Although Japan belongs to most travel bucket lists, I believe no one’s really emphasized the fact that this country is one of the most diverse travel destinations in the world.
From its preserved colorful culture to its first world modernization that stuns the whole world, you simply cannot capture the whole of Japan in a few nights.
And this is what enticed me to visit the North Eastern country once a year for three years now. I was always sure to get a different experience in every visit.
For my first stop, I picked the Hakone open air museum. What you see inside, or rather, outside (haha), could ignite the artistic passion inside of anyone. It’s amazing how seeing sculptures and other works of art momentarily places you in the minds of these artists.
I also visited the alluring Hakone Shrine, which sits along the shores of Lake Ashi, just a fifteen-minute drive from the museum.
As we cruised Lake Ashi, you can see how the Shrine’s lake-front torii gate captivates the scenery with its bright color among the trees that surround it.
Mega City with Beautiful Parks
Of course, my Japan trip would not be complete without visiting some of the sites in the country’s capital, Tokyo.
The first stop in Tokyo was in Fuji Q. If you’re a big fan of the ol’ adrenaline rush, then this is the place to be! In it, is the Eejanaika, the Guiness Book World of Record title holder for the roller coaster with the most inversions (14 in total!). You can just imagine losing your sense of self while on that ride!
Next stop is the Ginza shopping district. Here, there’s definitely some great finds. From boutiques to art galleries, to cafes and nightclubs, it’s a one-stop-shop, really. It’s a great way to end the night and chill out.
If in your whole trip you’ve been saving up on that perfect Instagram shot, it most certainly should be in this place. The Team Lab Borderless Tokyo lets you explore art without borders, literally! With its vast, three-dimensional 10,000 square meter universe, be sure to mentally prepare yourself of the beauty that’s going to leave your jaw dropped in awe for minutes.
The morning after a day of amusement and wonder is something I looked forward to. Was it tiring? Yes. But am I ready for another adventure? STILL A YES!
This time, we spent our morning going to Ueno Park. Venturing to this part of the city takes you to another breathtaking view of different forms of art inside its museums, temples, and more. There are also a couple of cherry blossom trees that bloom so perfectly during the Spring.
The rest of the day, we spent it at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden to spot more cherry blossom trees. Just a tip, when you’re planning to see the Sakura in full bloom, try visiting around late March to the first week of April. During this time, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and there are actual viewing festivals for a more illuminated view of the cherry trees.
Visiting the Ramen Heaven
One of the reasons you probably want to visit Japan is for an authentic taste of Japanese ramen. If I guessed correctly, then you certainly shouldn’t miss Yokohama’s Ramen Museum. I personally opted for a more adventurous option and ordered something I haven’t had in manila.
The Old City with the Modern Charm
Visiting Dotonbori area in Osaka really gives you a different form of energy at night. The neon lights and the lively vibe is enough to take you into a whole new dimension.
What’s best about this part of Osaka is the street food so make sure to try the Takoyaki! As they say, a country’s street food is where you can literally get a taste of a country’s most authentic culture.
The next stop is in Kyoto where we stepped inside the bamboo forest of Arashiyama. Walking in the middle of sky-high bamboo stalks is certainly an enchanting view.
Last but not least is the Fushimi inari-taisha shrine. This has become famous because of the seemingly unending path that leads to it. The path of over 5,000 torii gates dates back to the 8th century when it was dedicated to the god of rice and sake by the Hata clan which makes it more sensational.
Things to Keep in Mind
- When you buy your ticket for the Team Lab Borderless Tokyo, make sure you check which location you booked for since there are two locations for this in Tokyo.
- When looking for Airbnbs in Japan, look for the best deal that fit your needs. Personally, I think Airbnbs are much more spacious than renting hotel rooms in the country.
- Luke’s lobster in Osaka is a MUST-TRY.
- Average meal spending is 1,000 yen or roughly 500 pesos. That should be a hearty meal already.
For more pictures from my Japan trip, you can visit my Instagram page.