The Ultimate One Month Japan Itinerary

The Ultimate One Month Japan Itinerary

When we were planning our one month Japan itinerary, we knew we wanted to fit in as much as we could into those four weeks. Japan might be a fairly small island, but there’s an incredible amount of things to see and do. It would take an entire lifetime and then some, to just explore Tokyo. We wanted to visit as many cities as we could, tick off as much as possible, and have the time of our lives while we were at it.

Well, we are happy to report that all three of those goals were achieved!

We managed to travel to six different cities over a four week period. Starting in Yokohama, we then traveled to Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Nagano and finally, Tokyo. We didn’t want to spend the entire four weeks only exploring Japan’s major cities. We wanted a taste of traditional Japan amongst all of the bright neon lights. So, we broke up the bustling cities with some more historic towns across Japan.

Although there were some things we didn’t manage to see and do, like experiencing the 6 best places to view Mt Fuji, visiting Nara and heading further North, we still did quite a lot! Here is our one month Japan itinerary.

The Ultimate One Month Japan Itinerary

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Days 1 to 3 – Yokohama

We were quite sluggish when we arrived at Haneda Airport at around 6:30 in the morning. We were running on almost no sleep, after suffering through two six hour flights, plus a seven hour layover at Singapore Airport. That was before we even arrived in Japan.

Before leaving Australia, we researched the best way to get from Haneda Airport to our hotel in Yokohama. It ended up being super easy, and all we had to do was catch a bus to Yokohama City Air Terminal (also known as YCAT), then catch a train to Shin Yokohama Station. Click here for more information on getting from Haneda Airport to YCAT.

Finding our way from Yokohama City Air Terminal to our hotel was quite overwhelming. We arrived during the morning peak hour rush, so combine that was almost zero sleep and being thrown into a foreign country – it was pretty intense! In an exciting way, of course. We eventually managed to manoeuvre our way through the hundreds of business people, rushing in every direction through the station, and found our way out.

Where to stay in Yokohama

We stayed at the Shin Yokohama Kokusai Hotel for our first two nights in Japan. The hotel was fairly close to the Shin-Yokohama Station, however it took us a while to find our bearings when we first arrived, and we definitely took a few wrong turns along the way! Be sure to have an offline map with directions to your hotel, before arriving in Japan.

Note: Something that we didn’t realise before arriving in Japan, is their hotel check-in policy is quite strict. Check-in time starts at 3pm (in most hotels across Japan) and if you arrive early, you are not allowed to check in without paying to do so. We arrived at around 10am, but were so desperate for a shower and nap, we paid the extra fee to check in early. From memory, it costs around 1,000 yen per hour before check-in time. For us though, paying the 5,000 yen was definitely worth it.

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Visit the Cup Noodle Museum

We decided to visit the Cup Noodle Museum on our first and only full day in Yokohama. If you’ve never heard of the Cup Noodle Museum before, it’s basically exactly what it sounds like. You can learn all about the history of cup noodles throughout the world, and even design your very own cup of noodles!


We have an entire post about our experience at the Cup Noodle Museum. So go give that a read for a full recap of our noodle cup designing adventure! It’s an awesome experience, and so very Japanese! 

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Shopping in Yokohama

If shopping is something you’re keen to do while in Japan, Yokohama has quite a few shopping malls. Queen’s Square and Landmark Plaza are two of the more generic shopping centres that you’ll find. However, if you’re looking for a more unique shopping experience, visit World Porters. This mall attracts a younger crowd, so you’ll definitely find some bargains if you shop around.

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Yokohama Ramen Museum

On our last night in Yokohama, we decided to set off on foot to the Yokohama Ramen Museum. We had read about this place during our Japan research, and it was added straight onto our bucket list. The Ramen Museum is essentially a museum filled with everything you didn’t think you needed to know about ramen.


To make the experience even better, you’ll find two floors downstairs, that are designed to replicate streets and houses from an old town in Tokyo. These two floors contain around a dozen different ramen restaurants. Choose your meal using the vending machine outside of each restaurant, and take a seat inside. You can also purchase mini ramen bowls, if you would prefer to sample more than just one.

Note: The bowls are hugeEven the mini bowls were just about all the food I could manage. Keep this in mind if you want to try as many bowls of ramen as you can!


The atmosphere and design of the Ramen Museum is definitely unique. Entry to the museum and access to the restaurants costs 310 yen per person, plus whatever you decide to spend on ramen. There is also a bar with super cheap alcohol. That had me sold, for sure!

Days 3 to 10 – Osaka

Day three of our one month Japan itinerary started with a Shinkansen Bullet Train ride from Yokohama to Osaka. The journey only took around three hours, and we even saw Mt Fuji from the train! We’ve already published our Osaka Itinerary in a seperate post, simply because we had so much to talk about.

There is so much to see and do in Osaka, that we highly recommend staying in the city for at least a few days. We stayed in Osaka for seven days, and even that wasn’t enough time. That being said, we did manage to tick off quite a bit from our list.

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Where to stay in Osaka

We stayed at the Hotel MyStays Sakaisuji-Honmachi during our time in Osaka. This was a great location, putting us super close to the main shopping and entertainment district of Osaka – Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi Street. We were also close to major train stations, tons of food options and plenty of things to see and do.

Note: Osaka is a great starting point to explore nearby cities and prefectures. Japan’s train system is world class. It’s super quick and easy to travel to almost any city across Japan. We suggest making the time to visit Kyoto and Nara during your time in Osaka.

Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to visit Nara, but we did take a couple of day trips to Kyoto and absolutely loved it. You can read all about Kyoto in our Osaka post as well!

Shopping in Osaka

There are plenty of places to shop in Osaka. The most popular shopping districts, Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi Street, were only a twenty minute walk from our hotel. You’ll find hundreds upon hundreds of chain stores, Japanese souvenir stores, boutiques, street food, restaurants and much more.

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Universal Studios

Universal Studios was one of the main reasons we wanted to visit Osaka in the first place. We’re both huge Harry Potter fans, and as soon as we realised there was a Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Osaka’s Universal Studios, we just had to go. If you love Harry and his friends as much as we do, definitely set aside a day to be a magician at Hogwarts.

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Day trip to Kyoto

Kyoto quickly became one of our favourite places in Japan. It’s such a beautiful way to get an insight into traditional Japan. With endless shrines, temples and beautiful places to sit and relax, you’ll fall in love with Kyoto just as much as we did. We spent one day exploring Arashiyama and another visiting the Fushimi Inari shrine.

Tip: If you’re hoping to come across some traditional Japanese Geisha’s during your stay in Kyoto, here are some awesome tips on how to do so, and the best places to see them!

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Days 10 to 12 – Hiroshima

The first thing we are going to say about Hiroshima, is that we wish we stayed longer. After spending such a long time amongst the crazy hustle, bustle and flashing neon lights of Osaka, Hiroshima was a very welcome change of pace. The people are incredibly kind and friendly, and there’s a beautiful peaceful vibe about the city.


It took roughly two hours to get from Osaka to Hiroshima on the Shinkansen Bullet Train. Compared to the rest of our Bullet Train journeys, this one was fairly quick. When we arrived at Hiroshima Station, we then had to catch a tram to our hotel. The tram ride cost a flat rate of 160 yen for adults, which you drop into a clear container before departing the tram. Super easy!

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Where to stay in Hiroshima

We stayed at the Comfort Hotel in Downtown Hiroshima. This was the perfect location, as it was within walking distance to almost everything we wanted to see during our short time in Hiroshima. There was a train station nearby and the tram stop that we needed to get back to the airport was right outside our hotel.

Shopping in Hiroshima

Hondori Shopping Arcade is the main shopping mall in Hiroshima. It’s very similar to Osaka’s Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi Street, but a lot less busy. You’ll find tons of familiar chain stores, restaurants, pharmacies for some reason, boutiques and street food. We walked up and down this mall quite a lot, and found something new each time!


Don’t miss the Book Off store in Hiroshima. If you love finding classic gaming consoles, super cheap electronics, Japanese and English books for less than a cup of coffee and an endless amount of toys, Book Off is going to feel like heaven. It’s essentially a second hand store, but it’s the best second hand store you’ll ever visit. I promise.

Cheap food in Hiroshima

During our time in Hiroshima, we discovered a wonderful little Italian food chain called Saizeriya. Their menu is loaded with delicious, super cheap meals to suit almost anyone’s taste in food. Some of their menu items include foccaccia (100 yen), garlic bread (170 yen), soup (150 yen), various pasta and pizza (400 yen), chicken and steak meals (up to 900 yen) and desserts (400 yen or less).

Other than food, you can also get unlimited soft drinks, juice and iced teas from the drink bar for 190 yen. Water is free. And the best part of all, you can get half a bottle of wine for 200 yen.

Yes, I had some with lunch.
Yes, it’s cheap house wine but still, 200 yen?
Can’t complain about that. It was drinkable, and that’s all that matters!

Hiroshima Peace Memorial and A-Bomb Dome

Our first and only full day in Hiroshima was spent at the Peace Memorial and A-Bomb Dome. It’s pretty difficult to explain the feeling you get when visiting this area of Hiroshima. The park is extremely clean, quiet and relaxing. We highly recommend paying the 200 yen entrance fee to visit the museum, even if you don’t know anything about the history of the Atomic Bomb devastation.

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We didn’t know a great deal about Hiroshima’s history, but it’s a surreal experience learning about the devastating events that happened. It will give you a new perspective about why the people of Japan are such friendly, accepting and wonderful people.

Cost: 200 yen
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 6pm
Closed: The main Museum building will be closed until July 2018.

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Hiroshima isn’t a city with lots of tourist attractions or crazy things to see and do. But if you’re looking for a relaxing and peaceful city to visit, to help break up the hustle and bustle of big city Japan, we definitely recommend adding Hiroshima to your itinerary. It’s a beautiful city with lovely people and an inspirational history.

