getting quite long so I’ll stop for now and try to update more frequently. 3 months is slightly terrifying – that’s going to come around really soon.
Reminder: I’m taking requests!
Since I’m writing another book, I’m planning to do things that might be interesting or helpful for future visitors. Please let me know if there’s anything you’ve wondered about or been too scared to try. I’d also love to do a craft or art workshop or meet up with fellow creatives or kawaii fans, if you have any ideas.