Thursday, July 21, 2011

Preparations for Chubu & Hokuriku ♥

Unlike my parents, who adore package tours for the lack of need for planning, I thouroughly enjoy planning out my own trips, investigating routes and where I’d like to go, see, visit and eat at~Not only do I (effectively!) learn more about the place, but free and easy also means discovery at my own pace and own time. With the advent of technology, all the information needed is a mere click away; the internet is our best friend!

Flanked by the Kansai and Kantou regions, Chubu is smack in the center of Japan, and comprises of 9 prefectures. Often bypassed and ignored by foreign travellers as they travel from Tokyo to Kyoto, Hokuriku is the northern part of Chubu, the prefectures along the coastline of the Sea of Japan~
(images from Google images)

Being near the sea, the region is famous for its fresh and delicious seafood catches, as well as traditional crafts like wood-carving, lacquer-ware, paper-making and iron-casting to name a few. But above all, it will charm you with its plethora of gorgeous natural scenery of rugged seascapes, towering cliffs, lakes, magnificent mountain ranges, highlands, plateaus, scenic valleys and gorges~ (´౪`)

However, due to the region's location, planning local transportation can be quite a hassle, as the rail lines are a mix of JR West, JR Central and JR East. Thus there's no applicable rail pass you can use if you're planning to visit the region for less than a week; you have to buy each ticket individually.

If you're going for more than a week, you can get the JR pass (28,300yen for 7 days). If you have a lot of time and don't mind slower trains, you could get the Seishun 18 Kippu (11,500yen for 5days), but it cannot be used on Shinkansens or limited express trains.

I'm sorry it looks kiddish, I've only got Paint and a mouse!

Train information/timings/journey length can be checked at the following pages (Japanese only):
JR Central:
JR West:
JR East:

You input your departure and arrival stations, the date/times you want to depart or arrive by, and they'll show the available routes fitting your criteria, also including journey times, fares, transfers etc! If you don’t know Japanese but know Mandarin, then it shouldn’t be a problem for you either. If not, you can try Googling the kanji of the areas you want to go, and copy/paste it to the page ♪(*´ω`*)

An alternative to trains would be buses, some of which can be booked online or reserved through phone. Buses can be faster than regular trains, cost less, and have no need for transfers. Buses between major cities in Chubu/Hokuriku can be booked online without registering as a member at However it's mainly in Japanese. English/Chinese/Korean is only available if you're booking buses from Shinjuku.

Many day/side trips to scenic locations are also only accessible by bus, as there aren’t any railway tracks built there. Some even ban cars to preserve the pristine beauty of the place, which is a tad troublesome, but a great implementation for the preservation of the area I believe~!

My bus tickets, face sunblock and travel skin care

Summer in Japan can get unbearably hot. And if you're going to be spending most of the day outdoors walking here and there like I will be, then you must never forget to bring sunblock!

– Sunblock is very important in maintaining good skin as most aging is caused by sun damage. Ever seen those photo-aging (aging caused by light/sun/UV exposure) posters in clinics? Eurgh a horrible sight! And since summer equates long hours of sun exposure, be sure to take care~ (´・ω・` )★

– Lipbalm (with SPF) would be good too, as dry/dehydrated lips can be painful! Don’t forget a hat to shade your head/face and shades (with UV protection) to shield your eyes~

– It's important to remain hydrated throughout the day, so bringing a water bottle around can be useful, especially if you're hiking in the mountains where convenience stores may be…non-existent.

If you’re like me and don’t like asking people for directions or enjoy finding your own way, then making your own map could be a good idea~ You can eliminate the distracting unnecessary information, and can merge information from various different maps to add in places you want to go, paths you intend to take, etc, to create your own customized version~
Brochures/maps and a draft of my personalized hiking map!

Getting sick on a trip can be bothersome; medicine and clinic visits can get rather costly in Japan. So why waste precious time visiting the doctor when you can be out exploring! (*´д`*) So I usually bring my own medication for basic illnesses like cough, colds, fever, indigestion etc. (However if you end up with severe illnesses like...coughing up blood or fainting or something out of the ordinary, do not hesitate to go to the doctor!! Your survival is at stake!)

Of course packing light is the best way to go, especially if you’re travelling alone. Passport, tickets, bus/hotel reservation receipts, foreign currency are things that mustn’t be forgotten! ♪

Exactly 60h till I fly off, but I still have yet to start putting anything into my suitcase!

1 comment:

  1. *jellyjellyjelly*

    LOL I like planning my own trips too! Perhaps it's a generation thing? =P

    Looking forward to all your photos from this trip, seems like a very beautiful place with great scenery! =)