Epilogue – 2013 冬の北陸旅行記

Ainokura Hut

We are back from our tour of Western-Central Japan! It was cold, but we had fun! And brought home 3,400 worth of pictures to prove it.

Admittedly, I would not have planned for this trip if not for my considerable proficiency in the native language. You should not let that stop you though, because the Japanese are exceedingly patient people who will try to understand you even with simply gesturing. I wouldn’t say my grasp of the Japanese language served me extremely well on the trip, but I was armed with my electronic dictionary as a security blanket and the Japanese Kanji (漢字) is in actual fact Chinese characters which we can read, so that made a difference.

DESTINATION D/N PLANNED (¥)  ACTUAL (¥)  TOTAL (¥) 
Nagoya 名古屋 4D/3N 13,000¥/night 9,333¥/night 28,000¥
Hida Takayama 飛騨高山 3D/2N 17,600¥/night* 17,600¥/night* 41,933¥^
Shirakawa-go 白川郷 2D/1N 17,600¥/night* 17,600¥/night* 17,600¥
Gokayama 五箇山 3D/2N 16,800¥/night* 17,640¥/night* 34,200¥”
Kanazawa 金沢市 2D/1N 7,000¥/night 9,200¥/night 9,200¥
Nagoya 名古屋 2D/1N 15,000¥/night 13,000¥/night 13,000¥
Grand Total 143,400¥ 143,933¥

* half-board (breakfast and dinner provided)
^ amount doesn’t tally because we ordered one extra platter of Hida beef for dinner on the 1st night
” amount doesn’t tally because we skipped breakfast on the last morning due to an early bus we have to catch

Overall, we did well where accommodation was concerned, except for one location. And the reason for exceeding the budget for our stay at Gokayama is (五箇山) is the result of going via a rather unreliable channel of booking the minshuku (民宿)  – the Gokayama Tourist Office. For some reason or another, the lady replied to my very first email request (asking me to wait for her reply) but eventually I never heard from her again. That was in spite of a couple of emails following that, within respectable intervals. I could have called the minshuku on my own and delivered my accommodation request in Japanese confidently. However I’m not so confident with my comprehension and listening skills. Resultantly, I was compelled to look for another more expensive channel to complete the deed.

The accommodation expenses went up only by a teeny-weeny bit despite the increase in prices at Gokayama because we shortened our holiday by a day, just so we could take full advantage of the cheap airfares. Just imagine, if we had returned home a day later, we would have to fork out another S$1,000 for the air tickets alone! I would have really preferred spending a couple more days in the region, but it just did not make sense to do so.

DESCRIPTION BUDGET (S$) ACTUAL (S$)
Air Tickets S$1,600 S$1,496
Accommodation S$2,300 S$2,015
Transport S$600 S$760
Other Expenses S$1,500 S$1,740
Total S$6,000 S$6,011

We burst the budget, as like always whenever Japan is our holidaying destination. The transport costs went up rather significantly in part because we were almost travelling exclusively by cab in Kanazawa, trying to get most of the planned sightseeing done in the short one day we could afford to stay at the city. The bus tickets we booked in advance for the Shirakawa-go to Kanazawa leg were also forfeited as we preferred to travel by train afterall.

This trip is a major milestone in so many ways. The longing desire to explore other areas of Japan went unfulfilled for years as we have serious concerns about shared pulic baths. Well yes, our shyness border on paranoia. Providentially, with travel habits very unlike other typical travellers we always managed to have the public bathrooms to ourselves. This, and gaining the knowledge of how traditional minshuku and ryokan usually operate, has given us the much-needed encouragement to explore other areas of Japan that are completely off the beaten track. In fact while on this trip, we have already decided on our next Japan destination.

Do check back for the related posts on this trip, backdated. Will endeavour to complete them within a couple of months.

Sign