Japan Travel Basics

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Japan: Modernistic Tokyo Meets Ancestral Kyoto on the Web

Japan is often thought of as the most modern country in the world, and in many ways it is. Yet behind the glitz and glamour of the neon lights and robot dogs, you’ll find a deeply traditional culture that changes at a glacial speed. This guide features the best Web sites to aid you in planning and implementing your trip to Japan, including resources to introduce you to Japanese culture and sightseeing, tools for finding and booking transportation and accommodation, advice to help you stay safe and healthy overseas, and blogs and forums to put you in touch with other travelers.

Japan Travel Basics

Japan may be instantly and endlessly intoxicating, but the country’s complex mix of old and new may take quite a while for newcomers to grasp and appreciate. Get a head start online with sites offering a spectrum of information on the country, as well as details of specific cities and attractions.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Japan comprises four main islands and thousands of smaller islands. The country is divided into eight regions (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Chubu, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu), which are further divided into 47 prefectures.
  • Many tourists head directly to larger cities like Tokyo or Osaka, the two international flight hubs. If you want to escape the pop culture and bright lights in favor of a lower-key experience steeped in tradition and authenticity, try venturing outside of these hot spots to places like, for example, Okinawa; you’ll find fewer crowds and a calmer lifestyle.
  • For vibrancy and cutting edge excitement, Tokyo is the place to be. Even if you’ve had the pleasure of visiting the city before, you may find new buildings, revitalized neighborhoods, renovated museums, and incredible technological advances. A June 2007 article from Wired News called Tokyo a living laboratory.
  • For a much more subdued Japanese experience and a real taste of the country’s breathtaking topography, consider what some call a hidden place: Teuri Island off the coast of Hokkaido. In stark contrast to frenetic cities in Japan, Teuri is an isolated home to fishermen—a Japanese version of Nantucket, according to the author of this essay on the travel site Matador.
  • Sumo wrestling is Japan’s national sport but baseball is just as popular, if not more so. A couple of things to note: women are not allowed inside Sumo wrestling arenas; baseball games in Japan can get rowdy, with intense whistling and cheering, especially during the seventh-inning stretch.

Dulcinea's Picks

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Travel Requirements for Japan

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Getting to Japan

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Getting Around Japan

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Japan Travel Blogs and Forums

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