Best Links to Plan Your Japan Trip

Winner links that helped me plan our Japan trip better. Without them there will be lots of wasted time and stress level will be on red alert.
It has a complete listing of the tourist spots in Japan categorized by area. Example for Hakone, it will list down all the tourist spots within and a brief description of the site. It also includes a map and directions of how to get there. This is my one true guide to it all. I printed out all points of interest to me and also the maps. It is very important to print out map, so if you are lost, you just point to the map. Remember, this is Japan so English is quite sparse.
This site will help you find the best route for your destination by inputting your entry station and end station. For example, my hotel is nearest Shinsaibashi station in Osaka and I want to get to Nara. I just type Shinsaibashi and Nara and several route options will appear. It also has the total commute expense and estimated time you will spend on commute including walk time during transfers! Galing! The key here is you have to know the train or bus station you are getting in and off at.
If you are not sure if the tourist site is worth your time it would be good visiting trip advisor for reviews of the site and hotels. It has lots of reviews and pictures too.
This has a good listing of the ryokans (traditional Japanese Inns) from the high end at Y50,000 to budget ones as low as Y7,000. You also reserve the ryokan through this site. They don’t give real time reservation instead they will get back to you in a few days to confirm your reservation. But they are reliable. We booked our Fuji-Hakone Guest House through them. The site will ask for your credit card but that's only for verification and cancellation purposes. You will be billed at the ryokan upon check out. Book in advance to ensure you get your preferred ryokan. They fill up quite easily especially the budget ones.

To navigate the site, click on the prefecture and you will see a list of prefectures (prefectures cover an area larger than a city). Hakone belongs to the prefecture of Kanagawa. We stayed in Hakone at Fuji-Hakone Guest House which is in the budget category and had a perfectly pleasant stay. And we liked the ring of a guest house it’s more homey and has an exchange student feel to it - and that’s exactly what we got. Plus Japan is generally fastidious about cleanliness and the Fuji-Hakone Guest House fit the genre. See my Fuji-Hakone Guest House Blog.
Book your inter-city buses from this site. We booked our Osaka-Tokyo-Osaka through Willer. See separate blog on Japanese Buses.
Book your city hotels through this site. We booked our Hearton Hotel, Osaka through this site. They give instant confirmation and have the cheapest rates. Unlike the japaneseguesthouses, agoda will bill your credit card right away. So what is left to settle with the hotel is your incidentals and extended stay if ever.

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