I’ve been to Japan twice and, despite staying there for a combined three weeks, I still haven’t seen the vast majority of what the country has to offer.
Not even close.
There are temples and museums and onsen and ramen shops and entire cities I don’t even know exist yet. My boyfriend, Derek, spent nine years there and even he didn’t see everything he wanted. In fact, in my combined three weeks, I’ve been to cities he never had time to visit.
Don’t let the map-size of Japan mislead you. It’s a big, expansive country, with 6,852 islands and more than 127 million people.
On my first trip to Japan, I spent most of my time in Tokyo, right near Tokyo Tower. We walked around Ginza, the upscale neighborhood of department stores, boutiques and restaurants; ate at convini (convenience stories like 7 Eleven) and train station restaurants; and caught public transportation everywhere. I caught the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto, snapping pics of Kinkaju-gi and cruising down the cherry tree-lined Path of Philosophers.
On my second trip to Japan, I spent most of it in the Tokoku region, visiting areas like Sendai and Fukushima. I went to see the snow monsters atop Mount Zao and ate at little eateries through the region.
I’m about to embark on a two-week trip to Japan, starting in Fukuoka, then heading to Kyoto, Tokyo and Chigasaki.
I’ve drafted a list of things I want to see. Any other suggestions?
• Otaku cafes in Akihabara (top photo)
• Shinjuku’s shopping, with its department stores and nightlife
• Stay in a ryokan
• Visit the Japanese Alps
• Nikko, a quaint town just north of Tokyo with the ornate Toshogu shrine, the centerpiece here
• Himeji, the only castle in Japan that survives in its original form
• The fish auction in Tokyo
• Eat in a restaurant that specializes in just one thing, like chicken or unagi
The list could go on and on and on.
Got any else to add?