What can I expect from Japan?

You can’t expect anything from Japan. It’s a world away. Japan has its very own culture worth getting to know.

At first we all think of Tokyo – a giant metropolis with neon lights and endless entertainment choices. Whlile Tokyo is one of the best cities in the world to visit, don’t ignore maybe what’s most important thing about the Japan. And it’s their connection to nature. In every city you go ther’re will be an impecably arranged Japanese garden, or 20 more like in Kyoto, and huge parks.

80% of the country is mountanous so going skiing in Winter and hiking in Summer can be a part of your journey. Did you know that the area of Yamagata experiences some of the heaviest snowfall on the planet?

Not a person who tolerates cold? Well, Japan has an array of Islands with sub tropical climate to accommodate your beach requests. The mainland is surrounded by the pacific ocean which offers some of the best tuna on the planet.

Yes, Japan is a paradise for foodies – the freshest sushi and sashimi, tastiest ramen and most exquisite Kaiseki cuisine are at your disposal in the country of the rising sun.

Japan’s beauty is undeniable especially in Spring when the Cherry Blossom or Hanami season is and the country turns into a giant pink field. While in Fall, the leaves turn bright red, yellow and orange creating a magical feeling everywhere you go.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, depending on how much time you have to spend in the country amazing opportunities will open up for you.

Things to See and Do in Japan

Enjoy the burstling metropolices of Tokyo and Osaka
Eat the freshest sashimi on the planet
Experience Hanami or cherry blossom viewing.
Admire the colours of Fall in the Japanese gardens
Hike Mt. Fuji, or have a glimpse at its majesty
Ski with a view to a volcano - Mt. Yumei
Skinny dip in a hot open-air bath - onsen
Attend to a private tea ceremony
Admire a Geisha show
Japan - Hortense Travel

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto

Japan - Hortense Travel

You can dress up in Yukata

Why should you choose me to plan your trip to Japan?

When you plan a trip you need someone who has actually been there and has experienced the place. While everything in travel is subjective to the person’s point of view and always changing, a push in the right direction can take a lot of weight off your shoulders. Planning an itinerary takes time, concentration and sometimes it takes as many days as the trip itself.

Let me and my local partners in Japan make the heavy lifting for you. 

Apart from planning your daily itinerary for Japan, I’ll be able to help you with the following, personalized to your own trip:

  • Should I order the JR pass?
  • If not what’s the alternative?
  • Do I need a car?
  • Where to stay near Mt. Fuji?
  • The best stops between Kyoto and Tokyo
  • Off-the-beaten-path gardens and temples to visit in Kyoto
  • Remote areas visiting
  • Japanese learning ideas
  • And much more

Here’s how to work with me

Step 0
Contact me here to tell me more about your trip to see if we’re a good match. If you prefer a call, let me know.

Step 1

Book the service. Payments are done via PayPal.
Step 2
Fill in a quick Questionnaire to help me determine your preferences
Step 3
1-hour Skype Consulting, optional, the consultations can be done via email only. We can also have more than one call if necessary or if easier for you.
Step 4
I’ll send you a personalized itinerary outline.  
Step 5
I’ll send you a detailed itinerary that inlcudes daily activities, suggested tours, restaurants.
Step 6
It’s time to book everything. I can book any component of the trip you’d like. Some clients book accommodation themselves if, for example, it’s an airbnb or they belong to a hotel loyalty program.

Planning Fees in USD


Min planning fee –  equal of 5 travel days

Max planning fee – up to 500$ for the whole trip

The Arashyama Bamboo forest near Kyoto in Japan

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest near Kyoto

Typical Costs When Travelling

Accommodation – There are several types of accommodation in Japan. Prices are for a double room, unless otherwise written:

  • 5* Hotels – high level of service, amazing and large rooms, great amenities. These start from 300€/ 340$/ night. A 5* hotel with a private onsesn and Kaiseki Dinner starts at 600€/ 680$ / night.
  • Upper 4* and boutique hotels/ guest houses. More family-like environment but at a luxury level. These start from 200€/ 230$/ night.
  • Airbnbs – you can find these starting at 50€/ 60$/ night and hire spacious apartments for up to around 1000€/ 1150$/ night. All budgets included.
  • Ryokans – Ryokans are typical Japanese accommodations, they can cost anyting from 100€/ 115$/ night to 600€/ 680$ / night (and even more) depending on factors like location, wheather or not the room has its private hot bath, and if Kaiseki dinner is included (similar to 5* hotels). Staying in a Ryokan is a must-have experience when in Japan.

Japan is not a cheap country when it comes to accommodation. The highest prices are during Hanami season (cherry blossom viewing) usually from the last 2 weeks of March to the fist two in April and again duting Fall for the Autumn leaves foliage.

Food – This may come as a surprise for you but food in Japan is cheap. Even the freshest sushi set will set you back no more than 15€/ 17$ per person and that includes water or green tea. They’re free in all restaurants. A mid class meal would be 25€/ 30$ per person. For fancy dinner and kaiseki restaurants expect to pay from 100€/ 115$ and up.

Transportation – Unless you’re exploring the Northern Island of Japan or some remote places, I recommend using public transport. It’s straighforward and easy to use. We never got lost. Japan offers varouis discounts for travelers. The most famous is JR Pass. It costs $269 USD for 7 days, $428 USD for 14 days. It’s not the only wine Tokyo Wide pass or the simple Suica rechargeable card can be useful depending on your itinerary.

Japan - Hortense Travel

Suggested daily budget – As you saw from above Portugal offers wide range of options for all types of budgets. I would suggest the following daily budget per person:


100€/ 115$ – if you’re staying at a hostel/ cheaper guest house/ airbnb, use public transpor, eat out at cheap but yummy places. Souvenirs and tours need to be kept at a minimum (or stricly self-exploring).

100-200€ / 115$ -225$ – stay at mid-upper class accommodation, eat out at cheap to  mid-range restaurants with a splurge here and there. Make 1-2 tours/ experiences. Shop for clothing and/ or souvenirs at mid-range places.

280€ and up – for this budget you’ll get the most comfortable travel. Upper class accommodation, taxis when necessary and private transfers are possible. Tours, experiences, concerts can make part of your trip. You can shop at boutiques and enjoy the most out of your trip .

Japan from the Journal

My Must Have Guides For Traveling to Japan

Coming Soon!

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Hi, I’m Alexandra. I’m a travel designer based in Lisbon, Portugal. I create seamless itineraries, based on my first-hand experience and local experts’ knowledge, to curated destinations. Save time, money and your sanity. Leave the worries to me. You can choose from ready to use itineraries or hire me to create a personalized journey for you. Contact me at

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