Recently Japan Wireless got in touch with me, and wondered if I’d like to try out their popular wifi box. Always looking for a deal, I thought I’d give it a go!
I have always been a sceptic of these devices, worried that they might be unnecessary and expensive, but I was pleasantly surprised with my experience. It was all very easy to set up, all I had to do was pick up the package from the airport arrivals area, turn it on, press a few buttons and I was ready to go. The package includes the wifi box, a charger cable, power pack/box, plus instructions on how to set up
Data speed was excellent.
Real pleasure to be able to watch YouTube videos about places before visiting them, to get a sneak peak or travel tips before arriving.
I noticed that many wifi box or sim card services require you to deposit them at certain locations after use, which could be kind of inconvenient. Was nice that Japan Wireless included a pre-paid envelope that you just pop into any red post box.
A slight annoyance is having to carry around the box of course, but it’s pretty small, so can easily fit in any pocket.
The power does run low after lots of use. Luckily, a power bank box is included though!
So, in conclusion I was pretty happy with the Japan Wireless box, as I am the kind of person that wants to watch YouTube, listen to Spotify or use cloud services on my laptop while I’m traveling around. While there are cheaper services around, such as simple data SIM cards, I usually find that I quickly get through the data I bought and have to recharge. If you are like me, I’d definitely recommend going for Japan Wireless.
The guys at Japan Wireless were also happy for me to give a discount out to you, my lucky readers and budget travelers! Use the code below to save.
Japan is a powder paradise and while the resorts in Hokkaido may have caught the world’s eye, you don’t have to leave Honshu to chase your powder dreams. Here are 4 resorts that you can visit on the Super Cheap and all easily accessible from Tokyo.
The Hakuba Valley, Nagano
The most famous ski area in Honshu and host of several Olympic events during the 98’ games, Hakuba is a powderhound’s dream. The Hakuba Valley features 10 distinct resorts connected with a single Hakuba Valley Lift Pass and with over 200 runs throughout the valley, the area has plenty of terrain suitable for all levels. Hakuba draws tens of thousands of visitors from around the world and will play host to the Free Ride World Tour in January and the Snow Machine Music Festival in March.
Accommodation: There are several great affordable options for Hakuba Accommodation and one that should not be overlooked is the Lab. It’s located 500m from the Happo One chair lifts and offers budget dorm style accommodation, an awesome in-house bar and daily breakfast.
Tip: Prices are cheapest in early December in March and those looking to travel on the cheap should consider visiting then.
Nozawa Onsen, Nagano
Walk around the streets of Nozawa Onsen and you feel transported to a different time and place. The traditional buildings, the quaint Japanese shops, and the steam rising up all throughout the town from used onsen water all mix together to form an incredible atmosphere for visitors. And we haven’t even talked about the slopes yet! Nozawa Onsen is one large resort with an impressive 300 hectares of terrain and a considerable 1,085 meters in vertical drop. Like the other resorts in Japan, the powder is first rate.
Accommodation: Nozwa Onsen doesn’t have backpacker hostels but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great options on the super cheap. Our favorite is Seisenso which offers great Japanese style accommodation starting at JPY 5,000. This is a great resource for Nozawa Onsen Accommodation options.
Tip: The onsens are everywhere and they’re free! How’s that for Super Cheap?
Shiga Kogen, Nagano
Shiga Kogen also hosted several Olympic events including skiing and snowboarding slalom events and is a great choice for snow enthusiasts unconcerned with the limited nightlife options in the village. The area caters predominantly to Japanese visitors and has little western development, so those looking to experience the snow the Japan way should look no further. Shiga is comprised of 21 resorts, all connected across 600 hectares of incredible terrain.
Accommodation: Shiga Kogen’s accommodation options are predominately Japanese style hotels and ryokan. Book a ryokan and enjoy the slopes like a Japanese local.
Tip: The world famous Japanese snow monkeys are located close by and should be coupled with any trip to Shiga Kogen.
Myoko Kogen, Niigata
The snowiest place in the world? Maybe. Myoko Kogen gets an unfathomable 15 meters of snow annually! Combine this with no lift lines, unrestricted backcountry, and epic tree runs and you can picture the appeal of Myoko Kogen. The resorts here have terrain from beginner to advanced, but Myoko Kogen is really for those who are looking to ride waist deep powder.
