Japan, a summer love
In August of last year I had the opportunity to visit a dreamed place, the destination: Japan. After 14 hours of travel and with a scale of 6, the border and customs city was Tokyo. Capital of this country that as a first reaction left me without words. Full of contrasts, with areas where only peace reigns and the traditional predominates, as well as with others where skyscrapers stand out, advertising (from my western point of view, disproportionate) and, which might sound cliché, last but not least the exaggerated lighting.
Of this wonderful and imposing city and on which I could write several pages I have the memory of Shibuya, the Tokyo Skytree (although I am terrible for extreme plans and involving heights, being there I could not miss this opportunity), the area of Shinjuku, the metropolitan tower, the passage through the imperial palace, the visit to the Meiji Shinto shrine – dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, as well as the passage through Yasukuni Jinja – a sanctuary built as a tribute to the 2.5 million of Japanese fallen in World War II, the neighborhood of Akihabara – also known as «Electric City» (a brief pass through the center of Manga and Japanese Animé), the Buddhist temple of Sensojiel – considered to be the oldest and most important of this metropolis – and the traditional neighborhood of Asakusa.
Leaving aside the atmosphere of a busy capital, our next stop (approximately 191 km) was in Kawaguchiko. A city with a majestic lake, which is surrounded by small houses, imposing mountains and vegetation that until this point of the trip I had not seen. The expectation was high; a trip by cable car to Mount Tenjo that would allow us to have the best view of this lake and the neighboring lakes and of course the spectacular Mount Fuji. However it was a cloudy day, overshadowed by rain and with humidity at its highest; but the bad weather did not overshadow the experience we had going up and during our boat ride. In the end the Mount shyness was gone and it gave us its best pose.
After spending the night in a Ryokan (traditional Japanese accommodation which its most recommended experience is to enjoy an Onsen – traditional Japanese baths with thermal waters of volcanic origin – which I did not dare to enter due to its strict norms, especially the one requiring to enter completely naked) we started a new adventure towards Nagoya. During this bus ride we made several stops to see the Toyota Museum, Iyashi No Sato Nenba – a small town destroyed in 1966 by a cyclone and recovered as a museum – and the Shiraito Falls – with a drop of 150 meters.
Without losing a single second, we started our next stop: Kyoto. This was the only Japanese city that was not bombed during World War II, conserving all of its architecture and heritage; here we were able to enjoy the Shinto shrine of Fushimi Inari, the Imperial Palace, the Kinkakuji temple, the Tenryuji temple – 1/5 large Zen temples including its mystical bamboo forest – and one night we strolled through Gion (traditional neighborhood which is famous for being the house of Geishas, although it is not very frequent to see them because of the harassment of tourists, during this tour we had the luck of seeing one in a taxi).
To close this wonderful trip and which I would repeat as many times as I could, we passed through Nara and visited Todaiji, Buddhist Temple built in 752, where its giant Buddha and the Buddhist Temple of Horyuji stand out. We also went to Osaka, the second biggest city of Japan and as modern as its capital, and among the scheduled activities we did a walk through Dotonbori – a neighborhood full of lights and where the nightlife of the city is concentrated. We also went to Kursahiki, where we boarded a small ferry that in about 15 minutes took us to Miyajima, an island where men and gods coexist. On our return we passed through Hiroshima, a city known for the atomic bomb attack in 1945, completely destroying the city; we went through the peace memorial, the bomb dome and the peace museum.
Its people: warm, friendly and with a spirit of service like none. Always very well dressed, men during working hours are not complicated: always wear a light shirt and dark pants; on the contrary, women – regardless of the heat – always wear perfect make up, dress very well and try to run away from the sun, their ideal skin is always white, pure and clear.
Fashionitas: running and in the eagerness to find a train station to regroup with the family, I came across a small store – Accommode – full of curiosities that makes you feel like you’ve won the lottery… and of course I wanted to buy everything. As a result of this short stop, I finished with a Clutch and a Pouch in my suitcase.
Food: I consider myself a warrior when it comes to food; on this trip I realized this is not the case. Food was my biggest difficulty during the trip. The traditional Japanese food is the same during the three meals: the proteins and vegetables are steamed, with little or practically no salt, and less seasonings. I survived most of this trip on Onigiri of Tuna – it consists of a portion of rice stuffed with tuna, or other ingredients that can also be chosen. It usually has a triangular or oval shape, and sometimes it is wrapped in a strip of nori seaweed. The best thing is that they are available at any gas station or mini market (Japan is full of them) and its approximate price is USD $ 1.50.