It may not be as expensive as you think to go to the land of karaoke, anime, Mount Fuji, cherry blossoms, futuristic technology, geishas, sumo, and so much more. Usually touted as one of the most expensive places to visit, Japan has more affordable options for those wanting to travel on a budget.
The Japanese take their ancient heritage seriously, but are also focused on setting trends for the future. So those with a historical bent can visit the traditional cities of Kyoto and Nara where there are temples and shrines galore. Japanese gardens have inspired famous copies the world over, so take a look at the originals in Mito, Okayama, and Kyoto. For history buffs, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are must-visit sites, while those looking for modern Japan will find it in any of the major cities like Tokyo and Osaka. For the unexpected, visit the Beppu hot springs, Okinawa's coral reef, and catch a Puro Yakyū game —that's Japan's professional baseball league!
Fill up on authentic sushi and tempura at any streetcorner restaurant and if you think the English high tea is complex, it's nothing compared to a Japanese tea ceremony! Japan has a legendary rail transport network, but road directions and signs may be a little hard to navigate without a map. English is not so widely spoken, so practicing a few useful phrases in Japanese will help.
Japan has 10 international airports of which the main ones are Tokyo (NRT), Kansai Airport (OIX) near Osaka, and Nagoya (NGO). Haneda Airport (HND) near Tokyo is used for a limited number of international flights and is for the most part limited to domestic flights. Sometimes, a cheaper alternative is to get a flight from China or South Korea to Japan's smaller cities. Tokyo may not always be the best airport to fly to, especially if you are travelling much further south. Airlines flying to Japan from Canada include Air Canada, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, United, Delta, Northwest, and American Airlines.
Most of Japan has four main seasons — spring, summer, autumn winter. However, the seasons differ significantly from the North, where winters are much longer and have heavy snow, to the South, where the climate is much warmer. The summers tend to be hot and humid, except in the North, where it remains pleasant. The rainy season is from May to June, followed by the typhoon season from August to October. Between March and May, and from September to November are the best times to visit. If you're keen on seeing the cherry blossoms, spring is the time for you, but if you want the advantage of low prices, visit Japan in the autumn.