Days 12 to 14 – Nagoya

If there’s one thing we regret from our trip to Japan, it’s cutting our time in Hiroshima short to visit Nagoya. Each to their own, but we weren’t too fond of Nagoya. Although it’s Japan’s fourth most populated city, compared to Yokohama, Osaka and Hiroshima, it was pretty dirty and uninspiring. There isn’t a whole lot to see and do, besides the Nagoya City Science Museum and Planetarium and Toyota Museum which were both closed the day we visited.

Where to stay in Nagoya

We stayed at Hotel Trusty during our two days in Nagoya. This wasn’t a very good choice in regards to location, because we had to walk quite far to the main part of the city. It was also one of the dirtiest Japanese cities we had seen so far. Choosing a hotel that’s closer to the main attractions will make your experience a lot more convenient.

Learn from our mistakes

Be sure to check opening hours for main attractions before planning out your day. Two of the things we wanted to see during our time in Nagoya was the Planetarium and Toyota Museum. Both were closed on our only full day in the city. Don’t end up like us, bitter at Nagoya, wishing we were still in Hiroshima. Plan your visit better than we did!

Shopping in Nagoya

Oasis 21 is a modern shopping complex with a ton of cool shops and restaurants. Oh yeah,  it’s also conveniently a bus terminal! There is almost always some sort of event held underneath the epic glass roof filled with water. There are also a few larger shopping malls in the area, dozens of restaurants and in true Japanese fashion, an endless amount of convenience stores.

Days 14 to 17 – Nagano

Nagano was on our itinerary for one main reason: snow! We spent quite a long time during the planning stage of our Japan trip, trying to find an easily accessible way of seeing snow. Eventually, we settled on Nagano.

We arrived in Nagano early afternoon on March 14th, via the Bullet Train from Nagoya. Nagano Station is fairly small – as is the city itself – so finding our hotel wasn’t difficult. It took around 20 minutes to walk from the station to our hotel (Hotel Kokusai 21).

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Where to stay in Nagano

We stayed at Hotel Kokusai 21 during our time in Nagano. Our hotel was in a pretty good location, taking us roughly twenty minutes to walk to the station. There were a few convenience stores within walking distance, plus plenty of vending machines and even a Japanese style Denny’s restaurant. Our hotel room was huge, and definitely one of the biggest Japanese hotels we had so far!

Shopping and Dining in Nagano

We were pretty hungry the day we arrived in Nagano, after not having enough time that morning to eat breakfast before leaving Nagoya. So the fact that we spotted a Japanese style Denny’s a few minutes from our hotel was pretty exciting and super convenient.


Right next to Denny’s is a Family Mart convenience store. If you’re not familiar with Japanese convenience stores, they’re basically the best thing in the world. Selling everything from water and alcoholic beverages to quick snacks, toiletries and hot meals. I bought a bottle of wine, Russell bought a bottle of whisky and we also stocked up on snacks.

Day trip to Hakuba

Our first full day in Nagano was the day I finally ticked see snow off my bucket list. Excitement was bubbling over the edge, as I added layer after layer of warm clothing onto my body, and made sure my camera battery was fully charged. It was the moment I had been dreaming about for most of my life.

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We took a bus from Nagano Station to Hakuba, and ended up in the beautiful snow village of Happo One. Something cool about Happo One, is the 1998 winter Olympics were hosted there! The Ski Jumping Stadium is still there, Olympic rings and all. For around 500 yen, you can take a ski lift to the very top, and be rewarded with a view like the one in the photo below!

To read all about our day in Hakuba, click here. It was such an unbelievable experience. I’m so glad I can say that I saw snow for the very first time, in Japan.

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Nagano is a great city whether you visit during the warmer or colder months. Similar to Hiroshima, it’s a nice place to rest and recharge, especially if you’re headed to another big city.

Or, like us, the mother of all big cities: Tokyo!

Days 17 to 29 – Tokyo

Ahh, Tokyo.
Japan’s capital and the world’s most populated city.

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With a population of around 13 million people, 47 different prefectures and endless things to do, you’ll need an entire lifetime to explore the city. Once again, because we talk a lot, we have a seperate post all about our time in Tokyo. If you’re interested in reading about everything we did during our twelve days in Tokyo, click here for a full recap!

Where to stay in Tokyo

We spent twelve days in Shinjuku, which is one of Tokyo’s most popular cities. Shinjuku is in a great central location, and is the perfect base to explore Tokyo. We stayed at Shinjuku New City Hotel, which was only a 20 minute walk from Shinjuku Station, the biggest train station in Japan.

Shopping in Tokyo

The shopping in Tokyo is probably the best I have ever experienced. With an endless amount of shopping malls, outdoor shopping streets, boutiques, souvenir stores, department stores and more; there’s something for everyone! Even Russell had a great time browsing each store, and he doesn’t even like shopping!

We had a ball shopping on Takeshita Street in Harajuku. Shibuya is filled with familiar chain stores like Forever 21, H&M and Gap. Don’t miss Shibuya Crossing – the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world! Enjoy the view from Starbucks or one of the shopping buildings surrounding the crossing.

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Dining in Tokyo

Whether you love sushi, fried meat on a stick, tasty desserts, noodles, pizza, pasta or almost anything else – Tokyo is a city filled with cuisine from across the globe. Restaurants in Tokyo have more Michelin Stars than Paris and New York combined. Regardless of your budget, you will have no problem finding something delicious to eat during your time in Tokyo.

Attractions in Tokyo

There are so many different things to do in Tokyo. From spending a couple of days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, to enjoying a Robot Restaurant show in Shinjuku. Don’t miss the beautiful gardens, shrines and temples throughout Tokyo. Visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for an incredible FREE view of Tokyo!

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Tips for First Time Visitors to Japan

Now that you have some ideas for your own one month in Japan itinerary, here are some tips and tricks to help make your visit as smooth sailing as possible!

Purchase a pair of comfortable sneakers

One thing we noticed during our month in Japan, was that we walked a lotOur phones have an inbuilt pedometer (as do most smartphones these days) and there were multiple days where we walked over 20,000 steps!


If you enjoy exploring new places on foot like us, you’ll definitely need to invest in a good quality pair of sneakers or walking shoes. There are tons of different styles available for both men and women.

Invest in a good backpack

Japan is one of the best places in the world for day trips. You can explore so much more of the country, simply by taking the Shinkansen Bullet Train to smaller towns from major cities across Japan. If you’re keen on doing some day trips during your time in Japan, you’ll need a good quality backpack, or daypack to keep all of your essentials safe and sound.

Don’t forget your camera

Almost everywhere you travel to across Japan, is incredibly beautiful and worthy of the millions of photos you’re going to take. Before arriving in Japan, consider purchasing a good quality camera, if you don’t have one already.

I have the Sony Alpha a5000 Mirrorless Digital Camera, and I love it. It takes incredible photos and has a whole bunch of awesome features and settings that I’ve had lots of fun testing out.


If you would prefer to try your hand at a more in-depth camera, consider a DSLR like the beautiful Canon EOS.

Bring plenty of entertainment for the Bullet Train

If you plan to travel between cities and prefectures in Japan, you’ll probably be catching the Shinkansen Bullet Train quite a bit. Depending on the distance you travel, the journey could take more than two hours. Think of the Shinkansen as a much more comfortable plane.


We like to have plenty of options available when it comes to keeping ourselves amused. General things like a good book, laptop to watch movies or to get some writing done, or a Kindle filled with tons of classics to read.


So there you have it, our one month Japan itinerary. Just remember, there is a lot to see in Japan. One month is definitely not enough time to see everything. But it’s still a good amount of time to tick lots of awesome places off your Japan bucket list. Use this guide as a starting point to plan an amazing and memorable visit to the incredible Japan.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to follow along with our travels. You can also find us on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram!

Have you been to Japan before? What was your favourite city? Tell us in the comments!

Pin this post for later!

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Post updated in March 2018. All prices and facts are correct at time of last post update. 

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan

There are so many reasons to visit Japan. We didn’t know much about the country before visiting for the first time back in March 2017, but after doing a ton of research before we arrived, we knew it would be an incredible adventure. It’s hard to narrow down the best things about Japan, because there are simply so many of them. But once we arrived in the country, we quickly learned what we would miss once we returned home to Australia.

We did so much research before arriving in Japan, reading dozens of blog posts and watching hundreds of videos, but we still weren’t expecting Japan to be as incredible as it was. If you’re looking for your next travel destination, read the top 20 best things about Japan. One of the most beautiful, traditional, modern, unique, safe, friendly and foodie heaven countries in the world!

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

1. The people

These 20 reasons to visit Japan aren’t in any particular order, but we feel as though this one should be mentioned first. Japanese locals are definitely the nicest group of people we’ve ever met. At no point during our month long stay in Japan, did we come across a Japanese local that didn’t go out of their way to help us – whether we asked for it or not.


Everybody that we met was incredibly friendly, helpful and a joy to be around. There was more than one occasion during our four weeks in Japan, where we must have looked totally confused and/or lost. We know this because we had people offer their help, purely out of the goodness of their hearts.

One woman stopped us on a street in Osaka, while we were heading to the train station on our way to Hiroshima, to ask if we needed directions. Another young woman noticed that we were struggling with our luggage in Tokyo Station, and pointed us in the direction of an elevator we didn’t know was there.

If you ever need help while in Japan, don’t be afraid to ask. You’ll be shocked to experience such a widely friendly and genuinely kind group of people.

2. The convenience stores

There’s only one word for Japanese convenience stores: epic.

If we could choose one overall, stand-out thing about our time in Japan, it would absolutely be the convenience stores. That probably sounds like an incredibly weird thing to admit, but we don’t have anything like them in Australia. At least not in Adelaide where we are from! So it was quite a fun novelty during our time in Japan.


Japan convenience stores sell a huge variety of snacks, hot and cold drinks, hot food, alcohol, toiletries, cigarettes, everyday household items and so much more. Plus, everything is incredibly cheap. So if you’re ever in a jam and need an emergency umbrella or a quick bite to eat, visit one of Japan’s millions of convenience stores.

