Travel cost; 1500-5000RMB return flight
Accommodation; 80-2000RMB/night (hostel)
Daily budget; 300RMB
Going to Japan for me was an amazing experience. Since childhood and year seven in school when we had a Chinese visitor come and meet us at school I have always wanted to go. The country is close to China and flights range from between 2000 return from Guiyang via Beijing to Tokyo off-peak to 6000 during the Chinese holiday season. For the 2014 Chinese New Year I decided to push the boat out and went to both Korea and Japan. This is my guide and view of the old and new capital cities of Japan that I visited; Tokyo and Kyoto. I booked a ticket from Seoul, Korea, to Tokyo, I then planned to catch the famous bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto to see the ancient capital in order to get a look at both sides of Japan.
Big, modern, but surprisingly old fashioned, when I landed at the airport I went straight to the connected Tokyo rail system to get to my hostel in Asuka, I more tradition quaint part of the city with a well-priced nice looking hostel. Expecting the most modern underground I’ve ever seen, I was surprised by how old fashioned it was. In comparison to the Korean metro I had just used in Seoul that used pre-paid swipe cards, the predominant ticket for the Tokyo tube was a tiny paper ticket and stations looked surprisingly reminiscent of the 1950’s London underground.
I took the bullet train to get from Tokyo to Kyoto and paid at the station for a ticket on the same day, this was expensive at 800 RMB one way. A cheaper method of travel I would recommend is the sleeper coaches between the major cities, from Kyoto back to Tokyo on the sleeper bus I spent just 350 RMB and it also counts as a night’s accommodation. The coaches are comfortable with good arm and leg room and are pitch black all night, with many coaches not ever allowing you to play on your phone to maintain complete darkness. I managed to get a good 5 hours sleep on the coach back and would definitely recommend it as a cost effective method of intercity Japanese travel.
Of the two, Kyoto was my favourite by far and I would seriously recommend anyone going to Japan to see it, as in my opinion, Kyoto is the real essence of Japan. Temples, gardens, Geishas and Sake are all abundant in Japans former capital.