30 Mar Trip to Japan
I have just arrived from a 2 week condensed trip to Japan: 14 days: Tokyo-Matsumoto-Kyoto-Hiroshima-Tokyo.
First of all: Japan IS different and I’ll explain a bit further down the page why.
I had booked an Airbnb in Tokyo and Kyoto and a hotel in Matsumoto and Hiroshima. We made the majority of our trips by train as we had opted for the Japan Rail Pass a real bargain as you can use it both between cities and inside the big ones.
Tokyo is a crazy city of some 13 million people. The pace is quick and ordered and you can see quite parks, (super) high buildings and small calm streets, people walk around dressed pretty “normally” (dark colours, business like attire) but that doesn’t stop you from seeing the “today I live in a manga” kind of dress or “I rebel strongly against society”. Food is available at every corner as nearly everywhere in the country.
Ladies dressed traditionally in a temple in Tokyo:
We passed by Matsumoto for its castle and Onsen (these warm water Japanese baths).
Kyoto is simply beautiful: an infinite quantity of temple and places to visit around. In 5 days, we visited: the Imperial Palace gardens, Daikoku-ji, Kinkakuji, the Bamboo grove, Fushimi, Koyasan, the manga museum, Nara and South Igashyama.
Hiroshima was interesting and emotional although there was a bit of a lack of historical background. Even after visiting the museum, there was this impression that the bomb was dropped from nowhere from nobody without any kind of reason…
Back in Tokyo we tried to go east and see Mount Fuji but we only spotted a small piece from the train and it was totally covered by the time we reached the view point.
That is where you park your stroller:
You queue respectfully without pushing or trespassing before getting on the train, when you want to take the lift or the elevator, to get your lunch… You follow the prepared path from the train onto the bus to the monastery (in Koyasan). There are toilets everywhere and they are super clean! Actually, everything is clean: floors in public transport, train stations, the streets, shops…. Japanese are respectful, polite, helpful and efficient. Food is readily available at all times: Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Nepalese, and Indian you name it. Whatever you order be sure that it will be carefully presented and packed in a lot of plastic if it’s a take away.
So, don’t be scared by the “it’s a super expensive country”. Food is cheap, and accommodation can be if you are flexible. Travelling around is OK if you plan your trips ahead and optimize your rail pass.
Book a plane ticket and come and check by yourself: you won’t be disappointed!
Manga family portrait: