So my dancing has upscaled a little now. Especially as there is ONE WEEK TO GO! (I forgot to mention, it’s also my birthday today ^^)

Figured now is a great time to let you know exactly what I’m gonna be up to and all the details.

Trip Summary:

Where: Japan

When: 19th March – 9th April 2014

With Who: Jose Guerra on a self guided tour

Why: Time to take that trip of a lifetime and fulfill that life long dream

We will be flying with British Airways from London Heathrow directly to Tokyo Narita airport at 12:40pm Tuesday 18th March. The flight will take approximately 11 hours and 40 minutes. Whilst it’s a long flight, at least it’s direct though it will be difficult as we will leave during the day and arrive in the following morning, so it will feel like an extra long day.

12 locations in 22 days

The 22 days we will be spending in Japan will involve lots of traveling. We will be visiting the following places:Japan Map 3 week Trip

  1. Tokyo
  2. Nikko
  3. Hakone, Odawara
  4. Osaka, Takarazuka
  5. Hiroshima
  6. Miyajima
  7. Kyoto
  8. Nara
  9. Takayama
  10. Kanazawa

Tokyo

Wednesday 19th – Sunday 23rd March, Monday 7th April – Wednesday 9th April

Our total time spent in Tokyo will amount to around five days, of which three are full days. During our stay in Tokyo we’ll be exploring contemporary architecture, attending an Anime fair, Hanazono‐jinja antique market as well as various shops that sell really cool stuff!

Most importantly though we will be having fun!

Nikko

Friday 21st March

We’ll be heading out from Tokyo to Nikko for one day before heading back. First stop will probably be the Toshogu Shrine and if we have time we’ll go look at some of the waterfalls there.

Hakone

Sunday 23rd March – Monday 24th March

Hot Springs! Onsen! Mountains! This is one of the parts of the trip I’m really excited about!

Odawara

Sunday 23rd March, Tuesday 25th March

I sense that our time in Odawara will be short as it is mainly a transfer point between Tokyo and Hakone but I’m sure it will be great to see it anyway. Possibly a quick look at Odawara Castle.

Osaka

Tuesday 25th – Wednesday 26th March 

As soon as we arrive in Osaka we will be off to Takarazuka which is just west of Osaka to visit a manga museum, then we have a free day to explore.

Hiroshima

Thursday 27th March

Here we are going to spend a little bit of time sightseeing and do some location scouting.

Miyajima

Thursday 27th – Friday 28th March

Here we will see the floating gate, ferries and lots of deer.

Kyoto

Saturday 29th March – Tuesday 1st April

In Kyoto we will be trying our hand at making traditional sweets, experiencing a Tea ceremony at an En tea house, dressing up as a Maiko, watching the Miyako Odori Geisha performance.

Nara

Wednesday 2nd April

Day trip from Kyoto to Nara where we can see Todai-ji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building.

Takayama

Thursday 3rd – Friday 4th April

High in the Japanese Alps, we will have a day and a bit to explore the area.

Kanazawa

Saturday 5th – Sunday 6th April

This is the place where I would love to have more time, ninja castles, kimono walks and craft shops. Somehow I have to try and fit this into a day and a bit!

Budget

Budgeting for a 3 week trip in Japan is not an easy thing. A lot of our trip has already been paid for using Inside Japan, a company that specialises in tailor-made Japanese holidays. I’ll update this section at a later date with the costs and such. For now the budget includes getting a second hand kimono or a robot (big difference I know!) From what I have found out kimonos vary wildly in price but I’m aiming at no more than £200 for the set up (it will be tough but we’ll see).

Preparations

There has been a lot of preparation for this trip (including saving up for it). We used Moneycorp to exchange our pounds for yen and picked it up on Oxford Street, House of Fraser. Moneycorp rates were a lot better than Travelex and The Post Office. We have also invested in other things including:

The short course in Japanese is more about giving me an opportunity to listen to and practice speaking Japanese as well as ask questions which may not otherwise be understood. My sensei, Junko, has been very patient with my never ending questions on the Japanese language which I’m very grateful for. I actually started studying Japanese many years ago but never had an opportunity to use it. It was only last year that I started studying again using Memrise (an online learning website) as my launch platform. You can see my profile/ follow my progress here.

Cherry Blossom Forecast

Cherry Blossoms are one of the other reasons why we wanted to go in spring. I look forward to seeing them and taking lots of pictures. I found this really useful website which explains when the Cherry Blossoms will start blooming and when they will reach full bloom.

Location – First Bloom // Full Bloom

Tokyo – from 29th March // 31st March

Osaka – from 28th March // 4th April

Kyoto – from 28th March // 4th April

Hiroshima – from 25th March // 4th April

Kanazawa – from 3rd April // 8th April