Your First Trip to Japan
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Your First Trip to Japan

About the Book

This book is for you if you...

  1. have never gone to Japan, and
  2. are considering going to Japan, either solo or with your partner and/or your kids, and you
  3. either haven't started or aren't done planning your trip.

This book tries to be helpful, both in preparing for your trip and in the trip itself.

In preparing for your trip, it focuses on the big questions, as it tries to help you...

  1. Decide whether to go, by reducing the amount of uncertainty.
  2. Plan an itinerary, whether you're travelling alone, with your partner and/or with your family.
  3. Pack, whether you're taking a backpack (preferred) or a suitcase, if you're travelling in the summer.
  4. Book hotels, both in the major destinations (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Kanazawa) and in the more remote areas.
  5. Decide whether you need a JR pass, and for how long. (*Hint: it might not be for the whole trip.*)
  6. Get a rough idea of costs, so you can decide whether the trip you're planning fits your budget.
  7. Get inspired (or get your partner and/or kids inspired) with movies, video games and (gasp!) even other books.

During your trip itself, it tries to help you with some of the basics of daily life, including how to...

  1. Pay for things. (Hint: usually with cash, and without ever tipping. Really.)
  2. Get places, taking trains (JR and non-JR), the metro (which you should use in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka), buses (it's different than in Canada or the US) and taxis.
  3. Avoid a number of the basic etiquette mistakes you might make while eating or visiting cultural sites.
  4. How to communicate effectively enough, even if you don't speak essentially any Japanese.
  5. How to pronounce the romanized Japanese (with the same alphabet that is used for English) that you read.
  6. Get cash from bank machines.
  7. Do laundry.

About the Author

Peter Armstrong
Peter Armstrong

Peter Armstrong is the founder and CEO of Leanpub. He has over two decades of experience in software, including eight years as a developer at Silicon Valley startups. He founded Ruboss in 2008, and launched Leanpub in 2010.

Peter coined the term Lean Publishing. Lean Publishing is the act of publishing an in-progress book using lightweight tools and many iterations to get reader feedback, pivot until you have the right book and build traction once you do.

Peter is the creator of Markua, the Markdown dialect used on Leanpub. He is the author of a number of books, including Lean PublishingThe Markua Manual and Programming for Kids. He has a BSc in Computer Science and Psychology from the University of Victoria, and he and his wife live in Victoria, BC.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • I Love Japan
    • Who is This Book For?
    • Who is This Book NOT For?
    • What Does This Book Try to Accomplish?
    • What Does This Book NOT Try to Accomplish?
    • A New Guidebook in 2018?
    • Are You Qualified to Write This Book?
    • This is a Short Book
    • The Photos in the Book
    • The Prices in the Book
  • Sleeping
    • Types of Accommodation
      • Hotels
      • Ryokan
      • Minshuku
      • Capsule Hotels
      • Hostels
    • Booking Accommodation
      • Hotwire: Great for Hotels in Major Cities
      • Great for Everything
      • Orbitz
      • Using Rewards Points, like SPG and/or Marriott Points
    • Time Zones
  • Transit
    • JR Pass
      • Types of JR Passes
      • How to buy a JR Pass
      • Using a JR Pass for JR Trains
      • Dear Google: PLEASE Add a “JR Pass Only” or “Exclude Nozomi and Mizuho” Option to Google Maps
      • Dear Google: While You’re At It, Japanese is Not Chinese
      • Other Places to use a JR Pass
      • How To Use a JR Pass
      • Why You May Not Want a JR Pass for Tokyo
    • Suica (or Pasmo) Card: Get One Immediately
      • Everyone In Your Family Needs Their Own Suica
    • Google Maps is Essential
    • Metro and Trains
      • Pay Attention to the Exits
    • City Buses
    • Highway Buses
    • Taxis
  • How & What to Pack
    • Take a Backpack, Not a Suitcase or Rollaboard
    • Bring a Daypack
    • Clothing (Summer Edition)
    • Trekking Poles
    • Insoles
    • Medicine (including Immodium)
    • Deodorant
    • Power Adapters
  • Convenience Stores, Vending Machines & Bank Machines
    • Convenience Stores
    • Getting Cash from Bank Machines
    • Vending Machines
      • Iced Coffee
      • Iced Green Tea
      • Water
      • Sports Drinks
  • Food
    • Bring Enough Cash When You Go to a Restaurant
    • Sushi
      • Sushi Yuu
    • Ramen
      • Ichiran
      • Ippudo
    • Tempura
    • Curry Rice
      • CoCo Curry
    • Cheese Tarts
      • BAKE cheese tart
    • Ice Cream
      • Milk
    • Coffeehouses
    • French-style Patisseries
      • Vie de France
  • Shopping
    • “Tax-Free Shop”
    • LoFT
    • Tokyu Hands
    • Uniqlo
    • MUJI
  • Laundry
  • Goshuincho and Goshuin
    • Goshuincho are NOT Tourist Stamp Books
  • Etiquette
    • Kabuki and Other Performances
    • Shoes
    • Eating and Drinking
    • Talking Loudly
    • Talking on Mobile Phones
    • Chopsticks
    • Nose Blowing
  • Communicating Without Speaking (Much) Japanese
    • Pronouncing Japanese (Romaji)
      • Pronounce the Vowels Correctly
      • Other Stuff
    • The Absolute Minimum Set of Words or Phrases You Need
    • What Are They Saying?
    • Advanced Phrases
    • Google Maps and Google Translate
    • How to Ask for Things Without Speaking Any Japanese
      • Telling Your Taxi Driver Where To Go
      • Asking Questions Just With Nouns
  • Itinerary Advice
    • Trip Length
    • 1 Week Version: Pick Either Tokyo or Osaka as a Base
      • Tokyo Version
      • Osaka Version
    • 2-3 Week Versions
  • Hiking
    • Kurama to/from Kibune via Kurama-dera (a hike to a mountain temple near Kyoto)
    • Magome to Tsumago (part of the old Nakasendo route)
    • Mount Misen, from the base, on Miyajima (the site of the famous “floating Torii gate”)
    • Mount Fuji, from the base, via the Yoshidaguchi trail
  • Temples and Shrines
    • Tokyo: Meiji Jingu
    • Nikko
    • Kyoto
      • Nanzenji
      • Honen-in
      • Ryoanji
      • Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion)
      • Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion)
    • Nara
    • Ise
  • Castles and Gardens
    • Castles
      • Himeji Castle
      • Nijo Castle (in Kyoto)
      • Matsumoto Castle
      • Osaka Castle
      • Kiyosu Castle (near Nagoya)
    • Gardens
      • Kenroku-en (in Kanazawa)
  • Kabuki and Bunraku
    • Kabuki in Tokyo
    • Bunraku in Osaka
  • Onsen
  • Museums
  • Festivals (Matsuri)
  • Advance Preparation
    • Total War: Shogun 2
    • Movies
      • Samurai Movies starring Toshiro Mifune
      • Other Japanese Films
    • Books
      • Guidebooks
      • Other Books

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