Feb. 8, 2023

Planning the Best Japan Trip Ever

#101: Travel writer Brandon Presser joins Chris to discuss all things Japan. They cover why they both love the country so much, what makes it worth a visit, where you should go, what you should see and do, and all the incredible foods you should be trying (including their favorite spots to eat at).

Brandon Presser (@brandpress) is a freelance travel writer who has lived in Japan twice, written 3 books on the country and has traveled there in all but one of the last 20 years. Aside from Japan, he's also written 50+ travel guidebooks, contributes to numerous travel publications and recently released his latest book: The Far Land.


Partner Deals

Inside Tracker: 20% off personalized wellness & nutrition plans backed by science

goodr: Free shipping on $75 stylish Snow G Goggles

Kubera: 14 day trial of the world's most modern wealth tracker for $1

Athletic Greens: Free 1 year supply of Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs


Selected Links From The Episode

Brandon Presser: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Website 



Secondary Destinations


Miscellaneous information


Full Show Notes

Introduction (00:00)

Why Japan? (01:31)

Japan: Post-pandemic and post-olympics (04:12)

How to plan for your first visit to Japan (07:50)

Destinations outside of Tokyo and Kyoto (09:52)

The best time of year to visit (12:12)

Is it beneficial to have a guide? Can people get by using English? (13:51)

Understanding the rating/review system (15:20)

Japanese people and culture (17:43)

Culture: Meeting & getting to know the locals (21:49)

Tokyo: How to geographically think about the city (24:59)

Transportation and the Suica pre-paid transportation card (29:07)

Tokyo: What to eat, drink, do (33:21)

Misnomer: Tokyo is expensive (36:17)

Dining in Tokyo (36:47)

Dining etiquette: Tipping (37:57)

Dining etiquette: Meal times (38:58)

Segmented dining (40:23)

Food specialties (41:18)

Restaurant/bar/cafe recommendations (42:46)

More things to see and do in Tokyo (49:28)

Nightlife scene (59:03)

Is Japan family-friendly? (1:01:13)

Kyoto (1:04:02)

What to know about visiting Kyoto (1:07:29)

Working with high-end travel planners/Access to personalized luxury cultural experiences (1:09:44)

How the hotel industry has changed due to the pandemic (1:12:57)

Top things to see and do, and where to stay (1:16:51)

Kyoto: What to eat, drink, do (1:20:12)

Specific types of foods to try (1:22:51)

Other things to see and places to explore in Kyoto (1:24:53)

Etiquette: Be engaging and show appreciation (1:25:53)

Beyond Tokyo and Kyoto: Emerging destinations and interesting places (1:27:07)

Shopping in Japan (1:36:21)

Osaka (1:36:50)

Seto Inland Sea (1:38:45)

Where to find Brandon online (1:40:18)