Japan Travel Preparation (+ Beginner Tips)

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
– Ibn Battuta

It started when I saw promo newsletter from Air Asia.  I searched for flight on November and found round flights to Nagoya for around IDR 4,5 million. I didn’t think much and decided to just buy it before I changed my mind. There’s no next time, it’s now or never!

There are some reasons why I chose November.

jalan-jalan-ke-jepang

Kyoto! Photo taken by me

 

1. Arashi (Japan’s no 1 male idol group) had tour starting on November. One of my life missions was to attend their concert for at least once!

2. I wanted to see red maple leaves and golden trees. Because it’s kinda romantic, isn’t it? :p

2. Good weather. Not hot and not too cold either.

My next step was applying visa. I’m not Jakarta citizen, so I had to apply Japan visa from Japan Embassy in Surabaya, which was kind of troublesome for me who’s working in Jakarta. If you don’t know how to apply visa & what documents that need to be prepared, I made a checklist for you in this post. You can also read my experience, here.

After obtaining Japan visa, I immediately went to Wisma KEIAI to buy JR Pass. Please note that JR Pass can only be bought if you’ve obtained temporary visa. For more detail information regarding JR Pass and whether you should buy it or not, I made a separated post dedicated to JR Pass.

Then, I booked places to stay and made my itinerary. I used Booking.com, Airbnb (read my experience here & get free $25 coupon code for your first booking), and Agoda.com to find places to stay.  Some tips for you who can’t speak Japanese and want to traveling to Japan without tour package, do make a clear itinerary as detail as possible. My itinerary was detail; from wake up, walking direction map from my place to the nearest station, what train to take and from which track the train will depart & arrive. I even arranged the places I wanted to go in sequential order. I utilized Google Maps to calculate route from my current location to next destination, and from that next destination to the other next destination. I created the shortest route for every city I visited. Why? It’s because I want my trip to be as efficient as possible. I wanted to visit all places I wanted to. I met a woman in Japan, a solo traveler like me, who mostly was just wandering around, didn’t sure what to do & how to get there. I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to waste time traveling and doing nothing or just planning something that can be done beforehand. Was it hard? Of course it was! I spent around 1 hour everyday in my spare time for almost a month, to arrange everything. Will I do it again for my next trip? Sure I will, because it’s worth it!

There are some good websites to help you to make itinerary. I’m using an app called TripIt to help me organize my itinerary. I also got a lot of help from Rome2rio to discover how to go to places, and Hyperdia to see trains schedule in Japan. The train schedule is very accurate, that’s why I could make my itinerary easily. I’m not an organized person, but I worked hard to make this trip, that did not just happen, but happened wonderfully.

I will post more detail about my solo travel experience in Japan in separate post for your reference. Stay tuned! 😀

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