High tech and tradition. Bustling city life and quiet gardens. Traveling in Japan is an adventure, with great variety and plenty of first time-things to do.
Everyone visiting Japan seems to agree on one thing: Japan is really something else. And it is!
To me, exploring Japan was an adventure. The country is so diversified, beautiful and interesting. And it is easy to get around: Traveling with bullet train brought us quickly from one place to the next.
These are six of the highlights of my trip to Japan.
1. Hiroshima – 70 years after the atomic bomb
The one thing that made the biggest impression on me, was visiting Hiroshima.
We went to see the Unesco site, the Atomic Bomb Dome, and did a tour at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
Everyone visiting Japan ought to take a day trip to Hiroshima, simply because one of the worst things man has ever done to human kind happened here.
2. Tokyo – busy and bustling
Tokyo is such a huge, exciting and exhausting city!
Walking the streets, visiting temples and parks, the fishmarket, having dinner at a wagyu beef restaurant and exploring outside the touristic areas was some of my favourite experiences in Tokyo.
3. Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
The Shinto shrine Fushimi-Inari-Taisha i situated at the base of the mountain Inari in Kyoto.
The construction is made of thousands of torii gates along the trail leading up to the sacred Mount Inari at 233 mas.
4. Spotting a geisha in Kyoto
Of course, we went geisha spotting in Gion, Kyoto, like everyone else.
Well, actually we were looking for a place to eat. We had given up on seeing a geisha in the dark streets and felt hungry. But that’s when she appeared, walking fast, in the company of two men.
I promise you, when you see a real geisha, you understand that all the other geishas you’ve spotted all day, was just dressed up to pretend to be one, for the day. And so can you, if you’d like to be geisha for one day.
5. Staying in a ryokan
Spending the night in a genuine Japanese guest house is something else!
Ours had sliding doors of rice paper and wooden slippers to use inside the ryokan. We went to the onsen, slept on a futon, enjoyed tea ceremony and got served kaiseki-ryori (Japanese haute cuisine) in the room.
We did’t sleep well on the futon, the onsen felt uncomforable and the food was a bit too different to my taste. But I will never forget the experience and would definitely do it again.
6. Onsen – Japanese hot bath
While staying in the ryokan mentioned above, I got to experience the traditional Japanese bath.
Japan has many natural hot springs, where you will find bathing facilities and ryokans close by. Often an onsen is located outside, but the one I spent time at, was inside the ryokan.
The bath is very hot, you go in naked, and the onsen I visited had separated men/female baths.