Which country is better Norway or Japan

Japan round trip - the land of peculiarities and curiosities

Just recently we published an article in which we give you all the reasons why we absolutely need one Japan round trip want to do. We are already in love with this country, although we have never been there. It's kind of funny, but Japan just excites us so much. Have you ever been enthusiastic about a country that you have never been to? The wonderful souls and globetrotters Aleksandra and Manuel have traveled through Japan and tell us their absolute highlights. There is also a lot of information and tips. Many thanks at this point for this great travel reporter report, which certainly not only helps us with travel planning. So ... have fun reading and planning!

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Table of Contents

Why Japan?

Do you know that? You set foot in a country for the first time after a long journey and you immediately get the feeling of "Mh ... that fits!". Although language, food and habits are different, it looks familiar. Somehow it feels really good to be here, to arrive. Almost like coming home, only there is no "Servus!" As a greeting, but a "Konnichiwa". This is what happened to us when we arrived in Kyoto after a long tour through Southeast Asia. Our expectations for the Japan tour were high. Let us anticipate one thing: they were exceeded, but in many ways where we had not initially suspected it.

Samurais, the cherry blossom, temples, sushi, mangas, full streets, crazy fashion, Mount Fuji, the deer from Nara Park, and and and ... we wanted to discover all of this in Japan. In 2018 we, Manuel and Aleksandra, set out with our backpacks, out of our hometown into the wide world - first through Southeast Asia, then a round trip to Japan! We wanted to see all this and so much more that this interesting country has to offer with our own eyes, BUT not so much "make money" either. And so we traveled two weeks through Japan by bus and take you on our Japan tour in this travel reporter report.

Our journey to Japan

We flew from 35 ° C warm Phnom Penh to 5 ° C cold Osaka in mid-January. From Osaka we went straight to Kyoto with a local bus. The distance is not very far and Osaka was our arrival and departure point. We had planned a longer stay there for the end of our tour. We flew for 340 euros from Phnom Penh to Osaka and for 310 euros from Osaka to Hawaii.

We realized that we were in Japan in a mall in Osaka while we were waiting for the bus to Kyoto. We were so fascinated and amazed by the most obvious - the cleanliness and ... toilets! Japan is one of them stark contrast to Southeast Asia. There's next to no garbage obviously lying around. Everything is constantly being cleaned, including trash cans. By the way, you don't see many of them!

The Japanese are encouraged to carry their rubbish around with them until a rubbish bin turns up or just throw it away at home. It takes some getting used to, but in the end we thought it was pretty cool. And the Toilets... We could probably write our own article about that. They are extremely clean and not only that! Imagine a western toilet bowl to sit on with a heated toilet seat, splashing or music that drowns out your own noises and a butt shower so that everything stays clean below!

The latter in particular is unusual, but you don't want to miss it after getting used to it. Basically, the toilets and especially the use of toilet paper are considered unhygienic in the western hemisphere. Toilet paper is only used to dry after using the shower head. This saves a good 50% toilet paper! They are also available everywhere and free of charge. A dream for everyone with a confirmation bubble ...!

This is how we got from A to B.

The famous Shinkansen train

It is very easy to get around Japan by train or bus. The famous shinkansen train definitely has its charm, but also its price. On the other hand, the reliability of the Shinkansen is unsurpassed in comparison with the ICE or TGV - the average delay time amounts to 24 seconds, Business interruptions in the event of typhoons and earthquakes included (source). A ticket for however, two weeks costs $ 434! You can read the latest information here: www.japanr-pass.com.

The advantage is obvious: the trains are comfortable, fast and extremely punctual. However, you have to note that this pass should be purchased BEFORE entering Japan, as the ticket is shipped worldwide with DHL Express and shipping takes about 3-5 days. Somehow it would have worked for us with a delivery to a shopping center in Phnom Penh, but this sum was too high for us.

Ride the buses

So an alternative for our Japan tour had to be found. That was also found quickly. We used that Japan bus pass above WILLER Express. We decided beforehand which long routes we would need and chose the cheapest option. With this bus pass it includes the restriction that you can only use the pass from Monday to Thursday. That was okay with us. So our pass included the trip from Kyoto to Tokyo by night bus on Thursday, Tokyo to Hiroshima by night bus on Monday and Hiroshima to Osaka during the day on Wednesday.

