8 Reasons to Travel to Japan as a Backpacker

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  • Japan is a popular country for tourism. There are currently up to 67 countries and regions that have Japan visa exemptions. The visa exemptions make it easier for more people from around the world to arrange a trip to Japan. With the boom of tourism in Japan, not only group tours, but also, it is likely that there will be an increase in the number of backpacker tourists. Some people might think that traveling Japan on their own is difficult, in regards to language, food, or directions. However, there are a lot more benefits from traveling as a backpacker that you might not have thought before. Additionally, it is not so difficult to navigate anymore with access to the internet. Today, we are going to list those benefits and invite you to join backpacker trips in Japan.

    Winter Illumination - 光の回廊 (桑名市 なばなの里) Winter Illumination at Nabana-no-Sato 13 Feb, 2012

    1. Full freedom of traveling

    backpacker onsen

    Above is a picture of Nyuto Onsen, the milk bath among the gold-colored leaves. I guarantee that you would not have a chance to experience this with a tour group.

    Freedom is the first and original purpose of traveling as backpackers no matter where you go. Your schedule is up to you; so you have total freedom. You can choose what kind of transportation you would like to ride, where to stay overnight, how long you want to spend at each place, what attractions you would like to visit, etc.

    Sometimes, the place you would like to go cannot be fit into your schedule if you travel with other people as part of a tour. It is impossible to go to a cat cafe because other tourists have no interest in it. It is also not convenient to go to a special onsen (Japanese public mineral bath) deep on the mountain since the big-sized tour bus could not reach there.

    Therefore, if you are someone who is fed up with those kinds of problems, the backpacker trip is your solution. This type of traveling allows you to follow your interests most. For example, a trip to Japanese comic museums and cafes, or a trip for cherry blossom viewing and taking photos. Especially, in Japan, there could be many kinds of backpacker trips regarding food, shoppings, comic, nature, amusement parks, and history.

    2. See a different view of Japanese society

    backpacker different view

    Seeing the life of the Japanese is also one benefit that you cannot get with a tour group. Travelling as backpacker allows you to have time to stop and observe people in society. Unlike tour groups that mostly travel by bus, the backpackers travel by local transportation which allows them to be close to Japanese people. These things also give us a good chance to understand what the Japanese do and do not do in daily life. It would definitely be a different experience. For example, you might experience how crowded the train can be in the morning since most Japanese people rely on public transportation to go to work.

    3. Freedom to choose your meals (with the help of Tabelog)

    backpacker tabelog

    Japan is also famous for clean and delicious food. We cannot deny the fact that there is a limited number of restaurants that can seat a tour group of 30 people or more. Also, the food quality might be lower than the normal standard if we choose a low-cost tour.

    Then, why not try finding a good restaurant with reasonable prices for ourselves? In Japan, there is an application, called, “Tabelog” which is simple to use and will help you make a decision much more easily. You can search for what food you would like to eat and find a restaurant near your location. There is a high standard for voting that is reliable. All of the restaurants with a rating higher than 3 are considered great.

    Hence, you can plan in advance for what restaurant you would like to have a meal at in each place you are going to visit. Even though Tabelog is written in Japanese, there is an English version of their website as well as Chinese and Korean versions too. So do not worry about the difficulty of finding food.

    4. 24-hour available convenience stores and vending machines

    backpacker food vending machine

    Aside from main dishes, Japan is also famous for snacks. And it is certain that you will not starve at night since there are convenience stores and vending machines almost everywhere in Japan. According to Japan statistics, there is one vending machine for every 23 people, and one convenience store for every 2000 people in Japan. Both convenience stores and vending machines are open for 24 hours, so you can use their service at any time. Moreover, the price of each product is reasonable and is not that different from other stores. With the fast growing technology, present vending machines do not sell only drinks but also fast food, ice-cream, etc.

    5. Japan’s remarkable public transportation

    backpacker shinkansen

    Japan is also well known for its safe and convenient public transportation. Skytrains, subways, bullet trains, buses, taxis are all connected to each other so that you can travel to any places in Japan. However, the most surprising fact about Japan’s public transportation is the ability to be on time. Almost every train and bus arrives on schedule. This helps people plan their travel schedule more effectively.

    Regarding transportation fees, it might look expensive due to the high living cost in Japan. Nevertheless, there are a lot of package tickets for public transportation in Japan, such as Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass), that will help you save a lot of money. You can search for tourist passes for the part of Japan you would like to go; they are all cost efficient.

    6. Luggage is not a problem when traveling in Japan

    backpacker locker

    Somebody might imagine a backpacker as a man with huge bags on his back, but that is not true in Japan. You do not need to carry all of your luggage while you are traveling. There are a lot of facilities in Japan that provide convenient space for luggage.

    First, the sidewalks in Japan are all well-made so that you can drag your luggage with no worries. All footpaths are smooth, tidy, and wide, so they are friendly to your luggage.

    Second, there is a service for delivering your luggage to your hotel and the airport. If you have large luggage with you, you can ask for it to be delivered to your next destination on any date you want. With the reliability of Japanese delivery companies, there is no need to worry about the luggage being damaged or lost.

    Third, there are lockers for keeping luggage at stations, department stores, and tourist spots. The fee is calculated as daily charge and is not expensive. Therefore, any backpackers who would like to enjoy the day without carrying their luggage with them all day can do so.

    7. Internet access is everywhere in Japan

    backpacker wifi

    With the developed WiFi technology in the present day, traveling seems to be a lot easier since there is now an app providing 4G internet in almost everywhere in the country. With the high-speed Internet, Google Maps can prevent you from getting lost and can guide your transportation route to the destination. The internet also allows you to keep contact with other people while you are traveling. You can also search for any information about tourist spots with 4G high-speed internet in just a few seconds.

    8. Japan is one of the safest countries in the world

    backpacker safe

    According to website Numbeo.com, Japan is ranked as 8th safest country in the world. There are so few criminals and accidents in Japan that there is no need to worry about the safety of traveling as backpackers. Girls are also able to travel alone in Japan. Moreover, Japanese people are kind and are always ready to help you whenever you are in trouble.

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