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Trip Report

Japan: A Tour Through Honshu

One month on Honshu, Japan's largest island, having my mind blown over and over again by the food, culture, and scenery.

by chaynesAbout Me:I'm a travel enthusiast with a passion for food, good hikes, and adventure. read more

AsiaJapan10 days / August 2019

Highs & Lows

Ramen, ramen, and more ramen.

It's not a cheap place to travel, and your bank account will not thank you.

Itinerary Overview

My trip began in Tokyo, the obvious starting point for any first-timer to Japan. Tokyo was an all-out assault (in a good way) on all of my senses, but mostly my taste buds. Next was Nikko, a nice relief from the city situated next to a beautiful national park. After a quick detour north to Sendai, I took a train to the southern half of the island to explore Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, and the southern beach town of Fukuoka. Finally, I visited Osaka, watched a fireworks celebration on Lake Biwa, and was on my way home. I traveled everywhere by train. Japan has several unlimited fixed-term train passes for tourists. They're not cheap, but the convenience is invaluable for anyone with limited time in the country. I'm also happy to say Japan had some of the best hostel accommodations anywhere I've been. Small touches like curtains make dorm rooms feel much more private. I feel like I could have spent much more time in Japan - I didn't even make it to the northern island of Hokkaido or any of the smaller southern islands. I'll be back for sure, but maybe in the spring to catch the cherry blossoms or the winter to explore Japan's awesome ski resorts.

  • 5 Nights: Tokyo
  • 5 Nights: Kyoto
    Tourism

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    I would have tried to learn some Japanese before the trip. Not many people speak English.

  • How was the food?

    Ramen Street for some world-class ramen. If you're in Kyoto and are craving coffee or some not-so-Japanese food, head to Asipai+Hibi (Asipai makes curry dishes, Hibi makes delicious coffee, and they share a space down a quiet and easy-to-miss alley).

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Go to Japanese bakeries, and go often!

  • Packing tips?

    If traveling in the summer, pack for seriously hot weather. Japan gets insanely hot and humid in the summer, it's something I've never experienced before.

  • Transportation Tips?

    Buy a train pass! They're expensive, but once you've spent the money, you'll be glad you did. Most other travelers you meet will also have train passes, and having one will make it easier to keep up with friends you meet along the way.

  • Booking details?

    At the time of my trip, rail passes had to be purchased online and shipped to your home address (you couldn't buy one in Japan). These rules may be in flux, so check the latest.

Lodging

  • Hotel Mystays Premier Akasaka. Nice place to stay in a centrally located neighborhood.

  • Friends Kyo Hostel. One of the best hostels I've ever stayed at, can't recommend it enough! Clean, great atmosphere, great hosts.