JAPAN

The country of tradition and technology

For a long time we wanted to visit this country, so far away from us, and with a very different culture.

Finally it goes to Japan!

We spend 17 days in Japan, backpackers, using the means of transport par excellence in this country: the train.

Before leaving we purchased the Japan Rail Pass which allows you unlimited travel on almost all trains (including the famous Shinkanesn) with substantial savings on ordinary tickets and without having to buy each ticket (activated on arrival in Japan except a few limitations).

The Japanese trains are among the best in the world: punctual, comfortable and fast. On the way the Japanese work, have a rest but also their meals. We, too, so we followed suit: in the stations you can buy the boxes containing meals ready to eat on the train. If you like to taste the local food is an opportunity not to be missed.

Before we left we booked all the hotels online using BOOKING .

We arrived at Tokyo airport and stayed in the capital on the first night, wandering and getting to grips with the country. The impact with the Shinjuku station is notable because it is the busiest train station in the world! A jungle of signs all in Japanese! But do not worry, if you need help the Japanese are always available and if you are not able to personally help you begin to call friends and family, passers-by stop and connect the phone until they are able to give you the information you need.

Shinjuku Station Tokyo
Shinjuku Station Tokyo

The next day we went to Hiroshima where we spent two nights. We spent time at our disposal visiting the city of Hiroshima, became infamous for being the first target of an atomic bomb (Bomb Dome, Peace Park, the Peace Museum ..), and the island of Miyajima, a World Heritage Humanity by UNESCO, where you can visit Buddhist temples, pagodas but above the red Torii Ruby Itsukushima- jinja (Shinto shrine) where reigns a surreal peace.

The subsequent transfer took us instead to Osaka, where we spent one night. In this modern metropolis, renowned for good food, you can guess the hectic life of the Japanese.

In the city of Kyoto we stayed for 4 nights. This city is in our opinion the most interesting of Japan, many things to see: many neighborhoods where stroll, beautiful temples, the Imperial Palace, the park, the bamboo forest, but above the train station (unlike us is the heart of the city, with many shops, many restaurants to spend the evening and numerous areas where shows and concerts are organized). These are some of the things we have done, difficult to choose one thing over another. Still using Kyoto as a base, we also visited the same day the city of Nara, and other must-see World Heritage site. The train ride lasts about half an hour. Outside the station a few signs indicate the direction of the park, where you’ll find most of the sites to visit.

At this point of the trip, we thought we had already seen the most beautiful things, however the best was yet to come. A night on the plateau of Koya-san.

For us the best of the holiday.

Here is the most important monastery of Japan, a wonderful temple decorated with many lanterns that make it even more fascinating. The temple is surrounded by a forest where there is the most sacred cemetery of Japan (here are the tombs of some of the major Japanese corporations in the world and where for employees to be buried in the tomb of the company is considered a great honor ). Having visited on a gloomy day visit was even more impressive. It  such an important site that many Japanese will offer free to be your guide. In addition to the charm of the place so you can spend a few hours in a local company that just make you want to know the beauty of the country where he lives. Sometimes the conversation in English is difficult but when can such a thing happen again? Many temples on the plateau offer the possibility of staying in adjacent rooms to those monks: dinner, bed and opportunity to pray with them (not being a highlight show that participation must be very respectful, to be kept quiet and did not can enter or exit during the function). Highly recommended! Since not all of the temples offer hospitality to tourists should contact the temple in advance via email and arrange your stay.

Koya San cemetery
National Cemetery at Koya-San

After this amazing experience, reluctantly we abandon the plateau to reach Gifu. We chose this town randomly, just to break the journey (based on train schedules resulted comfortable sleep at this location). The town is not at all touristy but we still managed to spend a pleasant and fun evening. After leaving the luggage in the hotel we decided to trust to chance for dinner and then we followed a group of employees who, after work, went with colleagues in a restaurant and were accommodated us to a free table. Being able to order was a serious challenge: the menu was only in Japanese, no one spoke English and gestures were not enough to explain that we wanted to eat something. Rather than bringing something wrong they did not bring anything. The place was in an uproar because they could not be content but eventually the situation was resolved when she entered the room a young girl who spoke a little ‘French. Finally you eat!

Once in Takayama, we pernottiamo here for 1 night only, in a typical traditional inn: the Ryokan. The visit of the historic district is very pleasant, with the typical wooden houses and also where we taste some samples of sake in a traditional distillery. Overnight accommodation in a Ryokan is fantastic! They leave their shoes at the entrance, you are wearing a kimono, you sleep on the futon, you relax in ‘onsen (spa bath) and dinner sitting on the floor with the owner you need an infinite number of dishes. All this in a quiet and relaxing .. yet the walls are paper !?

Dinner at Ryokan in Takayama
Dinner at Ryokan in Takayama

Last stop on our trip was Tokyo where we spent 4 nights: Imperial Palace, Shibuya district in which to observe teenagers dressed extravagantly, Shinjuku district, temple of Senso-ji Temple in which to buy a ticket of fortune, the famous and largest fish market in which to have breakfast (absolutely the most delicious sushi we’ve ever had, and think that it was only seven o’clock in the morning). Always remaining to sleep in Tokyo, we visited during the day on Mount Fuji, with its majestic and snow-capped peak, trying to find out the best place to see that image so often seen on TV. Finally do not forget to spend some time also to the shrine city of Nikko, also present here are World Heritage shrines. All the temples have always tended gardens and wonderful when you can spend some time in meditation.

During your trip to Japan, we recommend you try the onsen experience. This is a very sensitive practice of relaxing in a thermal water bath, but unlike what we’re used to us, you’ll discover that the most important part of this practice is “the ritual of washing” before entering. According to the Japanese culture, thoroughly wash is a matter of respect for those entering into the tub with you and after you. Look at what they do and do give directions, explain everything. Men and women should get separated and strictly barefoot.

To complete your journey you must also sample all the delights that offers this cuisine: sushi, sashimi, tempura, soba, udon and ramen (noodles cooked in beef broth and served in a bowl with a variety of ingredients). All absolutely delicious !!!

Ramen House in Tokyo
Ramen house in Tokyo

This is truly a journey full of things to see and do but most will allow you to learn about a different culture and a wonderful people, always available.

But what still do on this site? There are already booking? Have a good trip!

If you have decided that this is the journey for you and would like to learn more details can post a comment on this post or you can send your request by mail to’ address of the blog: diariodibordo3@gmail.com

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