Trip Alert: Japan!

Guys, I’m breaking one of my cardinal travel rules: avoid traveling somewhere during peak season, because everything is more expensive and crowded.

I will be traveling to Japan in the spring. Yes, during that most amazing and popular season, when the sakura (cherry blossoms) are blooming.

It’s madness, I know. But do you guys have a “life list”? This is my preferred term (as opposed to “bucket list”) of those things I really would like to accomplish at some point. A moving target, you might say. All kinds of things find their way onto my list…

Razel’s Life List (excerpt)

  • Get a tattoo. Done – January 2010.
  • Fly a plane. Done – October 2010. Okay, so I was only in control of the tiny 4-seater Cessna for maybe 10 minutes, and there was a real, professional pilot ready to jump in the entire time. But still! Plus I got to do the take-off. Close enough!

Birthday treat to myself: fly a plane! I bought an introductory flight lesson from a small outfit in the San Francisco Bay Area. Wonderful experience.

  • Watch a live Grand Slam tennis match other than the US Open. So the Wimbledon/French Open/Australian Open. Have yet to even put a date to this–and I may strike it off the list. This was back when I was super into tennis. 
  • Try pottery. I keep putting this one off too. One of these days…
  • Go to Greece. Yessss done! I’m slowly trying to tell you all about it.
  • Go to Egypt. 2017 maybe?
  • Watch Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. Done. My family helped me out on this one–saw O at the Bellagio on my birthday in 2009.
  • Read Lolita. Ugh, I suck. Maybe on one of these upcoming trips?
  • Go to Spiel. This one is new, added last year. Got really into board gaming over the last year and this is THE convention. Plus it’s in Germany in October, do I hear Oktoberfest? Not this year, but maybe next… 

Okay, so I’m getting carried away. The point is, I have a list. And on that list…

  • See cherry blossoms in Japan.

This is the year! I am incredibly excited. You guys have no idea. Not just for the cherry blossoms, but for the food, and the temples, and the hot springs, and the culture in general. It is going to be such an amazing trip.


Himeji Castle during cherry blossom season. Photo by Wikimedia, but I hope to see it for myself very soon!

As you can imagine, sakura season is a very, very popular time to be in Japan. I started looking into Airbnb rentals on January 11. This date is relevant because by yesterday, a mere 12 days later, every single Airbnb I had put on my Kyoto wishlist was booked for the dates I wanted. And, in most cases, for the rest of April. How ridiculous is that?!

In a panic, I spent the last 12 hours booking accommodations for the whole dang trip. It’s two months away and I’m completely committed. Madness, I tell you.

Another way this trip differs: whereas I usually only travel with David for long international trips, on this one we’ll be joined by my girlfriends Pritee and Jessica! You guys met them when we spent a weekend in New Mexico. We had such a great time, we decided we could handle a whole 10 days together.

Anyway, this is my usual call for suggestions. We’ll be spending about 3 nights in Tokyo, a night at a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) in Hakone, another 3 nights in Kyoto, and a night in Osaka. I know you guys have ideas on things to do, places to see, and deliciousness to eat, and I’d love to hear them. Hit me!

It’s a little bit of a cheat, but I think this is a fitting entry for this week’s travel theme of Future, isn’t it? =) If you’re interested in joining, check out Ailsa’s site, Where’s My Backpack, for the details.




6 thoughts on “Trip Alert: Japan!

  1. How exciting! I visited Japan the end of March last year. We had to book our hotels in December to get our choices. Japan will be a country I would love to visit over and over. I’m already planning for another trip. Sad to say that one week is just not enough.

    I suggest the Bamboo Forest in Saga-Arashima (Kyoto). In Tokyo, go to Ueno Park for cherry blossom viewing. It is gorgeous especially with the hanging lanterns. Tsukiji fish market is good for fresh sushi.

    In Osaka, I went to the Dotonburi which was neat. Go there hungry. Also went to Universal studios- which was a waste of $60. Don’t go unless you want to see a bunch of Japanese people shopping on Rodeo drive, or hanging out in San Francisco. Definitely try the Kobe beef if you are a meat-eater.

    There’s also a wonderful little town called Kinosaki-onsen for hot spring (though I know you already mentioned going to Hakone). I stayed at a Ryokan called Mikiya and it was amazing. It cost us about $300 per person.

    Get a JR Pass!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the tips! We’ve actually decided to cut Hakone out… it was getting too complicated. We are sticking to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka for this trip. I have heard of Dotonburi also… I think food is one of the main reasons I’m so excited to go. I have a feeling there’ll be a return trip for sure, there is so much more to see!


  2. Pingback: Tasty Thursdays: Autumn Harvest Quiche | World and Time Enough

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