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Planning A Trip To Japan

  • July 28, 2022
  • By 50 Shades
  • 0 Comments
Planning A Trip To Japan

Although Japan has been slow to re-open its borders to tourism, they are finally accepting tourists that are travelling as part as a fully guided group tour, from 10 June 2022. However, it is anticipated that this may change before the end of the year. So if you’re planning a trip to Japan it is best to check the current travel restrictions with Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO).

I travelled to Northern Japan in 2016 and always wanted to return to see more of this fascinating East Asian country. Plans are afoot to travel to Japan later this year during its “autumn leaves” season. Due to the requirement that tourists must be part of a group tour, we have booked a 15-day “Inspiring Japan” tour. It will be my first overseas trip in more than two years.

Planning a Trip to Japan
Oirase Gorge Waterfall

Current Travel Guidelines To Japan

At present only countries and regions in the “blue category” can travel to Japan on a guided package tour. Currently Australia, is included in this category. This will certainly help boost Japanese tourism from Australia for the upcoming 2022/23 ski season and the cherry blossom season in spring 2023.

Planning a Trip to Japan
Cherry Blossoms and Temple in Japan

The current guidelines for travel to Japan are as follows:

  1. You must be booked on a guided package tour
  2. Apply for a visa. Please note: Australian and NZ passport holders do not need a visa to travel to Japan, for stays less than 90 days.
  3. Get a Covid 19 negative test certificate (72 hours prior to travel)
  4. Install the MySOS App for Quarantine Fast Track
  5. Check out the Visit Japan Web for immigration and customs information
  6. Purchase Travel Insurance
Planning a Trip to Japan
Kakunodate Samurai Town in Japan

When planning a trip to Japan it is a good idea to purchase prepaid travel SIM cards for Japan so that you can keep in touch with family and friends.

15 Day Japan Itinerary

We decided to book a couple of weeks in Japan on a fully guided tour with a travel company called Inspiring Vacations. The 15 day “Inspiring Japan” tour itinerary includes:

  • Osaka
  • Kyoto
  • Naruto Strait
  • Takamatsu
  • Natsuyama
  • Beppu
  • Nagasaki
  • Hiroshima
  • Miyajima Island
  • Kanazawa
  • Matsumoto
  • Mt Fuji
  • Lake Kawaguchiko
  • Tokyo

We will be travelling by bus and bullet train with two nights stay at a couple of the bigger cities, like Osaka, Kyoto, Nagasaki and Tokyo.

Planning a Trip to Japan
Mount Fuji

Highlights of our Tour of Japan

Spring is generally considered a great time to visit Japan during the cherry blossom season. However, autumn is also a wonderful time of year to witness Japan’s dense forests turning hues of vivid orange, yellow, and red. Traditional gardens, temples, parks and streets showcase these bold autumn colours that is a photographer’s delight.

Planning a Trip to Japan
Autumn leaves in Japan

The Meiji Shrine Autumn Festival, a celebration of Japanese culture, takes place in Tokyo over three days in early November. With Tokyo being on our itinerary, we may be able to take some of this in.

Other highlights of the Japan tour will include:

  • Osaka – Osaka Castle and colourful Dōtonbori and Shinsaibashi.
  • Kyoto – Temples and shrines of Kinkakuji, Heian Jingu and Fushimi Inari. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.
  • Amazing whirlpools of the Naruto Strait.
  • Takamatsu – Ritsurin Garden.
  • Matsuyama – Matsuyama Castle and Dogo Onsen.
  • Beppu – Hells of Beppu, a bizarre series of hot springs.
  • Nagasaki – Atomic Bomb Museum and Glover Garden.
  • Hiroshima – Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Genbaku Dome.
  • Miyajima – Itsukushima Shrine and floating torii gate.
  • Himeji – UNESCO-listed ‘White Heron’ Himeji Castle.
  • Ride the Japanese bullet train between Himeji and Osaka.
Planning a Trip to Japan
Shinkansen or Bullet Train
  • Kanazawa – Kenrokuen Garden and Higashi Chaya district (geishas).
  • Shirakawa-go – 100 traditional thatched houses in this historical alpine village.
  • Takayama – Walk through this beautifully-preserved old town.
  • Matsumoto – Black castle and Japan’s oldest remaining wooden keep.
  • Mount Fuji – Savour the views.
  • Kawaguchiko Lake – At the footstep of Mount Fuji.
  • Tokyo – Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building observation deck, walking tour of Asakusa, Sensō-ji Temple, Nakamise, Imperial Palace, Ginza and Tsukiji Outer Market.
Planning a Trip to Japan
Kyoto Geishas

What to Expect in Japan

On my first visit to Japan my immediate observation was that it’s a country of natural beauty. From the neon lights of Tokyo to the ancient temples and Japanese gardens, everything is utterly pleasing to the eye. Plus it is extremely clean, orderly and, for a heavily populated country, everything runs on schedule.

Planning a Trip to Japan
Japanese Garden in Kyoto

Japan is also a country of contrasts, with its significant cultural heritage of samurais and geishas, to the madness of cat cafes and the quirky “Harajuka girls”. Everywhere you travel be prepared to be blown away by Japan’s fascinating history and traditions, wacky pop culture, cutting edge technology and, of course – its delicious food.

Planning a Trip to Japan
Neon lights in the streets of Tokyo

This archipelago, or island country, consists of four main islands: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. The topography is made up of conifer-covered mountains, lush green forests and mountain streams and lakes. Japan experiences frequent earthquakes, and for this reason there are many volcanoes and natural hot springs(onsens), throughout the country. Japan’s most famous volcano and highest mountain is Mount Fuji.

Planning a Trip to Japan
Japanese Onsen Experience

Although it will be a different experience being on a guided tour, this will certainly take the pain out of planning our own itinerary. I am looking forward to seeing more of Japan and I think I will enjoy delving deeper into this amazing country and its culture.

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By 50 Shades, July 28, 2022 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

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