3 months in Japan and China
I am looking to go travelling this summer for somewhere between two and three months (flexible). I am planning to fly to Tokyo at the beginning of June, travel around Japan for 4-6 weeks before taking a ferry to China and travelling south to Hong Kong over a similar period of 4-6 weeks before flying home. I am a 23 year old male who will probably be travelling alone, although I may be travelling with one other person. I will be looking to get a taste of the culture of the two countries, whilst seeing the main sights without spending an extortionate amount of money!
I have obviously heard that Japan can be quite expensive but have also read that if you are strict with your budgets, you can survive there without spending a fortune (by eating in the vending machine restaurants / supermarkets etc). Could anyone give me a rough idea of what kind of budget I should set for myself per day (Food / Accommodation / travelling)? I understand that partying and transportation are the main things that raise any budget and so partying would be limited (after all I'll be there to travel around and visit as much of the new country as possible!).
Having never been to Japan before, I don't really know where to go either (as I am just starting to plan the trip). As I will arrive in Tokyo, my initial thoughts are to travel north for 1-2 weeks before travelling back to the southern end of Honshu via Kyoto, Osaka, Okayama, Hiroshima and Nagasaki over a period of 3-4 weeks. Is such a route possible / practical / expensive?!!? I would appreciate any advice you experts have to offer!! Do you know of any good accommodation in the cities mentioned?
Following this I plan to travel down the coast of China, reaching Hong Kong. I am going to try to plan the first stage of the trip first (Japan), but if anyone has travelled south to Hong Kong in a similar way and has any recommendations / advice to offer I would greatly appreciate the help as I will have to plan that part of the trip soon too! Thanks a lot, Rich
Does anyone have any experience of travelling around Japan for extended periods of time like I will be doing?
I don't have experience traveling around Japan, but when you start planning your China phase feel free to PM me. I've been traveling around China a bit and I'd be happy to field what questions I can and help look up train schedules.
I think the ferries from Japan can land you in Qingdao, Tianjin, or Shanghai. From the first two, you might want to take a train to Beijing, check the sights there, then look at how much time you have. By train, Beijing to either Shanghai or Xi'an is around 13 hours, Xi'an to Shanghai is around 19hrs (14 if you'd like to sit through it or get gouged on the "fast" train's bed =P). You could also go down the middle from Xi'an if you don't mind skipping Shanghai (or on your way to Shanghai if you cut across the middle). Don't get me wrong, I like spending time in Shanghai more than Beijing and I know it's a big, modern city, but it's a bit of a red haring for travelers who want to see China but are short on time. If you skip it, you'd have more time for some more traditional culture and natural beauty in Southern China.
On getting into Hongkong, you can take a train in to Shenzhen and walk across the border. After customs, buy a metro ticket (keep walking forward after inspections to a bank of automated ticket machines) or an Octopus Card (useful if you'll spend more than a couple days in HK), and you've got HK at your finger tips =D
Last December I traveled through Japan for about 10 days on my way to South Korea. I flew into Tokyo and took a train down to Kyoto and then eventually to Fukuoka in the south. The train system was relatively easy to use outside of the inner city subway and rail systems. Getting from city to city is quick and efficient, but can be expensive if you don't have a JR rail pass. (I believe my 10 day pass cost around $300) Because of the numerous amount of private train companies the JR rail pass doesn't work on all of the high speed trains, but will be able to get you everywhere you need to go. Sometimes it just might take you a little longer to get to where you're headed, but as far as I know the JR lines go all over the country.
What becomes expensive and was extremely confusing for me was taking the inner city subway and train systems. There are 1000 different train companies that go 1000 different places and you have to buy separate tickets for each different line. By the end of my 10 days I started figuring out how to read the subway line maps so I'm sure you'll get the hang of it the longer you're there.
As far as lodging goes it's hard to find anything cheaper than about $30 a night. Most hostels are about that price for a dorm bed and about $50 for a private room. You'll be fine eating cheap as there are tons of cheap eateries all over. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.
JR rail pass is essential for long distance trains in Japan. There are buses but if you want to get somewhere quick these trains are great...If you buy point to point long distance fast trains in japan they are a fortune! Also be aware that the JR pass works in Tokyo but not on the local commuter rail lines but on the JR trains which dont go everywhere you might want to go. With that said if you use the JR rail pass on two to three long distance trains it will probably pay for itself.
I would say a rough budget (even though the Yen is about 96-1 when I was there about 117 to 1), 1000 US a week is probably OK, but could be cutting it close with accommodation prices). Listen Japan is expensive because things add up quickly. subways in tokyo for one day was 1000 yen in 2007...thats 10 bucks right there...and you might buy a ticket for one company and need to take another...its confusing since the trains are privatized in japan.
You can read my blog about my 6 days in Tokyo and some day trips...if you click on May or June 2007 from the archives I have the entries labeled by city and i think I gave a good account of my time there.
Also consider i spent 30-35 usd for a 8 bed dorm in tokyo i stayed at tokyo international hostel.
Right there i spent 230 bucks...sure you can eat noodles all day for 170-250 yen but I can promise you that the salt and msg in them will get to you after a while...
I would say for a month in japan including accommodation, JR Rail pass, food, and doing things (a lot of the sights are free in tokyo at least, Nikko (city of temples wasnt that much to get in)...3-4000 will be needed...It might seem high but im telling you it adds up real fast...
Hong Kong - accommodation is slightly expensive but food and getting around is REAL cheap...going out at night is real expensive in hong kong on the hong kong island...alcohol in the supermarkets in hong kong is cheap.
also i would strongly urge you to shop in the supermarkets in japan...things like alcohol and snacks arent that bad in supermarkets in japan...also they have vending machines for drinks including beer (hard to find those) and these are cheap.
Rail pass for a month will probably be 3-500.
So 1500 right there and you havent even arrived yet...
also in tokyo at 11 dollars a day for the unlimited subway pass on the local subways and NOT the JR rail pass line adds up too.
If anyone wants some serious advice about Japan, I have lived here more than 15 years so know a lot about how to get by cheaply in the Kobe area (no idea about Tokyo as I only went twice to visit friends and hated it).
Who is online
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests