I am just back from Japan and an Intrepid 9 day Japan Express tour and just want to fill you in on a few handy tips!
Japan is an amazing destination to visit. I joined an Intrepid tour with 10 fellow travellers which I have to say from my own experience is a great way to see Japan. We had a local guide who gave great tips on the Japanese culture and was especially a great help with food & drink choices!
As I was travelling by myself it was a great way to travel with fellow like minded people and to see some of Japan without the hassle of trying to find the hotels and what train and bus station you are leaving from yourself. As part of our tour we stayed 2 nights in Tokyo, 2 nights in Nikko, 2 nights in Hakone and 2 nights in Kyoto staying in Ryokans (Traditional Japanese guesthouses)
We travelled by a mix bus, metro, train and bullet train which was a great way to really mix in with the locals and get the feel of the country.
Some of my highlights would have to be spotting Geisha’s in Kyoto, singing karaoke, trying a Japanese traditional onsen (bath), seeing Mount Fuji, tasting Japanese food and eating with chopsticks (a first for me!)
I had an opportunity to visit Tokyo which is a great place for shopping (my favourite was the Hello Kitty Store) and at night it is great to see the neon signs in the streets to light up. Tokyo has a lot traditional temples, shrines & gardens throughout the city, and is a lovely break from the hustle bustle of the city.
Travelling by train to Nikko we passed pristine countryside on route, Nikko has been a sacred site since the middle of the 8th century & a world heritage sight with lots of shrines and temples dotted throughout. We then travelled to Hakone which is a picturesque lakeside region & a hot spring area and from here we had a opportunity to view Mount Fuji which was amazing we were very lucky to see it in full view). We also travelled by boat along the lake with beautiful scenery on route, I also had an opportunity to relax in an outdoor onsen(hot spring bath) an experience I would definitely recommend.
From here we travelled by bullet train to Kyoto which is full of culture. Here we had the opportunity to experience ancient traditions in Kyoto. Here you can see magnificent temples, stunning gardens and had the opportunity of seeing gorgeous geisha’s abound in Kyoto in their traditional dress.
I have to say to trip to Japan was a fab experience and I would recommend it as a holiday destination, I would love to go back for another visit!
Trish – SAYIT Travel staff member since 2006