Sunday, 10 November 2013

Places to go...Japan

Japan is such a wonderful place to visit when you travelling and it is especially good if you are an inexperienced traveller but, are looking for something a bit exotic. It offers you everything both modern and ancient. It challenges you with different language and culture. You can have unique experiences and foods but, it is the safest place to go; you could walk around with your wallet wide open and the only concern would be that you might drop it.

Each city is very different and all worth a visit.
Go to Kyoto, the old capital, for a few days. You will see some of the old Japan there. You can try the experience of dressing in a real kimono for a day. there are even kimono express bars that you can pop into to get it fixed if your walking or sitting has unravelled it.

Go to Hiroshima. The history speaks for itself and in addition to that you have a simple, easy to navigate city reminiscent of Melbourne. You must eat Okonomiyaki here. Hiroshima claims to be the birthplace of this traditional vegetable pancake and they are the best you will ever have.
Go to Osaka. This is  a big city with everything you could want. Interestingly, there is an ancient castle still in its city centre, complete with secret samurai passages etc for defence. You should also try to visit some of the temples here, they are magical.

Miyagima Island is a must. It is believed to be so sacred that even the shrine was built in the water off the land. To walk under the shrine you must visit at low tide. The island is populated by deer who are given free reign of the island. Expect one to walk into a shop or two to have a  stand off in the street. Deer are sacred in Japan, they carry the souls of the dead to the afterlife. Bow to the Miyajima deer and it may bow back to you!

Tokyo is essential with its many districts and areas. Harajuku is fun and offers cheap, crazy fashion it's really best for people watching. But nearby are all the high end stores to seduce you with their wares. Because Japan is such a booming market the high end labels are well priced. Go for cosmetics as they are the most competitive.
You must try to stay in a Ryokan, this is a traditional hotel with tatame floors, screen doors and futon beds. They offer such a magical experience and no more expensive than a western style hotel. A journey to Japan would not be complete without visiting a Japanese bath house. Every hotel will be able to recommend one and it really is essential, for a traveller there is nothing more blissful than a long, hot soak.

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