Our latest adventure has been exploring a little bit of Japan. Everything here has been absolutely beautiful, and the people have been incredibly friendly. We will work on writing the different places we have gone to in several posts, as there’s a lot of great stuff. Firstly, we would like to share some of our impressions and best moments here.
Setting the stage: We got the chance to come to Japan for work, and managed to book some time off to spend an amazing holiday here! All in all, we are spending three and a half weeks here… it has been amazing! Our initial base for the trip has been Kobe, where our office is located, and we have been using Japan’s fantastic rail system to get out. Places where we have been:
– Kobe/Osaka: Osaka is the capital of the Kansai region, west of Tokyo. Kobe is an adjacent city, very famous, of course, for its beef.
– Kōya San: This is a small buddhist town a couple of hours south of Osaka. It is the birthplace of Shingon Buddhism, and a great place to see what buddhist monastic life is like – you can actually stay at a monastery!
– Tokyo: The great capital city. This is crazy, full of people and a lot of fun.
– Kyoto: One of the ancient capitals of Japan. this is an amazing city to see many shrines and temples, and experience an awesome mixture of the modern and the ancient.
– Takayama / Shirakawa Go: These are small mountain towns a couple of hours north from Nagoya.
– Hakone: Another small town in the mountains outside of Tokyo, where you can see Mt. Fuji.
Japan is an extremely easy country to visit. Everything works and works on time and people are very polite. Everyone tries to help best they can even if they don’t speak English – which is quite common here. A little Japanese has helped us a lot along the way but most things are easily done.
The thing that really amazed us was the contrast between traditional and modern Japan and how beautiful each of them is in its own existence. Maybe because we chose quite extreme destinations we were able to really see the 2 worlds that co-exist harmoniously – which is a word that probably best describes Japan in our opinion.
It’s the country of geishas and maidcafes…
extreme etiquette and crazy drinking,
peaceful countryside and buzzing cities,
kimonos and Harajuku girls,
fire rituals and street fairs
Michelin star kaiseki restaurants and incredible street food,
Tea spoons with names and crazy gizmos,
Ryokans and 5 star hotels.
Every place, every moment can be special in Japan and offer a unique experience but the ones that were definitely unforgettable were:
- Fuji-san: coming to the top of the mountain with a cable car and be surprised with the image of Fuji-san was one of the best moments of the trip. It is huuuuuge and beautiful specially in winter with the white top.
- Okunoin cementery in Koya-san: I never thought a cementery could be so peaceful and amazing.
- Traditional wedding at Meiji-Jingu: the temple is incredible and seeing brides on their traditional full kimonos is definitely on the top of special moments
- Ramen in the little corner shop: that is what Japan tastes like! Yummmmy
- Shirakawa-go in the winter: what a magical place
- Walking through the corridors in Nijo castle
- Onsen or public baths: as weird as having a bath with strangers sounds, the experience is super relaxing.
Curiosities: there were several little things that for us were very unusual and fun that we would like to share with you.
– Hot drinks at vending machines: at every corner you can get a coke or water but also hot coffee and tea in a can
– Japanese are very discrete and toilets could be no different. There is a water fall noise when you come in so no one else hears your toilet noises
– “Make me pretty machine”: these machines are in all games stores. You take a picture and the machine itself makes you look young and cute. Lots of young girls are doing it.
– Even the hydrant openings are cute.
We hope you enjoy the next posts that go into detail of each destination.
Mari & Ab
Read the next part of our Japanese adventure here:
Other posts about Japan: