Jan 13, 2012

Why I miss planning trips in Japan...

It has been a while since I last did research on my travel trip. Miss those days, when I go on a mini trip every 2 weeks. :P

When researching on my next trip to Taiwan, it suddenly dawned upon me that planning a trip in Japan is actually easier than that of other countries.

Here's why:

Easy availability of tour buses

In almost every city, there is mini tour bus that brings passengers around all the tourist spots in the city. This is common. Yet, that's not all. This bus is readily available at bus terminals, and it functions like other buses, just pay by cash or tap your card, and viola you are on your way sightseeing.

That's how I did my trip in Nagoya via Meguru.

And my Takayama trip is so much easier with Sarubobo bus.

Whereas for other countries, we need to book these our tickets first, even before leaving our home country.

Big lockers at train stations

On a tight travel schedule? I learn how to maximize these big coin lockers on a short weekend getaway. No time to checkin your luggage, you can leave them in the lockers first. Get on with your sight-seeing and be back at the end of the day to collect it and checkin your hotel for a good night's sleep.

Best part, it comes with nearly all train stations, except those in really inaka (ulu, in Singaporean terms) unmanned stations, like this one:

Deposits for hotels

I think I have not paid for any deposit for my hotels for the entire year I was travelling in Japan. Though, I am not sure if it is because I hold a Japanese residential address then. Nevertheless, as far as I can remember, even for trips we made before I was working in Japan, the most we had to do was to surrender our credit card number. But no swipes were made.

Not quite the same for other countries. Almost all Taiwan hotels I have been researching on requires us to pay a deposit. :(

Easy search on transport arrangement

Once you have hyperdia, you can plan any trip in Japan via their train systems. A very comprehensive site available in both English, Chinese and of course, Japanese.

If only there are such sites for other countries.

Well, I guess, the only minus point will probably be the language barrier. But once you've mastered Japanese, you will find that the Japanese are really very helpful.

I once got kinda of lost in the 'wilderness' of Nagano, after I have visited the doll museum. I couldn't find the bus stop that will bring me back to town, and I had been walking up and down along the stretch of road for umpteen times.

The road was somewhat similar to this.

Finally I spotted an auntie who is doing her regular briskwalking exercise. After telling her how lost I am, she actually walked me to the next bus stop, and waited for the bus to be here before leaving.

So... there you go. That's why my favourite travel spot is none other than Japan.

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