My journey to Japan took 12 hours!
Instead of dishing out over 600 bucks for a 2 hour flight (its peak season being summer holidays in Korea), my friend David and I decided it would be more economic and even more adventurous to take the ferry route. This meant taking a 3 hour KTX (Korean bullet train) to Busan, and then a 3 hour speed jet ferry to Fukoka, Japan.
It cost us about 1/3 the price of a flight since there are deals when you purchase the ferry and KTX package and if you have the luxury of time (which is hard to come by when you work in Korea) then it’s definetly a better plan. We also purchased the 7 day rail pass since we will be will be in Japan for 6 days and our first stop was Kyoto. The original plan was to spend our first night at the Fukoka airport (yes, we are being real cheap backpackers now!) but decided to head straight to Kyoto instead once we arrived. We wanted to get a head start on our 2nd day and make the most of it in Kyoto. The problem was that we had no place to stay since we were supposed to be staying with a couch surfer on Sunday and Monday, not Saturday.
So after riding on the Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) for 3 hours to Osaka, and then taking another 20 min local train to Kyoto, we were more than ready to shell out some cash for a hotel and just be comfortable. PLUS it is super humid and hot in Japan which is not good when you are carrying around a 40lb backpack.
Shinkensan – Japanese bullet train
So far the rail pass has come in super hand and is worth the $283. The trains are quite expensive. Actually, everything pretty much is in comparison to Asian standards but I feel that is because the economy here is much stronger so the standard of living is higher.
I don’t feel any culture shock, probably because I am so used to not understanding anything around me anymore. Japan so far is definitely different to Korea, a lot quieter and much more structured city wise.
Tomorrow will be a day filled with temples in the main Kyoto area. I have wanted to come to Kyoto ever since I saw ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ and can’t believe I’m actually here! If I spot a real geisha, that will totally make my day!!!