Monday, June 20, 2016

My trip to Japan - Overview

Hello dears!

Yesss I finally could fulfill my dream of going to Japan! It was such a great experience and I defintely want to go back! During my trip I visited 4 cities - Kyoto, Tokio, Oji-Nara and Osaka. I loved Kyoto the most because of the relaxed atmosphere, not too full, and many beautiful places (my favorite place wasn't any of the spectacular temples, but the old streets up the hill with all the tiny traditional houses at the Higashiyama district). But for shopping, Tokio is defintely the best when it comes to Lolita, but Osaka is really close, as their Closet Child and Maiden Clothing also have a great selection of pieces (the good stuff doesn't get sold out so quickly there :D) and it even has a "small" version of the Shibuya 109, but much less crowded, so you can enjoy shopping there more!

I have sooo many impressions of Japan, maybe I will write everything down in an extra post about what I learned and realized about Japan, but now I want to make short entries about everything I visited, so maybe you get some inspiration for your own trip :)

First an overview how I planned my trip:


Sightseeing: I used http://www.japan-guide.com/ for planning my sightseeing. They have a page for each (important) city with all the sightseeing spots and shopping streets you can visit. I also recommend their Itinerary Planner which can give you suggestions for your whole trip! I also recommend this blog to get some impressions of beautiful locations. Otherwise google for "top 20 sightseeing japan" and similar things, it really helps getting an overview.


Lolita shopping: If you have no idea where to search, I can recommend the book "Lolita in Tokyo Wonderland", it really lists all the shops, cafés, restaurants etc. you need. For Osaka, there is a detailed guide here.


My itinerary:
Day 1-4: Kyoto, with a trip to Nara
Day 5-10: Tokyo
Day 11: Oji-Nara
Day 12-14: Osaka

I planned optional side-trips to Nikko, Kamakura, Himeji, Koyasan, Hiroshima, Miyajama and Kibune, in case we had too much time left, but in the end we didn't had time or we were too tiered to do them. But I just mention them in case you need some inspiration :)


Searching hotels:
I used booking.com, you can make your search really detailed, and the reviews there were quite accurate. However out of the 4 hotels, I only booked 1 through booking.com, while I booked all the other ones through the own hotel websites. I think I also used hotels.com, because I barely could find a hotel for Osaka, and on this website they have a slightly different selection.

Kyoto hotel: I booked the "Grand Bach Hotel" and it was amazing and I can just recommend it to everyone!!!
Tokyo hotel: I booked the "Super Hotel" in Akihabara, which is actually a big chain and has hotels everywhere. It is a business hotel and therefore not so fancy, but they are nice too and have good prices.
Oji-Nara ryokan: I booked "Gyokozoin", it's not a normal hotel, read my blog post about it. If you want a special experience, I can recommend it!
Osaka hotel: it was quite bad, so no recommendation here xD.


Japan Rail Pass / searching trains / bus:
I bought a 14-day JR Pass, which I bought in Düsseldorf at the H.I.S. travel agency. It costs around 370€ (depending on the exchange rate) which seems expensive at first, however a single train ride from Tokyo to Kyoto already costs around 80€. And within Tokyo and Osaka you can use it for all important stations too, I only needed to buy an extra ticket once for visiting the Asakusa shrine in Tokyo. However in Kyoto you need to buy bus tickets.

Searching trains in whole Japan: http://www.hyperdia.com/en/
How to use hyperdia: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2323.html

Searching bus in Kyoto: http://www.arukumachikyoto.jp/?lang=en
Kyoto bus map PDF: http://www.insidekyoto.com/kyoto-buses (I downloaded it on my mobile phone)


General travel tips for Japan:
I can recommend this blog, which is written by a girl who loves Gyaru / japanese fashion, and who gives great tips for long-distance flights, healthy restaurants, hotels, shopping etc.


I hope this overview is helpful for you, I'm a little too lazy to make it more detailed right now, if I'm motivated I will update it later. But it also was just my first time in Japan, so I'm no expert at all, but if you have a question, ask me and I will try to help you :)

Thank you for reading,
Miuko~ <3

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