A few weekends ago, I ventured over to the country of Japan for a long weekend trip. I had been dying to go to Japan, so I planned a trip when the opportunity came about. I didn’t really know what to expect at first. I had talked to some friends who have been before and mostly everyone said Japan was great. But the only time I had ever seen Tokyo was through a “Fast and The Furious” movie, so I was determined to see what it really had to offer.
Japan ended up being one of the most unique, and interesting places I’ve ever been to in Asia. By the end of the trip, I was trying to think of ways to call in sick… for a week, just so I could stay longer. It truly was an unforgettable experience. Usually when I travel, especially by myself, some ridiculous problem or situation arises that makes for a funny and entertaining blog (refer to basically every previous article I have ever written). Well for once I didn’t end up in one of these ridiculous situations, and I still had an amazing trip.
One of my favorite parts about traveling in Asia, is that you can kind of just “wing it”. Of course flights need to be bought, and if traveling during holiday season, hotels should be booked, but the rest I kind of just figure out as I go. For those who know me, they know this doesn’t sound like me. I am a need to be in charge type of person. I like to plan, plan and plan some more. But, the asian culture has really helped me tone this down. I mean come on, I showed up in Taiwan 8 months ago with no job, no friends, and no place to stay !! The just-go-with it mentality works here more often than not, and it truly makes traveling much more interesting.
When I was researching Japan, I knew I wanted to be in Tokyo for the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, as well as travel outside of Tokyo for one day. That was it. The rest was going to be planned in the moment. On my first day, I decided to head out of Tokyo because of weather. I arrived very early on Saturday, and immediately took a bus and then a high speed train to Kyoto. Kyoto is about 3 hours by HSR outside of Tokyo. It is an ancient Japanese city, and was highly recommended to visit. I could have spent 2 weeks in Kyoto, let alone one day. I was determined though to see as much as I could so I was up for a challenge. Once I arrived, I immediately found tourist information and got all the help I needed. Kyoto turned out to be amazing. I went to the three main places I wanted to see in Kyoto. First was the bamboo forest, next was the golden pavilion and third was the Fushimi Shrine.
After my day trip to Kyoto, I headed back into Tokyo for the rest of my trip. Luckily I had skipped the rain and the last 3 days of my trip were great. I was able to do and see a lot on Tokyo. It’s huge, and the subway system is a maze. But I was able to cover a lot of ground and really experience the Japanese culture. The cherry blossoms were breathtaking and being able to experience Sakura was really incredible.
What amazed me the most, was how clean Japan is. The city is so organized, and really actually not that hard to get around. Yes, initially, when I took a look at the subway and metro map, I was in a tad bit of shock, but I was up for the challenge. Even though it was only for a long weekend, I still felt like I was able to see so much. Also Japanese food is to die for. Pretty sure I gained 10 lbs directly from ramen noodles. I will most definitely be trying to make my way back over to Japan again!
Oh and if you want to hear about my life changing sushi experience, check out this blog I wrote immediately following the most amazing food experience of my existence… 5am Sushi!