Japan Trip 2012 - Conclusion

When I think about the time I spent in Japan, I'm overall happy how things turned out. I got to see a few places that I always wanted to see, and knocked out a few more interesting places as well.

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I think the highlights of the trip were Mount Fuji and Shirakawa-gou. As hard as it was, I'm really glad I did Mount Fuji and got to the very top of it, and it's more of an achievement thing to say I did it. Shirakawa-gou was interesting as an otaku pilgrimage as well, but the fact that it's historically significant as well made it that much better. I mean, it would be cool to go see Idolm@ster sites in Tokyo, but then you're just wandering around Tokyo. Atsuta Jingu was also a cool shrine, and historically significant, while the Kaiyoudou Figure Museum was fun, though maybe a tad expensive.

Sekigahara had actually been on my list for a while, and it wasn't exactly the sort of place that I imagined, but I felt I should go there at least once. I also had mixed feelings about the Ushiku Daibutsu, to be honest - aesthetically impressive, yet spiritually lacking. The Tokyo Skytree was about what I expected it would be too... wait for a long time, then look around and leave. I'm still glad I went, though it's more of a thing to do to say I did it, than it was to be awestruck.

Thinking about the wallet though, the round trip flight tickets were probably the most expensive thing about this trip. I usually skimp on lodgings, and don't go to fancy places for food. Depending on where you decide to stay, it's not too hard to pay around 4500 yen per night at a hotel room - sometimes you can get cheaper. You can also feed yourself on 2500 yen per day pretty easily, and if you don't mind eating at fast food restaurants like Yoshinoya or Suki-ya a lot, you can get that figure down even further.

I mean, with all this, you're still going to know you're getting things cheap - the rooms will be just big enough and might even have a communal bath (you'll just have to get used to this), and you're not going to be dining with the stars on that budget, but you'll feel nice and happy. The bulk of your transportation costs can be settled with a Japan Rail Pass if you're going that route, though you'll still have to pay for local metros and some buses.

Other than that, all you need is enough money for admission to wherever you want to go, enough money to throw around in random spending sprees... and enough money to do your laundry when you need to (200 yen per washer cycle and 100 yen per 20 minute dryer cycle seems to be standard). Bring clothes, a laptop if you have one (makes things so much easier), and have everyone rent a phone if you're with friends.

And finally, plan your days out - especially your laundry days and your shopping days. You can keep yourself flexible, but if you know where you'll be staying and when, how you're getting there, and a general list of things to do in each location, you should be good to go.

I got to see a beach, the third largest Buddha statue in the world, Mount Fuji, a moe shrine, and a doujin market on my first week. My next, I saw two castles and two gardens, a figure museum, wandered around an ancient battlefield, visited an ancient shrine, and went up the world's largest tower. All in all, it was a great trip, and I had a great time. Next time I go, I'm hoping I can do something in the Chuugoku/Shikoku/Kyuushuu area... although I'm sure that will mean next to no time in Tokyo since those parts of Japan are very far off.

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