I'm travelling to Japan (flying into Tokyo) on Oct 8 2013 for 37 days. A solo trip for...perhaps, self-discovery, stress release, travel challenge, cultural experience, etc. Had the idea several years only to find time to do it now.
Initially thought of following main rail routes then visit nearby places before proceeding to next destination:
Northbound : Tokyo - Utsunomiya/Nikko - Sendai - Ichinoseki - Hachinohe - Aomori - Hakodate - Sapporo - Asahikawa
Head back South: Asahikawa - Hirosaki - Sakata - Niigata - Kanazawa - Fukui - Nagoya - Kyoto/Osaka/Nara/Kobe - Himeji - Hiroshima - Shimonoseki - Fukuoka - Saga - Nagasaki - Kagoshima
Head North back towards Tokyo : Basically like a counter-clockwise travel around Japan.
However, change of plans (not wanting to deal with reservations, baggage, etc), deciding to base in Tokyo. Maybe add Osaka, Aomori & Fukuoka as hubs, then travel back and forth with Japan Rail Pass (3 weeks) while remaining days are optional depending on your suggestions, either buying additional 2 weeks JRP or just spend time somewhere. Intending to spend 7 - 10 days in Tokyo as I have relative in the city.
Almost finalising to:
Oct 9 - 15 : Tokyo
Oct 15 - Nov 5 : Journey
Nov 6 - 14 : Tokyo
About myself / my travel:
Asian male in late 20's : first time solo travel : budget trip : don't understand Japanese : open to cultural interactions / conversations at restaurants, bars, etc. : not intending visits to museums : not too big on shrines (fee / free) except to the must visit shrines (if you suggest) : don't really have much must see places to visit : flexible time frame to spend in each location : walk fast, quick view, light weight.
Minor shopping activities, looking for clothings (unfashionable guy, perhaps image change, Uniqlo?), a casio protrek and maybe a canon g15 (maybe cheaper in Japan? if I haven't bought it already within the next 2 weeks) : minor souvenir shopping.
Big on food so any recommended restaurants, street stalls, snack shops anywhere along the mentioned cities would be great. Nothing on the extreme in terms of cost (I'm a poor guy). I can eat 2 sets of Mcd and immediately proceed to family dinner but I don't eat snail, squid and anything of similar taste : intending to walk a lot, willing to walk jungle tracks and hidden areas for must see places : will be trying out photography scenery, macro (can't do much about self-portraits since travelling alone)
Any idea about temporary phone/data line for gps/data usage?
I know it seems a bit much to cram many places into one trip but it might be my only one trip to Japan in many years to come so just hope I can visit and do as much as possible in one trip.
Any suggestion and advise would be highly appreciated. Anyone travelers with similar plans?
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