Cherry blossoms. Haruki Murakami. Rurouni Kenshin.
Those are usually the things that come to mind when I think of Japan. One of my dream travel destinations, this beautiful island nation has always intrigued me for a multitude of reasons. For one, the country itself is a breath-taking fusion of modern marvels and traditional cultures. Secondly, it seems like you’ll never run out of things to do. Look left and there are girls in quirky getups that are an attraction in itself, look right and there’s a cat café just begging for your attention. Thirdly, I’ve always wanted to see Japanese in their element—only because I admire their discipline, hardworking nature and politeness. I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be surrounded by all those qualities. 😀
Although I have an aunt who lives in Japan, I’ve never had the chance to visit her. One day soon, I will step foot in Japan, traipse around Shibuya, stuff myself silly with authentic ramen, struggle communicating with the locals, and take in all the culture that I can about Japan.
In the meantime, I’ll let you in on the places I intend to visit and things I plan to do when I get there. 🙂
Phoenix Hall at Byodo-in Temple. I’m a sucker for amazing architecture. You may or may not have heard of Phoenix Hall, but did you know that it’s considered as the most beautiful building in Japan? Found in Kyoto, this iconic temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the only sample of Heian temple architecture still up in Japan.
Mount Koya. With more than 100 temples and monasteries tucked away in this mountaintop Buddhist community, it’s no wonder Mount Koya is called Japan’s holiest mountain. I love busying myself in the fast-paced city life, but trust me; I love some peace and quiet too. Found south of Osaka, I’m especially eager to visit the magical and somewhat eerie Okunoin Cemetery.
Kanazawa. I read that if I want to bask in Japan’s colourful culture and history, a trip to Kanazawa is a must. I’m fascinated by samurais and that era in particular, and the fact that Kanazawa is home to one of the most preserved samurai and geisha districts in Japan puts this place particularly high on my must-visit-and-see-and-truly-experience list.
Ramen, ramen, ramen. Being Filipino who hasn’t been to Japan, I would never know what “authentic ramen” tastes like. Hence, no (future) trip will be complete without a stop—or two, three, four—at the country’s best ramen places. I’m definitely putting Menya Musashi, Fuunji and Saikoro on top of my priority list. 🙂
Get lost in Shibuya. I’d be lying if I said I’m not afraid of crowds. I don’t like bumping shoulders with strangers or invading other people’s personal space for that matter, but just this once, I’ll forget all about that. I have to thank all the anime cartoons I watched and Lost In Translation for planting that seed of Shibuya Crossing desire in me.
I know my humble list pales in comparison with the actual number of things that I can do in Japan, but these won’t be ALL that I’ll make time for when I finally get to Japan. Hmm, maybe I should quit waiting around and start moving by joining this promotion from Casino.com (http://www.casino.com/ca/) where I can win a trip to discover Japan and its fascinating culture? It doesn’t hurt to take a chance!
Pray for me as I strive to make this dream a reality. 🙂