Friday, 14 October 2016

Ja-Planning #2

Today I'm off to Japan and South Korea for 3.5 weeks and I beyond excited. Right now I'm on my flight to Tokyo, hopefully trying to get some shut eye because we land at 7am Japanese time, but more likely watching some trash on the in-flight entertainment system.

It felt like a really long time ago that I wrote my first update about holiday planning and all of a sudden the day is here. I've felt a little stressed this week, I started planning months ago, giving myself plenty of time but the last few days have been a bit of a stress when it comes to finishing details. Everyone keeps telling me to just go with the flow but I'm not good at this. I like to have a train time in mind and I like to know a list of interesting bars and restaurants in each area I'm visiting so we can make the most of the place. But I know we will be fine. I've got a day-to-day plan of where we're going and what we want to see. We have out JR passes so that's most of our trains accounted for and I managed to buy Ghibli Museum tickets which involved me staying up until 2am (10 am Japanese time).

I gave you a pretty decent run down of our plans in the last blog post so there isn't really that much more to say on the subject. We booked our 2-week JR passes with JTB which was a really straight forward process. When we get to Tokyo we need to swap our exchange order, which was delivered to our home a couple days after ordering online, for the actual rail ticket. Hopefully it'll be smooth sailing. I booked our Ghibli Museum tickets on the official website using the 1 month in advance option. I tried to book DisneySea tickets in advance but the website wouldn't accept any of cards so we'll just pick them up on the day. I've also booked a DMZ tour with Koridor from Seoul which I'm super excited about. I asked our guesthouse in Kyoto to book a couple of restaurants for us and apart from that we don't really have much else booked.

My itinerary is jam packed and I'm slightly worried we'll be run off our feet after the first few days but it'll be worth it. I want to see everything so I'm going to make it work. Whilst Tokyo will be super busy, day and night, other places we visit will be much more chilled out as there isn't as much going on. I'm really looking forward to an evening of down time in Hakone and come the evening time I don't think Kyoto will be too manic as well.

Apart from a mishap in Naoshima I am really happy with all the accommodation I've booked. We have an airbnb in Shibuya for 5 nights followed a traditional ryokan in Hakone for a night. We've got a great looking traditional hostel come guesthouse in Kyoto for 5 nights and then a little traditional inn in Naoshima for 1 evening. I messed up when I tried to booked Benesse House which I'm still seething about because I really wanted to stay in this plush looking boutique hotel for one night. We've go an airbnb in Hiroshima for 2 nights and then a cool looking hostel in Osaka for 4 nights. Then we fly to South Korea for a few days, we spend one night in a very cute looking hostel and then we spend our final 3 nights in Seoul in a lovely looking hanok.

I've tried to mix it up with traditional places, apartments and  fun / boutique looking places whilst trying to keep prices reasonable. Our ryokan in Hakone and hanok in Seoul will definitely be the most expensive places we're staying but it'll be nice to try something super traditional, as well as having something a little fancy at the end of our trip. I really wanted to try a capsule hotel but in the end it just seemed a little impractical.

When it comes to food I can't wait for all the sushi, ramen, katsu curry and noodles. I've tried not to fixate on visiting specific restaurants as we're going to be so busy who knows when we'll be stopping for food. What I've heard from anyone is that you don't have to worry about having a bad meal in Japan because everywhere is great, I can't wait! I definitely want to try some of those cute doughnuts with faces on them!

So that's it for the plan. The itinerary I've made with our day to day plan is intense but I can't be bothered to share it here because you'll think I'm bonkers. If you've been to Japan before please do leave me some tips in the comments because I'm always keen to hear about exciting places.

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