Things you should know before the actual itinerary
When should you buy tickets?:
My siblings (TheSibLims) and I went to purchase Japan tickets during Thanksgiving week. The best time to buy is usually on a Tuesday. That’s when they have the best deals in my opinion. Sometimes you can get lucky though.
JR Pass for Japan:
TheSibLims and I went to purchase our JR Pass voucher for Japan on Japan Rail Pass website. The JR Pass has to be purchased prior to your visit to Japan. There are some stores that do sell the JR Pass in Japan, but I assume it’s only a few, which is why they suggest to purchase prior. JR Pass is basically a ticket to Japan’s railway system that helps you get around certain areas in Japan. There is an option to reserve seats, but can only reserve when you get to the station to activate it. When you purchase at home; just don’t forget it!
What should you wear?:
The month we went was kind of hot/cold (spring weather). I know, not a great way to tell you what you should pack. My suggestion is to pack loose clothes and if you’re a girl don’t pack shorts. I would recommend packing a skirt than shorts. I realized that there were not a lot of women who wore shorts when I was in Japan. It was either skirts that were a little higher than the knee or much lower than the knee and pants. I also packed pretty “light” but ended up having a small carry-on suitcase and a backpack…
Wifi? Do I need it?:
I mean it depends on your carrier and depends if that’s something you can live or can’t live without. Generally most places in Japan have free wifi, but when you’re walking around it is kind of hard to navigate without the inter-webs. I know traveling with TheSibLims, wifi was a must-have, but we didn’t get a plan. Our AirBnB came with a pocket wifi, but even then it wasn’t enough to sustain 12 days with. I would definitely check out this reddit post from /r/JapanTravel for more information on Pocket Wifi or SIM cards.
Traveling with Tattoos and you want to go to an Onsen:
To be honest, I wish I had prepped for this earlier because I have tattoos. I would suggest purchasing tattoo covers. Why? If you plan on going to an Onsen that is more traditional then they won’t allow tattoos because in Japanese culture tattoos were always associated with the Yakuza (Japanese Mafia). There are some Onsens that are more modern and allow tattoos. You’d just have to search for them. Yelp is your friend!
I’m a girl and I love the idea of having access to shoes. If you’re a girl you understand. Well, I’ve done a lot of traveling and came to realize that less is more (yes that saying is true). I recommend bringing one pair of sneakers and maybe a small heeled boot just to dress it up a little. But I think one pair of shoes is good enough and make sure you don’t bring shoes that you just bought. Break into them or bring shoes you know are gonna be comfortable. Expect a lot of walking!
Google Maps or Apple Maps is your friend!
TheSibLims did not get to visit the Ghibli museum because when we found out about it was too late. JTB USA sold individual tickets to the Ghibli Museum, but they discontinued it. Now they only sell these tickets as a combo/deal with the JR Pass. Make sure you plan out your dates! You should purchase these tickets prior to your arrival in Japan. The museum does not sell tickets. The tickets are available for advanced purchase on the tenth day of the month for the following month. You can buy here.