Traveling to Japan With Ease

First time travelers to Japan will likely find themselves overwhelmed with all of the information that is available, EVERYWHERE.  At least that is how I felt.  I would plan and then get lost in my plan, then start over and get sent down a spiral of endless options again.  I only had 9 days and I didn’t know where to start, what to do along the way or how to wrap up this potentially once in my lifetime adventure.

I remembered what is important in life is to experience the experience.   Regardless of what we chose to see and do it was bound to be memorable and our shared experiences will last forever.

The reality is, there was absolutely no way to cover everything we wanted in such a short period of time.  Even if we were heading to Japan for several months, I guarantee you that we still would not be able to see all the beauty and wonder the country contains.  The highlights for me consisted of half the stay in Tokyo and the other half in Kyoto and we made day trips to Nara and Osaka.

If you are planning your trip to Japan, put your mind at rest, pick what is important to you to see and do and have no worries.  It doesn’t make sense to get stressed about any trip that you go on. Your on vacation and your mind needs to be at ease.  Sometimes, picking less activities is more enjoyable.  I left this beautiful country with more joy than I expected and by the grace of God I will have the opportunity to visit again.

Thanking God for all my travels and more.

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Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Only 30 minutes from Kyoto Station.

 

Image Featured is Osaka Castle in Osaka.

Japan and Sake

The Meiji Era was the first half of the Empire of Japan from October 23, 1868, to July 30, 1912.   During this time the Emperor Meiji, led the industrial growth and modernization of the country and the Japanese people held Emperor Meiji and his family in the highest regard.  I visited the Meiji Shrine located in Shibuya, Tokyo as it was ranked one of the top Shinto shrines to visit in the area.  At the start of the path towards the shrine, I reached a wall of barrels of sake wrapped in straw.  Every year barrels, pictured here, are given to the enshrined deities by members of the Meiji Jingu Sake Brewers Association along with members of other associations as a symbol of respect for the souls of the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, whom was also buried here.

Sake is a Japanese rice wine with a very strong taste and can have as much as 20% alcohol volume. Sake is said to be the oldest known alcohol that dates back to 4800 BC in China and 300 BC in Japan.   By the 1300s breweries allowed for mass production and during the industrial revolution hand work by villagers was no longer necessary. It seems to be that since about 1904, Japan has been strongly branded with this fermented rice specialty.  I drank sake with a coconut violet cocktail mix nearly every night for the second half of my trip.  It became my tradition to wind down after a day of walking for about 8 hours. Respect be to the Emperor and family souls.

Tip: Purchase a JRailpass (at least 2 weeks before you depart for Japan) to give you more flexibility to see more that just one city when you visit this spectacular country.

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