I planned to do this post at the end of writing about our trip, but realistically, that might never happen so I wanted to do it now. I used a bunch of websites to help prepare for our trip to Japan and wanted to share them here. I truly appreciated these websites helping us navigate a country that was quite foreign to us. These were (out of what I found) the best websites for planning a trip to Japan. Note these websites all are pretty great for general planning,
I’m a miles and points guy so I started with a miles and points blog. DEM Flyers have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Japan. Their Japan trip suggestions really helped me narrow down where I did (and did not) want to go in Japan. The page also provided a lot of useful resources.
I appreciated the general overview of the country and started here when we only knew that we were flying into Tokyo. From there we started making our plans and narrowed our destinations down to Hokkaido and Tokyo. Make sure to read what they say about the Suica card! I didn’t use it but they outline some small hacks.
If you Google anything about Japan, chances are Japan Guide will be towards the top of the results – for good reason. As we started looking into Hokkaido, this itinerary gave us a good idea of what options we had. We had the choice between Sapporo, skiing, going to look at penguins, etc. While we didn’t end up using this itinerary – it looks perfect. We just didn’t have enough time and decided to make our own plans.
Let me reiterate – Japan Guide is a wealth of knowledge and if you plan to go to Japan you should bookmark it – you’ll end up there anyway.
While we didn’t end up using much of Japan Guide’s itinerary (we used the site for a lot of other stuff, though), Kyuhoshi’s 9-day winter Hokkaido itinerary clued us in to the existence of Jozankei. We ended up going to Jozankei and booking one of our favorite hotel stays of all time. The website has a lot of great itineraries for all over Japan to check out.
When it comes to food I look for websites I trust and I trust Jen from Tiny Urban Kitchen. (It helps that I know her in real life, lol). She’s traveled with her husband extensively to Japan and has written up a lot of her experiences. I scoured her website in particular to look for a fun and fancy place to celebrate in Tokyo. Her review of Shima Steak Tokyo sold me on the place and we had a great final dinner at the restaurant.
It’s fun to see all her various food experiences in Japan. if you’re looking for somewhere to eat Tiny Urban Kitchen will give you tons of ideas.
I knew we wanted to check out Tokyo DisneySea and I knew Tom Bricker from Disney Tourist Blog was going to be my main resource. The only thing he seems to like as much as Disney is Japan, and it shows on his website Travel Caffeine. I checked out some of his Japan itineraries which looked pretty good, but he didn’t have much on Hokkaido. Thankfully, his Tokyo Disney stuff is great – his touring plan went a long way to making our day run smoothly.
If you’re not a Disney fan, you should still check his website out. Lots of great Japan information there for Americans visiting the country.
To be fair, I didn’t look at any articles on this particular website except for the one linked above, but it was pretty important! I wasn’t totally sure about driving in Hokkaido, but seeing how they managed to make it through a blizzard gave me the confidence (coupled with my many years living in the Northeast). One of the most important things I learned was to book a car with all wheel drive. Luckily, we didn’t get hit by any blizzards so it was all good!
Obviously, on such a short trip, we only touched upon the wealth of resources that exist when looking into Japan. What are some of your favorite sites to visit when you’re planning a trip to Japan? Let me know in the comments!
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