3. Vending machines

We can guarantee one thing to anyone who is visiting Japan for the first time: you will never go thirsty. There are literally vending machines on every single corner. Some even have more than one vending machine. In winter, you’ll find a combination of hot and cold beverages. During summer, there are generally only cold drinks available.

In bigger cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, you’ll find even more vending machines almost everywhere you go. Some even sell unique items that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

Here’s a fun game: every time you come across a vending machine, buy something that you haven’t tried before. Most items are around 100 yen, so it’s a super cheap and fun way to experience Japan’s quirky food and beverages!

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4. It’s a very safe country

Japan is definitely the safest country we have ever visited. We traveled together, but even if I had traveled alone, I would have felt perfectly safe walking down any street by myself at night. Just like everywhere in the world, there are going to be parts of Japan that aren’t entirely safe. But generally speaking, we both felt very comfortable exploring even the overwhelmingly busy streets of Tokyo.


Even the train stations are incredibly safe, which is great news for solo travelers. If you decide to explore Japan alone, we’re happy to confirm that it is one of the safest places in the world to visit. That being said, it’s always best to have common sense and remain alert, especially when traveling alone.

5. Japan’s train system

One of the things we underestimated most about Japan, is their public transport system. Before arriving in Japan, we knew that it is a very punctual and smoothly run country. Everything and everyone is on time, and there is a system in place for absolutely everything. Not to mention the pure convenience of having almost everything you need, at super easy access.


The public transport system in particular though, runs more smoothly than anything else we’ve ever experienced. Given the fact that we were Westerners in an Asian country, we expected to see little to no English. Well, that wasn’t the case at all! The signage in almost every train station is written in both English and Japanese. This is great for travelers, as it means you won’t need to stop and ask for directions as often as you would somewhere else.

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Other than the trains being precisely on time (if you’re 10 seconds late to the station, too bad, you’ve missed the train), trains run as frequently as every two minutes in most major Japanese cities during day-time hours. This came in handy many times, when we were a bit hesitant to catch a particular train incase it took us in the wrong direction. We simply made sure we were in the right place, and hopped on the next one a few minutes later!

6. The Shinkansen Bullet Train

This is one of the coolest experiences we have ever had. If you’re not familiar with the Shinkansen Bullet Train, it’s a super high-speed train that takes Japanese locals and international visitors between cities across the country.


We used the Shinkansen five times during our month long visit to Japan, and never got sick of it. It’s essentially an airplane on the ground, and is an awesome way to travel around Japan. We have an entire seperate post about the Shinkansen Bullet Train and the Japan Rail Pass, which you can check out here.

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7. Heated toilet seats

Funnily enough, this is probably one of the things we miss the most. Being able to sit on a warm toilet seat in the middle of winter, is definitely one of the best things about Japan. Although we only had this experience for one month, it was hard going back to living a life without heated toilet seats when we arrived home to Australia. They’re a game changer, especially during winter. Come on, Australia. Hop on the heated toilet seat bandwagon already!

If for no other reason, please visit Japan to experience their heated toilet seats. You won’t regret it. we promise!

8. Japan’s snacks and Cup of Noodles

Maybe it’s the convenience or the wildly cheap prices, but Japanese snacks are awesome. There is such a huge variety, and half the time, you won’t even know what on Earth you’re eating. But that’s half the fun! Not to mention the Cup of Noodles. You’ll find a huge variety in convenience stores and vending machine across the country, for super low prices.

Towards the end of our trip when we had barely any money left, I ate cup noodles for almost every meal. They were delicious, and I got pretty good at using chopsticks, too.

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9. Combination of modern and beautifully traditional 

You’ll notice that there is a wonderful combination of incredibly modern and beautifully traditional all over Japan. Even in the capital city of Tokyo, you can be shopping for quirky fashion one minute, and strolling through a beautiful garden up to a shrine or temple the next.

You will always be able to find a relaxing place to spend the morning or afternoon. Not to mention the large array of temples and shrines, for that little bit of beautiful Japanese history and to break up the craziness of Japan’s big cities.

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10. There are so many things to see and do in Japan

It would literally take an entire lifetime to experience everything there is to see and do in Japan. We visited for one month, and didn’t even scratch the surface. Not only are there hundreds of incredible cities and prefectures to explore, there are tons of small towns and off-the-beaten-path experiences to be had.


We have a seperate post with our month long itinerary, sharing everything we did during our four weeks in Japan. This should give you a good insight into just how huge Japan really is, and how many incredible things there are to see and do all over the country!

11. Japanese cuisine

I’m not a foodie, in fact I’m quite the opposite. I’m a picky eater and always have been, so I tend to stick to what I know. But Russell had a blast trying all sorts of crazy Japanese cuisine. Whether you love meat, seafood or crazy snacks and desserts – Japan will feel like heaven. Dotonbori in Osaka is one of the best places to go to experience some of Japan’s best food, so be sure to add Osaka to your bucket list.


Other than Japanese cuisine, you’ll find a ton of western options available if you’re like me and stick to the basics. From McDonalds to Subway, KFC and plenty more – there’s a wide variety of options to choose from.

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12. Japan’s love of gaming

Now, although I don’t technically play video games, I do enjoy watching Russell play them. There are certain areas within Japan that are a gaming lovers heaven.

Akihabara in Tokyo is one of the brightest, bustling, exciting and unique places we’ve ever been. There are an endless array of stores to browse until you run out of money or the store itself closes – whichever comes first. So bring along plenty of cash, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to leave with a suitcase filled with gaming goodies.

13. Cherry Blossom Season (Sakura)

We visited Japan at the beginning of Cherry Blossom season, which begins in April. This is one of the busiest times of the year in Japan, and it’s easy to see why.

For a few weeks at the end of March to middle of April, Cherry Blossom trees (or Sakura) bring beautiful, breathtaking colour to streets and gardens all over Japan. It’s quite an incredible sight, and if you plan your trip perfectly, you might be able to experience the falling petals.


We had unfortunately already returned to Australia when the petals began to fall, but it was still an amazing experience seeing the gradual blossoming of the trees and Sakura petals during our last week or so in Japan.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

14. Japan’s gardens and parks

Japan has an endless amount of beautiful gardens and parks to explore. Some have a small entry cost and some are entirely free to wander around. Our favourite two gardens were Shukkeien Garden in Hiroshima, and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo. These are both incredible gardens, and although they cost around 300 yen to enter, we definitely think it’s worth the price.

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15. The shopping in Japan

No matter what your interests are, there is something for everyone in Japan. Tokyo’s Akihabara is the gaming hub of Japan. Takeshita Street in Harajuku is perfect for experiencing Tokyo’s quirky fashion scene. Osaka’s Dotonbori is absolutely insane, and you’ll be bumping shoulders with people no matter which time of day you go (but the shopping is totally worth it).

Japan was one of the best shopping experiences I’ve ever had. There’s something for everyone, and if I didn’t run out of money, I would have definitely needed a second suitcase. Even Russell who isn’t normally one for shopping, had a blast browsing the stores and scoring some fun clothes!

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

16. How easy it is to buy alcohol

We both love alcohol. Not in any negative way. We don’t drink it all day, every day. But we do appreciate a good glass of wine or Scotch. Not only is alcohol in Japan incredibly cheap, it’s also legal to consume on the streets. You can bet your bottom dollar we took full advantage of this.

We live in Australia, where takeaway alcohol can only be purchased from a bottle shop, so it was pretty fun buying Vodka from a convenience store and strolling around the streets of Tokyo drinking it. Honestly, that’s probably the second reason we miss Japan so much!

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

17. Japan’s convenience and punctuality 

If you thought the fact that there’s a vending machine on every corner is convenient, wait until you experience things like using an elevator. Other than the trains running precisely on time and being able to drink alcohol while exploring the streets of Japan, there is even a system in place for using an elevator.


In all cities except Osaka, it’s customary for people to stand on the left side of the elevator, leaving the right side free for people who want to walk up or down. This was so strange to us, but it was incredibly helpful and convenient. I even find myself getting annoyed at people in Australia who don’t do this.

18. Hiroshima

We eel the need to mention Hiroshima separately, because we adored it that much. For a city with such a devastating history, it’s one of the most beautiful and peaceful places we’ve ever visited.


From the beautiful Hiroshima Peace Park and Memorial to the incredible Shukkeien Garden, there are plenty of things to see and do. We spent two full days in Hiroshima, and to this day, we still wish we stayed longer. The people are some of the kindest we’ve ever met, the streets are 100% clear of any rubbish and it’s definitely one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been.

If you get the chance, please visit Hiroshima and see for yourself, just how wonderful the city truly is.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

19. Japan’s countryside

We spent a couple of days in Nagano, which is a town in the Northern Japan Alps. We visited at the end of the snow season, which is the main reason we decided to detour north on our way to Tokyo, and we’re so glad we did! Japan’s countryside is absolutely stunning, and although we can only share our experience about a snow covered countryside, we’re almost positive it’s just as beautiful during the rest of the year.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

20. The options are endless

There are so many things to see and do in Japan. Whatever your interests are, whether you would prefer to spend the entire time shopping, or visiting as many shrines and temples as you can, the sky is the limit. Since it’s impossible to cross off everything from your Japan bucket list, that gives you the perfect excuse to go back again and again!


We hope you found this post on the best things about Japan helpful. There is so much to love about Japan. It’s an amazing country with incredible people and a ton of things to see and do.

Have you visited Japan before? Tell us in the comments below what you think are the best reasons to visit Japan! We would love to hear your thoughts. 

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to follow along with our travels. You can also find us on PinterestTwitter and Instagram!

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Using the Japan Rail Pass to Explore Japan

Using the Japan Rail Pass to Explore Japan

When we were planning our month long trip to Japan back in March 2017, working out the train and transport system was our first priority. Train travel is the most efficient way of getting around Japan, as there are hundreds of regular train and Subway lines. But if you want to travel between cities in Japan, you might need the Japan Rail Pass. This pass gets you on the super fast and exciting Shinkansen Bullet Train, and will take you from city to city in record time.

