Are you planning on orchestrating an unforgettable birthday trip in Japan? Perhaps you already are in the country and need advice on the what, where, how and when of organising your special celebration?
We got you covered, and will tell you why Japan is the ✨perfect✨ venue for your festivities.
Why should you have your Birthday trip in Japan?
For starters, Japan is consistently ranked one of the safest countries in the world. Its rich culture, history, centuries-old traditions, stunning shrines, temples, and breathtaking wilderness are just a fraction of what the country offers. You are guaranteed to never get bored, with something new to discover at every turn or back alleyways.
Here you get the best of both worlds; you can go on a leisurely trip to the countryside to recharge your batteries and enjoy local cuisine and culture, or you can tour one of Japan’s major cities, such as the dynamic capital of Tokyo, where you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to activities, restaurants, and sightseeing, or you can do both! Besides, if you are a kid at heart, you can even choose to spend your special day on the most magical place on earth (aka Disney!) or visit Universal Studios in Osaka with exclusive Japan rides and a recently opened Nintendo World area. There is something to suit everyone’s likes and inclinations. Whether you commemorate your birthday in Japan’s far north city of Hokkaido, heaven for snow sports enthusiasts and all-inclusive ski resorts with renewed festivals, or in Okinawa, the island’s southernmost town with soft sand beaches and azure waters you will undoubtedly find something that appeals to you and your travel mates/friends and family who may join you.
It would be a good idea to start planning your getaway trip 2-3 months ahead of time to alleviate stress if there are any last-minute adjustments or cancellations. We recommend learning a few essential terms and sentences in Japanese for daily use and reading up on social etiquette and customs for the best experience.
Japan 101 👩🏻🏫 📚
Before we get started on today’s topic, there are a few things you ought to know about Japan.
If you’re anxious about the language barrier, bear in mind that, while Japanese is the most often spoken language, major tourist destinations and facilities will offer English guides and recommendations. Not only that, but the Google Translate software, which provides instant translation and support, allows you to travel anywhere, without any awkward body language communication. If you don’t understand what’s on the menu at a typical Japanese restaurant, point your phone camera at the page you are reading and it will automatically translate it; the same goes for street signs or transport information. Furthermore, despite the linguistic and cultural obstacles, many Japanese people would go above and beyond to help you and make you feel welcome in their country.
Useful information is also available online from well-known websites such as Japan Guide or via our firm, Flip Japan Guide. Our company can provide you with the ultimate tailor-made itinerary and recommendations for your trip based on our decade-long living and travelling experience in Japan. In case you have any questions or need assistance organising an event, please contact us via any of our social media channels. Our initial consultation call is free, so please do not hesitate to connect with us!
Another factor to consider is that Japan is still mostly a cash-based society, with few outlets accepting credit cards. This is progressively changing, especially in the aftermath of the Tokyo Olympics, which resulted in significant amendments. Money exchange services are widely accessible in large metropolitan areas such as Shinjuku, and cash may be withdrawn at convenience stores, particularly 7-Elevens, which have ATMs that accept foreign credit cards. However, make sure to inform your bank and enable overseas consumption!
📝 Noted everything down? Let’s get to planning!
Step 1: What is your purpose? 🎯
You must first decide on the intention of your celebratory vacation. That encompasses all of your preferences and the things you want to see and experience the most during your trip. You may choose to explore Japan for a variety of reasons, with its diverse food and drinks, entertainment complex, vibrant nightlife, pop culture, stylish and distinctive boutiques and outlets, discovering more about the country’s cultural heritage, among others.
One of the biggest reasons for coming to Japan is to eat and drink. Did you know that Tokyo, Japan’s capital, has the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the entire planet? That should give you an inkling of how wonderful the local cuisine and beverages are here.
In the middle of the restless city of Tokyo, or anywhere around the city really, you will not only find restaurants offering authentic homemade Japanese food but also international cuisine, from French bistros, Indian restaurants, Middle-Eastern specialties to Brazilian BBQ buffets, all of which are easily accessible via walking or public transportation.
Just make sure to look up when searching for your chosen restaurants as some may be sky-high buildings with direction signs above your head. There are also many affordable yet delicious options, including all-you-can-eat/drink menus. Ultimately, there are dining possibilities to suit every taste, wallet, and diet, with more vegan and gluten-free restaurants launching in major cities.
Pro tip: Dine at or order from local establishments serving Japanese specialities using apps like ubereats or wolt to save money on food and beverages. Alternatively, visit your local convenience stores for low-cost meals and unique snacks.
Another reason to visit Japan is its vibrant nightlife and pop culture. You may already be aware that Japan is well-known for its console games, books, comics/manga, and anime, but it is also a famous destination for all things musical, including live concerts, festivals, and cinematography.