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For this We paid € 80 for three long journeys and saved us two nights in an accommodation through the night drives. The travel fund was happy! The bus stops at a rest stop every 1 to 2 hours and we can tell you it's paradise! Great toilets and delicious food! Buses are of course not for everyone. The seats are cut quite narrow. But every seat has a hood to darken the field of vision and an extendable leg rest. The advantages were obvious to us.

We only used public transport to get around the cities. This is sometimes a challenge as a lot of things are only displayed in Japanese, but we found polite English-speaking Japanese everywhere when we got stuck!

That was our route through Japan

Our Japan tour lasted two weeks and brought us to the following places:

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  • Getting to Kyoto via Osaka by bus from the airport on a Tuesday. We spent three nights in Kyoto until Thursday.
  • Then we took the night bus from Kyoto to Tokyo, where we spent three nights - one with Yohei, a Japanese couch surfer and three in a hotel.
  • This was followed by another night drive from Tokyo to Hiroshima, with a one-night stay there.
  • At the end of our Japan tour, we took the day bus to Osaka for four nights and a day trip to Nara Park.

If you look at this route on a map, you can see the dimensions. We really gave it to ourselves! But we wanted to make the most of our two weeks. In retrospect, we wish we had each other took more time. These days there was hardly a second of relaxation and recreation. We would have loved to go on a hike and drive ourselves off the beaten track. But you really need more time for that.

The big cities alone have so much to offer that we would now say that we have definitely not seen everything, but rather scratched the surface. Nevertheless, it was worth it for us! Our impression of Japan only made us want to visit this country again.

Our top highlights in Kyoto

Since this culture seems so extraordinary to us in many ways, there are countless highlights. Somehow every shrine, temple or castle seemed fantastic to us. Here we summarize our highlights for each city visited.

In Kyoto our city tour really started. There are a number of highlights to mention, as Kyoto is of particular cultural importance for Japan. We limit ourselves to for you our TOP 5, in the order of which we will guide you through all of Kyoto's cardinal points.

1. Kinkaku-ji Temple in the north

You can find it in the north of Kyoto Kinkaku-ji, a Buddhist temple completely immersed in gold and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Golden Temple has a very nice park. During our visit, a group of students from Fukuoka interviewed us in English about our first impressions of Japan.

They were so cute, shy at first. But after we just turned the tables and questioned them, they quickly thawed. We walked through the facility with them and had a lot of fun. We remember that to this day.

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2. Sagano-Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

The Sagano-Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in the west is a beautiful hiking area with a bamboo forest passage. There is a fantastic sound when the wind blows through the Moso bamboos, creating that unmistakable sound.

3. Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine

In the south you will find Kyoto's oldest Shinto shrine, the Fushimi Inari Taisha. He is known for his thousands of red toriis, or gates. We used the early morning hours around 7:30 a.m. to walk up the path to the top of the mountain. We can only recommend getting up early as well as the entire ascent, as fewer people are to be found with every meter of altitude and the path has something calm, fascinating and meditative about it.

4. The old Gion district

The Gion Quarter is a very old, traditional and beautiful area with many pagodas in the east of Kyoto. With a little luck you can see a maiko there, but with a lot of luck and unfortunately a low probability a geisha. A maiko is a learning geisha and is still in training. You are shy and in a great hurry.

We saw a maiko by chance and were able to take a snapshot. Geishas, ​​on the other hand, are very well shielded from the public. They keep the Japanese tradition. A play or a visit to a tea house are definitely unique experiences that we would have loved to have done in Kyoto!

5. The Nishiki Market

in the Nishiki market you will find plenty of places to eat and shop. It is paradise for all food lovers! We found a very good sushi place with sushi from the treadmill in one of the countless branches. We received an instruction in "How to eat ... running sushi" from a Japanese couple, whom we were seated next to.

Our top highlights in Tokyo

If you look at the statistics Tokyo is considered the largest city in the world! This global city can kill you ... At first we were totally overwhelmed and it quickly became clear that we had to agree on a few highlights. Before we do, however our TOP 7 Tokyo highlights introduce a tip in advance:

Get the metro card at any station! The network is incredibly large, inexpensive and so you can move comfortably through the city. GetYourGuide * also offers metro passes for 24h, 48h or 72h.

