Getting Organised

by Anthony on March 2, 2010

I knew I was going to Japan, and I knew when I was going.  But that was about all I knew.

I still had to plan a lot of things, like  getting a passport and finding out how I would get around in Japan.


Getting a passport in Australia is fairly easy.  The process is outlined here. You need a birth certificate, of course.   Then you’ll want to go to your local Australia Post outlet to collect the application form.  That’s also the best place to get your passport photo taken.

They know all the requirements, and can ensure that your photo is taken correctly – it turns out there’s a lot of rules about the photo.  They’ll probably be taking photos between certain hours, so check that before you go in to avoid a second trip.

Arranging a Flight

In my case, I flew direct from the Gold Coast aiport to Narita International Airport aboard JetStar, which is a discount airline.  I was kind of dreading the flight, because I had a miserable flight on Jetstar to Melbourne a few years prior, but this one turned out pretty well.

The flight is long – around 9 hours.  The standard seats were comfortable, if a bit shy on leg room. Getting the in-flight meals is a good idea, unless you want to pack a box of musli bars.  I thought the on-flight entertainment was a waste, but then, I had my iPod touch loaded up with a few good movies.

Train Travel in Japan

Trains are a great way to travel in Japan.  Compared to Australia, the railways are amazing.  They can get a little expensive though, which is where this tip comes in.

There’s a special rail pass available, but you can’t get it within Japan.  You have to purchase the pass before you go, then you exchange your receipt for the actual pass once you’re in-country.  I suppose this is a way of keeping it available only to tourists.

It’s called the Japan Rail Pass.  In my case, I bought a JRE 4-day Flexi pass.  This means I can travel on any Japan Rail East train as much as I want, for 4 days.  The Flexi part means it doesn’t have to be 4 days in a row.

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