Best months:
June to November


Travel article
LAST UPDATED 03/01/2008
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Japan kanto map small (from www.wikitravel.org)

Kanto is the eastern region of the main island Honshu of Japan, including Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa. Population is about 42,000,000 persons in an area of 32,423.90 squared kilometres.

Most visitors arrive in the Kanto region via Tokyo, and most of those arrive via Narita Airport, Japan's main international gateway. The Kantō region is the most highly developed, urbanized, and industrialized part of Japan. Tokyo and Yokohama form a single industrial complex with a concentration of light and heavy industry along Tokyo Bay. Other major cities in the area include Kawasaki (in Kanagawa Prefecture); Saitama (in Saitama Prefecture); and Chiba (in Chiba Prefecture).


π: Niijima Island, Izu Islands

The Kanto Region includes the megalopolis of Tokyo and Yokohama and includes the best known surfing area of Japan around the Chiba Prefecture. The sheer proximity to Tokyo, a city of almost 13 million people means that you are going to get crowds, lots of them. Mid week is better but still horrible by most world scales. If it’s all a bit much for you, try a special trip to some of the outer islands around Tokyo such as those in the Izu group to the south.

If crowds are your thing though, get out there and mix it up - every wave's a party!


Express train to Shibuya (from www.wikitravel.org)

Japan has one of the world's best transport systems, so you will really enjoy travelling around the country. Transportation can be quite expensive, but fast and safe. Train is definitely the most popular option. Japanese railway system covers the majority of the country and trains nearly always depart and arrive on time, so you can rely on the schedule. Just remember that most trains don’t operate 24 hours, so plan a backup if want to be out late. The first and most confusing aspect of the system is the overlap of several private railway networks with the JR network, plus Tokyo also has two separate metro systems. So just be aware of that. Also note, that private railways are often cheaper than JR for an equivalent journey.

Another option is to travel by plane with the majority of domestic flights leaving from Haneda (HND) in Tokyo, Itami (ITM) in Osaka and Kobe’s airport. Book tickets in advance, which may allow you to get a significant discount, otherwise it will be quite expensive; and allow 3-4 hours to transfer. If you are 22 or younger, check the Skymate Card for special prices.
Boats are a surprisingly uncommon means of transport, mainly because the major islands are linked together by bridges and tunnels. There are some long-distance ferries linking Okinawa and Hokkaido, but it will be cheaper to travel by plane/train.

Long-distance highway buses are much cheaper than trains, but prepare for the longer journey and less comfort. Local buses are common in smaller towns and have the idiosyncratic payment system, where you board from the back of the bus and grab a little numbered slip as you enter. You pay at the end of your trip after pressing a stop button. You should deposit the slip and corresponding payment in the fare machine next to the driver (there is an electronic board there displaying numbers and prices below), just make sure before the trip that you are nor short on change.
Taxis are a bit expensive, but they are clean, completely safe and can be found everywhere in Japan, even in the country.  

where to stay

Chris 73: Capsule hotel in Osaka; 29 November 2004

There are a few cities in Kanto, which you can live comfortably in.

One of them includes Kawasaki. A moderate-budget hotel in Kawasaki is the Kawasaki Mets Hotel, it is the closest hotel to a station on the Tokaido Line between Tokyo and Yokohama station.
Free broadband and breakfast is provided and holders of the Japan Rail Pass and JR East Pass receive a discount.

An alternative would be the Kawasaki Grand Hotel. It is fairly close to the station - about a 5 minute walk to JR Kawasaki Station. Most staff speak english here, which can come in handy!
Rooms in this hotel are slightly larger than most other business hotels in Kawasaki and have high speed internet access. Breakfast and daily English and Japanese newspapers are provided.

Tokyo is another city worth staying at. Most of the budget accommodation in Tokyo can be found in the Taito area. Capsule hotels are generally the cheapest, however, most of them are men-only.

One of the cheapest ways to stay can be also a losmen (youth hostel).

what to pack

Mohylek-Fujifilm Finepix S9000; 1 April 2007

Pack warm and cool clothes. All the gear if you plan to camp: a good sleeping bag and tent that are good for cool  temperatures; special gas container u can use for heating food and water; a sturdy backpack or a cargo pack with a good daypack. Invest in a portable water filter or at least take some puri-tabs or boil the water.

A small backpack makes a good carryon bag and will be useful in daily life. Women: remember to take a good flat pair of shoes.... And for everybody: pair of comfortable walking shoes will be great for walking.

Definitely take along some bug repellent spray, good sunscreen and sunglasses! Better take your medicines with you (esp. anti histamine tablets), as the brands can be unfamiliar and cost more. By the way, getting a trip medical insurance would be a good idea.

Yes, and take a dictionary as well. 

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