Japan Travel advice

We would like to share some advice with fellow travellers here. Comments are welcome.

Japanese

Some japanese skills are needed, especially if you plan to leave the beaten tracks. We recommend:

Accommodation

It is very common to book a hotel room by telephone. A nearby Tourist information office is the best way to book a room and it can be very rewarding to look for a stay that can’t be found on the internet. Our links anyway:

  1. <<Hotelsaurus>> Best booking meta search engine for Japan
  2. Booking
  3. Japan Travel Organisation
  4. Japanican
  5. Rakuten Travel
  6. Jalan

Weather

Forecasts more than two days ahead are very unreliable, especially during Taifun season. In general the weather changes many times a day. Links:

Navigation and Maps

If you want to download and use Hiking maps on your mobilephone, the MotionX GPS App does a good job (see table below for more info). In addition many Tourist information offices provide local maps for free.

Books

If you want english books, bring them from home. We recommend:

Miscellaneous

More things to refer:

Other Japan Travel blogs

More hints and stories:

Japan Travel Apps

A list of recommended iOS Apps for the Japan Traveller.
IconNameCategoryDescription
translator
Google TranslatorJapaneseUnfortunately there is no better alternative for Text Recognition than Google. Network required
imawa
Imawa?JapaneseLarge dictionary with many specifc features
linguee
LingueeJapaneseCompact dictionary
realkana
RealKanaJapaneseLearning tool for Hiragana and Katakana
footpath
FootpathNavigationBest planning app for Hiking and Bike routes. Save GPX track and import into Motion-X. Network required
japan_map
Japan MapNavigationOne of the few alternatives to Google Maps which displays City names etc. in latin characters. Network required. Online version: its-mo.com.
motionx_gps
MotionX GPSNavigationThe best App for Navigation and GPS Track logging. Has option to cache/download maps for offline use.
PeakFinder
PeakFinder EarthNavigationDiscover the Mountains around you.
track_editor
Track EditorNavigationEditiong of GPX Tracks, for e.g. Trim and Cut
yamap
YamapNavigationOnline Hiking community with Access to GPS Tracks and Pictures. Japanese only! Searching can be difficult, but it might be useful if you have decided for a mountain already and want more details or routes.
Yamatokogenchizu
YamatokogenchizuNavigationAllows to buy the official Topo Hiking-Maps. Japanese Only! but with some time its possible and these are the best maps if you are in one of the available Areas.
accuweather
AccuWeatherTravelLocal Predictions, Network required
foursquare
FourSquareTravelThe best Google Maps alternative to find restaurants, etc. around you. Network required
wifi_map
Wifi MapTravelSearch for Free WiFi Hotspot around you
psexpress
Adobe Photoshop ExpressPhotographyThe best app to edit Photos on the go
avgcampro
Average Camera ProPhotographyReduce picture noise in Low-light conditions through averaging technique.
mobilehdr
Mobile HDRPhotographyCurrently the best iPhone App to create HDR (Tone Mapping) Pictures from exposure bracketings.
agoda
AgodaBookingBooking platform specific for Asian countries
booking
Booking.comBookingStill the best Booking platform with many offerings for Japan
hostelworld
HostelworldBookingBooking platform for Hostels
hoteltonight
Hotel TonightBookingLast Minute Booking
hotels
Hotels.comBookingLarge Booking platform
jalan
JalanBookingJapanese Booking platform. App in japanese only. Enlgish website: jalan.net
jetsetter
JetsetterBookingLuxurious Booking platform
kayak
KayakBookingMixed Booking platform
venere
VenereBookingAnother Booking platform
aprs_mobile
APRS MobileOtherBest App for accessing APRS-IS. SmartBeaconing and automatic reconnect after Signal loss are working.
dollarbird
DollarbirdOtherTracking of expenses
konverter
KonverterOtherConvert measures and currencies (and many more)
starchart
SternatlasOtherEasily identify celestial bodies.

Fare-well Japan

Our journey across Japan lasted for 175 days and took us from Abashiri in northern Hokkaido to the very south of Okinawa. We visited each of the four main islands – Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu and included a few additional islands (Amakusa, Yakushima and Okinawa) in our journey.
The first four months we marched or took trains and busses for longer distances. Afterwards we suddenly cought the cycling bug and bought two bikes in Hiroshima which we rode for the last two months. All over Japan we experienced an incredible hospitality and were amazed by the many open and straight encounters.
We will miss and remember Japan and its people for a long time to come. We would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone whom we met, who walked with us or accompanied us any way and wish them all the best for their future endevours. A very special thanks goes to Aki, Eiji, Yasuko & Yoshi and Kaoru & Fumiko and we hope to see you all again, whether in Europe or in Japan!

どぅもありがとうございます!

Fuji-san (E)

Travelling all over Japan for 6 months and missing Fuji-san?
Impossible we thought, especially as we were staying for a full week in Tokyo. Therefore we visited the Fuji Five Lakes area on a day trip. The view of Fuji-san from Chureito pagoda was spectacular, and even got better as we reached lake Kawaguchiko.

Tokyo (E)

We finally left the summer-temperatures in Okinawa and flew back north to the Tokyo autumn, the last destination of our 6-month journey. Against our concerns, we found Tokyo surprisingly serene. Beeing so vast we were only able to visit a mere fraction of all interesting places. Besides shopping in Shibuya, Shinjuku and Akihabara we were wandering around and enjoying the city’s offerings.  From the top of the Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Sky Tree we enjoyed the stunning skyline. Noticably the view wasn’t “blocked” by mountains since 6 months! The highlight of the week was the visit of the Tsukiji Fish market. Altough we didn’t get out at 3 o’clock to see the Tuna auction at 5, the visit of the market was awesome and the Maguro Sashimi very tasty.

rather scarcity than excess