It’s Official! Japan Trip 2015!

A takoyaki stand near my hostel, Osaka, 2006

It’s actually happening!! This September will be the first time I’ve been back to Japan in ~8 years, and the FIRST time my boyfriend is leaving North America! It’s gonna be fun…aside from the pain of traveling across the world in Economy class.  I do wish we could stay for a whole month, but we can’t leave Jasper for that long. That just means we’ll have to take MORE trips to Asia… :)

This week, the two of us got the itinerary together.  The flights are BOOKED, the lodging is BOOKED, I’ve generally researched train timetables and routes.  There’s still some holes, like I want to have a list of yummy restaurants to try out while there so I don’t have to look while on vacation.  But overall, I feel good – the things that need to be locked down are now locked down!  Come July, I’ll purchase a couple JR Passes and everything should be good to go.

BASIC TRIP ITINERARY:

Sept. 17: Depart U.S.
Sept. 18: Arrive in Narita Airport.
Stay one night in Tokyo.
Sept. 19: Shinkansen to Osaka, settle in.
Sept. 19-25: Explore Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara
Sept. 26~28: Two nights of strict relaxation at a traditional ryokan in Hakone, enjoy the hotsprings.  The both of us are REALLY looking forward to this one!

Sept. 28~30: Explore Tokyo.

Oct. 1: Return to the U.S.  :(

I’m pretty excited about everything.  It’s leaning more towards sightseeing and touristy things overall, but in a way I haven’t done that much of that in Japan.  I’ve never been to Nara or Hakone, I haven’t tried coffee in Kyoto, I haven’t been to a rabbit cafe (!!), and…..I get to see my boyfriend react to the new foods and new sights!  Maybe it will make him more concerned about taking his shoes off at home, at the door :D!  With only 12ish days to explore several cities, there may not be much time for shopping, like I’ve wanted for years.  But at least there’s good food.

You know what’s crazy…8 years is a really long time. The last time I was in Japan, smart phones weren’t a thing yet.  I would run in to the Apple Store to get some internet time, or wait to use the communal computer at the hostels.  You had to plan things out way in advance “or else”, and expect to get lost a lot…which I did….if you messed up following your printed map.  Also, I was 10lb lighter, haha!  But I’m not any taller, so I think Japanese clothes will still fit ^_~  There’s this thing called Pocket Wifi now, which we’re getting from our Air BnBs for free…OH, and there’s a thing called Air BnB.  And I didn’t know anything about cameras, I just had this chunky plastic point and shoot.  Man.  I was still a part time worker in 2006!!  And not heavily in to VFX.  I feel so old because of the awe that modern technology and entrepreneurship has inspired.  Anyway, I’m really excited to see how else Japan has changed.  There’s at least 2 old friends in Japan that I haven’t seen for a decade and will likely meet up with too for some food.  And maybe an even older friend, although that’s iffy because he moved to Okinawa.  What sucks is none of them really talk to me anymore – I’ve sent messages and only 1/5 of the time they get replied to.  But, eh, at least they sound excited to meet up again!  Perhaps this will restart our friendships.

One thing that hasn’t changed, from what I can tell online, is that Cash is still King.  Is it weird that this is kind of comforting to me?  At any rate, it makes it easier for me to budget on the go.  I’m estimating that the entire trip will cost somewhere around $3500 ~ $4000 per person, depending on how much we spend on shopping and eating.  Our lodging wasn’t bad, since Air BnB really does have great deals, and our plane tickets were just about as cheap as I could hope – $812/person.

My Japanese is a bit rusty after a decade.  It’s time to find some more live action dramas to practice with!

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One thought on “It’s Official! Japan Trip 2015!

  1. It does help the yen is crap now, so all of Japan is 20% off! Lol you will see if Craig likes the world outside of ‘Merica, and enjoy other cultures. And there is also Yelp in Japan too, so read some reviews or at least check in to get the special badge!

    Good itinerary you have there tho! In Kyoto if your early you could get tickets to see a Geisha at the welcome center. And Nara has tons of deers and temples. I would recommend seeing Hiroshima/Miyajima if you have the time!

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