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Japan Travel Guide - Top 6 Places to Visit in Japan

The country of the rising sun, Japan will give you a lot in return once you set your feet on it. The serene beauty of Japan will bind and weave your heart to its unending beauty.

From India, we took an early morning flight from Indira Gandhi International Airport to Haneda Airport, Tokyo, it took us roughly 8 hrs to reach. I visited Japan during the month of May with my family and trust me walking under the cherry blossoms during the spring season near the Shakujiigawa river in northwest Tokyo is all worth it, the Shakujiigawa River before emptying into the Sumida River has a great view of cherry blossom on its right. The river during this time of the year turns to complete pink covered with cherry blossoms, the view there is mesmerizing. We sat on the banks and had a lot of Japanese delicacies, the banks of the river had a wide variety of food stalls which is a complete treat for your cravings. 

Sightseeing northwest Tokyo

The first day for us was all about cherry blossoms. For sightseeing, we got onto the Seibu Railway which covers almost the whole of northwest Tokyo. The train ride took us through the Ashigakubo Icicles to the Kawagoe Daishi Kitain Temple and then to the Moss pink-covered fields to the sacred Chichibu shrine, hence giving us a whole Japanese cultural experience on the first day. The train inside was well decorated with Japanese culture and the onboard chefs inside prepare seasonal delicacies. The train then stopped at Sayama where you get to find Japan’s famous Sayama tea, we went down and picked up our tea packets after tasting our choices. The train journey then ended after some more time and from here, we went to Tokyo tower to get a night view, the tower which continues to serve as the symbol of Tokyo’s rebirth after World War II. A visit here is a must and we were here on the first day, the grounds around Tokyo tower provide multiple attractions and now we were on our way to explore each. Soon we went to the Zojoji temple, the temple which is a burial ground of 15 Tokugawa shoguns. The temple’s front gate has been standing strong since World War II. Then we hopped onto the amusement part near the base of the tower and I cannot express how happy I was inside it, jumping around to go around and having snacks from every food stall I saw. The theme park is called Tokyo One piece tower providing a whole view of the Japanese manga series, One piece. 

Okinawa, the village of longevity 

On the second day, we went to the Village of Okinawa, a must place to visit while in Japan. The old folks of the village are extremely welcoming and accepted us with a lot of love and warmness. Okinawa is the place where the concept of ikigai started in Japan. Reading about this village from the book “Ikigai by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles”, the interest within me to visit Japan started to build up and here today I was going around the village digging into more stories of Okinawa. I realized how the village of longevity and eternal youth, doesn’t just only provide ways to live longer but also to live happier. A very interesting thing I noticed was how the people here grow their food, everything they eat is completely grown and made by them. For lunch, one of the villagers asked us to join them. We were served with Okinawan soba noodles with daikon radish, Okinawan-style stewed pork (rafute), and Fermented Tofu with rice. They even packed us some sweet potatoes and sea grapes for our way back to Tokyo. On our way to explore Okinawa, most of the things we did were tour the village and the beaches. Being an island, Okinawa beaches allow you to surf, swim and go diving into the deep blue water and we tried to enjoy every attraction until it got dark and it was time to leave. 

Akihabara

After coming back from Okinawa, in the evening we went to Akihabara the capital of otakudom. As a part of the new generation, this is one of the first places you would want to go. To reach here, we took Train from Tokyo Metro’s Hibiya Line to Akihabara station and it took us about 10 mins to reach here altogether. The place is covered with anime, manga, and video games and center of Japanese otaku and anime culture in Japan. Me being a diehard manga fan was overjoyed to go around the streets looking at all the shops providing the best of best collections. Soon all of us were hungry and so we went into a café to grab some evening snacks and to my surprise, the cafes were all themed into maid and manga cafes, where waitresses cosplay as maid and anime characters. In addition to serving, the cosplay characters indulged in playing games and interacting with us, we were asked to play video games and were provided with lots of comics to read while we enjoy our food. The place is an entry to Japan’s worldwide famous anime culture, it is no surprise to end up meeting pop idols going around and yes to our surprise we got to meet the popular. Even the apartments and houses here are designed and dedicated to anime and manga which truly will make anyone go overjoyed. While waking on the streets of Akihabara you can always get to see either of your favorite characters’ cosplay going around and this is how I got to spot my favorites Naruto, Tanjiro Kamado from one piece, and Nico Robin from demon slayer cosplayers amidst the crowd. My happiness had no bound seeing them and how beautifully they created the whole atmosphere by interacting so closely with the visitors around. The very next moment where was I? definitely in front of them. The way Tanjiro Kamado’s cosplay had his sword and his whole costume in green formed up, one can say how professional it looks but my favorite will be Naruto here, the interaction with him is something I cannot forget, he asked me to take pictures with him and even insisted on going to the video game center to play a round of Taekwondo on the screen, I did lose but the experience I had is unforgettable. Next, we came across, Nico Robin, and the girl who was doing the cosplay looked so pretty throughout her performance as if she was straight from anime. Her performance went on gathering a huge crowd with a lot of applauses. 