We used the Shinkansen Bullet Train five times, traveling between Yokohama, Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Nagano and Tokyo. This guide for the Japan Rail Pass is perfect for anyone who is unsure about whether they need the fastest, most convenient and cheapest way to travel from city to city within Japan.

The most important piece of advice I can give to someone visiting Japan for the first time, is trying not to become overwhelmed by the amount of people. We arrived at Yokohama Station highly jet-lagged, having not slept for over 24 hours, and were thrown straight into the deep end. I remember it vividly: us standing to the side, watching hundreds of men and women in business suits rushing past us. I wish I had filmed this moment, but we were so exhausted, it was the last thing on my mind.


If only we knew at the time just how simple the Japanese train system actually is. It might look horribly intense and terrifying at first. But once you get the hang of things, and you’re not dragging heavy suitcases on over twenty hours of travel exhaustion – it is actually quite simple. So here is our guide on using the Japan Rail Pass, and other tips for train travel throughout Japan.

Using the Japan Rail Pass to Travel Around Japan

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

What is the Japan Rail Pass?

The Japan Rail Pass is made for visitors to Japan, who will be in the country for less than 90 days. If you are planning to travel to multiple cities across the country, the Japan Rail Pass is perfect for you. Instead of purchasing individual Shinkansen Bullet Train tickets (more on the Shinkansen later in this post), the Japan Rail Pass gets you onto as many Bullet Trains as you like.


Not only can you use the Japan Rail Pass to travel between cities on the Shinkansen, you can also use it for any JR train lines throughout the country. Simply look out for signs directing you to the JR trains in any of Japan’s train stations, show your JR pass at the window and you won’t have to pay any extra to board those trains.

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Tips and Information about the Japan Rail Pass

Purchase your Japan Rail Pass before arriving in Japan

The Japan Rail Pass is only available online, to non-Japanese visitors. That means, if you live in Japan or are staying in the country for longer than 90 days, you will not be able to purchase the pass.


The JR Pass isn’t available once you arrive in Japan, so be sure to plan ahead, purchase before you arrive and have it delivered to your home.

Choose a Japan Rail Pass to suit your length of stay

Choose the Japan Rail Pass that suits you, based on the length of time you’ll be staying in Japan. For example, Russell and I purchased a 21 day pass, which cost us 59,350 yen each (everyone in your group will need their own pass).


We stayed in Japan for an entire month, so this gave us plenty of time to activate the pass and get the most use of out it during the time we spent in Japan.

You can also purchase a seven day pass for 29,110 yen or a fourteen day pass for 46,390 yen.

The Japan Rail Pass isn’t for everyone

Before purchasing your Japan Rail Pass, you should first decide whether or not you actually need one. If you are spending your entire visit to Japan in Tokyo, you won’t need a JR Pass. You can simply use the regular train or Subway systems to get around Tokyo. The same applies for any other city in Japan.

However, if you are going to be visiting multiple cities, you will more than likely need a JR Pass. We spent time in six different cities across Japan: Yokohama, Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Nagano and then Tokyo.


This meant we were able to travel from one side of the country to the other, and even ventured to Japan’s countryside to spend a couple of days in the snow.

Use JR train lines as often as you can

As I mentioned earlier, your Japan Rail Pass gets you on more than just the Shinkansen. There are JR train lines in most stations across Japan, so be sure to utilise these as often as possible. All you need to do is show your JR Pass at the window alongside the JR gates, and you’ll be let straight through without having to pay any extra.

Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels

The Japan Rail Pass lets you travel across Japan at a super discounted rate

If we were to purchase individual Shinkansen tickets for each journey throughout our time in Japan, it would have cost far more than the price of our Japan Rail Pass. Not only this, but we also caught a lot of regular JR trains in each city that we visited, meaning we saved even more money. If the JR Pass works out to be cheaper for you, we highly recommend purchasing it.

The Shinkansen Bullet Train

If you decide to purchase the Japan Rail Pass, you’ll be able to travel around the country on the super fast Shinkansen Bullet Train. The Shinkansen reaches speeds of up to 320 kilometres per hour, which will definitely get you to your destination in record time.


One of the most important things to note about Japan, is that everything is incredibly punctual. Meaning if your Shinkansen is leaving the station at 11:23am, be there and ready to go because it will not wait for you.

The Shinkansen travels between most major cities across Japan. The first one we rode was from Yokohama to Osaka; then from Osaka to Hiroshima; Hiroshima to Nagoya; Nagoya to Nagano and finally from Nagano to Tokyo.

Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels

Tips and Information about the Shinkansen Bullet Train

You can reserve seats on any Shinkansen Bullet Train

You can reserve a seat on any Shinkansen Bullet Train throughout Japan. Simply head to the train station early enough before the time you wish to leave, and most of the time it’s easy enough to reserve a seat. That being said, if the reserved seats are in fact sold out, there are a couple of other options.


You can either reserve a seat for the next train, then hang around the station for an extra hour or so. Or you can choose a non-reserved seat. This just means you’ll be in a first come, first served situation. Head straight to the platform that your train will be leaving from, then either place your suitcase or a personal item on the line outside of each train car; or stand in line and wait.

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This will guarantee you board the train first, and will therefore find a seat quite easily, even without a reserved ticket.

Bullet Trains have luggage compartments 

This is something we weren’t sure about the first time we boarded a Shinkansen. Russell and I used the Bullet Train to travel between cities across Japan, so we had all of our luggage each time we did this. So we were hoping there would be plenty of room to store all of our luggage on the train, without having to keep it in front of our feet for the duration of our trip.

Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels

When we boarded our first Shinkansen, we were surprised to see that there was ample space above our heads (similar to the overhead bins on a plane) for suitcases, handbags and backpacks. However, if your suitcase is too large to fit in the overhead storage, don’t worry. At the back of each car throughout the train, there is an extra area where you can store your suitcases, which is pretty handy for people like me who have a bad overpacking problem, and shop way too much.

They also have bathrooms and rubbish bins

Most Shinkansen Bullet Trains have bathrooms on board. They are located between most carriages, and are super modern, clean and easy to use. If you choose to buy some snacks before boarding the train, there are also bins located next to the bathrooms on most Bullet Trains. Use these to dispose of your rubbish before departing the train, just incase you don’t come across a bin right away (more on this soon).

Some Shinkansen Bullet Trains have a snack service, too

This isn’t available on every train, but some Bullet Trains have snack carts. Someone will walk up and down the aisles with food, which you can buy right then and there. Think Hogwarts Express style. You can pretend that you’re a wizard for the day.


From what I can remember, we only had this option on one of the trains we caught, though. If you are catching an early train or want some food to eat throughout the journey, purchase some snacks from one of the many vending machines or convenience stores located in the train station.

General tips for Transport and Navigation in Japan

Purchase a Suica or Pasmo Card

When you arrive in Japan, you will need to purchase a Suica or Pasmo card. The train system is the best way to get around Japan, and you will use these cards to do so. There’s a 500 yen deposit fee when purchasing the card, which you can get back if you return the card at the end of your stay in Japan.


To start using your Suica or Pasmo card, simply load any amount of money onto the card that you like. We started with loading 2,000 yen onto our Suica card, because we weren’t too sure how it worked or how expensive fares were. This lasted us a couple of days, until we had to reload again.

We used a Suica card for the duration of our trip, and didn’t have any issues. The Suica and Pasmo cards are essentially the same thing, they are just sold by different companies.


Note: We decided to keep our Suica card as a souvenir, so we didn’t get our 500 yen deposit back. If you do want the deposit returned, ask at one of the information windows in any train station at the end of your trip. That being said, unless you’re desperate for that 500 yen, I suggest keeping your Suica or Pasmo card as a little memento from your time in Japan!

Ask conductors at Train Stations for help

Most train conductors will be very helpful when it comes to directing you to the correct train or platform, regardless of the communication barrier. We relied heavily on Google Maps to direct us around Japan, which worked well most of the time.


But if you are unsure, simply find a conductor and point to the station or location in which you are heading, and they will do their best to give you directions.

Make sure to leave via the correct exit

As I mentioned earlier, Google Maps will be a lifesaver when it comes to train travel in Japan. The information is very helpful, and will give you step by step directions for getting from one destination to another. Another great thing about Google Maps, is it will also give you the exit that you need once getting off the train.


Be sure to pay attention to the yellow signs – see the photo below as an example – as they will tell you if you’re heading the right way or not. The signs are very clearly marked (with west exit, north exit etc) so it will be easy to find your way once you know the exit you need.

Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels

Note: If you are arriving at one of Japan’s larger train stations such as Tokyo Station or Shinjuku Station, leaving through the wrong exit could cause you a very frustrating detour (if you’re in a hurry). So when you are putting your destination into Google Maps, be specific. If you want to visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Govern Building for its incredible free view of Tokyo, don’t just type Shinjuku. Type in Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and you’ll get accurate directions.

Don’t be intimidated when traveling by trains

It will probably seem confusing and a bit scary when catching a train in Japan for the first time. Like I mentioned earlier, on our very first day in Japan, we had to catch a train to Yokohama Station. It was around seven o’clock in the morning, we were running on no sleep and were thrust into peak hour in the busiest city in the world.


At first, it was super intimidating. But one of the best things about Japan, is their extremely friendly and helpful locals. So if you are ever stuck, ask for help. Honestly though, you won’t need to worry too much. Every train in Japan has an English translation of all the information you need. Use Google Maps to navigate your way around each city, and simply head to the platform that Google Maps is telling you to!

You’ll catch on in no time – I promise.

There are vending machines everywhere

If you’ve been hanging out for a bottle of water, an icy cold soft drink or even a hot coffee, the Japan’s vending machines will be your best friend. They are literally everywhere, and especially in train stations. Whether you’re stepping off the train or heading out of the station, I guarantee you will come across at least five vending machines before you even leave the station.

