Passionate about Asia, my knowledge of the continent lacked the exploration of a country that cannot be ignored: Japan! This has now been done since my ten-day trip to the archipelago last May.
We would like to take this opportunity to say that it seems to me that this is a very good time to discover the country. It is not yet too hot and there are fewer visitors than during the flowering of cherry trees. It should be noted that this famous event generally takes place between early March and early May, throughout the archipelago.
The gigantic city of Tokyo
Japan is completely different from the rest of Asia; it is a real world apart. I started my journey in the capital, Tokyo of course. In this ultramodern city, whose agglomeration is one of the most populated in the world, there are many different neighbourhoods. I wish I could have stayed longer, if only to enjoy a few more yakitoris and sushi.
I recommend going through the Kawaguchi Lake area instead, which is much more relaxing. There are some very beautiful hotels with private baths, with a direct view of the lake and Mount Fuji. Although Japan covers 3,000 kilometres from north to south, it is very easy to travel there thanks to its exceptional rail network. So I moved to Kanazawa, on the west coast, at the foot of the Japanese Alps. This is the favourite part of my trip.
Geisha and samurai
There is the traditional “Nippon”, the former geisha and samurai district, and Kenroku-en, which is considered one of the three most beautiful Japanese gardens, next to the splendid fortified castle. Nearby, in the heart of the mountains, I also loved Shirakawa-go, a group of small villages with thatched roofs nestled at the bottom of a valley and classified as a World Heritage Site. At the time, silkworms were raised there and the place remained preserved.
The cities of Kyoto, Nara, and other treasures
Finally, I ended my journey in Kyoto, which for more than a thousand years was the imperial capital of Japan. The city is full of cultural treasures, sumptuous temples and exquisite gardens. Since Kyoto, I recommend an excursion to Nara, which was Japan’s ancestral capital in the 8th century. It is particularly famous for the deer that roam freely in its immense park. Finally, I advise you to go on an excursion to Himeji Castle, west of Kobe. It was built at the beginning of the 17th century and renovated in 2015.
My friendly advice
To explore the paradise of high technology, I end with a little practical advice that makes all the difference. The addresses being rather inaccurate in Japan, it is relatively difficult to find your way around. Moreover, even if they were, everything is written in Japanese. Choose the Pocket Wi-Fi, a box that you connect to your phone and that allows you to connect anywhere. He will quickly become your best ally. Now you are ready to discover the Empire of the Rising Sun at last!