Looking back on our trip to Japan

If Japan isn’t on your list of countries to visit, now is the time to put it there! If it is on your list, move it up nearer to the top. It is a scenically beautiful country with clean, modern cities, an efficient train system plus some of the best food. Here’s a summary for you-

In Japan we loved-

Travelling on the Shinkansen (Bullet trains).

img_0719

The food.

img_0588

Friendly helpful locals, especially in the Tourist Information Centres.

Walking in the mountains and countryside in general.

img_0591

Favourite meals-

Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima, Osaka and Kyoto – all slightly different but delicious versions

dscn7897

Ramen

Gyoza

img_1221

Yakitori

Sashimi (Mark only)

Favourite drink-

Asahi Dry beer (Mark)

Hot milk tea from the vending machines (Karen)

dscn7475

Great places to stay-

Gasthof Crescendo in Kawaguchiko

dscn8184_2

Toyoko Inn in Kanazawa

AirBnB apartments in Shinjuku/Shibuya areas of Tokyo

Great places to eat-

Any of the smaller laneways in Dotombori in Osaka or Shinjuku in Tokyo.

img_2142

Hirochan in the Okonomiyaki House building in Hiroshima.

Sushai Minami in Nakatsugawa – excellent modern Japanese food.

Unexpected highlights-

Being looked after by locals after getting lost in Nakatsugawa (see my Barber shop to Banquet post)

Seeing the night lights of Tokyo for free from the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.

img_0968

Seeing Tokyo’s skyscrapers from the 53rd floor of the Tokyo Opera City Building whilst eating a delicous steak meal at Yoshida restaurant.

What you must do when you visit Japan-

Visit and stay in any of the lake towns near Mt Fuij.

dscn8126

Walk in the mountains or countryside near a traditional village. e.g. The short walk from Magome to Tsumago is a lovely walk.

Buy a Japan Rail Pass so you can travel on the Shinkansen.

img_0700

Visit Fushimi Inari temple and take the walk up Inari-yama with its thousands of red torii gates which form a passageway over the pathway.

Visit Miyajima Island, a short train and boat ride from Hiroshima.

Visit one of the castles e.g. Himeji Castle

img_0713

Visit a department store basement food gallery –  the array and quality of food at reasonable prices will astound you.

Try some of the more offbeat foods, e.g. Octopus Balls.

dscn7811

What to avoid doing-

Arriving in any major city in peak hour with your case/backpack and trying to board a subway train

Getting lost.

Blowing your nose whilst eating. (Head to the bathroom if a hot meal causes your nose to run.)

Eating in smoky restaurants. The solution is to go somewhere else!

What you need to be prepared for-

Everywhere you go there will be people, thousands of them in some cases. At the popular tourist locations and of course on city trains you can only rarely feel you have enough personal space.

Dealing with non-Englsih speaking people, so learn some basic Japanese words, phrases and expressions.

Bathing with members of the same sex in onsen.

Being butted by aggressive young male deer in Nara, on Miyajima island and various other places where they roam freely.

dscn7843

Sleeping on thin futons if you choose to stay in traditional ryokan or minshuku accommodation.

Conversely, eating the beautifully presented food in ryokan or minshuku accommodation.

Major historic sites with scaffolding on all or part of them.

dscn7924

Hopefully you’re inspired to book your flight to Japan so you can have experiences as wonderful as the ones we had. If you have been to Japan let me know your favourite experiences because I’m pretty sure we’ll return to the Land of the Rising Sun.

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Looking back on our trip to Japan

  1. Pingback: Blogger’s Recognition Award – Japan Insider

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s