Big cities like Tokyo and Osaka have an abundance of cafes and izakayas (pubs) with one-of-a-kind themes, and designs and scrumptious small plates to accompany your beverage of choice. There are also hidden pubs and restaurants with mysterious doorways. 🤫 In fact, here at Flip, we arrange fun bar-hopping and nightlife excursions, promising you a memorable night out in Tokyo!
Staying on the subject of fun, did you know that Japan has a distinctive Disney Sea park and Universal Studios in Tokyo and Osaka? If you are a thrill seeker or need that adrenaline rush, you must check out Fuji Q theme park in Tokyo, offering wild roller coaster rides and games; it’s one of those places where you surely will laugh out loud and make unforgettable memories with your friends and loved ones.
Aside from being one of the world’s most secure countries, with Tokyo operating as both a gastronomic paradise and a fashion metropolis, Japanese culture and customs span thousands of years and are truly one-of-a-kind. Along with exploring majestic temples and shrines, and futuristic museums, you can also partake in seasonal festivals, attend a tea ceremony while dressed in a kimono, learn to make sushi, witness a sumo battle or baseball game, and more. A bonus is that all of these activities will share and teach you about Japan’s rich history and ancient philosophies!
Determining your purpose will allow you to know your trip’s direction and what you need to focus on without feeling overwhelmed. It will be a good idea to set up a group chat with your friends to discuss your travels, guest list, dates, and people’s attendance.
Step 2: Budget 💰
This is an important step that will shape the remainder of your trip. Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or a simple notepad with a pen will become your new best friend. It is advisable to itemise all of your expenses, including flight tickets, housing, food and beverages, chosen excursions, shopping estimates, activities you want to participate in, transportation charges, and any other relevant expenses.
If you’re travelling with a group, discuss and confirm all projected costs to ensure that everyone is comfortable and on the same page about everything. Flip can help you get ready for your dream vacation through our professional travel planning services. You can see our plans and offers here.
Step 3: How long can you stay in Japan? 🤔
The subsequent step is to figure out the duration of your stay in Japan, bearing in mind your budget and previously discussed objectives. Check your agenda and the flexibility of the people you will be vacationing with, as some may only be available on long weekends or public holidays. The length of your trip in Japan will be influenced by yours and your mates’ interests, the number of places you choose to visit and, of course, your budget and overall availability.
Assuming you are only able to take a weekend trip. In this case, we recommend visiting one of Japan’s major cities, such as Tokyo, with endless opportunities, including natural attractions, traditional and cultural activities, exquisite dining, and a lively nightlife. However, if you have the chance to visit Japan for a week, you may view our itinerary here.
Travelling to Japan for the first time might be daunting and stressful because everything is new and foreign. That is why we suggest that you explore one city, with all of its delights and hidden treasures, and then extend your horizons and travel to other surrounding sites the next time you visit the country.
Step 4: Figure out the best city/cities for you 🏙️ 🗼
Another thing to think about is which areas and cities/cities best suit your passions and bucket-list. Megacities like Tokyo and Osaka are your best bet as destinations with a plethora of activities and a lively nightlife. If, on the other hand, you wish to escape the hustle and bustle of metropolitan areas while still having access to a varied selection of sightseeing and cultural activities, consider visiting towns in Japan’s countryside or historical places such as Kyoto.
However, as you may have suspected, the possibilities do not end there. If you travel to the north of Japan in Hokkaido, you will be in a winter wonderland, perfect for winter sports and ski resorts, not to mention a grand snow festival held every year in wintertime. Catching sight of these giant ice carvings while sipping on a fragrant, hot cup of mulled wine is divine to say the least.
If you wish to get some Vitamin D, travel to one of Japan’s southern islands, such as Okinawa. What could be better than basking in warm, clear blue seas next to coastal beaches while enjoying a pina colada? There are also other maritime excursions to try, such as scuba diving, stand-up paddling or canoeing.
Alternatively, lying within easy reach of Tokyo, is the port city of Yokohama. It offers scenic views with its lush green park, a giant cup-noodle museum offering you the chance to create your own noodle product, a world-famous Chinatown with mouth-watering street food, and typical restaurants, not to mention cute shopping hubs with artsy photo spots. As the sun goes down, the city is illuminated by fairy lights. Its giant Ferris wheel is surrounded by a lively and colourful theme park, promising you a cheerful moonlit adventure.
If you plan on visiting both large cities and rural destinations, purchasing a JR pass may be beneficial, since it will allow you to save money on your journeys from one city to another. Should you require further information and are interested in purchasing this pass, Flip can have it all organised for you, ensuring you a stress-free journey.
