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Need some Advice Possibly going to Japan

#1 User is offline   EndlessKey 

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 02:20 PM

So since I am about to finish school, I have decided that I would really like to take 2 weeks off before I start working and go visit Japan. It's something that has been on my mind for years now, and without having to worry about school or work during the transition time, I thought this would be perfect. I plan to check out both Tokyo and Kyoto at least, with a possible stop somewhere else. So what i am looking for advice on is, what other city is a "must" for a first time visit? I plan on getting a rail pass before I go, so pretty much anywhere on the mainland I would be open to. Also, I plan on staying in Hostels (they seem like more fun than staying alone in hotels?), anyone have experience in some that wouldn't mind giving some info on them?

Another thing is, I have heard traveling alone can be boring/risky. I have never traveled alone (other than to Acen, which isn't far at all), what kind of experience would it be?

Sorry if this is in the wrong section, I just decided to take this trip, and only have about a month or two to plan, so looking for advice everywhere.

#2 User is offline   The Fujoshi 

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:49 PM

Kobe or Osaka are good places but due to current events I'm not sure.

Sapporo, Hokkaido is awesome if you don't mind the cold.

The advice I give you is to be aware. Don't get lost in the joy of seeing Japan. Make sure to keep ID, passport, and money on you. A map also helps. Also understand the rules and customs so you don't get involved in shady stuff. Saying, 'I'm American!' doesn't work in situations lol.

Knowing Japanese, fluently or semi, also helps but is not required. This would make finding stuff a lot easier and talking to the locals if you get lost.

Above all, have fun ^_^
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#3 User is offline   Goldeneyeuro 

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 07:38 PM

I've never been to Japan before, so I can't advise you on that front, but from my experiences overseas, my philosophy has been pretty much always watch your back (even moreso in foreign places) and always give yourself room for error, along with trying not to push yourself too much. Hope I don't come off as paranoid since having MAJORLY screwed up when I was younger, I hoped to NOT repeat the experience.

Things I'd advise you on especially since you're going alone:
1. Always always always separate your money into various places and keep copies of important documents in your suitcase and preferably with someone back in the United States. Also, check that you still have those documents frequently. Bring a backup ID, like a drivers license in addition to your passport. Always have extra money since you never know when an extra expense may come up.
2. Always know the exact places/addresses of where you can go to in case of an emergency- hospitals, the police stations, and especially the US Consulate.
3. In terms of sightseeing and planning your day, just be practical in terms of what you can fit in, don't overexert yourself (plenty or rest), since your body already has to adjust to a new environment which taxes it. That and falling ill in a different country is even worse than in the US, and since you're alone, there's fewer people to help you if you do fall ill. (If I do seem paranoid with this point, it's because I fell ill during a high school trip to Europe in 2004 which pretty much resulted in me being on 3 different medications after returning to the United States for the next month.)
4. Since you're going alone, I'd advise that you don't bring anything too valuable, avoid looking vulnerable (Hey, a single gaijin who's lost, easy prey), and don't go into anyplace or go for offers that appear to be too shady.
5. Oh, yeah, rule of thumb: Something will always go wrong at some point when you're the airport.

It's what you make of the trip, if you ask me in whether going by yourself is "boring." The best times I had when traveling overseas was when I was alone or at most with a small quiet group of people since you could get a better sense of the atmosphere around you and more fully immerse yourself in the environment, but then that's just me, and I can be an introverted loner sometimes. That and the group I traveled with in Europe were mostly just immature pricks. Parents always hammered the "stay in a group" mentality into me, but that was one thing I really loathed since you had to cater to what the GROUP wanted. If the group didn't approve, too bad, so sad. *grouse* IMO, if you prepare well enough and have even more backups and room for things to go wrong, you could travel alone and it'd be fine. Good luck with your planning, hope my advice was helpful.
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#4 User is offline   EndlessKey 

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 08:41 AM

Thanks for the responses you two. You both brought up some really good points. I've got a lot to plan :)

#5 User is offline   Stormy-chan 

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 01:47 PM

The only advise I can give is from a few years back when a friend went. Take enough cash with if you go away from the big city at all. Not all places will take credit cards once your away from the big city lights ;)

The rail pass is an excellent idea :D

Be courteous and have fun!

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