Category Archives: TRAVEL

Super Cheap Japan: Top 5 Rail Passes for Budget Explorers

Source: Gaijin Pot
Super Cheap Japan: Top 5 Rail Passes for Budget Explorers

With Japan increasingly popular with international tourists due to its excellent exchange rate and a great selection of low-cost carriers providing economic travel options, there has never been a better time to pick up a rail pass and head out to explore the archipelago. While travelers used to be limited to the main Japan Rail Pass and a few regional ones, there is now a large selection of passes offered by various train companies as they battle it out for foreign traveler’s budgets.

While researching my new book, Super Cheap Japan, I used these passes to find out the best and cheapest ways to get around the top destinations, as well as the flexibility they allow to visit some key, off-the-beaten-track spots.

1. Enjoy scenic train rides on a budget with the Kyushu Rail Pass

Photo by Tanuki

SL Hitoyoghi at Isshochi station.

Kyushu has some pretty amazing tourist trains, and they are certainly luxury experiences. From Fukuoka to Yufuin, the Yufuin no Mori (Forest of Yufuin) express train has elevated seating for a better view over the beautiful valleys plus a bar lounge car in which to chill out and watch it all go by. Those into Japanese animation or with kids will want to ride on the Aso Boy, a fun-filled train with a bath full of wooden balls for kids to play in and a Japanese-style room where you can settle in with some books. Old-school train enthusiasts will also be interested in the SL Hitoyoshi, a steam train running from Kumamoto into the central mountains. These kinds of experiences would surely be impossible for most visitors, but using a rail pass allows budget travelers to experience them.

The Kyushu Rail Pass, and the more limited northern- and southern-only varieties, are worth getting …continue reading


Kyoto to Tokyo: The Fastest and Cheapest Ways to Get There

Source: Japan Cheapo

The mega-city awaits.
Getting from Kyoto to Tokyo is quick and easy, as it’s one of the most popular travel routes in Japan. The old capital is separated from its contemporary counterpart by roughly 450km, which can be traversed by bullet train, overnight bus or another type of transport—all depending on your budget and available time.
If you’re doing any other trips within Japan, buying a Japan Rail Pass is almost definitely your best option, as it pays for you to go up, down and all over the country on the Shinkansen. If you’re just planning a single Kyoto to Tokyo trip, a one-way bullet train ticket may prove better for your bank balance (select Kyoto as the departing station). There are also some good-value train

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Sasaguri 88 Temple Pilgrimage

Sasaguri, in the mountains just north of the sprawling metropolis of Fukuoka, is home to a miniature version of the famous 88 temple Shikoku Pilgrimage. It is less than 50 kilometers in length, but took me 4 tough days to walk because it is up and down, up and down.

Some of the temples are quite large complexes, in fact the pilgrimage stops at Nanzoin, home to the largest reclining Buddha

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