For four years I was waiting for this trip, longing to visit my Japanese friends whom I met during my studies in the US and thinking about the real taste of Japanese sushi. This trip was a graduation gift to myself. After all the stress, I was looking forward to clear my mind and enjoy the beauty of the land of the rising sun!
Before my boyfriend and I started to book our trip, we thought about all we would like to see, do and experience. We first booked our flight and Japan Railway Passes. We wanted to experience as much as possible. Initially, we were not planning to book hotels in advance, but since my Japanese friends told me that hotels in some cities could be completely booked
out during the time we are in Japan, we changed our mind. We booked different types of accommodations: hotels (with and without Japanese breakfast), a temple with traditional Japanese rooms, an apartment among Japanese residents and a stay with friends. It was clever to book the hotels in advance, since some locations, as for example Miyajima, seemed to be very crowded. Of course, there were some hotels available offering rooms, but those were just the hotels with a huge price tag. Even in cities as Kyoto, it is wise to book prior arrangements befo
re going to a hotel. Book your hotel at home, check the internet in Japan or take a list with hotels with you. Make sure you have booked a room before going to a hotel. This to avoid additional travel costs and waste of time.
Our travel plan
And finally, the end of September was approaching. We had to pack our luggage. Thanks to our list, called “vakantiekoffertje” (meaning small holiday suitcase) we made sure we did not forget anything. This list really comes in handy, since every time we go somewhere and forget something, we add it to the list. These days, we hardly forget anything; no toothbrush or toothpaste, no contact lenses solution, no ankle socks or whatever we have forgotten in the past.
After having packed our bags and finishing our huge list of all we would like to see, do and experience, we were ready for Japan. For each town we had made a separate list. The bigger towns were divided in areas (e.g. north, east, south, west, and center), so we made sure to visit the sights in a particular area at the same day and to avoid travelling up and down.
We left from Düsseldorf (Germany) to Dubai, where we had a 22 hours stopover. From Dubai we flew to Narita airport. It takes about an hour to get from Narita airport to Tokyo. We stayed for about three days in Tokyo. Our trip continued going to Manai, Koyasan, Nara, Kumamoto, Miyajima, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Kakegawa and our last destination before heading to the airport was Yokohama. In total we stayed for three weeks in Japan. Since we stayed almost a week with friends, we bought the Japan Rail Pass for 2 weeks. Stay tuned for more exciting information about Japan and our trip.