How should I spend my summer in Japan?
July 14, 2008 4:11 AM   Subscribe

Ok, quick - I have a month free in Japan, no responsibilities, some money but not a lot. What's the craziest, most outlandish thing I can do?

Currently, my plan is to hitchhike from here (Kyoto) to Kagoshima in the south (I've taken short trips before), then try to hitchhike on small boats to Okinawa. I've been completely unable to get any information on that second part, but I'll try. Failing that, hitchhike from Kagoshima all the way up to the top of Hokkaido, camping most of the way.

Any ideas that won't get me arrested? I can speak Japanese, but due to financial concerns I'm afraid suggestions such as "skydiving!" or "hang out in tokyo for more than five minutes!" are unhelpful. I'm looking for things more along the lines of "live with homeless people for a month!" Actually, that's not a bad idea...
posted by borkingchikapa to Travel & Transportation around Japan (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Tim Ferriss did a two-part blog post a few weeks ago on doing Tokyo on not much money - maybe some good ideas there.
posted by jbickers at 5:03 AM on July 14, 2008

I don't know why it has to be something crazy but...

You could always do the 88 temple pilgrimage on Shikoku. An acquaintance of mine did it and said he had a wonderful time - people he met on his path were very supportive and overall the entire experience was great. Not sure how that fits with getting a small boat to Okinawa (last I heard you could get a ferry, but as for finding a fisherman that would go from Kyushu to Okinawa, hmm), but maybe you're trying to go for something that isn't really there.
posted by awfurby at 5:20 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

You could do the 88 Temple Pilgrimage on Shikoku (or you could do the mini-one in Nagasaki), probably completely doable on a bicycle, as it's supposed to be a 60-day walking trip.
posted by that girl at 5:30 AM on July 14, 2008

Augh. That's what I get for not previewing.
posted by that girl at 5:31 AM on July 14, 2008

Thirding the 88-temple pilgrimage. I know a few people who've done it and they're all glad they did. I wish I could spare the time to do it myself.

Incidentally, getting from Kyushu to Okinawa on a boat or boats that isn't a passenger boat headed from Kyushu to Okinawa sounds unrealistic to me too. That might be why you can't find much information about it...
posted by No-sword at 5:53 AM on July 14, 2008

Wwoofjapan has lots of hosts, mostly organic farms but also some other places (ski resorts, English schools, etc), who'll give you room and board in exchange for a few hours of work a day if you want to keep costs down.
posted by Vibrissa at 6:01 AM on July 14, 2008

Hmm...Kagoshima shares the same zip code with Hell. That is, it is incredibly hot, especially at this time of year. I remember waking up at 5:00 in the morning so I could enjoy Sakurajima in peace, but I was soaked with sweat by 5:30. I can't imagine hitchhiking in that weather and carrying a bunch of stuff. It's madness. Hokkaido is awesome in the summer and a much better choice.

I would worry less about petty criminals if you plan on camping and more about cops. They will not be happy to see you and will likely make you move. The deep woods are better for peace and quiet and there is a good stretch of them starting in Nikko.

On the other hand, you could try traveling the route in Basho's Narrow Road to the Deep North (奥の細道). Cops might be a little more understanding if you're sleeping outside as a part of honoring Japan's national heritage. There are a lot of literary nerds in municipal jobs in that country.
posted by Alison at 6:09 AM on July 14, 2008

Sorry I caught this late.

Kagoshima and Okinawa!!!! Ohmanohmanohman. Gotta be a Shochu and Awamori tour, baby!

On the downside, you won't remember anything, except that you had a blast.

That's the upside, too.
posted by Bixby23 at 2:04 AM on July 15, 2008

OK, this is a complete shot in the dark. But here, you can get free tickets to gameshows on a pretty short notice. Is the same true there? Contacting the Japanese consulate might help. And if you can get on, maybe you can get selected from the audience, Monty Hall-style.
posted by CollectiveMind at 6:59 AM on July 17, 2008

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