09 January 2007

Highlight of 2006 - Tokyo Vacation 15 to 23 Dec

Japan is my favourite country and will always be (unless I manage to find another place that can give me the same 'feel'). This is my 3rd trip to Japan – the 1st in Apr 03 to Tokyo (and Hakone) for my honeymoon; 2nd in Dec 03 to Kansai for a 2-week homestay programme. (Will blog about those 2 trips if I have the time.)
This time, hubby and I decided to re-visit Tokyo and also make a trip to Nikko 日光 (Tochigi Prefecture 栃木県, 2 hrs away from Tokyo). As with a free & easy trip, ample preparation prior to the trip is important. I took around 2-3 months to search for nice/reasonable accommodation and plan the itinerary and the planning stage is also something I enjoy doing.

Travelling around in Tokyo
Some people worry about the confusing subway and railway system; I would say that after studying it for a while, you will come to appreciate the comprehensive and convenient routes as the trains bring you to literally everywhere. Be sure to pick up a copy of free map at stations or tourist information desks.

In Tokyo, most people can speak simple English, so language shouldn't be too much of problem. Was pleasantly surprised when an Obachan (granny) conversed in some simple English when trying to explain and sell green tea to me. It will be useful to pick up some useful single words or carry a pocket guide, though not crucial. Most places have signages in English and as their kanji 漢字 are basically chinese characters with essentially the same meaning, it comes in handy.

Travel Resources
  • Mook http://travel.mook.com.tw/ - Magazine from Taiwan that offers weath of info about various destinations and gives many important details. Available at Kinokuniya.
  • Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) http://www.jnto.go.jp/ - useful online guide that offers essential travel info in different languages.
  • Japan-Guide.com http://www.japan-guide.com/ - Offers info about travelling and living in Japan, with useful tips from fellow travellers and native Japanese. Questions posted in forum will be answered by helpful native Japanese and experienced travellers.
Will update more travel resources at the end of each day's post.

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