Japan is steeped in legend and myth, perhaps the greatest of which is the popular misconception that the country is simply too expensive to visit. The truth is that flights to Japan are cheaper than they've ever been, accommodation can be great value, while the warm hospitality which awaits every visitor costs nothing at all. The real secret to travelling around the country on a budget, however, is the Japan Rail Pass. With this pass you can travel on some of the fastest trains in the world as often as you like for as long as you please - and all for one bargain price. Use this comprehensive guide in conjunction with a rail pass to get the most out of your trip to Japan.
NEW FOR THE THIRD EDITION
New route guides for the Tohoku shinkansen extension from Hachinohe to Shin-Aomori (opened December 2010) and the Kyushu shinkansen extension (opened March 2011) from Hakata to ShinYatsushiro. Passengers can now travel from Shin-Osaka, on Honshu, to Kagoshima, at the southern end of Kyushu, without changing train.
Expanded sections for places on most people's itineraries:Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kamakura, Nikko, Hakone (Mt Fuji area) and Miyajima.
New sections include: Kawagoe, Narita Town, Jigokudani, Shirakawa-go, Yoshino-yama, Aizu-Wakamatsu, Kakunodate, Ibusuki (for the natural hot sand bath), Tokushima and a side trip to Naruto Whirlpools.
Planning Parts of the planning section have been revised and expanded; these include the suggested itineraries as well as festivals and events. The timetables (for all routes in the book) now have kanji for all the station names; the words and phrases section and also the food and drink glossary have also been expanded and now have kanji.
Plus features from the previous editions:
Practical information - planning your trip; suggested itineraries; what to take; getting to Japan
City guides and maps - where to stay, where to eat, what to see in 30 towns and cities; historical and cultural background
Kilometre-by-kilometre route guides - covering train journeys from the coast into the mountains, from temple retreat to sprawling metropolis; 34 route maps
Railway timetables - bullet trains and all routes in this guide
Plus - customs, etiquette, Japanese phrases and 40 colour photos
After the tragic earthquake in northeast Japan in March 2011, tourism in Japan has been showing strong signs of recovery in recent months, so the timing of this new edition and a visit to the country is ideal.