My Japan guides and articles

Travel to Miyagi
- guide to some spots in Miyagi Prefecture

Trying to see snow during December in Japan
-some suggested tips and itineraries to help increase your chance of seeing snow during Dec in Japan.

Tips for your first trip to Japan
-suggested tips for those who are visiting Japan for the first time.

One Piece places in Tokyo
-A guide for fans to visit One Piece related places in Tokyo.

-A guide on planning your 1st free and easy trip to Japan

- A guide on how to use a 7days JR Pass to visit Hokkaido from Tokyo without taking domestic flight.

JR Yamanote Loop line (Tokyo)
- A guide to the popular JR Yamanote Loop line (Tokyo).

Maximise your 4 days JR Kansai Wide Area Railpass
A list of places where you visit to better utilize the 4 days JR Kansai Wide Area railpass, as well as places that are just slightly out of the railpass coverage area where you can visit with just a little top-up.

Suggestions for the 1 way journey from Tokyo to Osaka/Kyoto
- Other than the usual taking a 3hr Shinkansen ride from Tokyo to Osaka/Kyoto, here are some suggestions for those who have a few extra days to spare and stop by somewhere along the way for a 1 night or 2 night visit. This is more for those who are only making a 1 way journey between Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto, instead of a return trip since my suggestions doesn't involve JR Pass.

Preserved streets/districts in Japan
- A list of historic preserved streets/districts which I have visited in Japan.

My Faves (Japan)
- A list of my personal favourite places in Japan

Places to visit in Kyoto (Other than shrines/temples)
- Kyoto is not just a place with only temples and shrines. Here is a list of places where you can visit in Kyoto if you are not so much into temples/shrines, or if you are going Kyoto with children who may not appreciate temples/shrines.

Viewing Sakura in Tokyo
- A list of places (with directions and maps) of where I've been to in Tokyo to view Sakura during my
March 2013 trip.

Suggested Tokyo itineraries for groups with different interests
- Some recommended itineraries for a short 5 days visit to Tokyo, tweaked to accommodate whichever type of group that you think best describes you and your travelmates.

Daytrips out of Tokyo? *updated with a few more places (10/12/2015)
- Some suggestions on where to go on a short daytrip out of Tokyo while returning back to Tokyo to stay for the night.

Daytrips out of Osaka?
- Some suggestions on where to go on a short daytrip out of Osaka while returning back to Osaka to stay for the night.

Transportation and Railpasses within Kansai Region
- How to reach Kansai area, how to reach Osaka and Kyoto from Kansai Airport, and list of Railpasses relevant to Kansai region.

Anime/Cute places in Japan
- A list of Anime-related and cute characters' shops and cafes in Japan


  1. My Singaporean friend shared this blog with me.
    I am amazed at how extensive and it is. Although I live in Japan, I will use it when my overseas friends come to visit and I will certainly check for Singapore if I could visit your beautiful country again. By the way, any suggestions for your favorite places for sushi?

    1. Hi, thanks for your kind comments.
      I'm sorry to say that since I do not eat raw food, therefore I don't eat any sushi nor sashimi. Which is why I do not really have a favourite place for sushi, esp since the only sushi that I eat is Tamago maki. :)

  2. the best blogs / info i ever read,,,, thanks for sharing and God Bless You

  3. Hi Sam,

    Greetings from Tommy @ Discover . Book . Travel!

    Just dropping by to inform you that we have added your blog to our list of Singapore Best Travel Blogs!

  4. Hi Sam, omg I'm in awe at the effort you've put into for your blog and I'm currently in the midst of planning my 16 day trip to japan and your blog has been most helpful and I can't thank you enough. Just 1 question, do you usually get a sim card to use in japan? like those for data only? any recommendations??

    1. Although I usually purchase mine online about 1-2weeks before I fly to Japan so that they will deliver it to the hotel where I will be staying for my 1st night in Japan, but yes, you can purchase some brands of prepaid data-sim only cards from Yodobashi stores or BIC camera stores and I believe airports too (although I am not 100% sure about all airports though).

      The most recent data-only SIM card which I bought was from b-mobile.

  5. Hi Sam,

    I will be travelling to Hokkaido next month, and can't make out whether a Hokkaido JR Pass would be worth it. This is my route:

    Day 1: Chitose Airport --> Sapporo
    Day 2: Sapporo --> Nobo
    Day 3: Nobo --> Lake Toya
    Day 4: Lake Toya --> Hakodate
    Day 5: Hakodate
    Day 6: Hakodate --> Sapporo
    Day 7: Sapporo --> Otaru --> Sapporo
    Day 8, 9: Sapporo (sightseeing in city)
    Day 10: Sapporo --> Chitose Airport

    If I make reserved bookings all the way for Day 1 --> 7, I think it will be 25,000 yen (if I buy a 7-day JR Pass, it will cost 24,000 yen).

    In this case, am I better off just buying single trip tickets (and maybe buy for reserved seats for Sapporo --> Nobo, Lake Toya --> Hakodate, Hakodate --> Sapporo)?

    Also, do I have to arrange very much earlier @ the train station to make a booking for reserved seats, or if I can confirm my train timing in advance, can I make booking for reserved seats 1, 2 days in advance?

