So it is done! I am back after 16 lovely days in Japan with my very good friend Robin, and all the impressions have had a little time to sink in. Although 16 days is not a long time to spend in this country, I believe we managed to maintain a fine balance of experiencing a lot and not stressing about, like so many others do.

Japan was something I have been looking forward to for a long time, and now back home, I look back with a smile...

I hope you enjoy these pages, and find some points of interest.

Purpose

The purpose of these pages is to provide a taste of Japan and what we experienced, through words and pictures. Of course, first of all this is a personal account of my viewpoint and reflections. I believe, however, that Robin will agree to most of what I put down in these pages.

Originally, my plan was to write a day-by-day report but as you can see, those plans changed. It would simply become too detailed. You will, however find special reports on different subjects, reflections on certian themes (impressions) and galleries, as well as a few tips for traveling.
Most of all it is a personal way of processing everything, and maybe this will serve as motivational purposes for others.

Highlights


Did it live up to its expectations? Well, you might find the answer in here somewhere. For starters, let me give you a few hightlights; the first ones that come to mind. Five highlights I will never forget:
1) Resiting/copying sutras with about 50 Japanese people at Saiho-ji (temple) for one hour, writing Japanese calligraphy. This was preparations for going into the Moss Garden, and it demanded 100% concentration! Fantastic, and very difficult. More on this in the Central Honshu pages.
2) Park Hyatt hotel, 52nd floor at night, with a view to kill for: New Yor Bar. A contrast to the above, yes, but drinking very nice red wine and Martinis in this high class bar made famous in Lost In Translation and listening to live jazz, will be in my memory forever!
3) Nijo-jo (Kyoto castle). If you can't find some kind of peace in this castle and surrounding garden...well. Walking here, taking in the impressions of the old days, and sucking up all the beauty in the colors is something very special.
4) Karaoke room, Tokyo. Imagine two men in a smokey room, singing continously for 2 1/2 hours from 3 am, and waking up the next morning with no voice. How much fun is it possible to have in two-three hours??? Excellent!
Robin's best: U2-One. John's best: G. Michael-Kissing a Fool.
5) Shin Hotaka Onsen. Relatively remote from mass tourism, this area has some fantastic nature and lots of hot springs. Walking for several hours almost alone in the mountains up to 2500 meters, and later, exhausted, sinking into a hot spring with a couple of beers in the evening under a clear, dark sky...now there is a highlight!

Route


We deviated from the original route for practical reasons, and ended up with this:
Tokyo (3nights) - Kyoto (5 nights) - Takayama (2 nights) - Shin Hotaka (1 night) - Matsumoto (1 night) - Tokyo (3 nights).
I hope you enjoy the rest of these pages, and feel free to comment.

-:MAIL:-   Travel   Japan
Uppercut (2005)