Bins can be hard to come across

This was something that surprised us a little bit. Rubbish bins are rare all across Japan. You will maybe find them outside of the occasional vending machines, but other than that, you’ll need your hiking boots to track one down.


Depending on the train station, you might find one on the platform when boarding or leaving the train, but not all the time. So keep that in mind, and dispose of any rubbish you have when you do come across a bin.

Note: This is based on the fact that Australia has public rubbish bins everywhere. So the fact that bins are scarce, might not be such an odd thing about Japan, but it was definitely something that we had to get used to.

Take your time when catching trains

I mentioned this earlier, but everything in Japan runs precisely on time. Trains are no exception, and although they run on time, they also come very frequently. So don’t rush for your train. Always be sure you know which one you need, that you’re standing on the correct side of the platform and your train is heading in the right direction before boarding.


If you miss the train, don’t worry, there will be another one a few minutes later. The same applies with the Shinkansen Bullet Train. Even if you have a reserved seat, if you miss the Shinkansen, there will be one an hour or so later – so don’t stress!

Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels

Purchasing a Japan Rail Pass to use the Shinkansen Bullet Train as well as regular trains, Subway and JR train lines, is the easiest way to navigate around Japan. We were surprised at just how easy the whole process was, from purchasing our JR Pass online before we arrived in Japan; to sitting down on our very first Shinkansen.


With the friendly and helpful Japanese locals ready to help out whenever you need it, there is absolutely no reason to stress.

Here is a brief recap of the important tips we have covered in this post:

  • Use Google Maps, and make sure you leave via the correct exit
  • The Japan Rail Pass can be used on regular trains throughout Japan, not only Shinkansen Bullet Trains. Keep an eye out for JR Lines in most of Japan’s train stations.
  • Take your time when catching trains, because they run very frequently
  • Japanese vending machines are perfect for snacks to eat on the Shinkansen, or while you’re waiting for the train
  • Purchase a Suica or Pasmo card to travel around Japan using the regular train lines

Have you visited Japan before, and did you purchase the Japan Rail Pass? If you think of any tips that I have missed, leave them in the comments below!

Related: Read our Japan Archives

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea

We’re both huge theme park and Disney fans. So as soon as we discovered that there is a Disneyland Resort in Japan, it instantly went straight to the top of our bucket list. Japan is home to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. DisneySea is the most unique Disney park in the world, and is absolutely a must-visit during your stay!

Before visiting Japan, we had only been to California’s Disney Parks – Disneyland and California Adventure Park. Although we’ve both visited these parks multiple times, we unfortunately hadn’t widened our Disney horizons beyond Anaheim. That’s why we decided to spend a day at each of Tokyo’s Disney parks, starting with DisneySea!

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Getting to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea

Japan’s train system is world class, meaning traveling between cities throughout Japan is super easy. Getting to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea is no different!

JR train line to Maihama Station

If you’re traveling from Shinjuku, Tokyo, Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Shingawa, Yokohama or Akihabara, catch any of the JR train lines at one of the stations above, that’s heading to Maihama Station.

Use Google Maps for directions from your hotel to the nearest major station. The Google Maps app will give you step by step directions, including the train(s) you need to catch and the best exit to leave through. It will also give you the direction and how far you’ll need to walk once you exit the station.

Disney Resort Monorail from Maihama Station

Once you arrive at Maihama Station, you’ll then need to catch the Disney Resort Monorail. It’s super easy to find – just follow the huge crowd of people dressed as Disney characters and you’ll be fine.

The monorail is decked out in Disney and is super adorable. Even the windows are shaped as Mickey’s head. The monorail will take you directly to the entrances of both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, so just hop off at your desired park!


Tip: If you have a Japan Rail Pass, you can actually use this to get to the Disney parks. Simply show your JR pass to an officer standing next to any JR entrance gate, and you’ll be let straight through without having to pay any extra! For more information, here is a detailed explanation of the trains you can catch from the main stations around Tokyo.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea Tickets

There are a few options when it comes to purchasing tickets to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. The ticket you choose to buy depends on whether you want visit just one park or both.

1 Day Passport

Adult: 7,400 yen per person
Ages 4 to 11: 4,800 yen per person
Ages 12 to 17: 6,400 yen per person

2 Day Passport

Adult: 13,200 per person
Ages 4-11: 8,600 yen per person
Ages 12-17: 11,600 yen per person

3 Day Magic Passport*

Adult: 17,800 yen per person
Ages 4-11: 11,500 yen per person
Ages 12-17: 15,500 yen per person

4 Day Magic Passport*

Adult: 22,400 per person
Ages 4-11: 14,400 yen per person
Ages 12-17: 19,400 yen per person

*A Magic Passport gets you into both parks on the 3rd or 4th consecutive day. This means you can spend the morning at Disneyland then end the day at DisneySea (or vice versa).

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Where to buy tickets

We are about to give you the most important piece of advice we will share throughout this entire post.

Do NOT purchase Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea tickets at the gate.

You will absolutely regret it. The lines are excruciatingly long and you will end up spending a great deal of your time waiting in lines, before you even enter the park. Instead, there are a few ways to purchase tickets before arriving at Japan’s Disney Resort.

Selected Disney Stores around Tokyo

Some Disney Stores located throughout Tokyo actually sell Disneyland and DisneySea tickets. Tickets cost the same as everywhere else, but will save you a ton of time on the day. It also means you won’t struggle with an online purchase.

The following stores sell Disney Resort tickets:

  • Shibuya Koen Dori
  • Odaiba Aqua City
  • Ikebukuro Sunshine City Alpa
  • Hachioji Tokyu Square
  • Machida 109
  • Akishima Mori Town

Online

Tickets can be purchased online via the Tokyo Disneyland Resort website. If you’re staying at a hotel, the front desk will be happy to help you purchase your tickets and print your confirmation or e-ticket.

A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Selected convenience stores

Family Mart or Lawson convenience stores throughout Tokyo generally sell tickets to a lot of attractions, including Disneyland and DisneySea. If you’re unsure, just walk in and ask! Japanese people are some of the friendliest we have ever met, and will almost always go out of their way to help in any way.


We purchased our 2-day passports from the Shibuya Disney Store a few days before our first day at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. This turned out to be a great decision, as it meant we only had to wait in line for 10 minutes instead of up to an hour. If you aren’t able to purchase tickets online, plan a day out in Shibuya!

Disneyland and DisneySea: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve visited Anaheim’s Disneyland before, Tokyo Disneyland is very similar. It’s set out pretty much the same way, and you can still walk through and admire Cinderella’s Castle. The castle itself looks totally different, but the characters are the same and you can still indulge in dozens of delicious churros.


However, if you’re looking for something a bit different, while still wanting to experience the magic of Disney, we recommend visiting DisneySea.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Everything about Tokyo DisneySea is amazing. From the props and buildings, to the decorations, rides and attractions. Not to mention the huge river stretching across almost half of DisneySea, from Port Discovery to Mediterranean Harbour. The detail that’s been put into DisneySea is hard to describe, so you’ll just have to check it out for yourself!


In our experience (having been to Anaheim’s Disneyland and California Adventure Park multiple times), DisneySea is completely different. The sheer size of everything, like the Journey to the Centre of the Earth volcano, is incredibly impressive and like nothing we have ever seen before.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Food: Quick Eats & Food Carts

Just like every other theme park in the world (Disney or otherwise), there are food carts absolutely everywhere, catering to almost all of your sweet and savoury food cravings. These are the general snacks you’ll find throughout Disneyland and DisneySea:

Churros – 310 yen
Fried dough pastry, aka the best theme park food on Earth

Popcorn – 310 for a regular box, 1,000 to 2,300 yen for a character souvenir bucket
Flavours: Cappuccino, caramel, milk chocolate, honey, soy sauce, butter and regular salted. The flavours will vary depending on which park you visit, and the land within that park.

Ice cream – 200 yen to 300 yen

Soft drink and water – 200 yen to 300 yen

There is a good combination of Japanese and Western food options available at the snack carts throughout Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. Japanese snacks include: steamed buns filled with various meat, dessert steamed buns with strawberries, mochi dumplings filled with custard, and various fried delicacies.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Food: Restaurants

The restaurants at both of Tokyo’s Disney parks are very similar to any other Disney park you’ve been to. They’re all themed, based on which land they are in. Although most sell the same general food options, you might find a bit of variety if you shop around first.


We didn’t spend too much time exploring the restaurants, as we were on the hunt for cheap and quick food. But if you like pizza, french fries, sandwiches, bakery foods, rice, pasta, Japanese cuisine and a lot more, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

As far as theme park food prices go, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are very reasonably priced. You can get a huge cup of french fries for 500 yen, a decent sized slice of pizza for around 450 yen and from what I saw, the fancier meals were better than expected at less than 2,000 yen (they usually include a main meal, drink and a side of some sort).

Time and money saving food tips

Bring your own snacks

Before arriving at Disneyland or DisneySea, stock up on snacks and drinks at one of Japan’s hundreds of convenience stores. You’re allowed to bring in your own food, so why not make the most of it?


This will not only save you money, but also tons of time throughout the day. The lines for most restaurants at both parks get super long, so bringing your own lunch and snacks will make your day a lot easier. Expect to wait at least half an hour for the most popular popcorn carts!

Bring a water bottle

There are heaps of water fountains located in both parks. Usually you’ll find at least one in each of the different lands, so there’s no shortage of cold water available for free. We were glad we decided to bring our own water bottles, as it saved so much time and money throughout the day.

Eat lunch earlier in the day

Waiting in long lines at a theme park is inevitable. But we were surprised at just how long the lines were at food carts and restaurants around the park. So we suggest eating lunch earlier as opposed to, well, lunch time.

The restaurants in particular remain fairly quiet up until around 11am, so head there earlier in the day to save some time. Every minute counts, especially if you only have one day to explore the park.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Rides at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the part of this post you’re actually here for: Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea rides!

