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Japan Travel Notes -- From the tea ceremony and geishas, to Japanese gardens and the public baths. Find out more about Japan @ Travel Notes.

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Japan is not one of the first countries a budget traveller might choose; being off the flight path to Sydney or Melbourne, and somewhat expensive.

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Brief Guide to Japan, Getting Around Japan, Hiroshima, Japan Tourism, Japan Tours, Japan Travel Guides, Kumamoto and Mt. Aso, Living in Japan, Map of Japan, Social Rules in Japan, Tokyo, Travel to Japan, What You're Eating in Japan.

Contact Michel (TravelNotes) Available for Travel Assignments.

Travel to Japan

Reading signs can be a problem in Japan, and the culture change might be a shock.

Map of Japan

Weather in Asia:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around Asia.

Brief Guide to Japan

Not all Japanese carry cameras at home, but most eat raw fish while sitting on the floor with their legs crossed.

It is with more luck than judgement that you steer yourself out of a Tokyo subway station to the exit you require.

A name of a hotel, in a totally alien city - where there are too many roads to signpost and even the taxi-drivers have to go on a paper chase navigating by known landmarks - is all you have to go on.

If you booked a city hotel at the airport reservations, this could well be you.

The first night in your TV and video, towel and tooth-brushed, slippers by the bed, hotel room for the typical businessman, is a soothing stay; something of a jet-lag convalescence.

The second can also be very nice, but the third seems like a blatant misuse of funds. How can you justify a week's food-bill on eight hours between clean sheets?

Japan - Expensive?

Japan doesn't have to be as expensive as you think.

Try a temple lodging stay - smart, relaxing Japanese style rooms with 2 delicious meals at reasonable prices. Tabehodai restaurants are great places to eat and drink - all you can eat for about 2000 yen. For travel around the Fuji / Hakone area, make use of the Hakone free pass . And of course, a budget, luxurious and romantic accommodation alternative is a love hotel - from 5000 yen for the room.

Meta-Travel Members By Inside Japan Tours.

Compare Hotel Prices in Japan

Hiroshima, Kawasaki, Kobe, Kochi, Kumamoto, Kyoto, Nagano, Nagasaki, Nagoya, Nara, Narita, Okinawa, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Yokohama.

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Getting Around Japan

The sleek, streamlined, white and blue bullet-train draws up casually, like a waiter in a white tuxedo ready to take an order.

The Hikari Super Express - Shinkansen in Japanese - is the cream of train travel. On the station platform, neatly marked yellow arrows and numbers indicate where the corresponding carriages stop.

Everyone waits in orderly fashion. Even the gaijin (foreigner) can get this one right.


No one should visit Japan without taking a moment to quietly contemplate, in Hiroshima.

The city of Hiroshima faces the tranquil Seto Inland Sea that prides itself on its beautiful myriad of islands. The city is rich in nature with its surrounding picturesque mountains that are ever changing with the four seasons and its six rivers that flow through it.

Hiroshima Navigator:
The Hiroshima Convention and Visitors Bureau introduces principal sites for visitors to Hiroshima.

Kumamoto and Mt. Aso

If you're ever in the area, be sure to visit the Smiling Samurais and the Smouldering Volcano.


Modern Capital of Japan:
For those of you ready for an exciting, hi-tech experience put on your funky wear, charge your digi-cams and make a dash for Tokyo.

Visiting Tokyo:
It may be ironic that one of the most expensive cities in the world also has one of the most rampant and flamboyant consumer cultures.

Social Rules in Japan

At bath-time in Japan, wash and rinse all the soap off before getting in the bath; so hot that you want to add some cold water to it (but shouldn't).

Japanese don't wear outside shoes in the house, slippers on tatami mats, or house slippers to the toilet (toilet slippers are for that).

And don't forget to change back afterwards!

So much of Japanese life is full of rules, ceremony and rituals - keeping grace and saving face.

After a hard day, the Japanese salary man on the train lets his guard down and starts to unwind. Ties are casually loosened, while the lesser composed hang up their jackets and remove their shoes.

Cans of beer are opened and consumed enthusiastically, because the conscience chocolates are already in their coloured wrapping, beside the leather brief-cases, on the racks above their heads.

The small Japanese girls, in dark-blue uniforms, find it almost impossible to wheel their vending trolleys through the human mass, yet they struggle on gamely with boxes and plastic bags, smiling and bowing; beautifully masking any signs of stress or strain.

Before leaving the carriage, they turn to face the passengers, give a high pitched cry of gratitude, and bow once more.

Japan Tourism

Japan National Tourist Office:
The starting point for a trip to Japan. You can choose a region to explore, and there are even tips and hints for budget travellers.

Hello Japan:
Visitor information for tourist attractions around Japan.

Podcast Japan:
A video-casting site that provides the viewer a variety of pertinent, up-to-date information to popular tourist sites, transportation and accommodations in Japan.

Traditional Japan:
From the tea ceremony and geishas, to Japanese gardens and the public baths, every thing you need to know to appreciate the culture and customs of the Japanese.

What You're Eating in Japan

A colourful display of plastic, in a restaurant window, passes for the menu.

You can not be sure what you are about to eat, but at least it gives you a rough idea of what to expect.

Something like large liquorice allsorts turns out to be rice wrapped in seaweed. Then of course there's the pink sections of raw fish and deep-fried vegetables, all waiting to be tickled by chopsticks.

Sushi Worldwide:
It would be a good idea to telephone these restaurants first as they might no longer be open. If they are, you can always send your reviews of them into John Marxist using the forms linked to each restaurant listing.

Tokyo Food Page:
A complete guide to Japanese cuisine and eating in Tokyo, with recipes, articles on Japanese cooking, restaurant listings, culinary travel tips and more.

Living in Japan

Working in Japan

From the hopeless bureaucracy of the Japanese Department of Immigration to the shocking amounts of key money required for an apartment, be prepared to test your patience far beyond its usual boundaries.

Jobs in Japan:
Japan job listings and free resume posting available. Also includes a personal ads section.

Working Visas - Japan:
There a number of visas depending on the work you intend to do. Find out which working visa applies to you.

Japan Tours

Japan comprises a chain over 1,000 fascinating islands.

Get a glimpse into the wonders of Japan; a lovely land of endless mountain chains filled with awe-inspiring temples, shrines, rice paddies, and heavenly hot springs.

From snow-covered mountains to beautiful sandy beaches and vibrant cities to tranquil fishing villages. Whatever images Japan conjures up in your mind, you won't be disappointed.

Dragonfly Tours:
The small but motivated team, combining British and local Japanese guides, aim to show you Japan in its true light.

Inside Japan Tours:
From the bright lights of Tokyo, the taste sensations of Osaka and the history of Kyoto, to the barren slopes of Mt. Fuji and the great outdoors of the Japan Alps, Japan has something for everybody. Flexible 8 and 13 night tours and customised packages.

The Japan-bound leisure division of Euro Creative Tours (UK) Ltd - established in 1980.

Sunrise Tours:
Japan package tours include arrival and departure transfer services to/from the airport. Alternatively, you can select the components which best suit your needs and arrange your own tour package.

Japan Travel Guides

Lonely Planet Japan (Travel Guide) DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Japan (Eyewitness Travel Guides) Japan Atlas: A Bilingual Guide

Japan Travel Guides - Japan Maps.

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