It’s been a while since I last posted. Apologies for going MIA for a bit. There were some changes in my life and I was also infected with Covid awhile back. I’m better now but still on the road to full recovery.
Yup, you saw that right. I want to visit Japan, again! So recently, I started trip planning for Japan.
My friends and I are hoping it’ll be possible to visit Japan this year and are eagerly waiting for the Japanese government to announcement opening for independent tourists. Japan has only opened up for guided package tours for now as the ground sentiments aren’t very positive yet to letting in tourists in big numbers.
Some of my friends are really optimistic as they booked their air tickets the moment Japan announced opening for package tour tourists. I wonder if they are getting anxious as their travel dates start drawing nearer with no announcements for independent tourists in sight. I’m being a little cautious and have not booked my air tickets yet. Don’t really want to deal with the hassle of changing dates or getting a refund.
Package tours to Japan? Not for Ling!
I’ve never been to Japan on a package tour and don’t see a need to do so. Japan is a relatively easy country to travel by yourself. There’s lot of information online for reference – Ling’s Japan Travel Tips is one of them. 😉 You can easily plan your Japan trip on your own with the wealth of information online.
Right now the guided package tours are also more costly with controlled itineraries. There’s been comments online that liken these guided tours to those for North Korea. I wonder if the guides have to follow the tourists to the restrooms? 🤔 That will be so stressful, not what a holiday should be.
I’ve read some online articles that it’s not that bad, there were still pockets of free and easy time but tourists have to stay within the defined area. If you can’t wait and don’t mind spending a little more, guided package tours to Japan will work for you.
Japan trip planning
I get super excited when doing Japan trip planning. My imagination runs wild with the places I can visit, the food I can eat and also the friends I can meet up with. Trying to get the best value and keep everything within a specific budget is quite fun too. Like how do I max the use of the JR Pass or how to squeeze in good meals and lodgings without breaking the wallet. (Yeah, I’ve got a weird sense of fun 🤣)
I’ve even contacted some of my Goodwill Guide friends, seeking information for places I want to go. A Goodwill Guide coordinator even asked me what activities my friends and I wanted to do. He’s also eagerly anticipating our visit.
Don’t put all your eggs in 1 basket
There’s a few websites predicting the independent tourists opening. The last update I saw indicated a 65% for Oct, down from 85% before the recent increase in Japan’s Covid cases. It was quite disappointing for my friends and me. We’re still hoping we’ll hear good news soon. At the same time, we are realistic and have a Plan B destination in mind. Just in case.
If you’re also planning to visit Japan this year, do have a backup destination in mind. It’ll be disappointing if Japan doesn’t open up in time for your planned vacation days. It’ll be worse if at the last minute, you have to scramble to find a travel destination and get hit with high fares and lodging expenses.
I’ve shared the draft trip itinerary with my friends and we all got hungry thinking about the food options I’d planned. One of my friends commented that she’ll be greatly disappointed if we don’t go to Japan this year. We assured her that we’ll do a good planning for Plan B destination so she will not get too disappointed.
Whether we’ll visit Japan in 2023 or have to visit Plan B destination instead, it’s still up in the air right now.