Step 5: Activities and places to be visited 🗺️
One of the most important components of vacation planning is determining what you will do and where you will go. Bear in mind that your plans may fluctuate once you are in Japan, depending on the weather and jet lag, among other variables. For example, if the day you intended to visit the Asakusa area in Tokyo forecasts heavy rain all day, you may wish to postpone your kimono stroll and cultural excursions. ☔🤧
Most people tend to associate Japan with typical foods like sushi or Buddhist shrines and temples, but the country has so much more to offer. Aside from visiting the city’s most “touristy” sights, you may also partake in activities that most residents enjoy, such as singing your lungs out at karaoke or discovering hidden gems in your neighbourhood’s surrounding streets.
Not only that but Japan’s natural beauty merits a standing ovation. Several cultural traditions are intertwined with seasonal festivities, such as “hanami,” when people assemble for a picnic beneath cherry blossom trees. If you fancy hiking and exploring the great outdoors, Japan will not disappoint you with its vast mountains, breathtaking landscapes, hiking trails surrounded by nature, and other wilderness adventures.
Traditional Japanese hotels, or “ryokans,” are a fantastic way to immerse oneself in the local culture. Some hotels have on-site hot spring baths, with many properties typically serving traditional Japanese set feasts with rich and fragrant ingredients.
If you wish to have a nighttime adventure, our weekly excursions will take you to crowd-favourite pubs and buzzing clubs that you may not have found elsewhere. We’ll handle all of the planning and research, including arranging reservations and guaranteeing that you and your friends get a free beverage or shot of your choice at the first pit stop of the night!
The good times don’t stop there. Our company has come up with another exciting way for you to discover Japan. As the world’s first customised chatbot tour guide, we provide a new and engaging way to explore Tokyo in a game-like approach. You may buy your ticket instantly via Facebook Messenger in less than 2 minutes. Chat with your virtual tour guide after purchasing your ticket; select your route and let your chatbot know what you want along the trip, and enjoy your journey! You can learn everything you need to know about the upcoming topics and activities right here.
Step 6: Logistics ⚙️
Finally, it is time to wrap things up and concentrate on ✨logistics✨
As previously said, there are countless entertainment options and reasons to visit Japan; it all depends on the aim of your vacation and your interests.
When it comes to housing, Japan has a wide range of options. Stay in a “ryokan” for a traditional and authentic experience. Every city will have a one-of-a-kind Japanese hotel waiting for you, and we can assist you in making bookings as many will only speak the native language. If you want to save accommodation costs, look into hostels or capsule hotels in your chosen location.
Booking an Airbnb is also a great alternative for people of different budgets and tastes. There are several unique B&Bs with distinctive atmospheres and architecture. Finally, if you want to pamper yourself, cities such as Tokyo have fantastic luxury hotels providing world-class service and superb dining options.
Right, so now that accommodation is out of the way, you might be wondering, what on earth am I supposed to pack for Japan? The short answer is: that it depends on what season you plan to come to and what region you will visit.
Suppose you plan to go during summertime, don’t. Just kidding, despite the scorching heat, monsoon rains, and constant humidity, summer in Japan has its perks and seasonal treasures, including its annual traditional festivals and celebrations with fun games and street food, entertaining events, as well as gorgeous nature and scenic views throughout the country. The key is to dress light and wear flowy, airy, and comfortable clothes.
In autumn, the weather is one of the best; with a cool breeze and sunlight, you will be mesmerised by the changing leaves, cascading in red, orange, and yellow tones to the ground. For this season, pack both short and long sleeve shirts and blouses, sneakers, pants, and light jackets. As winter approaches, you will need much warmer clothes and layers, including heavy coats and scarves, especially if you plan to visit northern Japan or stay at a ski resort.
Lastly, springtime in Japan has fantastic weather, which is not too cold or warm. You will get by with long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, or T-shirts with a jacket or cardigan over them. For a more detailed clothes itinerary, feel free to reach out to us at Flip; we consider all of these details in our travel services.
One of the must-have items, when you arrive in Japan, is a transportation card. That will allow you to easily travel from place to place just like a local. Visitors tend to have either a Pasmo card or a Suica card, which you can buy at any big station in Tokyo or upon arrival at the airport. For certain countries, topped-up transportation cards can be delivered to your home before travelling for an extra fee.
Just like transportation cards, you can order your SIM card from companies such as Mobil before arriving in Japan and pick it up at the airport upon arrival. Alternatively, you can have it delivered to your place before your trip. The rates and expenses differ from company to company, so do a little investigation before picking your commuter pass.
Lastly, there is always a lot of confusion about the JR Pass. Is it worth it to get one? The answer is that it depends; if you plan to explore different cities in a couple of weeks, the JR pass might be worthwhile. However, if you stay in a town for the entire trip, it would not be a fitting choice.
Having covered all the essentials, if you have any other questions or wish to book one of our services or tours, try out our games, or receive a Japan starter pack, feel free to reach out to us on any of our social media platforms, and we will be happy to help!
See you soon in Japan! 🇯🇵 🥳