A few months ago I went to Japan with my sister. Here are some pictures I've just sent off to be printed. I've included a little info incase anyone's going.
We got an awkwardly timed flights with a stopover which worked out WAY cheaper than going direct. Our first hostel was a capsule hotel in Higashi Nippori, they had the traditional style communal baths which I was terrified of at first but got used to and liked in the end. The first stop was Tokyo, getting from the airport was really easy, the subway and tickets make a lot of sense and people are really helpful. We met Kyoto who I used to teach English in a former life. It was so lovely to see her and see what her world is like. She showed us some lovely parts of the city which were beautiful even in the pouring rain. She showed us how to get Suica cards which are Oyster cards but with cute penguins on and they worked in most of the cities we visited all around Japan.
From England we got JR passes, you order them from outside the country and then you exchange the conformation for the tickets when you get to Japan. It's a lot cheaper than getting separate train tickets every time. You can get them for one or two weeks. We got the one week one so we could have a few days in Tokyo at either end of the trip. From Tokyo we took the Shikansen (bullet train) to Kyoto. We rented bikes from our hostel. I'm a really nervous cyclist but I felt really safe cycling there, we covered so much more ground than we would have if we had walked.
Next stop Osaka. Another awesome city. Even better because we met Jude's friend Kaori who showed us around and translated everything Gudetema (Lazy Egg, from the creators of Hello Kitty) said.
We both read 'Hiroshima' by John Hersey on the train. It's a really good read and gives more of a human side to what happened. We spent an afternoon walking around the Peace Memorial Park and museum.
Miyajimaguchi and Miyajima are really close to Hiroshima We stayed in a hostel in Miyajimaguchi and got the short ferry to Miyajima Island. There's a shrine, a cable car and a lot of deer.
On the way back to Tokyo we stayed in a Ryokan (a more traditional guest house) in Hakone. We got really lost somewhere pretty then found our way to Togendai where we got on a boat and saw Mount Fuji. After our week of travelling we went back to Tokyo and stayed in a hostel in Asakusa. There's so much to do in Tokyo I'm really glad we left time to explore it more after seeing some other cities. I was really aware of not getting nudged or shoved at all even when it was really crowded. I always heard that Japan was really expensive but there are really affordable places to stay on hostelbooker and the cheap food is still absolutely delicious. I have allergies but in one of the hostels they gave me a card with words and pictures which made it really easy. I lost our lonely planet somewhere between Tokyo and Kyoto which was a bit of a pain. I've got really used to using online maps which would have got really expensive but all the 7/11s have wifi so you can re-load there.