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First time in Japan

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First time in Japan

I haven't been to Japan but very much interested in visiting it. What month of the year is the best (cheap) time to go there, other than winter? Also, which city do you suggest I stay. I'm very interested in culture, sights, the city. I'm thinking of travelling there this year, but I have no clue how to start my plans.

Columbus, Ohio
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1. Re: First time in Japan

If you don't have allergy (hay fever), Spring is the best time as Japan is famous for beautiful cherry brossoms.

Fall is also beautiful with gorgeous picture-perfect leaves, especially in Kyoto.

You should avoid the following dates.

New Year holiday: End of Dec - Beg of Jan

Golden Week: End of Apr - Beg of May

Obon: Mid Aug

Very few Japanese people take vacation in the beginning of April because fiscal year usually starts in April and students go back to school in April.

So, April may be the cheapest.

You should visit Tokyo and Kyoto.

Please refer to other posts for the reason.

Kurashiki, Japan
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for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
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2. Re: First time in Japan

Cheapest months would be February (with the exception of Hokkaido as it is ski season, plus the snow festival which happens in Sapporo making everything expensive that week) but it can be pretty damn cold here. March warms up and you will see a lot of college students on graduation trips, but things are still cheap.June is rainy season, so is cheap, as it the end of November, after all the leaves have changed/fallen. You will have no problems with battling hordes or tourists/getting decent hotel accomodation/high airfares during these times.

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3. Re: First time in Japan

Although Tokyo is the most convenient destination for overseas visitors, it has very little real sight, but more expensive than other places in Japan. Osaka is cheaper, same city scenes, proximity to Kyoto and Nara (culture and history and sights).

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4. Re: First time in Japan

Jpn is beautiful at the times the first person mentioned but as everything is quite expensive there, you really need to make sure you have enough money to get around. Mexico it is not.

I always feel that there are two Japans - Tokyo and the rest of the Jpn. So it depends on what you want to see.

If you want to see the funky, younger set, then Tokyo is the place to be. If you want to see more traditional culture, go to Kyoto. If you want to understand their role in WW2, go to Hiroshima.

I personally would choose to go either in early spring or mid-autumn. That is when the most festivals are on.

Do read up on it though, since here on this forum, no one really knows your own personal tastes and expectations. My favourite book series for travel is the Lonely Planet. But I really feel you should do a bit of reading on things before you go. So much of the "Jpn experience" is so subtle, compared to Western culture that if you don't know what to look for (in sights, cultural places and attractions), you'll miss it and wonder why someone on this forum said it was a big deal and not to be missed. The Lonely Planet is an excellent guide to help you get a 'feel' for the different parts of Jpn and to help you plan your budget. But again, I say, it is very expensive, in relation to other places to visit in Asia.

But still cool - if you do decide to go, you'll enjoy yourself, no doubt. Go with a friend too; it can be a lonely place otherwise.