Pretty much got everything booked for Japan now which is a bit of a relief after all the car problems! Got all the hostels bar somewhere in Sendai/Matsushima booked through Hostel World which has been very easy, and a lot of the hostels have since been in touch confirming everything personally and offering extra info on directions and local attractions. Never come across that before when booking accomodation! Travel insurance was easy as ever through Insure & Go. And the most important bit maybe, the 14-day Japan Rail Pass which lets me jump on pretty much any train, bus or ferry ran by Japan Rail arrived too. Really looking forward to the ‘shinkansen’, bullet train, even if some do say they’re over-rated!
So, the plan at the moment is into Tokyo for 3 days, 2 days in Osaka, a day in Nara, 2 days in Hiroshima, back across to Kyoto for 3 days, through Tokyo up to Nikko for a couple of nights, over to Sendai/Matsushima for a couple of nights, then back down through Tokyo again to Fuji 5 lakes + Mt. Fuji for 3 days (hopefully climbing Fuji-san too, depending on weather conditions!) before heading to Narita for the night to make it easy to get to the airport first thing in the morning to fly home. Phew! Before anyone asks, swinging through Tokyo a couple of times simply lets me make the most of the rail pass without occuring additional charges, and Kawaguchiko (Fuji 5 lakes) to Tokyo then Narita is very cheap on the train since the rail pass will have expired by then.
I’m still pouring through guidebooks + websites, so anyone with ideas, suggestions or recommendations – get in touch 😀