My recent trip to Japan was, in my 3+ decades of life, one of the most exciting, eye-opening, exhausting, and enjoyable experiences that I’ve had. I’ll use my short time here to post a link to my picture gallery site (gallery.me.com/palapid) as well as some useful links that I used in my trip planning, to help any of you in a future sojourn to Nippon.
- Japan Railways (JR) Group (www.japanrail.com):
Most convenient way to get around Japan, especially if you plan a Tokyo to Kyoto trip or farther via the shinkansen (bullet train). Make sure to get your JR pass for unlimited travel before arriving in Japan!
- K’s House – Backpackers Hostel (http://www.kshouse.jp/index_e.html):
My main lodging in all the areas I visited: Tokyo, Kyoto, Mt. Fuji, and Hiroshima! Bilingual, super-clean, and über-friendly. Met plenty of fellow foreign travelers as well as Nihon-jin (Japanese) at each location.
Just in case K’s House is booked up.
- Welcome Inn Reservation Center (http://www.itcj.jp/eng/index.php):
Another lodging reservation site with a variety of different lodging options, from hostels to ryokan (traditional inns) to Western-style hotels.
- Sankei Travel – San Francisco (http://english.sankeisanfrancisco.com):
The local travel agency I purchased my JR Pass voucher from before leaving for Japan. Although they primarily work with Japanese customers, they have a variety of travel services for visitors to Japan.
- Find!TOKYO iPhone/iPod touch app (http://www.enfour.com/iphone/apps/gm/findtokyo.html):
My survival app to get around Tokyo without lugging a ton of subway maps with me. (I think I still had my Lonely Planet books weighing me down.)