in 2017 I had the privilege of visiting Japan for my holidays.
We researched things to do, places to stay, yummies to eat and much more using every tool possible with the favourites being Instagram and google.
There is so much to see and do and for such a small country we covered a lot of miles.
I’ll start by saying the Japanese people are lovely, and helpful. It’s true English isn’t spoken everywhere but it’s amazing the ways that you find to communicate and with one driver google translate on his iPad came in VERY handy as he showed us around Kyoto, such a gorgeous little spot.
We stayed in Tokyo, well technically outside of Tokyo near Disney at the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay. It’s a gorgeous hotel just across from the monorail. Super convenient for Disney visitors and not too far away from highlights of Tokyo.
I loved Disney (always do being a big kid) and enjoyed being able to see the fall colours in December at the Grand Palace, although I didn’t love the lines. I enjoyed the sights of Harajuku and the fascinating Shibuya crossing although I have to say it’s just as crazy in the train stations.
The views from the sky tree tower showed how big and packed the city was but we saw Mt Fuji better from our hotel room than up the top.
The trains are reasonably easy to use and I’d suggest a Suica pass (I didn’t have one and I think I should have) for local trains.
We had the JR pass for long distance trains and that was good but it doesn’t always work on local ones so we found ourselves putting our hand in pocket more than a few times.
We then headed down to Osaka on the Bullet train at speeds of over 300klms. But so smooth.
Staying at the Ibis styles, well wasn’t that a change of hotel. A lot smaller room and a bathroom like a ships cubicle bathroom. And the area of Dotonbori was much more Asian than the Disney are had been haha but lots of interesting eateries and shops a very lively area. We even fished for our fresh seafood lunch which was a great fun experience.
We did a few day trips from Osaka visiting the old capital of Nara and the amazing bowing deer.
Kyoto to visit the bamboo forest, Tenryu-ji temple and the kimono forest. All very cool. Awesome driver and tour guide.
Hiroshima steeped in history and very surreal and Miyajima and it’s Torii gates and cute deer.
Whilst in Osaka we visited the Aquarium and Universal studios, both of which were really interesting but Universal was sooo cold and we weren’t prepared for it, so make sure you take a jacket!
Speaking of cold we then headed to Hakuba to stay at the Marillen Hotel. Such a cute hotel in an awesome spot! We were a week early but there is a ski lift right at the door! The staff were amazing!!!! They organized everything for us including transport to the pharmacy when one of us was sick, all of our activities and even an very early out of hours breakfast on our last day.
Uncle Steven’s Tex Mex was a highlight, we loved the cute kitsch and the food was delicious!
Head sports station were fantastic with the gear hire.
The snowboard lessons and snowmobiling tour were both amazing.
After minus 9 we need a warm up and headed to Okinawa. A lovely island at the bottom of the chain of islands that make up Japan. Stunning scenery and an amazing hotel just finished off our holiday. The Okinawa Sheraton Sunmarina was so lovely. We were upgraded to the marina wing and the room was gorgeous, up there with the best I’ve ever stayed in.
Having a car and being able to get ourselves around was also good although the in car GPS…. you need a map reference to get where you’re going… which is not always easy to get hold of, thanks google.
We got some really cool things at a flea market, touched on the American quarter, beach combing, and fun within the hotel with slot cars and pool tables and it was a relaxing finish to a fast paced holiday.
So my bottom line for Japan, am I glad I went? Yes absolutely, am I hooked and desperate to go back no, so many more places to visit.
Disney, fishing for lunch, the deer, the snow, channelling Harry Potter at Universal, seeing Hiroshima and the Sheraton in Okinawa.
For me, too many stairs and people. And I should have listened more when I took Japanese at school and TAFE… haha