1. Tsukiji fish market

The Tsukiji The fish market was an insider tip of our couchsurfers. Unfortunately, we were standing there in front of closed doors because we arrived too late - the best thing to do is to check the opening times beforehand! This market used to be the largest fish market in the whole world, crazy right? It has probably been closed in the meantime and moved to Toyosu and is now called "Toyosu Market“Reopened.

2. Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing and Hachiko dog statue: Nobody can avoid this famous intersection. While Starbucks used to be a real insider tip, we have another one for you. You have the best view of the intersection from Sanrio Gift Store, a small mall across from Starbucks. You take the elevator to the last possible floor, walk left through a restaurant and then come to a viewing platform - FREE! The famous dog statue Hachiko is located in front of the Shibuya train station and is an unofficial landmark of the city. Make sure to watch the film beforehand so that you know what we are talking about.

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3. Takeshita Street

The Japan tour continues! The Takeshita Street is a really cool and interesting shopping street. Quite busy but with interesting curiosities. South of the Harajuku Station you can also find the Cat Street and their branches or extensions, which have several second-hand shops, cafes and restaurants in store.

4. The Akihabara neighborhood in Tokyo

That waits with the strangest curiosities Akihabara district on. You can find everything there about Nintendo and Sega, manga ... it's just crazy. In every manga shop there is also an 18+ department ... you don't have to like that, but it is part of modern Japanese pop culture.

5. View over Tokyo

This is our tip for a HAMMER view over the whole of Tokyo including Mount Fuji Metropolitan Government Building. The best part is that this view is for free! The lookout point is on the 45th floor of the two towers.

6. Sake in the Golden Gai

Your original Japanese sake at best you drink in Shinjuku Golden Gai Quarter. A lot of small bars are lined up here. All of them cost admission, not every one can be entered as a tourist. Some include a free drink with admission, others not. It's not cheap, but we still think it's a unique experience. Also, check out a crazy café like this 8bit café.

7. The Asakusa neighborhood

The Asakusa district is practically the old town. There you can find nice souvenirs. The road leads to a very famous Buddhist temple, the Hozomon Gate to. You will also find many handicraft shops, the amusement park Hanayashiki, many pubs, restaurants and takeaways in this area.

Our top highlights in Hiroshima

To Hiroshima it went for us with the night bus. We arrived in the city relatively destroyed and first acclimatized to the hostel. Our stay was about two highlights that we can only warmly recommend: that Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and a ride to Miyajima Island.

The museum is one of the best we have ever seen. History has never been so tangible, vivid and heartbreaking for us. In the immediate vicinity of the museum is the Atomic bomb dome, Peace memorial and memorial at the same time, over which the atomic bomb "little boy" detonated only 140m away. After such a visit to a museum, you don't need much more program.

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The next day we went on a trip to the Miyajima Island. The Itsukushima is a Floating torii gate, which is probably the most famous Japanese gate. Taking pictures on site is particularly worthwhile at sunset and in the blue hour. The roaming deer are very trusting. It is a pleasant calm that exudes this island off Hiroshima. You can get there comfortably by tram and ferry!

Our top highlights in Osaka

Osaka was our culmination of the Japan tour! For Osaka we count you here our TOP 4 Osaka highlights written down:

1. Osaka Castle

The Osaka Castle is very recommendable! From the outside alone it looks impressive and somehow surreal. Osaka Castle is one of the most famous castles in Japan and should definitely not be missed on your trip.

2. Dotonbori Street

In the Dotonbori Street you can shop your way up and down. We found it most beautiful in the early evening. There you can take wonderful pictures that exude the flair of a Japanese Times Square! Here it shines and flashes everywhere, the many billboards are somehow reminiscent of Hong Kong.

3. The Tsutenkaku district

The Tsutenkaku district In our eyes, around its famous television tower somehow had its very special charm. Over there many casinos and gambling halls. For us, a very strange world of Japan opened up again ... So if you feel like a little gambling and risk, you've come to the right place.

4. The Nara Park

The Nara Park is an incredibly spacious and large park, east of Osaka. It's out of the way, but well worth the drive. There is also there lots of deerwho are conditioned to tilt their heads in gratitude after a feeding. Aslant!