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.

Tokyo Streets

I can hear one of my favourite tracks “Where the streets have no name”. U2 fans can hear it too.

Walking through the streets of Tokyo had me practicing my patience at least 100 times a day and even with the frustration of being lost in translation, I still love this city!  There are street signs, but they are not always easily visible and there are so many alleyways for shopping and sometimes dining.  It’s easy to get lost. Thank God for my T-Mobile International plan.  I was able to use the google maps to help us navigate.

I have a very important tip…

When using Google maps, put in the address you are going to but do not press directions. The moment you do, it will send you off course.  Just load the location so that you can see where you are walking. It sounds weird, but I promise you this is the best way to use google maps right (May 2018) in Japan with a US phone.

My eyes were faced with unending stimulation as I people watched, stared at the skyscrapers, bowed at the temples and walked through the parks and there were no shortage of sites to experience in this amazing city. I will definitely be back!

Long ago, I heard about the efficient rapid transit and its complex map.  Like my attitude with New York’s subway lines, I chose not to be intimidated and to just take my time to get my bearings (even with this method, the crew I was with still got lost a few times).  Whether I was on the street or underground, I always had to pay attention very carefully to the signs. The street signs outside were not always obvious, but underground everything is written quite well, except the signage for elevators are less obvious.

For every plan that you make in Japan, add an extra 30 minutes to your schedule to allow for your travel errors. No matter how good you are at reading maps and taking directions, you are bound to get lost at least once.

If you have been to Tokyo, I would love to hear about your experience. How many times did you get lost?

Getting lost is part of the fun, as long as you are not in a hurry to get somewhere.  I find that you can learn more about yourself and a city when this happens.  You also learn about the people that you are traveling with.  It’s okay to go offtrack, especially in Japan. I never felt threatened or unsafe and people try to be helpful even if they can’t speak much English.

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This photo was taken in the Harajuku area. Fortunately, most tourist attractions do have elaborate signs with an arrow to point you in the right direction.

 

Best,

Isabel

 

 

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