It’s no secret that Disneyland in general is a very busy place. No matter which Disney park you visit or what time of the day, you’re gonna have to share the park with other people. I know, it sucks.

The minimum wait time for almost every ride was around 140 minutes. Even longer on the bigger, newer and most popular rides and attractions. Unless you get lucky and visit on a quiet day, this is the average wait time for most rides.


For example, when we visited Disneyland (on a Thursday in winter) we arrived at the park around fifteen minutes before it opened. We would have arrived earlier if it didn’t take an hour to get from our hotel to the park. It just didn’t seem worth getting up at 4am to be there by 6am with everyone else.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Remember earlier in the post, when we recommended that you don’t purchase your tickets at the gate?

Well, when we arrived at Disneyland, there was a line to even enter the line. The people that hadn’t already purchased their tickets (either online, from a convenience store or a Disney Store) would have been waiting in line for over an hour. That’s just to purchase their ticket.


Guests then need to line up to enter the actual park. Since we pre-purchased our tickets at Shibuya’s Disney Store, we were directed straight to the second line. This took around twenty minutes to get through. Once the clock struck eight o’clock, the gates opened and thousands of Disneyland guests ran to their favourite ride.

Our plan was to get a Fast Pass for Space Mountain. But by the time we finally made it into the park, it was already 8:10am. The line to get a Fast Pass was crazy long, and the standby wait time for Space Mountain was well over 100 minutes.

Moral of this story? Purchase your ticket beforehand, and arrive as early as you can.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Tips for using Fast Passes

A Fast Pass is your best bet in getting on most (if not all) of the major rides and attractions. Insert your park ticket into a machine located outside of each ride that has a Fast Passes available. The machine will then print out a new ticket with the name of the ride at the top, and a one hour time frame for you to come back later in the day.

A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

When you go back during your allocated time, you’ll be able to breeze past all of the people who have been standing in line for over an hour, and get on the ride in under 10 minutes! Well, most of the time. Sometimes you might have to wait a little longer than expected, but either way, it’s better than waiting 140 minutes!


Note: You can only get one Fast Pass ticket at a time. For example, if you get a Fast Pass for Space Mountain as soon as the gates open, you’ll have to wait a couple of hours until you can get another Fast Pass (for a different ride or the same ride).

A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Fast Passes available at Tokyo Disneyland

These are the rides at Tokyo Disneyland that have Fast Passes available. There are only a small number of Fast Passes available for each ride, per day. So to make things easier for you, we’ve sorted the rides below into the different lands throughout Disneyland. You’re welcome.

Westernland – Big Thunder Mountain

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Critter Country – Splash Mountain (water ride)

Fantasyland – Haunted Mansion, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt (fast passes run out quickly)

Tomorrowland – Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, Space Mountain (my all time favourite ride), Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, Monster’s Inc Ride & Go Seek (interactive ride, fast passes run out fast)

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Fast Passes available at Tokyo DisneySea

These are the rides at Tokyo DisneySea that have Fast Passes available. There are only a small number of Fast Passes available for each ride, per day. So to make things easier for you, we’ve sorted the rides below into the different lands throughout DisneySea. You’re welcome.

American Waterfront – Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania (fast passes run out super quick)

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Lost River Delta – Indiana Jones (super fast rollercoaster), Raging Spirits

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Arabian Coast – The Magic Lamp Theatre

Mermaid Lagoon – Mermaid Lagoon Theatre

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon TravelsA Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Mysterious Island – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Age & Height Limits

As you might expect for a theme park, all of the attractions at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea require riders to be of a certain height and sometimes a certain age. To make things easier for you, here are the Disneyland and DisneySea website pages, which list each ride individually, as well as the age and height restrictions for that particular ride.

Parades

We can’t really give any advice or suggestions in regards to the Disneyland or DisneySea parades and shows, as we prioritised rides over parades. But from what we could tell by queues, the “Big Band Beat” show at DisneySea and the “Happiness is Here” daytime parade at Disneyland are unmissable!

Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea Helpful Tips

Buy food before lining up for a ride

This is a great way to save time while waiting in long lines. We saw people snacking and even eating their lunch while waiting in lines for rides! It’s a pretty convenient way to kill some time, and eat some delicious food.

Get to the park early

If you only have one day at each park, we definitely recommend arriving earlier than 8am (when the park opens). The earlier the better to be honest. You’ll be able to fit more into your day, and won’t risk missing out on Fast Pass tickets.

Plan your day around Fast Passes

Before you arrive at Disneyland or DisneySea, write a list of your must see rides and attractions. Next, write down whether that particular ride is a Fast Pass attraction. When you arrive at the park, head for the ride at the top of your list and grab a Fast Pass. Then, head to number two on your list and wait in the standby line.

By the time you’ve been on that ride, eaten some food and had a look around, it will be time for you to grab your second Fast Pass ticket! Planning your day around Fast Passes is the best way to ensure you experience most (if not all) of the rides and attractions on your list!

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

In Conclusion

We hope we’ve given you plenty of tips, to help you make the most of your day at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. The service from every single staff member at Disneyland and DisneySea is absolutely amazing. So if we’ve have left something out, we’re positive that any of the friendly Disneyland team will be happy to help you out!


If you have any other questions that you would like me to answer, feel free to ask them down below! I’m more than happy to help out! Have you been to Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea? What did you think? I’d love to know!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to follow along with our travels. You can also find us on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram!

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Post originally published in March 2017. Updated in March 2018.

 

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide

Japan is one of the most incredible countries in the world. Ask anybody who has visited, and we’re almost positive they will agree with us. If you’re ever lucky enough to visit Japan, it will be one of the most wonderful and unique experiences of your life. There are some things you should know when planning a trip to Japan, though, and we’re going to tell you all about them in this post!

Compared to Western countries, Japan is very unique. Other than the obvious language barrier, traveling to such a unique country will naturally bring some difficulties. Nothing that is unbearable, and not even difficulties that will hinder your visit. But there are a few things to remember when visiting Japan, to make your experience as enjoyable and stress free as possible.

Tip: Download some Japan travel apps to help you along the way. With everything from transport and language to food and drink – theres an app to help you with almost everything!

We spent four weeks exploring Japan back in March 2017, which you can read about in our one month Japan itinerary post. We managed to explore six different cities across the country. We learned a lot during our visit, and decided to take that information and put it all into this best Japan travel guide!

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Currency & Money in Japan

The currency used in Japan is Japanese Yen.

In comparison to the Australian and US Dollar, Japan’s currency is quite similar. By that we mean, if you were to purchase something for 100 yen, converting that back into AUD or USD works out to be pretty close. That being said, currencies are always changing, so be sure to check with a currency converter before your trip.


In most aspects, Japan is a very advanced country. But when it comes to the use of a credit or debit card, they’re still pretty far behind. Most restaurants and shops don’t accept card payment, and you’ll find that a lot of businesses are still very cash focussed. Here are some tips to help with understanding money in Japan:

Japan can be done on a budget

Some things in Japan can be quite expensive, especially if you prefer to splurge a little when it comes to food and attractions. But it is possible to travel across Japan on a budget. Check out this post for tons of great tips and a suggested itinerary for exploring Japan for one month for as little money as possible!

Always have some cash with you

Having cash at all times is super important, especially on your first day in Japan. It will come in handy when you’re trying to get from the airport to your hotel, plus for stocking up on snacks and small things you might not have planned for. Given that you’ll more than likely struggle when searching for places that accept card, it’s best to keep a good amount of cash with you throughout your visit.

Withdraw cash at Convenience Stores

The best place to withdraw cash throughout Japan is at one of the convenience stores across the country. Find a 7/11 or Family Mart, as they’re going to be your best bet. Don’t worry about finding one either, they’re absolutely everywhere!

Tip: Get yourself a travel wallet, to not only keep your cash, but also your passport and any tickets you need to keep handy.

Tipping is not required in Japan

One of the best things about Japan is that tipping is not required. In fact, it’s almost considered rude. So there is no need to tip anyone in restaurants, hotels or transport staff. Awesome, right? Another way to save a bit of extra money!

Climate and Weather in Japan

We visited Japan in March 2017, at the tail end of their winter and the beginning of spring. Spring in Japan is Cherry Blossom season, and if you decide to visit during March and April, you’ll be rewarded with a pretty beautiful sight. Although we weren’t lucky enough to see the blossoms falling, we did get to experience the start of Cherry Blossom season, and it was beautiful all the same.


Since we visited at the end of winter, it was still quite cold. We had a couple of freezing days, especially our day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Osaka. Here are some tips about japan’s weather and seasons year-round:

Cherry Blossom Season

Cherry Blossom season runs from March to May, and is the busiest time of year in Japan. Everything is more densely packed than normal, so be prepared for that! We were lucky enough to see the very beginning of Blossom season, however didn’t get to see the trees in full bloom. If you’re hoping to visit Japan during Cherry Blossom season, be sure to book as early as possible, as a lot of hotels will be fully booked if you leave it too late.

Seasons in Japan

If you’re traveling to Japan for the first time, you might not be sure what seasons fall at certain times of the year. Well, Japan is in the Northern Hemisphere, meaning they have the same seasons as countries like the United States and Canada. The seasons in Japan are roughly:

Summer: June to August
Autumn (Fall): September to November
Winter: December to February
Spring (Cherry Blossom Season): March to May

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Despite the crowds, we definitely recommend planning your trip to Japan during Cherry Blossom season. It’s absolutely beautiful and is guaranteed to blow you away. Be sure to book early, though, and prepare for large crowds everywhere you go – theme parks in particular!

That being said, although it will be busy I recommend planning your trip for spring, because it’s a beautiful experience. Be sure to book early and prepare for large crowds everywhere you go – theme parks in particular.

Japan is a very mountainous country

One of the things at the very top of our Japan bucket list, was to see snow. Lucky for us, Japan has a huge amount of beautiful mountains and countryside villages. On our way to Tokyo, we spent a couple of days in Nagano. During our time there, we took a day trip to the nearby, popular snow village of Hakuba.

