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Backpacking in Japan

Courtesy of Philippe Noel

Backpackers love to get in touch with locals whenever their trip lasts a long time, prefer public means of transport and enjoy inns and youth hostels as compared to hotels. That makes the difference between traditional travelers and backpackers; with that, Japan is one place that backpackers would enjoy, from the many places to visit to the warm people of rich culture, Japan is one place that would give you a wonderful and unforgettable adventure.

When to go?

Depending on your purpose to visit Japan, the season you choose to go would change. If you only have one chance to visit Japan, a good time to do this would be in the beginning of April. This is because the cherry blossom during this period, making your experience wonderful.

  • Spring (March-May): early April, when the cherry blossom. If possible, have a picnic beneath a cherry tree, for example in Ueno Park, Tokyo.
  • Summer (June-August): a summer spent in Hokkaido is simply blissful. Fuji Mountain is opened to everyone for climbing from July-August each year. In summer, you’ll get to see many fireworks (Hanabi) throughout Japan.
  • Autumn (September-November): in Kyoto, you’ll find that the weather is pretty good, not too hot, not too cold, the color is usually red (Momiji).
  • Winter (December-February): the winter atmosphere in Japan makes it suitable for a nice compassionate Christmas. Hakodate (Hokkaido) has illuminations on the road each December.
    Where to go?

The number of places that you can visit in Japan are numerous, all depending on the type of experience that you want. One good place to go if you really want to get in tune with Japanese culture is Kyoto. Going there would enable you to enjoy various festivals such as the Gion festival (Gion Matsuri) and view relaxing structures such as the Golden Pavilion. If you are looking for a trek, walking from Sarukura to Ogisawa would be perfect as you get to walk on a ridge as you get to view 100 of Japan’s famous mountains (Hyakumeizan). You can go to Himeji and view the Himeji Castle, Japan’s most famous castle and thereafter head to Iga Ueno Ninja to view one of Japan’s most prominent Ninja Schools. You can go to Niseko and go skiing while staying at the friendly Shizenkan ski lodge that accommodates backpackers. Niseko is in the northern part of Hokkaido and offers powder snow, culinary delights (like all of Japan) and volcanic spring baths.

Where to stay?

One good place to stay is Shimonoseki Hinoyama with English-speaking staff and clean rooms that overlook a river. Another place is Shikoku, Tokushima Prefecture, Oboke, with a lovely setting and an owner that is friendly who’ll pick you up and drop you at the train station regardless of your arrival and departure times. Picking a good place to stay can be done by asking locals and also by consulting various directories available there. If you are looking for place to stay in Niseko, people at HTHolidays will help you with that.

Backpacking in Japan is something that will leave you with a deep appreciation for culture and nature in an affordable way.

Natasha is travel enthusiast and blogger writing for her own blog ( Love to explore new places and countries and meet interesting people.

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