Hey there, it’s me again! You know – that girl that always says she’s going to post more but disappears for months on end with no word. I’d like to say that’ll change, but let’s get real, that would be a big fib on my part! I hope you can forgive me?
While I won’t promise you regularity, I’ll hopefully make up for it with this tale all about my first trip to Asia. Travelling to Asia has been a thought in my mind for well over a few years, but I was finally about to make it a reality this summer with a month-long adventure across Japan and Korea. What originally started as a musing to take a solo trip to Korea, quickly turned into a BFF trip through two countries after mulling it over with my good friend and former work wife Randi. Randi had always wanted to visit Japan and I’d recently taken an interest in Korea, we both had contracts at our job that were coming to an end, this was our big chance to take a trip of a lifetime before she went back to school to pursue her Masters, and I went along my merry way into the world of freelancing and becoming my own boss. So, that’s how we found ourselves in Tokyo on July 28th, 2017.
For this post, I’ll be recalling my time in Japan and following it up with another post all about Korea. For this post, I’ll do a little less of the whole “This is where I went, you should go there too” and focus more on the general trip. This is mainly because Randi and I decided that she would plan Japan, I would plan Korea and we both would go with whatever the other person wanted to do. So, because of that, I was able to sit back and enjoy the ride, as Randi planned everything, and unfortunately, I didn’t pay much mind to location names. I will, however, tell you this, we visited the following cities during our two-week stay: Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto and Osaka and I’d recommend each location, for different reasons!
We started our trip in Tokyo and stayed at the cutest little hostel/capsule hotel situation that moonlite as a café, open to the public (I’ve since come to learn that this concept is apparently quite common in Japan as we also stayed in a hostel like this in Osaka). So, there we were in Tokyo, ready to take on the world and spend our first day taking part in the most touristy activity we could think of…the robot show! Unfortunately, due to some unexpected technique problems, this is the only image I have to remember the event…
but it should serve in giving you an idea of how “fluorescent” this experience was. That being said, due to our extreme exhaustion and jet lag from our recent flight, we both somehow managed to spend the entire show fighting to keep our heads from dropping forward and full on sleeping during the event. If you’ve ever been to this show, you will understand how truly exceptional it would be to somehow fall asleep during this mash-up of techno, neon lights and 80’s themed giant remote-controlled robots. After recovering from our jet-lag, we spent the next few days discovering Tokyo, eating lots of amazing food, checking out all the top sites and playing way too many claw machine games in an attempt to win a plushy worth probably like 25 cents, but oh so cute.
After our time in Tokyo, we left for the airport to head over to Hiroshima. Through doing our research, we found that most people who visit Japan buy a rail pass, which goes just about anywhere, but for us, it was cheaper to book individual plane/train tickets. Once we landed in Hiroshima, we decided that we wanted to see the Peace Memorial Park, a site dedicated to the bombs that were dropped by the US on Japan during World War ll. During our trip, we observed several monuments dedicated to the tragic event, many of which featured paper cranes. This was a place I’d learned about like many probably did through reading the novel “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” in school. The book had stuck with me through the years, so needless to say, the experience of visiting Hiroshima was an incredible one. During our time in Hiroshima, we also checked out Itsukushima which was one of the big highlights of the trip. Like most other sites, there are A LOT of fellow tourists, but they really don’t take away from the beauty of the island. One of the most exciting experiences (for me anyway) was seeing deer walking alongside you, looking for any food that you might have in hand. Being from Canada, this was unthinkable, as deer are animals that I only imagine as reclusive creatures hiding in forests, trying to avoid being found out by mean hunters.
Our next location change was to Kyoto, which we reached by train and walked on over to our real capsule hotel experience. The capsules themselves were very cute miniature versions of a regular hotel room, complete with a TV, lighting system and foldable desk, all within the confines of a bunk bed with four walls. We were given a small locker and a key card that gave us access to the baths and shower rooms located in the basement of the hotel. While in Kyoto we ate at a very traditional noodle restaurant where we met a lovely father and son duo on a hiking trip through Japan and indulged in the most amazing sushi and sashimi the world has ever been blessed with. When we weren’t eating, we visited temple after temple, the bamboo forest and walked through the most beautiful green landscapes.
Our final location was Osaka, where we, unfortunately, got rained out for a few days due to a typhoon that hit another part of Japan. After the rain settled we took the opportunity to visit some markets, stroll down the busy streets and take a token Ferris Wheel ride to see the city’s skyline. A perfect way to end an amazing trip of a lifetime.
Below you can check out some of the pictures I gathered on my trip, as well as a vlog that spans the full 2 weeks.
Don’t forget to keep on the lookout for the Korea post, coming soon!