Category: Japan Page 1 of 3
As my very last entry for this Japan trip I summarised some sites and Apps which helped me to make this trip a full success. I also added…
When you ask somebody of Japanese culture I think you get either Geishas and Samurais as an answer or Anime and crazy TV shows. It seemed to me that this old and so well preserved culture which still upholds its traditions and customs like the tea ceremony and table manners so dearly, nevertheless has also shaped a pop culture which couldn’t be more extreme.
As it is close to Takayama I did a half-day trip to Shirakawa-go. It’s a tiny farmers village up in the mountains which was founded back in the 12th century and is famous for its unique gasshō-zukuri style houses. The town is UNESCO world heritage and offers another entirely different perspective on Japanese history.
Every journey has to end at some point. In my own experience I would always recommend to start with the big and busy cities at the beginning of a trip and conclude the holidays with nature or small towns. This always helps me to avoid total exhaustion and allows me to take the calmness with me back home. In German there is a perfect word for this: Entschleunigen…
In order to get another nature experience in the Japanese countryside I took the chance to cross the Japanese Alps along the Alpine Route. The route offers a lot of different transportation methods like funicular, rail-car, cable car, bus and train.
Having a Japan RailPass which allows me to travel the Shinkansen bullet trains freely and a new Shinkansen line starting from Kanazawa which premiered just a year ago I decided to choose a city within reach with better weather. Yes, Nagano is more than 200km away and I made the choice to go somewhere else just after lunch, the train only took approximately an hour.
Ok, going to Japan obviously makes you think “eating sushi all the time”. However once there I realized that there were so many other amazing new things to eat. Nevertheless I was amazed by the Edo-style sushi I had at the fish market in Tokyo and the conveyor belt-style sushi in Osaka. BUT let me tell you this was nothing compared to the amazing sushi I had at Sushi Ippei in Kanazawa.
Kanazawa at the Westcoast behind the Japanese Alps might not be a city you heard of before but this city with roughly half a million inhabitants was once the capital of the richest region of Japan through rice plantations. This allowed the city to build up its famous culture with its geisha and samurai districts as well as the castle and its surrounding gardens.
The castle in Osaka was really nice but rebuilt. The ONE castle in Japan you have to see is Himeji Castle. It is not only preserved but also freshly renovated (just finished 2015) and includes a whole fortification and gardens on the premise.
Osaka is the second largest city in Japan and claims to be the food capital of Japan – some foodies claim even of the world. After Kyoto this city certainly had a more modern, less charming character to it. Mainly this is due to the different architecture. Everything in Osaka seems to be high-rise concrete buildings. The food however knows how to deliver. Btw. did you know that the famous conveyor belt sushi was invented in Osaka?
The last highlights I had in Kyoto where the Sanjusangendo Temple and the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine.
The history of Japan as a united country with one capital started in what is today the Kansai region. With Kyoto as the long reigning capital of Japan its history is as rich as glorious. However, Kyoto has not been the first capital but instead it has been Nara which only lies half-an-hour train ride away from Kyoto which has been the first capital of Japan in 710 AD.