If you’re hoping to experience Japan’s snow season, we highly recommend Hakuba. It was home to the 1998 Winter Olympics, and the Ski Jumping Stadium is still there today, giving guests the absolute best view in town for under 500 yen. 

A Day at Hakuba Japan Ski Resort | Rhiannon Travels

Japan’s vending machines change with the seasons

This is another quirky fact about Japan. The vending machines that you’ll find on almost every corner throughout the country, actually change with each season! During the colder months of the year (roughly November until March) you’ll find a larger selection of warm beverages like coffee and soup. During the warmer months, there will be a huge range of cold drinks to keep visitors hydrated!

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Language in Japan

One of the first things we noticed when arriving in Japan, was that very few people speak English. This is obviously something we were prepared for. We knew that we were the ones visiting a different country, so we were the ones who should learn a couple of key phrases and be able to communicate clearly in some way.


It’s best to come prepared and have a few key phrases or words memorised, to make your visit as easy as possible for everyone involved. Here are some common phrases you should know before arriving in Japan:

Arigatou Gozaimas – Thank You
Konnichiwa  Hello
Sumimasen – Excuse Me
Ohayou Gozaimasu – Good Morning
Konbanwa – Good Evening
Hai – Yes

These are just a handful of the phrases you will use on a daily basis. From our experience, Japanese people are very patient and will do everything they can to help, regardless of your knowledge of Japanese. That being said, it’s simply good manners to practice some every day sentences or phrases to make situations easier!


Tip: If you’re worried about needing to know a few key phrases, or you want to expand your Japanese knowledge further than just saying thank you or hello, purchase a Japanese phrase book! Take it with you everywhere you go, and you’ll always have the perfect thing to say!

Transport in Japan

One of the best things about Japan is their impeccable public transport system. Although it might look confusing and overwhelming when you first arrive in Japan, the trains and buses are actually super easy to navigate. All train stations have directions and signage in both Japanese and English.


No matter where you need to go or which city you are heading to, it won’t be too difficult finding your way. Here are some tips for using Japan’s train system:

Use Google Maps

The ‘directions’ function in Google Maps will be your best friend. Type in your current location and where you are heading into Google Maps, and you’ll be given a list of the different train lines that will take you there. Find the corresponding platform in the station and hop on the correct train! It really is that simple.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you’ve typed in your location and where you’re heading into Google Maps but you’re still a little confused, don’t worry. Japanese locals are some of the most friendly and helpful people in the world. If you’re ever stuck and need directions, don’t be afraid to speak up. Whether you ask a conductor on the train platform or somebody who is simply walking past, almost everyone will do their best to help.

We even had a few people voluntarily come up to us and offer their help, when they noticed we were struggling with directions on our first couple of days in Japan! Traveling to Japan for the first time doesn’t need to be scary – all you need to do is ask!

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Purchase a Suica or Pasmo card

Purchase a Suica or Pasmo card the day you arrive, for ultimate ease and convenience when exploring Japan. Simply load some money onto your card (as much as you like), swipe it at the gate and walk on through. We bought a Suica card on our first day, which made traveling around the country super easy. Suica and Pasmo cards can also be used for purchases in some convenience stores.

Consider purchasing a Japan Rail Pass

If you plan to travel between cities across Japan, we highly recommend purchasing a Japan Rail Pass. These are only available for visitors to Japan who will be staying in the country for less than 90 days, and must be purchased online before arriving. The JR Pass will get you onto the Shinkansen Bullet Train and various JR train lines throughout Japan.


The Japan Rail Pass can be quite expensive, so you should first decide whether it’s worth purchasing. For example, if you are only spending time in Tokyo, you won’t need a JR Pass as you can simply use Tokyo’s train or Subway system. But if you’re planning to city-hop across the country, it’s definitely worth the investment. Find out whether the Japan Rail Pass is right for you, here!

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Wifi & Sim Cards in Japan

We purchased a Pocket Wifi Device online before arriving in Japan. This turned out to be an absolute life saver, because it meant we had wifi wherever we went. We also had a spare battery and protective case to keep it all in. We definitely suggest purchasing a pocket wifi if you plan to spend a significant amount of time in Japan.


Another great option for data in Japan, is purchasing a local SIM card. Purchase one from the airport before heading out into the hustle and bustle of Japan. Make sure you have data, though, because you’ll need it for directions and using Google Maps.

Safety in Japan

Japan is definitely one of the safest countries we have ever visited. The entire month that we spent traveling around Japan was very smooth sailing, and we had no issues with crime or felt unsafe at any point. If you are planning a solo trip to Japan (in particular solo female travelers), you don’t need to worry too much.

That being said, as a general rule for travel, you should always remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings. Japan is one of the safest countries in the world to visit, so as long as you keep your wits about you, there will rarely be any issues.


We traveled together, but even if I had traveled alone, I would have felt perfectly comfortable and safe walking the streets of Japan at night by myself. It’s an incredibly safe place – from our experience and what we’ve heard from other visitors to Japan – which is awesome!

Accommodation in Japan

We always stay in hotels when we travel, purely for personal preference. We like our privacy and are happy to budget a little bit extra for a comfortable and secure place to sleep. Just like everywhere else in the world, Japan has a few options when it comes to accomodation:

Hotels – Check out HotelsCombined for some awesome deals!
AirbnbAirbnb is a great option for families and groups of friends
Hostels – For budget travelers, hostels are the perfect option!
Capsule Hotels – For a totally unique and budget friendly option, capsule hotels are perfect! Read more about this awesome style of accomodation here!

The type of accomodation that you choose depends on your style, who you’re traveling with and your budget. There are a ton of options to suit everybody, whether you prefer a five star resort or a cheap budget friendly hostel. Do some research before booking, and always shop around!

What to wear in Japan

Japan is a weird and wonderful place to visit. If you’re into fashion, you’ll be in heaven winding through the streets of Tokyo, shopping up a storm. When it comes to the style in Japan, it seems that nothing is off limits. Harajuku for example, is one of the best districts in Tokyo to get a taste of Japanese fashion. There are an endless amount of unique stores, filled with everything from cat clothing to second hand bargains.

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Tip for Females: From what I could tell, girls tend to show off their legs and cover up the top half of their body. During our month in Japan, we visited Disneyland, DisneySea and Universal Studios. A lot of Japanese girls were wearing shorts or skirts, despite the cold weather and I never once saw any cleavage. That’s something to keep in mind for you ladies traveling to Japan!

Food in Japan

If you love meat or seafood, you’ll feel right at home in Japan. Almost every major city is filled with dozens of Japanese and Western restaurants. There are a huge range of options available, across all budgets. If you’re like me (a picky eater who doesn’t eat much meat) don’t worry, you will still find plenty of delicious food.


Along with the plethora of Japanese restaurants selling ramen, sushi, yakitori and much more, there are also a lot of western food chains. I ate at McDonalds, Subway and KFC quite a bit, since I’m not really interested in experimenting with food. However, if you plan to sample Japan’s cuisine, you are in for a treat.

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Things you should do in Japan

You’ll soon notice that Japan has quite a few quirky things you should keep in mind and be cautious of. Here are some things that you should do, during your time in Japan:

1. Do buy alcohol and snacks at Convenience Stores

As soon as you step into your very first Japanese convenience store, you’ll be hooked. These places literally have almost everything you would ever need at the last minute. From hot food and drinks to toiletries, newspapers and a huge range of delicious snacks. If you’re an alcohol drinker, Japanese convenience stores sell bottles of wine for under 500 yen, Scotch for under 2,000 yen and premixed drinks for 200 yen a pop.


If you’re craving a snack, visit your nearest convenience store. You’ll find a huge range from chips and chocolate to ice cream, cups of noodles and various hot foods. Convenience stores are one of the things we miss most about Japan!

2. Do slurp your noodles

If you visit a ramen restaurant or really anywhere that serves noodles, always slurp them! Of course this only seems to be acceptable in Japan, because everywhere else in the world frowns upon making so much noise while eating. Make the most of being able to slurp your food while you eat, without getting a ton of weird looks and stares.

3. Do try to be on time

The Japanese are very punctual people. As a whole, Japan runs very smoothly. The trains always arrive precisely on time, and if you have a meeting planned with somebody, we’re willing to bet money on the fact they’ll be there right on the dot. In this day and age, almost everyone has a phones with alarms and a clock, so use them and don’t be late!

4. Do take your shoes off when necessary

In some places, such as the fitting rooms in stores and temples or shrines, it’s expected that all visitors remove their shoes before entering. Generally there will be a sign asking people to take their shoes off. But if there isn’t, just have a look around to see what everyone else is doing.

5. Do appreciate Japan for it’s unique atmosphere

Whether you’re spending the day at one of Japan’s theme parks, hiking up one of the incredible mountains, or strolling through the winding road’s of Osaka’s Dotonbori. Japan will fascinate you in the best way possible. Be sure to appreciate every moment of your time in Japan, and take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself.

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Things you should not do in Japan

Like anywhere in the world, there are some things you should not do when visiting Japan. Some of these are super quirky and some are pretty strange – in the best way, of course. There is a system in place for almost everything in Japan, which helps to make the country run as smoothly as possible. Here are some of the things that are frowned upon in Japan:

1. Don’t stand in the middle of an escalator

In all cities across Japan (except Osaka), it’s customary for people to stand on the left hand side, leaving the right side free for anyone who wants to walk up. Trust us when we say that this one is important, because escalators are absolutely everywhere in Japan.

2. Don’t tip

We mentioned this earlier, but tipping is considered rude in Japan. Japanese people put their heart and soul into everything they do, meaning that if somebody tips them for a job well done, it’s assumed the service was better than expected. You’ll be surprised at just how polite and friendly the Japanese locals are.

3. Don’t litter

One thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Japan, is the lack of rubbish bins in public. This especially inconvenient in busy shopping districts. Despite the lack of bins, the streets are immaculately clean (in most areas), so don’t be that person and leave your rubbish on the side of the road. Generally you’ll find bins outside of convenience stores and vending machines, so hold onto your rubbish until you can dispose of it correctly.

