Pre-planning for trip
Planning for our trip started over dinners about a year before we actually went on our trip. I started gathering the thoughts and ideas of those interested in going and putting them into a Google Sheets document, I then moved to a Trello board. Some of the guidelines we had for this trip were the following:
- We would go for 21 days
- We wanted to attend a Japanese Anime convention
- We wanted to see a Japanese festival (matsuri)
- We wanted to see as many sakura blossoms as possible
- We didn’t want a rigid schedule.
Starting with the last item first, we did not want the trip to be rigidly setup where it was planned down to the activity. Before we left for Japan we had only booked our first AirBnb for arrival, as we needed that for the customs form to get into Japan which was for 4 days and would get us a place to stay through AnimeJapan. We also had lodging during what we believed would be peak bloom in Kyoto for sakura blossoms as we knew securing reasonable close housing would be very expensive if not prohibitive. Prior to leaving for Japan the only other things we had purchased for the trip were our Japan Rail Vouchers which included luggage storage, a Wifi Hotspot so we always had connectivity, and an international drivers license so we could ride mario karts.
While this is not the way a lot of people want to travel it is the best way I have found that I and my wife like to travel. We would get to a location and decide how long we wanted to stay, there was no pressure to stay somewhere if we didn’t like it because we already had plans or to stay longer somewhere because we wanted to see more but couldn’t because we needed to be somewhere else. The Trello board helped us as we had a list of things we wanted to see, we would review it throughout the trip and do the things we wanted with the time we had. We ended up spending more time in Tokyo on the front end of the trip and less time in Hiroshima. We also decided to go to Hiroshima after Tokyo and not after Kyoto as we had planned originally.
The rest of this section contains my travel diary of each day and contains the blog posts of the tips and tricks.
Also check out our destination pages which contain information on each destination we visited and others we plan to visit on our next trip to Japan.