Some of you might know from the sneak peak pic I post in my Q&A Tag, I went to Japan in May 2016 to see family and explore this wonderful and gorgeous country (if you’ve read my Versatile Blogger Award post you know my Grandma is Japanese). I’ll be doing a series of Japanese Travel posts but will break them up over the coming weeks because I spent three weeks in Japan and did a crazy number of things! So welcome to my first post of my Japanese adventures!
Here is an over view of my Japanese trip :
To start off the series, I want to share with you my top ten things you I feel you need to do in Japan !
#1 Admire the most beautiful temple : Kinkakuji in Kyoto
My favorite city in Japan is Kyoto which used to be the capital from 794 to 1868. The most iconic remnant of the city’s imperial past is the Golden Pavillon or Kinkakuji. This Zen Buddhist temple is entirely gilded in gold and was once a shogun’s retirement villa. It is surrounded by an always beautiful Japanese garden and set on the bank of a serene pond. Tourists come from around the world to capture it’s famous golden reflection in the water. You need to see it too!
#2 Overnight in a temple : Koya San Mountain
Mount Koya has been a place of pilgrimage since ninth century when the monk Kobo Daishi was inspired to found the Shingon school of Buddhism. This mountain has 7 peaks which is a magical and sacred number. There is a beautiful but eerie cemetery in the cedar forest that you must wander around.
But, the best part of a visit is the opportunity to stay with the monks at one of Koya’s mountaintop temples. Experience a typical Koya experience by living like a monk ! Sleepg on a the floor in a tranquil tatami-mat room,eat eat a multi-course vegetarian dinner exquisitely presented on lacquerware, and join the monks and pilgrims for early morning prayers (that is if you can get out of bed at 5am!).
# 3 Discover the breathtaking island of the Gods : Miyajima
Miyajima Island, one of the most scenic spots in Japan, has long been regarded as an Island of Gods on the beautiful Seto Inland Sea. It is a romantic and historical island where Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage site, is located.This temple is built both on land and water and floats during the high tide. This is my favorite photo spot of Japan, a definite must see!
#4 Experience Traditional Japanese Accommodation : Ryokan
When going to Japan, live like the Japanese. No visit is complete without experiencing a stay at the traditional accommodation : the Ryokan inn. Sleeping on the tatami, enjoying the understated elegance of the interiors, the meticulous service (almost too polite :)), the outdoor hot spring baths, the multi-course meal of local seasonal produce, the calming silence makes for an unforgettable experience.
# 5 Reflect in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum
Dedicated to victims of the atomic bombing of August 6, 1945, the Peace Memorial Park and Museum are poignant and moving monuments against the horrors of nuclear weapons.The striking frame of the park’s A-Bomb Dome, the only building in central Hiroshima to have withstood the blast and remained upright has become a symbol of the utter city’s destruction. The whole park is a very heavy and emotional experience. The museum is not for the lighthearted. What moved me the most was the Children’s Peace Monument. Built in memory of one of the many children who died from leukemia as a result of the fallout, it’s always decorated with origami cranes of hope sent from children across Japan.
# 6 Climb on Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji that everyone knows, exists as one of the most well-known symbols of Japan. It is also a registered UNESCO World Heritage site. Just looking at it is amazing but only those who climb it know the feeling of being moved emotionally. The best time period for climbing is from July to the middle of September.
# 7 Walk under the thousand Tori iin Fushimi Inari – Taisha Srhine
Located in southern Kyoto, a walk under the thousand of vermillion torii gates will lead you on a trail in the forest of the sacred Mount Inari. Be prepared and wear your hiking shoes. This important Shinto Shrine dedicated to Inari the God of rice has very ancient origins predating the 750s.
#8 Stroll through a Japanese Garden
Japanese gardens are my favorite in the world! The scenery is so beautiful and soothing. There is harmony no matter where your eyes falls and yet it seems as if nature just arranged it self beautifully. I especially love the way trees are shaped and the importance of bridges and water reflection.
# 9 Shopping in Tokyo : Harajuku and Shibuya
Hello, I’m a girl so of course shopping is on the list! But shopping in Tokyo is really an experience. Popular among foreigners is “Takeshita Street” in Harajuku. There are always bustling with crowds of people. You can find fashion stores on both sides of the street and in every nook and crany. The fashion here ranges from lolita to goth with cosplay thrown in the mix.
Another great option is Shibuya for all the malls and the cool department stores that cater to the hip and fashion junkie scene. If you don’t want to try out the fun and crazy Harajuku style than Shibuya will be a safer bet for you with some stores like the 109 that are similar to Forever 21. Walk the most famous and busy crossing in the world!
# 10 Eat Ramen Noodles
Food is definitely a highlight for me when ever traveling to a new country and discovering a new culture. Japanese food is some of the best in the world in my opinion (I admit I might be a little biased here as I love my Grandma’s home cooking). There are a lot of fin dining and gourmet experiences to be had. Most people think of sushi, tempura or yakitori. But ramen noodles are a national obsession and a must taste when in Japan. You can eat a wide variety of ramen all throughout the regions each having their specific style.
What are your top ten recommendations for Japan? Let me know in the comments, and please share my post on social media if you found it useful, I’d love that!
I’d love to chat with you on :