Dipping in an onsen or hot spring is an integral part of the Japanese culture. The practice dates as far back as 552 AD and is believed to free oneself from carnal sins. It’s Japan’s answer to Korea’s jjimjilbang. Onsens or sentos are found in most hotels but the best ones are in the mountainous slopes with water supplied straight from its natural source. The experience can be a bit intimidating but once you get the hang of it (pun intended), it’s actually pretty liberating.
Japan’s notoriety for being one of the most expensive destinations in the world has greatly affected its potential for tourism growth. But during the last few years, considerable efforts to put an end to this age-old rumor has become more and more palpable. Some of the perks visitors now enjoy include heavily discounted transportation passes, free wifi connection across the country, and generous tax deductions on certain purchases. A budget traveller like myself was even surprised to find out how seemingly affordable everything was during my first visit in autumn of 2014.
My 11-day journey in the land of the rising sun fittingly began in the culinary city of Osaka and ended in the country capital of Tokyo. And in between these two equally interesting destinations, I managed to squeeze in side trips to Kyoto, Hiroshima, Hakone, and Kawaguchiko (for Mt. Fuji) – all within a budget of PhP 57,000 (USD 1,280).
Whether you’re a serious traveler or a penny-pinching backpacker, hotel/ accommodation expenses can eat up a huge chunk of your travel budget. Thankfully, the hospitality industry revolution Japan has undergone over the last decade made it possible for both tourists and locals alike to find pocket-friendly accommodations. So to those looking to save a few yen without necessarily sacrificing their level of comfort, consider staying in the following on your next Japan trip: Continue reading →