The JR Pass is a special pass available only to those entering Japan on a tourist visa. It allows for unlimited travel around Japan on JR lines usually at a price much less than purchasing individual tickets.
Japan Travel Centre offers a huge selection of cheap flights to Japan. We have direct contracts with many major airlines such as KLM Royal Dutch Airline, Air France, ANA, Japan Airlines, Alitalia, Emirates and many more. Compare and book your flight online in order to get our best deal!
This was our first time in Japan. We would strongly recommend the use of an agent to help plan a trip, particularly if you are travelling for the first time. Japan Travel Centre was excellent.
We had 20 days in Japan. Our itinerary started with 5 days in Tokyo followed by travelling to other parts of Japan using a 14 day rail card - absolutely the way to travel. My goodness they are punctual.
Please bear in mind that all the cities are huge and take quite a time to travel through. You may find that you only get to visit one or two places of interest in one day due to the time it takes to get there.
The transport systems are excellent and English signage is to be found. Pre-booking of train trips 2-3 days in advance is recommended. Use rechargeable Suica cards (obtainable at Narita airport) for travelling around in Tokyo.
We had a range of accommodation; Japanese traditional ryokan, inns and western style accommodation - again to be strongly recommended. We stayed from 1 to 5 days in different places. One day is a little too short a stay and so we would recommend minimum of 2 days in each place.
April is a beautiful time in Japan, particularly for the cherry blossom and the temperature is not too hot which is ideal for travel. We would possibly like to go in autumn as well as the colours are supposed to be fabulous.
If you think you will need internet connection while you are in Japan research it carefully - you can hire sim cards, etc at the airport. We managed just to connect within our hotels for free (with the exception I think of one hotel).
A couple of hotels had mini laundries in so you could wash and dry clothing which was really handy.
We preferred Japan Airlines (travelled with them on the way out) to British Airways (way back) as the service was better (same aircraft). You may also be able to make savings on your air fare by travelling out of the UK via another European airport which we did going out. It only added a couple of hours on which didn't matter as it coincided with check in time quite nicely.
As regards thermal spas these were enjoyed more by the female members in our family than the male. Our 10 year old daughter really enjoyed the experience and did not find the water too hot. Etiquette please note.
If we went back then we would probably stay in fewer places but for longer periods of time.
We were a little concerned about earthquakes before we went but nothing affected our trip in this regard and certainly would not put us off visiting Japan.
Japan is a very safe country to travel in - at least that is how we felt.