I'm planning to spend 3 weeks solo in Japan in October. I'm on a budget, but willing to splurge on some nice meals. Looking for any recommendations on places to stay, eat, visit, etc.
Get a rail pass before you go-will save you heaps and you can often pre-book seats as well. Kyoto a must, Nara not far on train from Osaka is great to visit. Hiroshima and the Peace Park, and Nagasaki(on Kyushu)-both have great Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and interesting to visit. Beppu-also on Kyushu-very high geothermal activity area-has great onsen, and has the Hells of Beppu (geo thermal pools). Can have hot sand baths.-is a beach city.Steam comes up from gutter gratings and cracks in pavements!! Miyajima Island just off Hiroshima-can take a ferry and if you have a Japan Rail pass, covers the ferry. Temples, walk trails and fascinating history. Hint-watch the deer near the ferry terminal-they will eat anything-maps, hats, your bag!
Himeji Castle in Himeji well worth a visit-was never attacked so is original castle. Osaka Castle bombed in WW2 so is just a replica-Himeji for real.
keep an eye out for seasonal foods-lots of little stalls will sell and are hygienic-candied sweet potato, fried maple leaves, okonomiyaki-lots to try.
If you get to Osaka-try to go to Mino Park-about 25 minutes on train from Umeda station. Has walking trails, little temples, and a waterfall, and lots of monkeys. You will probably manage to be there when all the leaves are changing-beautiful, and a real break from the concrete-not much greenery in Japanese cities.
In Tokyo, make sure you go to Ginza. Also go to Harajuku, especially Takeshita Street-crazy fashions. Shibuya 109 interesting to shop in. In Osaka don't miss Ame-mura for interesting and innovative fashions.
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