Accommodation: Yuki Dake is the definitive spot for budget travelers as it’s affordable, comfortable, and perfectly located walking distance to the lifts and several great restaurants and bars.
Tip: Jack’s Bar next to Yuki Dake serves up cheap drinks and great pub food and is an excellent place to mingle with like-minded travelers.
After months and months of writing, editing and getting it out to the bookstores, my latest book, Super Cheap New Zealand, is finally out! It’s the ultimate companion for a budget holiday in Middle Earth.
It’s my fourth book, and I hope it continues my success as a self-published author. It’s challenging doing it all my yourself, so please help me out by sharing the book on Facebook or Twitter 🙂
If you would like to find out more, check out the official book page, or see the book on Amazon. Remember that the ebook is free for those with Amazon Unlimited!
Autumn is one of the best times to come to Japan. Unlike the week or two that each area has cherry blossoms
in full bloom, the autumn leaves stay bright for longer. It makes
traveling much easier as you don’t have to worry too much about leaves
changing sooner or later if the weather makes a sudden change. Even if
it’s cold and the colors appear sooner, you shouldn’t be far away from a
good spot, especially if you have a train pass. Therefore it can actually be the better choice for budget travelers.
The mountainous regions to the north, such as Hokkaido or Tohoku,
will experience the autumn colors earlier, then over the next few months
the lovely golden and orange leaves will be making appearances to the
south. Keep an eye on this page as your trip or trips get nearer, so you
are completely up-to-date on the best places to visit.
Here is the latest map from the Japan Meteorological Corporation. It provides a great estimate of the dates, but check back here often as they are often updated.
Looking for a comprehensive guide to traveling in Japan on a budget? Please have a look at my two books, Super Cheap Japan and Super Cheap Tokyo, which have awesome guides to the autumn locations and much, much more.
So happy to see that good friend Ernest Keung has featured me in his latest video. He interviewed me about my books, plus we chatted about ways to travel in Japan on the cheap. It was lots of fun talking about Super Cheap Hokkaido and my other guidebooks, as well as bickering over our favorite curry chains and which cheap drinks are the best!
Please check out and subscribe to Ernest’s channel here 🙂
In preparation for the release of my new book, Super Cheap Hokkaido, I went to Hakodate to see what all the fuss was about! Located to the south of Hokkaido, it’s a port town well known for its foreign influences, fish market and easy-to-use tram system. With a one-day tram pass only costing 600 yen, I thought it would be an excellent way to explore the city and pack in as much as I could in a day. Here is what I got up to.
The tram pass is available at the tourist center in the station as well as many hotels in the city. It also comes with a handy map, so it’s super easy to know which tram stop you’ll need to go to for each tourist spot.
First, I went to the fish market, as it’s right next to the station. It’s also best to visit in the morning, when all the shops are open. There are countless items on offer here, so take your time to check out all the stalls, then choose what looks best. Many of the stalls can also cook or prepare the fish for you, right there and then.
After stuffing my face on all that grub, I headed to Motomachi. Full of old embassy and merchant buildings from years back, there are a few stops of interest on the tram in this area. Being a brit, I checked out the old British embassy, then proceeded to check out all the churches and cathedrals.
After seeing all that history, I’d recommend heading to the red brick buildings for a bit of retail therepy. There are also some fancy cafes, and occationally chances to see the locals making various foods and souvenirs by hand.
While the tram is a great way to get around, you’ll still need to walk a bit from the trams stops to get to each tourist site. So, after all that walking, you’ll probably feel a little tired at the end of the day. Therefore a great way to end the day with your tram pass is to head to the east side and enjoy one of the hot springs. I opted to head to the free hot spring foot bath, conveniently located outside a tram stop.
Want to visit Hakodate and the island of Hokkaido? Get my new budget travel guide!
Get more with the new guidebook from Super Cheap Guides. Built over many years as I traveled across Hokkaido, it’s your perfect companion for your trip.
There is simply no other guide that will show you how, where and when to travel in Hokkaido on a budget.
Available as an ebook or on paperback from all good bookstores.