Earlier in May, I took a trip to Tokyo and Hokkaido. We wanted to catch the last of the cherry blossom season, so our trip revolved around Hokkaido. It was my first trip to Japan!
Here is the route I covered in that 9 days:
We flew from Singapore to Tokyo and Chitose back to Singapore.
Each of the cities (except for Tokyo, since there are plenty of information out there already!) has a separate guide detailing every single detail about the area, including where to go, what to eat and how to get around. You can click on the respective links above!
Also, if you’re confused as to which Japan rail passes to take because there are at least 5 rail passes for different parts of Japan, I have a post that breaks the different kinds of rail passes down too.
After getting wind of my Japan trip, the Hokkaido Government Representative Office (ASEAN) in Singapore invited me to do a sharing session about my Hokkaido trip after I returned.
You can find the full sharing session in the Youtube below.
It was my first time doing public speaking as a travel blogger, and I am greatly humbled for this opportunity. I’d done a video interview earlier this year about solo travelling as a female for Millennials of Singapore. It’s another nerve-wrecking time, considering I’m more of a person behind-the-scenes. 😛
With this blog, I am definitely stepping out of my comfort zone and getting opportunities I would never have imagined, like my first sponsored trip to Indonesia! Since I started taking this travel blog seriously from 2016, it’s a personal feat, considering it has only been 1.5 years to date!
If there’s anything I noticed from my brief trip to Japan, it’s that:
General thoughts about Japan
- Japanese are extremely polite and courteous people. They would help you as much as you can, and they always apologise.
Japan is a very clean country. Every time a train arrives at a stop, there would be cleaners at each train door holding up a trash bag for commuters who are exiting the train to throw their trash. They would then make their rounds in each of the cabin to clear the trash found in the cabins.
Japan is also very environmentally-conscious. Even in the Airbnbs that we stayed, we were given instructions how to separate biodegradable from non-biodegradable items.
Food in Japan
- Japan, like Singapore, have food courts too! However, patrons have to be responsible for cleaning up after themselves. There are table cloths and a sink in every food court that we went. So when you do visit one (think Singapore’s Takashimaya basement), you should have the basic courtesy to clear your trays after eating!
Some shops make you order food via a vending machine. Before you get a seat, you have to order your meals by selecting your choices through a vending machine. You then insert your money and the order goes to the shop. That’s when you finally get seated. These shops are most commonly ramen shops. It’s interesting because we’ve never encountered a shop that saves on labour costs and operates via a vending machine!
Transport in Japan
- Japanese are one of the most punctual people. Even the trains leave on time. If you think you might be a minute late in catching the train, don’t bother. It would probably have left by the time you arrive.
There are priority seats for women, the elderly and the pregnant in their local subway/ metro trains. There are some cabins that are reserved solely for these people at certain timings.
When you arrive at a new city via a train, before your excitement gets you venturing out of the train station to explore the city, go to the tourist center and grab a city map! Enquire about hop-on-hop-off buses, bus timings and special sights you must catch in the city. Tourist centers get these queries a lot, so if you want to cover the basic touristy spots, they can give you quick and straightforward answers!
Due to time constraints, I couldn’t share more about my personal experience. If you still have questions about visiting Japan or Hokkaido, drop a comment below, or shoot me an email!
If it’s about getting around, the weather, the language barrier (oh, I had great concern about this prior to the trip, but learned that this was not an issue at all), the sanitation, etc, I’ll be happy to share more about it!
Which is your favourite item on the list?