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Sunday, April 09, 2017

Japan Travelogue by Sangeeta Sumesh

As some of you are aware, Japan is my next destination. I had booked a ticket 13 months ago and am looking forward to the trip. Have written about the Japan visa process here and even though I am yet to travel, there've been several queries from my readers about Japan already. Two of friends have recently returned from a Japan trip-they booked later but went ahead of me- now I can pick their brains to fine tune my itinerary. Sangeeta Sumesh is one of my friends who has recently returned from a family trip to Japan. She is an avid traveler, author (her first book is reviewed here) and well respected corporate executive. Upon my request she readily agreed to share her Japan trip notes and photos with my readers, hence this guest post. Thanks to her for the notes and pictures. I have taken liberty to add some additional notes.

A summary of my travelogue to Japan. In the order of the places I visited. Things that stood out or otherwise! By SANGEETA 

O – Oh my! Stunning views from the 54th floor of the hotel we stayed
S – Shinkansen experience (our first bullet train ride) was amazing
A – Automatic Bidet to wash bum!
K – Kansai Airport, our first port of landing, with lot of tourist information
A – A day wasted in Universal Studios (Due to excess crowd and rain)

Above: Double Decker bridge to reach Osaka airport- 6 lane highway on top, double railway tracks beneath
Below: Evening and night views of Osaka city from 54th floor hotel room



Above: Osaka Eye
Below: Bullet trains of Japan (Shinkasen) with about 340 kmph speed

Controls in the loo...

SH Additional Notes: Osaka is my landing city as well. The Osaka airport is a marvel in itself- it is a floating and sinking airport built on sea. Watch this video if you're interested. When I booked, Air Asia was serving only Osaka, now they fly to Tokyo Haneda as well.

H – Heart breaking stories
I – Inspirational comeback
R – Radiation disaster from the atomic bomb
O – Offered lessons to the world not to use nuclear bombs
S – Sadoko’s paper cranes, touching story (Obama did the paper cranes too!)
H – Holocaust of the past
I – Itsukushu shrine at Miyajima Island
M – Museum and Memorial for peace
A – Atomic Dome rubbles still maintained


Above: Atomic Dome and Peace memorial (August 6, 1945, Little boy was dropped here)

Above: Miyajima, small island in Hiroshima Bay
Below: Sadoko's paper cranes
K – Kingdom of Shrines
Y – Yearning to see again
O – Outstanding city, the previous capital
T – Truly local accommodation - we stayed here in a Ryokan
O – Onsen (hot spring bath) experience

Above: Arashiyama Bamboo forest
Below: Ryokan Experienece

Above & below: Kyoto Imperial Palace


Above n below: Fushumi Inari shrine

Above: Golden Pavilion Shrine

H – Hail, Snowfall and chilly winds got us confined to the lovely hotel
A – Ashi lake, a scenic place
K – Komagate ropeway, we couldn’t get to, cos of bad weather
O – Odawara station – get off here to get to Hakone
N – Nearest town to view Mount Fuji
E – Ended with disappointment of not seeing the shy Mt Fuji as it was hidden by the clouds


Lake Ashi
Below: Distant view of Komagate ropeway


T – Transport system, unparalleled
O – Oshiage station, our prime spot
K – Kicked visiting Akihabara, Asakusa shrine, Meiji shrine, Shibuya crossing & Sky tree
Y – Yeah! The cherry blossom (Sakura) had just commenced
O – Odaiba, Imperial palace, river cruise & some parks we couldn’t visit cos of the weather 
Above: Shibuya crossing- said to be world's busiest. (Watch this AIG Ad where crossing is shown beautifully)
Below: Cherry Blossom in Tokyo
Tokyo Skytree and view from top

Below: Local alcohol (sake) at Meiji Shrine
Few travel tips
The weather is unpredictable. Also don’t go by just the temperature as it is colder than that because of the chilly winds
Any doubts ask the locals. Though most do not speak English, they understand and are polite and ready to help
The ready to eat Bento box (packed meals) at the stations are clean and well presented
For vegetarians beware – getting veg food is a bit of a challenge. Even some veg looking food are cooked in fish oil. Better to check at the tilling counter before purchase
All food items are written only in Japanese. Any doubts check at with the shop assistants. We bought sweet yogurt thinking it was plain yoghurt! 
The JR pass was very useful but some trains do not accept them. So beware. Check before you board. 
Akinhabara is the electronics hub in Tokyo to purchase any electronics, including robots. 
Good to get day passes in places like Kyoto which are valid for use in most buses, metros and subways. Please note that the JR pass is not valid to travel within the city
The coins are useful for purchasing the train / subway tickets
Loved the minimalist lifestyle of the Japanese. Also whatever work / job undertaken by them is done to the perfection! This has to be learnt.

You can check Sangeeta's FB page here

Update: Check all my Japan posts here
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6 comments :

rupam sarma said...

Loved to read the post. Informative post.
Thanks for all pics. Amazing.

Mridula said...

I am sure a lot of this information will be useful for your upcoming trip :D

Ankur.IncomeBoy said...

WOW mam japan is one of my favorite county Loved to read the post. Informative post.
Thanks for all pics. Amazing


cheers

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@mridula - Yes

@Rupam- Thanks

Academic Papers said...

Last year, I had a visit to Japan with some of my team members. As heard and read about Japan, it is more beautiful place than ever heard about it.

D.Nambiar said...

That was a nice sneak peek. Looking forward to your stories, Shrinidhi.