OK, I'm not really a "travel n00b" but I am definitely a Japan n00b! I'm reading stuff about Japan, looks amazing, I'm a bit scared but also excited for my upcoming vacation, surely it will be unforgettable :-)
I'm going on a solo trip to Japan October 4th - 25th. I would like to ask some more expert user for some advice. Part of my trip has been already finalized, part not. In particular, I have 4 questions left.
First of all, here is my itinerary plan.
I'm landing in Tokyo Narita on October 5th early morning. I'm probably staying for a few hours at the capsule hotel at the airport just for the experience, since it would be too early to check-in in any hotel in Tokyo anyway. Then I'll move to some accommodation in Tokyo downtown - I haven't booked it yet, I was thinking of some minshuku-style inn if possible, something mid-range. I'm planning of leaving Tokyo on Oct 11th, and I'd rather stay all the time in the same hotel, to save time.
First question: what area of the city would you recommend me to search for accommodation? It should be convenient for public transport, and possibly close to bars / nightlife areas where I can get in touch with locals more than tourists.
On the 11th I'm getting the Shinkansen to Kyoto, I reserved a 2-night stay in a beautiful ryokan onsen in the mountains north of Kyoto. I'll spend only 2 nights there, then I'm moving back to Kyoto downtown for other 3 nights and 2 full days.
Second question, similar to the first one: convenient area in Kyoto downtown to recommend? More for the historical / traditional flavor than for the nightlife this time.
I'll stay 4 nights in Okinawa, scuba diving and visiting islands and beaches around. It is my understanding that by then the typhoon season should be over, and the risk of getting bad weather should be relatively low. Anyway I booked the flight already, so it's pointless to worry about typhoons at this time :P
Third question: is it really necessary to rent a car in Okinawa? Considering that I'll try to spend time at the beach and on the water anyway.
Finally, I'm flying back on the 23rd directly to Tokyo Haneda. I'll stay other 2 nights in Tokyo and then leave on the morning of the 25th from Narita.
Fourth and last question: is a Japan rail Pass really convenient in my case? Considering that the only "long" shinkansen route will be a one-way Tokyo-Kyoto, and that the JR pass will be useless in Okinawa... Do you think it will be still convenient?
Thanks in advance for the answers and sorry for the long post! :)