Since I was living on the West Coast, I thought it would be the best time for me to dip my feet into Asia. Japan sounded ideal because a flight from San Francisco is about 9 hours, which is the equivalent of going to Europe from Miami.
I ended up having an incredible time in Japan! I was blown away by the culture and sophistication of its people. Everywhere was so clean; everyone was so friendly; and all of the food was delicious.
A few friends and I flew into Osaka so we could start our trip in Kyoto, Japan. Osaka is more of an industrial city. Kyoto is more of a traditional town, where we were able to see “Geishas”, temples, Buddha’s, and historic streets. Sushi is my favorite dish so I was ecstatic to eat sushi almost every day for very cheap! In the US, 2 pieces of nigiri/sashimi usually costs $5-7. In japan, it only costs $1. I took advantage and ate more plates of sushi than I probably should have :).
We took the bullet train down south to a town called Fukoana. Riding the bullet train made me feel like I was in the movie Hunger Games – it was that fast! We mostly went to Fukoana to check out this beautiful lying Buddha:
The site of it was breath taking. I also really enjoyed the temple it was located in. We then went to Tokyo to meet up with some friends that were backpacking around the world. As soon as we arrived into Tokyo, I was immediately overwhelmed. There were tons of people everywhere!! However, it was interesting to see how the trains were always so quite (you could hear a pin drop), and how easily people formed lines for exiting the station. I have never seen so many people in my life!
That night I had the best ramen dish – something I wasn’t sure I would even like. Tokyo is so crazy. Think of time square in NYC but 100x that. There were adult arcades, adult fantasy bars, animal cafes, robot bars, casinos, karaoke bars, and other interesting places I cannot describe. It’s cool because no matter what time of day it is, there is always some action going on.
We also went on a trek to Mt Fuji; visited more temples and the imperial palace; and went up the Skytree Tower. Thank goodness for my good friend Sandy that navigated us around town because the metro system in Tokyo is no joke. Although not as many people spoke English as I expected, we still managed to get around okay.
I had so much fun on the trip and had gotten so accustomed to the Japanese people, that it was really strange returning home. I wouldn’t mind going back again!