NOTE: This post is still being updated.
This entry summarizes my entire Japan Trip from 29 January 2014 to 12 February 2014.
My original plan was to go to Japan in autumn but I decided to postpone my trip to Japan for winter. After all, for someone who live in a tropical country all her life, the thought of seeing snow fall from the sky is a dream. I started to book flights and accommodation as early as October 2013 that by December, a few days after Christmas I was already set and only waiting for my visa.
My 15 day Japan trip covered 12 cities, 4 festivals, and about 3, 494 kilometres travelled. I’m not really big in numbers but saying this puts a lot of things in perspective. This trip is more about having a taste of what Japan has to offer. In my future travels, I would love to come back and stay longer in a few of these places.
We travelled from Manila via Kansai International Airport. We decided not to explore Osaka and headed straight to Kyoto where we are booked for the first 2 nights. In Kyoto, we visited the Toie Eigamura because I love old Japanese films and bike around Shimogyo-ku near Kyoto Station and explored the beauty of nature in Arashiyama.
From Kyoto, we went to Nagoya to visit the Toyota Kaikan and in late afternoon took a bus to Takayama. We stayed 2 nights in Takayama, one of the day trips included a package tour to Shirakawa-go for the Winter Light Up event.
From Takayama, we went back to Kyoto for Setsubun. We were a few hours late on schedule because we missed the bus that would take us back to Kyoto by a few seconds, we later called this event, the Takayama incident. Back in Kyoto, it’s the first day of Setsubun and we explored the east and northern Kyoto by bike, passing by the whole stretch of the Kamogawa river and reaching up north to Kiyomizu-dera. By night time, we find ourselves exploring the streets of Gion and luckily getting up close with a real geisha (geiko in Kyoto). The next day, we visited Fushimi Inari Taisha and in the afternoon headed to Nara for the Nara Mantoro Festival. Early morning the following day, we headed to Kobe Airport via train, this is our last city in the Kansai region. And because my favorite writer, Haruki Murakami is from Hyogo Prefecture, of which Kobe is its capital; I bought a Murakami book at the airport, TV ピープル (TV People), a collection of short stories that has not yet been fully translated in English.
From Kobe, we flew to Sapporo for the Sapporo Snow Festival. We stayed in Sapporo for 3 nights. These included side trips to Otaru and Asahikawa for the Asahiyama Zoo. In Sapporo, we sent our luggage to Tokyo via taihakubin. From Sapporo, we took a shinkansen to Hakodate. And from Hakodate we headed to Ueno, Tokyo also via shinkansen. In Tokyo, we visited Odaiba, Kamakura, and visited Shinjuku, Shibuya, Omotesando, Asakusa, and even went as far as Chiba to visit a friend. We also spent a day in the happiest place on Earth, Tokyo Disneyland.
We stayed in Tokyo for 4 nights before flying out and heading back to Kansai Airport for our flight back to Manila.