Japan Trip à la Azis

There was one fine afternoon in the office when I started looking a destination for a very short trip this year. It was like a month before my annual leave started (as always, the time I feel excited about!). Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan. Those three were on my mind.

Thailand might be the cheapest one (I never been to Bangkok!), Vietnam? I heard so much about the country, and Japan, it was my loooong time ‘must-visit’ country on earth. I though I would pick Thailand for a pocket-friendly reason cause I had to think how to save money to do the interior for my own house (update : I never start until today :|). Vietnam wasn’t a bad destination too for my pocket. I found it when I read a lot about the country, and many affordable nice hotels either in Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi. One thing that made me crossed out Vietnam was the ticket fare that time (I know, I’m not really good to be a ‘promo-chaser’ ticket). Return ticket from Jakarta – Hanoi – Jakarta was as pricey as Jakarta – Tokyo – Jakarta. Wait, how could I compare Tokyo with Hanoi? excuzes-moi.

Though I know I would spend more money for Tokyo than Hanoi, I finally picked Japan this year. And my choice was a perfect one cause Japan made me fell in love from the first time I stepped my feet on. I won’t share my experiences during my short stay on this post. Instead, I’d like to share some tips if you guys want to visit Japan for the first time (hoping I’m not sounding like a travel blogger!). Tips here are based on my experience as a first timer, too.

 


Japan Trip à la Azis

“Traveling is very personal, at least that is my opinion. Choose the best time for you to visit Japan. You may love to come on spring, summer, autumn or winter? It’s up to you. I went on summer just because that was the time that fit on me since I always come back to Indonesia between July and August. And this will affect what kind of outfits you need to put inside your suitcase :) I heard spring and autumn are the best time to visit! (note that checking the weather esp on summer with forecast apps is so important!)

“Read a lot about Japan on the internet or asking to someone who used to visit the country. This is very important esp like what to DO and DON’T in Japan. You may come as a tourist but tourist with manner is the best thing you can be :). I saw a lot of tourists from China who used public toilet somehow (gosh, please don’t do that in Japan, they are extremely clean!) or standing in the centre of a crowded station which could be so annoying!”

“Knowing where you want to go and how long will you stay is important too. Japan has a lot of interesting places to see. When I had only 8 days to explore, I picked Tokyo and Kyoto only. Osaka was an extra if I could (and in the end I didn’t go to). For me, if you visit a country for vacation, it’s not just to update your presence in social media for only a day and say “I’ve been there!”. That’s yikes and definitely won’t be enough. I did half-half. Half of me wanted to visit places as many as I could, another half was “I just want to sit down looking for people who rush to work in the morning, while I have a matcha ice cream in my hand :)” – sort of”

“Transportation fares is not cheap in Japan. But this depends on where you want to go. You may need JR Pass if you want to explore places outside Tokyo (Suica or Pasmo is enough if Tokyo is the only destination). It is affordable using JR Pass if you want to visit Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, Sapporo (or wherever) on your trip. Train in Japan is amazing, for first timer you may need two or three days on the ground finding your own way cause the train lines is yes, complicated. Download Japan train map before you go and learn about it slowly. It may help :) But you know something, it’s amazing to experience Japanese train esp Shinkansen. And one more thing, forget about taxi in Japan! :)”

“Food in Japan extremely delicious! Affordable food from those supermarkets till expensive one in the restaurant are delicious :) Finding halal food may need an extra effort (I went two times looking for halal ramen in Nara and closed, sigh!), but don’t worry this app may help you. While in Japan you MUST TRY local foods :) Japan is not only sushi! or matcha everywhere? I’ve tried their mochi in Kyoto which was wrapped with sakura leaves and it was soooooo yummy!”

“If I can find free wi-fi in Indonesia easily, forget about Japan! You MUST HAVE internet when you travel there and pocket wi-fi is the easiest way to stay online. Not only you need to show the world you’re doing your fine-dining in Aman Tokyo :) but you will need internet to make sure you’re not on the wrong way to your destination. Most of Japanese can not speak English, so Google translate could be the main reason you must have internet”

“If you want to visit as a solo traveler, it’s recommended to stay in a hostel! Hotel only for you can take all your money from your pocket :) Book in advance will save your money, too. I’ll write about my experience staying in a hostel on a separate post!”

“Like I mentioned above, traveling is very personal. For me who wanted to do light travel and failed because OMG Japanese stuffs are TOO DAMN CUTE! and TOOK MOST OF MY JAPANESE‎‎ ¥! If you’re not a “shopping-person” it is not a sin to spend your money to get some matcha for your beloved ones while you’re in Japan! :)”

“Backpack or suitcase? It depends on who you are guys :) Backpack could be easier when you have to walk up and down in station but empty suitcase is not a bad thing when you want to bring a lot of souvenirs by the time you go home :P You’ll find escalator or lift for your suitcase at almost big stations in Japan, so don’t worry :)”

“Japan is extremely safe :) I left my wallets many times and it won’t lost :) That was amazing! but then again, you better keep your things safe with you :)”

“Safe your money, look for flight and visit Japan, a country that will mesmerize you with the culture, the people, the food, the cities, and everything that won’t be enough only for single visit (I’m writing for Olympics 2020 in Tokyo on my list! :))”


 

Before I share more stories and pictures from my trip to Japan, here a quick iPhone-snaps I took when I was waiting for my flight back to Jakarta. Taken at Haneda International Airport, Tokyo.

 

Haneda2

Haneda3

Haneda4

Haneda5

Haneda6

Haneda7

Haneda8

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