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Planning a Trip to Japan on a Budget!

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Hey everyone! I just finished up a year of volunteering with AmeriCorps VISTA (which means I don't really get paid more than what I need to survive) and will soon be finishing up a few months of actual employment where I saved as much as I could to take a trip to Taiwan & Japan! I will be a girl in my early 20s traveling alone, but I think I can handle it! :)

I'm trying to plan out my Japan itinerary now, and I think I will be there from July 30-August 18! I was hoping to get some feedback or tips on my itinerary, and also how to best utilize the various rail passes that are available to save money. My friend who is from Osaka recommends the JR rail pass-- but I really don't think it would be cost effective because I plan on staying mostly in the Kansai region + a few days in Hiroshima/Miyajima

7/30 - Fly from Taipei to Osaka (TPE-KIX) - Explore a bit and eat
7/31 - Osaka - Tour & Eat
8/1 - Osaka - Volunteer at friend's preschool
8/2 - Osaka - Volunteer at friend's preschool
8/3 - Osaka - Volunteer & Tour, etc
8/4 - Koyasan - Stay in a temple over night
8/5 - Koyasan to Osaka to Hiroshima
8/6 - Hiroshima - Day trip to Miyajima, hike Mt. Misen, etc
8/7 - Hiroshima - Explore + Peace Memorial Ceremony
8/8 - Hiroshima - Explore
8/9 - Okayama - Tour + crash in internet cafe?
8/10 - Okayama - Tour + return to Osaka
8/11 - Himeji Day trip from Osaka
8/12 - Nara Day trip from Osaka
8/13 - Kobe Day trip from Osaka
8/14 - Osaka to Kyoto
815 - Kyoto
8/16- Kyoto - Daimonji
8/17 - Kyoto to Osaka
8/18 - Depart for Taipei from Osaka (KIX-TPE)

I was thinking one of the regional passes like the JR West Rail pass combined with the Seishun 18 Kippu pass might be more cost effective for me. For example, using the Saishun 18 to get from Osaka-Hiroshima, Miyajima, Hiroshima-Okayama, Okayama- Osaka, and Kyoto-Osaka-- & then using the JR West Rail pass for Himeji, Nara, Kobe & getting to Kyoto.

Also, I will be staying in hostels for most of the trip...or possibly couch surfing if I decide it is safe. I'd be grateful for any tips with hashing out my itinerary. Other than seeing Daimonji and being in Hiroshima for the Peace Memorial Ceremony, I don't have my heart set on anything. I just want a pretty chill yet fun trip!

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