After completing my Euro trip, I have been eying to visit Japan since long. It is like a dream – you board a flight and woosh – you’re transported to a completely new culture. Murakami and Guy Kawasaki have long since beckoned me with their works. It doesn’t help that Japan is land of samurais, geishas, mountains, bentos, castles, mountains, temples, shikansens, onsens, kabuki, ikebana, shiatsu, takarazuka revue, zen and zazen.
But hey, it’s Japan that means no communication in English, and it means completely different food for a veggie like me – so you need better preparation. Much better preparation than that I had needed for Europe. But first one must get basics right – visa, travel tickets, hotels and then one can spend time to plan more intricately.
First question that comes in mind: which is the best city to enter Japan – Tokyo, Nara, Kyoto, Sapporo, Okinara, Hokkaido? More clearly, which place has the cheapest flights? Even though I hadn’t made up my mind if I would visit Okinara and islands or Hokkaido, I was sure I would visit Tokyo in my first visit.
Japan is expensive. If not careful, you would go over budget in a blink and that is one thing that can cramp the pleasure of travelling. And in that planning the trip via Skyscanner was a lifesaver.
The first search in skyscanner made clear that Tokyo was cheapest way to enter Japan compared to other Japanese cities. Another search confirmed that I wasn’t saving any money by catching a flight to Tokyo from let’s say Mumbai. Bangalore was as good place as any to start the journey.
So, that’s decided I time I visit Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima (all are close to Tokyo); Okinara, Mt Fuji and Hokkaido will have to wait for next time. I planned for 10 days in December, a month when I always try to visit a new place, a personal ritual. Skyscanner was obviously a best choice since it scans all flight sites such as expedia, makemytrip, cleartrip, ibibo etc for best deals – hence, it is a lifesaver.
The Tokyo plan is roughly like this:
Motto: Have fun, live in bit relaxing luxury and do bit different things.
- Shiastu treatment
- Eat an izakaya (A buffet with both Japanese and Asian-Western fusion dishes all at a very affordable price)
- Geisha dress up, it happens in both Tokyo and Kyoto. (Tho I have never aspired to dressup in Indian tourist places such as Kashmir, HP)
- Watch kabuki and geisha dances
- Helicopter cruising from Tokyo bay at night
- Day trip to Nara – JR train or a bus will suffice. To be decided later.
- Trip to Onsen (steam bath) – since I am going in December, imagine the pleasure of onsen in snow-capped places. Bliss.
Here is more of Tokyo in pictures: http://www.skyscanner.net/news/tokyo-pictures
Next stop – Hiroshima
I don’t like my holidays to be too packed. Plus they say some people have a trip in Japan going in and out of trains. So I thought I would deviate from the norm and use a flight for this trip. Faster as well. Skyscanner helped again. :)
After going through usual sites like Peace Park, memorial etc in Hiroshima, I head to Kyoto, by JR rail this time, which I have been ignoring. I should utilise my week rail pass that I intend to buy. (I tried car hire from Hiroshima to Kyoto using skyscanner before I remembered I didn’t have a driver’s license.)
Two of the key things to do in Kyoto was to go to green tea picking and visit Takarazuka theatres. (Google for more info please).
Since all major flight travel bookings were done, I then turned my attention to booking hotels in Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima. This was another easy job with Skyscanner as it has at its disposal LOT of options from various sites. At Skyscanner, I can search hotel results using filters such as popularity, price, stars and name. I checked these three factors when booking a hotel: location, price and reviews. At the end of the day, I was happy that I had found reasonably priced, good hotels!
(See the highlighted tab in the first screenshot)
Actual hotel screenshots from the original site where you’ve to book. Nice place, isn’t it?
And then back to Tokyo via JR rail to catch flight homeward. Sounds like a dream plan? To me, it is. :)
Total cost of trip
- Flights: 46, 483/- + 21, 809/- = 68292/-
- Hotels: Hiroshima: 2795/- + Kyoto: 4603/- + Tokyo: 8709/- = 16097/-
(I still have 15k spare for other things and accommodate last minute travel plan changes.)
A sweet glimpse of this dream trip:
May this dream come true. Amen!