Japan / by Vipin Kumar

I didn't travel with a laptop so this is a recollection of my Japan backpacking trip. With time to kill on a flight, I'm writing this travelogue with the overhead lamp throwing my silhouette on paper. A silhouette with a stubble. I'd left clean shaven with a bag full of washed clothes and a camera. This was my first backpacking trip, so I wasn't sure of what to expect. All I knew was that I wanted to go to Japan.

I’d saved for approx. 10 months (not very strictly, coz the partying didn’t stop). I return with a bag full of half dry clothes (dryer at the backpacker’s inn wasn’t really great) , 2 cameras and satisfied that we chose the right country. Hope the travel bug bite lasts long and more trips follow.

Who’s we? Me and Francis  (who was flying from Auckland to Japan) and he had come up with the idea of not making any plans for the entire trip. Sounded good and that's what we ended up doing. We just had a vague idea of how many days we were doing in each city, but not the details of where to stay or how to get there. Absolutely none.

Following was the initial travel plan

Oct 1st 7-8pm train - Overnight travel to Takayama. Saves us money to pay for hotel stay for the night.

Japan Alps: Days 1 & 2

  1. Takayama - 10h overnight journey to Takayama from Tokyo (in trains)
    • Sanmachi-suji (half a day)
    • Kamikochi
    • Shin-Hotaka Onsen
    • Shirakawa-go & Gokayama Villages
  2. Kanazawa
    • Kenroku-en
    • Nagamachi district

Days 3 - 7 - Kyoto:

  1. Eastern Kyoto
    • Kiyomizudera
    • Ginkakuji
    • Higashiyama
  2. Southern Kyoto - Fushimi Inari Shrine - must go
  3. Central Kyoto - Nishiki Market - Best food market in Kyoto - must go
  4. Northern Kyoto - Kinkaku-ji - must go
  5. Arashiyama - must go
    • Bamboo Grooves
    • Otagi nenbutsu ji
    • Adashino nenbutsu ji
    • Kokedara
  6. Capsule hotel stay one of the days
  7. Ryokan (if not satisfied with Shirakawa-go)

Day 8 - Osaka:

  1. Yamazaki Factory - Falls midway between Kyoto and Osaka
  2. Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shopping Street
  3. Himenji Castle (94kms west of Osaka)
  4. Koyasan - 108kms south of Osaka

Days 9 - 12 - Tokyo:

  • Kichijoji
  • Tsukiji

But, what actually happened was

  1. Oct 1st – Tokyo to Toyoma
  2. Oct 2nd – Toyoma – Takayama – Kamikochi
  3. Oct 3rd – Kamikochi – Takayama – Shirakawa-go – Ainokura
  4. Oct 4th – Ainokura – Shirakawago – Kanazawa – Kyoto
  5. Oct 5th – Kyoto>Shopping (Yodobashi)
  6. Oct 6th – Kyoto>Arashiyama + Fushini Inari +Changing dorms
  7. Oct 7th – Kyoto – Nagasaki
  8. Oct 8th – Nagasaki local sightseeing (Atomic bomb museum, Hashimi islands) – Hakata
  9. Oct 9th – Hakata – Tokyo
  10. Oct 10th – Oct 12th – Tokyo

Before I start off with the details of each day, I want to mention that the mountains and places outside the city is where my details would be higher than the cities. I guess it’s what YOU cherish and will be different for everyone. For me, I just ran from the crowds and the cities. 

 Departing on the 30th 

Departing on the 30th 

Stay tuned for a detailed info of each day