Now that I’ve shared advice on all the big stuff for planning your Japan trip , I thought I’d take a break and catch you up on my own trip. Here’s what I’ve been checking off, and what’s next on the list. You can also follow along with my posts from planning my 2016 trip.
- Booking flights
- Booking hotels for Tokyo & Osaka (& for me in London)
- Arranging travel insurance
- Triple-checking my passport is valid
Coming up next
Booking Japan Rail Pass & Pocket Wifi
Japan Rail Pass vouchers need to be ordered before you leave but also need to be exchanged for the real pass in Japan within 90 days. I usually get mine from this company who also do Pocket Wifi rentals so I need to know where to have it delivered. I’ll be getting both those done this week.
Arranging travel money
Another thing you don’t want to leave until the last minute as Japan is still mostly cash-based and airport & cash machine exchange rates can be high.
Keeping an eye out for events
With 6 weeks to go, most of the current and upcoming character cafes and pop-up shops end in September or October. In the next few weeks, we should start to see some that are open during our trip. I recommend following Dango News, Moshi Moshi Nippon, Street Girls Snap and SoraNews24 for updates – they’re all on social media too.
Itinerary planning & research
The big one! We both have lists and guides so I’m starting to collect everything into one long-list. I can then add everything to my Google Map to see which areas we want to visit most and check opening times/days (Japan Guide is great for this). After that, it’s sitting down with a calendar and fitting everything in like a jigsaw. I like to include way more than we can do, split into areas, and then we can prioritise once we’re there and know more about the weather forecast. I shared more about my planning process here.
Making a shopping list
This is basically very early packing, to figure out whether I have the luggage, clothing, travel accessories etc. that I’ll need – and whether to buy things here or get them in Japan. I already know I’m going to need a few things, like a keyboard for my iPad and a more packable raincoat. I’m also very much looking forward to treating myself to some of the higher-priced books on my Kindle wish list for the plane!
Holiday to-do list
For small business owners, a holiday means working twice as hard before and after, and there is a lot I will need to do before I go. It includes things like doing a stock take, deciding which of my shops to keep open while I’m away, scheduling blog posts in advance and preparing newsletters and Patreon rewards. I also need to fit in personal things like my sight test (and new glasses) and getting a hair cut.
I will probably do a post about packing before we go – and don’t forget I have a new Japan zine coming out soon.