The survival guide to Japan
1. Small suitcase. The one size up from carry on luggage. We will be travelling girls and you will need to man handle your own case. The stations get busy.
2. Pack it light. Pack your own soap in its own travel box as the hotels all use these pump bottle things for body wash, shampoo and conditioner. It is always excellent quality as you will come to expect from everything in Japan but some people prefer a bar of soap.
3. Comfortable walking shoes. Super mega NB. We're not doing the Groot Trek by any means but we will be walking more than perhaps you may be used to. Especially sight seeing - most of it is done on foot.
4. Baths in the hotel vary from massively small to incredibly tiny. Not important - just thought I'd chuck that in for amusement.
5. We normally stay in the more affordable hotels - singles can expect to pay between JPY 7500 and JPY 9500 per night. Some hotels are as low as JPY6000 and we really don't spend much time in them. Room sizes vary but they are not large. The one I am in at the moment requires me to step outside to change my mind.
6. Breakfasts are mostly included. Toast is not big in Japan. But you will not go hungry, even if you have to fill up on just fruit and juice.
7. Food in general varies as it would in SA. The wine is simply shocking unless you get to a good restaurant where a bottle will set you back around JPY2500 to JPY3500. We try to eat well in Japan, and head prices will vary from around JPY2500 to JPY 6000 (for a really big night out) including drinks. Beer is super expensive - around JPY450 to as much as JPY750 for a big draught. Without exception beer drinkers have Japanese beer to be excellent quality however.
8. Normal cash spend on odds and sods - snacks, what have you - I'd budget JPY5000 a day - that ought to give you some wiggle room. Clothes, hand bags, shoes and the like are probably best addressed using plastic - and handbags at JPY200k are not uncommon in the more upmarket department stores. If you want to shop, Japan will give you one of the best experiences you will ever have - that much I can promise you.
The Trip for Girls that I have the rough outlines for is a simple one. The boys will fly out two nights ahead of the Girls (optionally - you may want your better half bored out of her skull in Niigata) where we will visit breeders, do the Koi thing and generally get a sense of Koi buying in Japan. On day three I will head back to Narita, collect the girls and we all head off back up to Niigata, and the girls can then spend one day with us to see what is what and why we boys do what we do when buying fish. No prices will be quoted so the boys can relax! :-) So we get three full days in Niigata.
Then my thinking is to head off to Kyoto - you will need half a day to travel there and we can do some sight seeing that day. Overnight in the hotel, and then the next day a full day in Kyoto to shop, see the sights, and etc.
Then I think we should head off to Hiroshima. That will be another half day's travel and I think two nights there as well would be good. I also think it might be an idea to see if we can take in some of the fish farms in the South for the boys so everyone can see what is what there. A trip to the bomb site and the likes would obviously also come into it.
We can then all fly back to Jhb via Kansai which is only more or less a half days travel out of Hiroshima.
These are rough brush broadstrokes at this stage but I have wanted to put together such a trip for ages. A day or two in Tokyo in the Ginza district and Akihabra are also something I'd like to work in - so I will see what we can do in that regard.
I'm thinking of putting the tour together in a similar fashion to our MG Indabas. It makes it more affordable - well, easier to budget for and to plan as we go. I'm excited!