    Thank you. :D

    1. You can use the hyperdia website to check the fares of the single trip train tickets and then compare to see if it is economical to get the railpass or not.

      By "Nobo", did you meant Noboribetsu?

      Here's a breakdown of the single trip tickets:
      New Chitose Airport to Sapporo: 1070 (non-reserved seat) or 1590 (reserved seat)
      Sapporo to Noboribetsu: 4480yen (reserved seat)
      Noboribetsu to Lake Toya: 2720yen (reserved seat)
      Lake Toya to Hakodate: 5490yen (reserved seat)
      Hakodate to Sapporo: 8830yen (reserved seat)
      Sapporo to Otaru: 640yen
      Otaru to Sapporo: 640yen

      Well, to be honest, there is not much difference in the train fares for single trip tickets and railpass.
      I really can't advise you as to whether to get the railpass or single trip tickets.

      Maybe the JR staff at the JR office at Hokkaido will be at a better position to advise you on this when u arrive at Hokkaido.

      But in my personal opinion, if there is really not that big of a price difference between getting single trip tickets or railpass, i'd just get the railpass. Because if you happen to miss the train which u already got a ticket for, you can use the railpass to make seat reservation for a later train.

      I usually make my train reservations for the Ltd Exp train journeys on the 1st day I arrive at Japan. You can make reservations for the journeys days in advanced, doesn't have to be on the day of travel itself.

  6. Hi Sam,
    I am planning for a family trip to Japan from 17 Aug thru 27 Aug 2016 (11D10N) when I stumbled upon your blog. I must say your blog is very interesting and informative. I am a family of 4 adults from Kuala Lumpur. We would like to cover:
    a) Osaka (3D2N)
    b) Kyoto (4D3N)
    c) Takayama/Shirakawa (3D2N)
    d) Tokyo (3D2N) - if possible via Hokone Mt Fuji 5th Station View point from Takayama or a day trip from Tokyo

    As a seasoned traveler to Japan what would be your advice on the itinerary to optimise our cost for accommodation and transportation?

    Since we are a pack of 4 is it possible and cheaper to use a car with a local driver?

    1. Sorry, I'm not familiar with driving at Japan since I do not have driving license.

      But for public transportation, there are 2 ways that I know of to get from Kyoto to Takayama. By train or by bus.
      1) By Shinkansen from Kyoto to Nagoya (1hr), then Ltd Exp train from Nagoya to Takayama (2hr). (train fare is around 9960yen per pax for 1 way for Shinkansen + Ltd Exp train)

      2) By bus from Kyoto to Takayama (4hrs). (bus fare 4200yen per pax for 1 way)

      And then from Takayama to Tokyo, you can either take train or bus too.
      1) By Ltd Exp train from Takayama to Nagoya (2hrs), then Shinkansen from Nagoya to Tokyo (about 100mins). (train fare around 14710yen per pax for 1 way for the Ltd Exp train and Shinkansen ride)

      2) By Bus from Takayama to Tokyo (5 and half hours journey). (bus fare is around 6690yen for 1 way).

      It is easier to go to Mt Fuji 5th station from Tokyo rather than from Takayama actually. But if you want to, you can take bus from Takayama to Kawaguchiko station, then transfer to another bus to get to Mt Fuji 5th station.

      Alternatively, what many people do is to take a bus from Tokyo's Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko and Mt Fuji 5th station.

      If budget is an issue, then consider taking bus. Because Ltd Exp train and Shinkansen is expensive. The 7 days JR railpass is not really that cost effective for your itinerary, considering you'll only be mainly using it to cover your journey from Osaka/Kyoto to Takayama, and Takayama to Tokyo. The JR pass only covers partial journey from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko since part of the journey is operated by non-JR train operator.

      The main bus operator for buses to Takayama (and Shirakawago) is here:

  7. Hi Samantha
    Need yr advice i intend spend 10 days in Japan
    - Osaka (3D 2N) and the rest in Tokyo, any suggestion of day out to of tokyo? Do think i should purchase a JR pass within Tokyo when i move around. will it less costly to fly in Osaka out tokyo?

    1. Hi Samantha,

      I'm glad to have found your blog about Japan trip. I'm planning to bring my family to Tokyo for a 11 days trip. I am still thinking I need to buy the JR pass in advance and also what kind of JR pass. Here is my rough itinerary:

      Day 1: Arriving at Haneda. Stay at Hilton Tokyo Bay hotel.

      Day 2: Tokyo Disneysea
      Day 3: Tsukiji Market early in the morning. Check out at Hilton then go to Akasaka apartment. Afternoon visit Sensoji temple and Tokyo Skytree.

      Day 4: Odaiba Decks and Caretta Shiodome Illumination.

      Day 5: Saitama Railway Museum
      Day 6: Shinjuku, Shibuya area
      Day 7: Yuzawa Naeba Prince Hotel
      Day 8: Naeba Prince Hotel
      Day 9: Naeba Prince Hotel back to Tokyo
      Day 10 & 11 will stay around Tokyo area.

      Please advice whether I should purchase any JR pass in advance and which one. I am still consufed about the different kinds of railway passes. Thanks a lot.