Google My Maps – When I plan my trips, I always start by researching all of the things I’d like to do and start mapping them out on Google My Maps. This allows me to keep track of all of the things I want to see and also lets me plan my itinerary as I can clearly see where everything is in relation to one another. It’s also super helpful in deciding where I should stay!
Accuweather – Accuweather is the best place to check out Japan’s weather, both for hourly forecasts and for forecasts for up to three months in advance. I found the hourly forecasts particularly helpful in the rainy season and in summer where there could be a few different weather conditions in one day.
Sakura (cherry blossom) Weathermap – As cherry blossom festival only goes for a few weeks, you must be obsessed with the cherry blossom blooming schedule in order to see them. Full bloom is the best time to see the blossoms, however, this period of time only lasts for a few days, making it super tough to plan for! As meticulous as these trackers are, the weather is unpredictable, so you will need to keep track of the blooming schedule pretty much up to the day you plan to see the cherry trees.
Koyo (autumn leaves) Forecast – Thankfully, koyo season is quite a bit longer than sakura season, spanning 1-2 months. You also don’t have to worry about “full bloom” which leaves a lot more breathing room in your travel plans!
Japan Guide’s List of Japan’s National Holidays – You probably want to avoid Japan when the locals are out to play, so make sure you check out this list of Japanese Public Holidays! Golden Week is an especially busy time that I highly recommend you avoid!
Hyperdia – Hyperdia is the best resource for train travel in Japan. Whether you are looking up timetables for local trains or shinkansen, Hyperdia has you covered. It also allows you to determine the best route for longer trips, for example how to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto or from Osaka to Hiroshima. I lived on this website when I was in Japan and it never let me down!
Google Maps – Google maps was a great resource for times when I needed to get from A to B but wasn’t sure what was the best way to go about it. I loved walking in Japan, so it also helped me to determine how to walk to my next destination. For trains, I used Google Maps when I wasn’t sure what train station would be the best to use (particularly in Tokyo, where the train network is extremely dense).
Japan Rail (JR) Pass Website – Don’t let anybody tell you that the JR Pass is a must-have for Japan travel. That is simply not true! In fact, unless you plan to use the bullet train more than once in a short amount of time, it is likely not worth your money. This is one part of Japan travel planning that you should not skimp on the research.
Tokyo Subway Map – This map details all the train lines and stations that make up Tokyo city. Unlike Australia, Japan’s train stations are owned by multiple companies, so please keep in mind that you be required to tap on and tap off a couple of times per trip. Hyperdia will
Osaka Subway Map – This map details all the train lines and stations that make up Osaka city.
Kyoto Public Transport Information – Includes all the information you need to know about getting around Kyoto. The train system in Kyoto isn’t as extensive as Osaka and Tokyo, so you will need to take the bus to get to some of Kyoto’s main sights.
Japan Guide’s Complete Guide to Japan’s Highway Buses – Highway buses are a cheap and sometimes more convenient alternative to taking long-ish trips. For example, travelling from Kawaguchiko to Tokyo was more convenient and cheaper via bus than it was by train, especially considering my luggage. That way I didn’t have to lug my bags around whilst trying to change trains multiple times!
Things To Do
Lovely Japan – Shameless plug! I have a series where I break down the top 25 things to do in Japan’s main cities, as well as trip guides for smaller towns. Examples of the former include Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hokkaido, and the latter include Nikko and Yokohama.
Japan Guide – Japan Guide is the best resource for researching the best places to visit and things to do in Japan. Why is it the best? Well, that’s because it is so extensive. The site lists the main things to do in each area of the country and even does regular updates for seasonal information, natural disaster notices and even construction and closure notices. While it is the best resource, it is certainly not the only resource I recommend looking at. Japan Guide is fantastic for your staple sights, however, there are plenty of new things to do and see that it doesn’t cover.
JNTO – The Japan National Tourism Organization is the government body responsible for furthering Japan tourism all over the world, thus making it one of the most reliable and useful resources for your Japan travel planning. From travel brochures and destination guides to first time traveller info and travel FAQ’s, there’s a wealth of useful information to be gained from JNTO.
Japan Guide’s Event Calendar – Japan Guide’s event calendar lists lots of useful information about the events that take place in Japan, for example cherry blossom and autumn leaf related viewing parties, local festivals and special events. Simply look up the month you’re going and see what’s on!
Japanican – Japanican is most helpful for booking luxury accommodation as well as tours and activities. They are especially good for booking ryokan stays, expensive traditional dining experiences and off the beaten track experiences. They are not likely to be your cheapest option, but they offer a lot of experiences that are not listed on more western-based websites.
Booking.com – I recently spent 6 months travelling Japan and used booking.com for pretty much the whole trip, minus 2 weeks I booked in a ski resort via a travel agent. It wasn’t my intention to do it all on here, but it just turned out to be the cheapest and most convenient option for me. I never had any issues with my accommodation and if any issues did pop up, they were dealt with before I arrived. Convenient, reliable, cheap. What more is there to ask?
Consulate-General of Japan in Sydney – If you’re looking for visa information, customs information, medical information (i.e. what medications you can take to Japan), vaccines, quarantine and other things along these lines, this is the place to go. They have an especially useful travel section where most of this information is held.
JNTO Medical Care Guide – I had to go to the doctors when I was in Japan and this was the website I used to do it. This website allows you to search the closest English-speaking medical provider near you and explains how their system works. It’s super easy and I had a positive experience when going to the doctors. The doctor I saw was wonderful and spoke fluent English, it was easy to claim my prescriptions, it didn’t break the bank and I was easily able to claim it via my travel insurance. I want you to know that I was scared out of my brains about seeing a doctor in Japan, but it really was all for nothing. Their system is so efficient and well structured that you will be well taken care of.
JNTO Lost Luggage Information – If you lose your luggage or personal items on the train, don’t worry! It is Japan after all, so it’s likely you’ll get them back. In this post, JNTO lists all the places you should go to report your lost luggage to Japan Rail.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.