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

4. Don’t eat while walking

I’ll be honest, I’m guilty of this one. I didn’t realise until the very end of our trip, that eating while walking in Japan is frowned upon. If you grab a quick snack while shopping, either sit down or stand out of the way while eating. I still feel ashamed about the number of times I scoffed down McDonalds fries while running for a train or window shopping. Sorry, Japan. I know for next time, though!

5. Don’t blow your nose in public

I’m also guilty of this one. We’re from Australia, where it is not frowned upon to blow your nose in public. But for some reason in Japan, it is! This is why you’ll hear anyone who is sick on trains, sniffing instead of blowing their nose. Just wait until you have some privacy, and sit in discomfort instead.

6. Don’t talk loudly on the phone in public

This mainly applies when traveling on trains. The first thing you’ll notice about catching trains in Japan, is that everyone is on their phones. Either texting, playing games or listening to music. But you will never hear a Japanese person peaking on their phone while on the train. It’s just common courtesy. The rest of the world doesn’t need to hear your conversation, so please keep it to yourself!

Things to see and do in Japan

There are a lot of incredible things to see and do in Japan. But unfortunately, whether you are spending one week or one year in Japan, you will never be able to see it all. The only way to make the most of your time in Japan, is to decide what you absolutely cannot leave without crossing off your Japan bucket list!


With that said, here are some of our favourite things to see and do throughout the six cities in Japan that we visited. These are obviously not all of the best attractions, they are just what we experienced personally, which we’ve even organised by city. You’re welcome. You can also read out super in depth one month Japan itinerary for a full recap of our four weeks in Japan!

Yokohama

There are a few fun and unique things to see and do in Yokohama, including: the Cup Noodle Museum, the Ramen Museum and the Cosmo Clock Ferris Wheel. We didn’t plan our time in Yokohama very well, so the Ferris Wheel was closed on our only full day in the city. But if you’re looking for a couple of fun and very Japanese things to do, don’t leave without checking out the Cup Noodle Museum and Ramen Museum.

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Osaka

The second biggest city in Japan that we visited, was Osaka! We spent an entire week exploring lots of amazing places across the city, which you can read about in our 6 day Osaka itinerary. Some of the highlights from our time in Osaka were the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Osaka Castle, Tempozan Ferris Wheel and Dotonbori!

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Kyoto

We took two day trips to Kyoto during out six days in Osaka, and we’re so glad we did! Kyoto is one of Japan’s beautiful historic, country towns and there are a lot of relaxing places to spend an afternoon. The Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari Shrine were two of our favourite things to see.

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Hiroshima

Hiroshima is my favourite city in Japan, at least out of the six that we visited. If you are only spending one day in Hiroshima, we highly recommend visiting Hiroshima Peace Museum and Memorial.

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Tokyo

As I’m sure you’re already aware, Tokyo has an endless amount of things to see and do. There is something for everyone, and it doesn’t matter in the slightest what your interests are. Some of our favourite attractions in Tokyo were Harajuku, Shibuya Crossing, Akihabara, Shinjuku Batting Centre, FREE views of Tokyo at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building observation deck and Disneyland and DisneySea.

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels


We hope this post has helped you learn how to plan a trip to Japan. Traveling to Japan for the first time can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’ve never visited such a unique and busy country before. But with our best Japan travel guide, it will be a lot easier!

Have you visited Japan before? What surprised you the most and what was your fondest memory of the wonderful country? Tell us in the comments below and don’t forget to share this with your friends! 

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to follow along with our travels. You can also find us on PinterestTwitter and Instagram!

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Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan

During our month long stay in Japan back in March 2016, we managed to visit six different cities across the country. I can honestly say though, Hiroshima was by far my personal favourite. It’s definitely a must visit while in Japan, and we still wish we had stayed longer than one full day. There are so many beautiful places to spend a relaxing day out, so much incredible scenery to enjoy, and like the rest of Japan, some of the nicest people we’ve ever met. Here are the top things to do in Hiroshima!

We took the Bullet Train from Osaka to Hiroshima, and booked our stay at the Comfort Hotel in Downtown Hiroshima. The location was perfect – within walking distance of everything we wanted to see. In less than 15 minutes, we were at the Peace Park, outdoor shopping arcade and had plenty of Japanese and Western food to choose from.

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

1. Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Museum & Atomic Bomb Dome

The Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum are two of the city’s most well-known places to visit.

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon Travels

On August 6th, 1945, the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima. Before this bombing occurred, the area which is now the beautiful Peace Park used to be the political hub of Hiroshima. A few years after the devastating attack, it was decided that instead of rebuilding the commercial district of Hiroshima, it would be turned into a memorial and museum. This would not only give Japanese people a way to remember the people who lost their lives, but also educate and help visitors to the city to understand what happened.

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon Travels

Approximately 80,000 people were killed almost instantly as a result of the atomic bomb. 35,000 people were injured, and before the year ended, at least another 60,000 people had died due to effects from the atomic bomb. Although I have no personal relation to this attack or to anybody who lost their lives, it still saddens me greatly that something so devastating could happen to such a beautiful country.

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon Travels Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon Travels

It costs 200 yen for entrance to the Hiroshima Peace Museum. This entry fee gives you full access to both of the museum buildings. The museum is a good way to learn about the events from August 6, and learn exactly how much damage was caused by the atomic bomb. Flash photography is restricted inside the museums, but from what we could understand, you are still allowed to take photographs as long as your flash is turned off.


I only took two photos inside the actual museum (see one of them below), as it didn’t feel right pulling out my camera and snapping away. Each to their own, though. There were people taking photos, so if you wish to do so, we suggest being respectful about it. If you are asked to stop, please be considerate and put your camera (or phone) away.

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon Travels

The Peace Park is a beautiful place to relax if you decide to not visit the museum. It doesn’t cost anything to enter the park itself, so you can spend as much time as you like enjoying the peace and quiet. There’s a lake in between the Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb Dome, and it’s quite relaxing sitting on either side, watching the world go by.

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon TravelsTop Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon Travels

The Atomic Bomb Dome is one of the few buildings that survived the atomic bomb explosion. There is a gate surrounding the Dome itself, so you aren’t able to get too close to the building. However, you can still get a good idea of the devastation that was caused, and how incredible it is that the building survived.

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon TravelsTop Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon TravelsTop Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon TravelsTop Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon Travels

Museum Cost: 200 yen
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 6pm (admission closes at 5:30pm)
Closed: December 30 – 31

2. Shukkeien Garden

One of the best Hiroshima sights is Shukkeien Garden. For 260 yen, you’ll get access to the garden and can stay for as long as you like. There are so many beautiful places to take photos within the park, so make sure you bring a camera! I only had my phone with me, because we spontaneously decided to walk to the garden while out shopping. But I still managed to take some pretty great photos.

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon Travels

The sheer amount of greenery, colourful flowers and cherry blossoms will make you glad you forked out the 260 yen for entrance. No matter which direction you walk throughout the park, you’ll want to take photos of absolutely everything. I definitely recommend Shukkeien Garden to spend a relaxing morning or afternoon. Set aside at least a couple of hours to explore the garden, as you won’t want to leave!


Cost: 260 yen
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm (admission closes at 5:30pm)
Closed: December 29 – 31

3. Downtown Hiroshima

Downtown Hiroshima is the main shopping hub of the city, and Hondori Street is the main attraction. Hondori Street is a pedestrian only street filled with tons of shops, restaurants and what seemed like an endless amount of pharmacies (strange, I know). Compared to Osaka’s Dotonbori District which is very similar, Hondori Street is a nice change from the craziness of Osaka. There are significantly less people in Hiroshima, therefore you can walk the length of the street with a lot less frustration and bumping elbows with strangers!


Some of the best food in Hiroshima is found on Hondori Street. You’ll also come across lots of Western food options (McDonalds, Subway, Starbucks etc), and a ton of Japanese restaurants and street food vendors.

Keep an eye out for the Italian restaurant chain called Saizeriya. We ate at lots of different Saizeriya locations around Japan during our month long stay. They have super cheap food, that’s always delicious and fresh. You can get a double mozzarella pizza or a bowl of pasta for under 500 yen! Bargain.

If you’re after secondhand goodies, look for Hiroshima’s BookOff store. BookOff is a chain throughout Japan selling everything from books and DVD’s to vintage video game consoles and secondhand clothing. I scored a ukelele for 500 yen, and an official Hiroshima Baseball team jersey for 2,500 yen! If you don’t want to spend a ton of money on shopping, hit up as many BookOff stores as you can. Hiroshima has one of the best BookOff stores we found, so you definitely won’t leave empty handed!

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon Travels Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon Travels

4. Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle is a short walk from Shukkeien Garden. For 370 yen you can climb the stairs to the top of the castle, but we opted to just admire it from the outside. The castle grounds are pretty impressive too, and you don’t have to spend any money to enjoy them! Like most of the city, Hiroshima Castle was destroyed in the 1945 Atomic Bomb dropping. So it was rebuilt many years later and now contains a small museum inside.

If you choose to climb to the top of the castle, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Hiroshima city, and a birds eye view of the beautiful Shukkeien Garden!

Cost: 370 yen
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm (admission closes at 5:30pm)
Closed: December 29 – 31


Hiroshima is a beautiful city with a devastating past. However, despite everything that has happened, the people of Hiroshima are still some of the friendliest and spirited that we have ever met. If you only have a short amount of time to spend in Hiroshima, please visit the Peace Park and Museum. There are a lot of top things to do in Hiroshima, but for a truly beautiful experience, take the time to learn about its history.

Have you visited Hiroshima before? What was your favourite part about the city? Tell us in the comments!

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Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon Travels Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon Travels

Please note: The information shared in this post relating to the atomic bomb was gathered from research on the internet. We apologise if any of what we have written is incorrect, and please feel free to correct anything in the comments below.