Time Travelling in Japan
05 August 2014
My daughter and I love all things Japanese. From authors Haruki Murakami and Kazuo Ishiguro, countless anime shows, obsessing over Japanese ramen and udon, to cherry blossoms, winter illuminations and amazing views, and Geisha we see in pictures. And so last May 2014, after sleepless nights of planning, we finally arrive in Tokyo, Japan! And it was just as we had imagined and more.
Japan is a world apart. Tokyo alone is a mix of old world and cosmopolitan charm. Polite and detached. Orderly and chaotic at the same time. There is just so much to do, and so many places to go to! The train and subway system is a marvel in itself! So don't worry too much thinking about how to navigate the trains and subways, while still not there! The best and most exciting way to learn is when you're there yourself! Grab a map, stop and look at the signs, make sure you take the right exit, it will make your life easier. Or you can always count on a "keisatsusan".
Tokyo is a foodie and shoppers haven! There are small ramen and udon (our favourite) places everywhere you turn. All slurpingly good! And I can't even begin to tell you about their sweets, except that I'm addicted to it! Street shopping is awesome! I was surprised that Tokyo is not as expensive as reported.
Of course, how can we miss the countless temples and shrines of Kyoto, our favourites being Kinkaku-ji Temple and Fushimi Inari Shrine. Strolling enigmatic Gion at night, and staying in a traditional ryokan is an absolute must. We also enjoyed the Manga Museum and night markets. From Tokyo, it is only 2.5 hours by Nozomi bullet train to Kyoto. Never miss it. It is a different world altogether. It is where I experienced the ultimate helpfulness of one Japanese lady, who upon learning we were lost, walked with us to our destination.
In Japan, it is easy to time travel. Just be prepared to walk, walk and walk. I would love to return and explore its other cities.