Japan is a familiar country name to me, and it is an Asian country. An Asian country? The name Japan sounds to me, a country very close to my ethnicity, but yet, it is far from my mental image, almost unreachable mentally.
The name ‘Japan’ bombarded me from every circle of my life; from primary school classmates, strangers, relatives and least by not last, my husband. And then, it becomes an urge that I need to make my first pilgrimage there.
So, I make a phone call to AFTA (Australian Federation of Travel Agents) travel company – Japan Holidays Pty Ltd and hoping that they could arrange for me and send me a reasonable itinerary, my travel plan from Tokyo to Osaka. I must make known to you that a friendly, trustworthy consultant whose name was Koharu Mizuta served me and designed a wonderful itinerary for my trip. The one thing about booking or planning the trip with AFTA company is that you can have a reassurance feeling that your travel pan is in the hand of a trustworthy travel agent. No doubt, this is all very important for traveling because everybody wants a stress free and a safe trip.
My flight arrived in Tokyo at around six in the afternoon. There was a lady from the shuttle company holding a big card with my name written on it, and that was how I found her together with other passengers. She escorted us to our shuttle that was waiting outside the arrival hall, and we were delivered to our destined hotels. I would be so happy to share some of my itineraries with you:
- Pick up at Shiba Park Hotel
- Drop at Keio Plaza Hotel (where the main office of JTB Sunrise Tours situated)
- The bus picked us up, and we went on the morning tour.
- Morning tours included: National Diet Building, Imperial Palace (Edo Castle), Tsukiji Fish Market, Kabukiza (Japanese-style theatre), Tokyo Skytree Tower, Senso-ji Temple and Nakamise shopping street, then Asakusa.
- Free time in the afternoon.
Tsujiki Fish Market
Tokyo Skytree Tower
Nakamise shopping street
2nd Day (Tokyo)
- Pick up at Shiba Park Hotel
- The bus drove us to Lake Kamaguchi
- Then, up the Mt. Fuji 5th station (situated 2300 meters above sea level). I was amazed at the spectacular, breathtaking views.
- The temperature at Mt. Fuji 5th station is freezingly cold. 10-15 degrees colder than Tokyo.
- Lunch at a very traditional Japanese restaurant. Very warm and comfortable atmosphere. Highly recommended.
- Witnessed Lake Ashi – Lake in the crater of Mt. Hakone, visited Hakone-en Aquarium.
- Arrived in Yumoto Fujiya Hotel, Hakone.
Vivid image of Mt. Fuji from the bullet train
Mt. Fuji 5th Station
Lunch at a traditional Japanese Restaurant (So warm and soothing after soaked in the rain at Mt. Fuji)
Witness the rainbow just out of my hotel room window
3rd Day (Kyoto)
- Departed Yumoto Fujiya Hotel by taxi accompanied by a tour guide.
- Arrived at Odawara station.
- Took the train from Odawara station to Shin-Yokohama station.
- From Shin-Yokohama station (by Kodama or Hikari Shinkansen line) to Kyoto (2 hours)
- Lunch at New Miyako Hotel
- Departed from New Miyako Hotel at two in the afternoon to join the afternoon tour to Nara Park – a world heritage site.
- In Nara Park, visited Todaji temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine (witnessed many deer), Nara Nagomikan
- Returned to Kyoto hotel called Karasuma Kyoto Hotel.
New Miyako Hotel
- Departed hotel Karasuma Kyoto
- Visited Nijojo castle, Kinkakuji temple, Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kitano Tenmanggu Shrine
- Afternoon tour included Heian Shrine, Aanjusangen0do0temple, Kiyomizu-dera-temple.
Imperial Palace (this feature is for sheltering the earthquake)
- Checked-out hotel
- Drove by Kyoto to Osaka to Kansai airport
- I took a flight from Kansai airport to Narita airport. From Narita airport to Brisbane.
At the front of Kiyomizu-dera temple
The village leading to Kiyomizu-dera temple
Overall, I am happy and satisfied with my first-time travel to Japan. From the trip, I learned so much about Japan, the bullet train, the people, the cities and towns, culture and most of all the complicated train tracks and their names. There is an urge that I should go back there the second time, though not the same cities.
Until next time!