Mount Fuji Trek

Next early morning, we visited mount fuji. Mount Fuji is one of the prettiest mountains to climb; you cannot miss it in Japan. We reached our destination by 6 am and soon started our trek at 7 am. The weather above is cold and windy, especially during this time of the year and one must prepare warm clothes while climbing up. There are 5 stations on different sides of the mountains from where tourists start their trek, we started our one from the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station. The Fuji Subaru Line is easily accessible from the Fuji five Lake region and central Tokyo so it is easily accessible for the tourists who stay in Central Tokyo. The view up is breathtaking, and you will soon walk above the clouds. But I would suggest if you want to tour Japan especially to trek Mt fuji, then visit during the Obon week in mid-august. During this time, the place is crowded and the hills would be covered with lots of huts to provide you with various entertainment and refreshments while you trek up. There are huts on the road where you can stop for a refreshment and reach the top slowly at your pace. Japanese people believe that the mountain is a gathering point of their deceased ancestors and hence is believe scared. We reached our spot in 4 hrs and then at the top clicked pictures, went around a crater, visited a hut for lunch, and then again came back down from where we took a car to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station. It was almost 7 in the evening when we returned to our hotel and all of us were extremely tired so we got freshen up, had our dinner, and went to sleep. 

Asakusa, the place of traditions to Shinjuku and then Tokyo Solamachi 

The next morning, we all were still tired from the Mt Fuji trek and so decided to rest and instead go around Tokyo trying out traditional food and get some shopping done. Soon by 10 am, we got ready and went out to Asakusa, one of the districts in Tokyo which is rich in traditions. We went to Sensoji temple and soon went to Nakamise street market to buy traditional Japanese items. From there, we took the train to Shinjuku Station (the busiest train station) and reached to Shinjuku, one of Tokyo’s largest shopping districts. While waking and enjoying we realized how all our tiredness was gone and all we could feel was the enjoyment. We went through electronics stores and lots of boutiques including underground shopping arcades. It was almost afternoon by then and so we decided to go over to Tokyo Solamachi which is popular for being a shopping hub at the base of the Tokyo sky tree. We went there and the view there with the well-lighted sky tree with souvenir shops and restaurants below was extremely pleasing. We got kokeshi dolls, yukuta, and traditional woodblock prints from the souvenir shops. In between shopping, we had traditional Japanese food from a variety of food stalls and roadside stalls, we got ourselves filled up with Sushi, Sashimi, Tempura, and the famous miso soup with tofu. 

Miyajima to visit the Itsukushima shrine

It was already our 5th and last day here in Japan cause the next morning we were leaving at 11 am. For the last day, we were on our way to the island shrine of Itsukushima on the island Miyajima which is famously known as Japan’s shrine Island. For reaching the island, we took a short ferry ride from mainland Hiroshima after reaching Hiroshima via train from Central Tokyo. We were astonished to see how beautifully the temples and shrines are linked by bridges and walkaways all surrounded and rising out of the water which makes it look as if floating on the water. We went to the main hall, offerings hall, prayer hall, and the hall of thousand mats and later we were taken to enjoy the shrine’s stage where traditional music and dance performances were taking place. Going around the island gave us a look through various grounds and gardens filled with plants and home to a large number of birds and wild deer. It was evening by now and we were supposed to leave early morning so now we had to head back to the hotel to pack the luggage. 

End to our beautiful trip

We got back to our rooms by 8 pm and now the huge rush of packing begins as we bought lots of new stuff from Japan in the past few days, it took us almost 3 hrs to pack everything and buy then our stomach was crying for food. We ordered room service and arrived at our meal of soba noodles, sushi, rice balls, miso soup, and grilled chicken. All of us filled our stomachs and soon went to sleep. The next morning it got emotional thinking how we were leaving this beautiful place but then taking beautiful memories along. We had to reach the airport 2 hrs before the departure so all of us got to freshen up, had a light breakfast, cleared the hotel bills, and booked a cab. All I could think then was how beautiful the past five days were and quickly it ended, the place will forever hold a special place in my heart and all the beautiful sceneries will always be captured within. We left the hotel at 8;30 am and reached the airport within half an hour. Soon it was time to depart and we left for our home leaving Japan behind. 

Japan will continue to be one of my favorites, the end.

Pritha Datta

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