Japan always fascinates me, whether it is about their people, culture, or landscape and architecture, that have somehow been able to blend both new and old perfectly in this modern and ever-changing society. Thus, I never want to say “good bye” to Japan at the end of each trip because I know I would be back in no time. I just love the country, and every visit has always been refreshing with endless discoveries.
We planned our recent 9-day trip to include a couple of places we never been before while also trying to cover what we missed during our last visit. From Bangkok, we landed at Kansai International Airport in Osaka. We have included a visit to the magnificent Osaka Castle, and aquarium on our must-see list, with the latter especially for our son. Of course, if you are looking to enjoy some shopping in Osaka, you have to get to Shinsaibashi, Namba, and Otonburi for the best experiences.
From Osaka, we took a short Shinkansen ride to Kyoto, another one of my favourite cities in the Kansai area with numerous beautiful temples. This time we stayed at the Kyoto Tower Hotel right opposite the JR Kyoto Station for easy access. The hotel offers free admission to the sightseeing deck during our stay as well. We visited two of the most symbolic shrines in Kyoto, firstly to the Kinkakuji Temple.
After lunch, we took the bus ride through the city to Kiyomizu-dera Temple on the other side of the city.
Our next destination, after a four-hour train journey, was Takayama, where we would be visiting one of the many world heritage sites in Japan, Shirakawago. Fortunately, and as planned, we were able to get on one of the afternoon buses to the UNESCO site and arrived just in time for the last bus up to the viewing point at Shirakawago.
One of the preserved old houses with the lotus pond as the foreground.
We spent our next morning walking around the old Takayama town, visiting the famous “orange bridge” and enjoying the cherry blossom in full bloom. A wonderful experience and a beautiful site for all of us. Our advise would be waking up early to enjoy the scene when there would be few people. Over the last couple of years, Takayama has become more popular tourist destination, thus attracting more people to the small town.
While we would love to spend more time in Takayama, which we have fallen in love with, our itinerary took us back to Tokyo for the night before our trip to another popular destination, Kawaguchiko Lake, one of the five lakes to surround Mount Fuji. We took the train from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki, before transiting for the Fujikyo Line to Kawaguchiko, which took a total of 2 hours. Once arrived at the station, we decided to try our luck at the Chureito Pagoda, one of the famous sites in Kawaguchiko with a breathtaking view of the red pagoda and Mount Fuji in the background. Fortunately for us, after a tiring 400 steps walk up the stairs, the sky opened up for us with a magnificent view.
Our stay at the Kozantei Ubuya also proved to be worthwhile. We were wowed by the service and quality of the property, while also being able to enjoy another great view the next morning, especially with a very clear sky.
These are just a few of the impressive experiences from Japan, which we will surely keep going for more. Until next time, I hope you enjoy these photos of iconic Japan that I hope will have more in the near future. If you are planning your trip to Japan, feel free to drop me a line if you need help on the suggestions or where to get started.