Web Resources we used when Planning our Family Holiday to Japan
The crew over at And Three To Go are off to Japan in a bit over a month, and I promised a rundown of our most useful web resources. I didn’t promise her a nice title picture, though, which is a relief, because:
KA International Mothers – expat mums group blogging about life in Japan. Includes lots of good links to individual bloggers in the side-bar.
Having A Ball in Japan – frequent Japanese visitor and football fan shows us around the country.
Japan-Hub.com – Japanese-American and repeat visitor to Japan blogs about all things Japanese.
Aki-San Japan – Canadian with Japanese heritage hops over the water to discover a part of her history.
Matt’s Blog – an American with Japanese heritage plans his first overseas trip – to Japan in 2015.
Hey from Japan – expat recently in Japan, now moved to Canada, but check through the archives and sidebar.
Japanniversary – brand new blog which aims to cover important festival dates on the Japanese calendar.
Get Beneath The Surface – infoblogging on Japan from several contributing authors.
Japan Travel Advice – has some general regional information, plus a monthly list of events and festivals around Japan.
Tofugu – professional site serving up language and culture.
Eclectic Lamb – all things bento.
TokyoBling – for the images.
Shizuoka Pictures – for some more images, in a slightly more southern location.
And for something a bit different on the internet, you can also hear Japan at World Listener.
Info on Japan and/or Visiting Therein
Kids’ Web Japan
From language, culture and history to engineering and technology – everything your kid wants to know but is too jaded with your abysmal store of knowledge to ask.
The font of all background and practical information a tourist to Japan would want to know, ever. Very thorough.
Shimoda Travel Guide
This has been put together by a child-friendly family guest house in the Shimoda region, and has handy local information and links.
Seat 61, Japan
The go-to train site for pretty much anywhere that has trains has an excellent Japan page, as expected.
Our ticket is a JR East pass – great value for a wide region around Tokyo. This one’s available on arrival (the exchange rate for the online voucher isn’t fantastic at the moment).
ToCoo! Car Rental is the site everyone raves about. Apparently you can sometimes get better deals by going direct through local rental companies, but usually not.
Warning: we bought the TooCoo! Additional Support package but did not receive a reply for our requested map references. Luckily, helpful service station attendants were able to punch our destinations into the GPS for us with minimal miming and printouts which included the postcode. We didn’t try the emergency hotline or translation service. Next time we’ll decline the Additional Support package and rely on phrasebooks, friendly locals, and our travel insurance emergency hotline instead.
If you want a car with driver, Chuo Taxi is the one people recommend on, like, TripAdvisor. They do shared shuttle services to the mountains from Narita and Tokyo, and advertise charter services “throughout Japan” if you’re bringing your own group.
The usual suspects worked well for Japan: Booking.com (full points for making it easy to know how many kids you can fit into your room); AirBnB (narrowly missed our choice this time); and Flipkey.com.
To book local-style accommodation, try Japanese Guest Houses, which ran a good booking service, or contact establishments directly – I contacted a couple of places and got very prompt and helpful replies.
You can now find me on Pinterest, which I recently joined after realising I’m basically doing Pinterest-like things anyway. I know not everybody likes being pinned, so I’m looking for your share-on-pinterest button as a signal, and using title images where available, and non-identifying images (meaning, ones without faces, especially children) if not.
Oh, but my point is here’s some extra stuff on Japan I pinned during my research, like an article on how to organise pocket wifi for your stay.
And of course there’s my Japan tag.
If you have your own favourite web resource on Japan, feel free to leave a link in the comments. (Just warn me if you think I’ll cry to have missed it, so I can draft up a savings plan for our next trip before clicking through.)