In November 2022 we visited Japan.

We had no idea what to expect, except that it would be very special. And it was!

The borders just opened up in the beginning of the month, and there still was a bit of an administrative burden to cope with, but all in all it went quite good.

From Brussels there were no direct flights to Japan (now they are back operating between Brussels and Tokyo), so a long flight was broken up in two parts with a stop over in Dubai.

We first flew to Osaka, which in hindsight was actually a nice first Japan-experience. It is a big city, but manageable. Tip when you go Japan: it is possible to order a SIM card beforehand (and have it sent to your home address), which makes it a lot easier to navigate through the city or use the translate app ? We spent some days in Osaka visiting all the touristy sites which are all well worth a visit (think temples, parks, and a nice viewpoint at Harukas Towers).

From Osaka we took the train to Nara, a small city enroute to Kyoto. Nara is famous for its deer and the Todai-ji Temple. If you have time, we highly recommend this stop! We only spent a day here, at night we were already at our third stop: Kyoto.

Kyoto is a very interesting city, more traditional without all the big buildings and screamy  advertisements. We stayed at a ryokan style hotel, close to public transport to get to the main interesting sites (read: temples, temples and temples). One of the more known sites is the Fushimi Inari with the red gates. An important tip for Kyoto: if you want to visit a site and actually see something, go as early as possible.

Tokyo was our last stop, which we reached by taking the bullet train from Kyoto. Not cheap, but what an experience! Spot on, quiet, clean. We love it. Unfortunately we did not see Mount Fuji …

Tokyo is crazy. The busiest city in the world. That is not an exaggeration! We spent about a week here, staying at two hotels (just in case one is bad), one at both ends of the city to make the most out of it. We will not name every site we visited, but we checked all the main spots ? Make sure you took a decent sleep cause you’ll need all your energy!

Some tips for travellers, beside the SIM card: buy a Suica, Icoca or Pasmo card to get around and pay at different shops; get your cash money at the airport, learn a few words of Japanese and leave your European manners at home! Japanese people are so polite, friendly and helpful! And if you want to shop: check out the rules for tax-free shopping and safe a lot of euro’s ?

Japan was an experience which we will remember! We were overwhelmed by the country although we just saw a bit of it. We’ll have to go back!

more pictures from Japan you can see here:

Japan series part V – Tokyo IV

Japan series part V – Tokyo III

Japan series part V – Tokyo II

Japan series part V – Tokyo I

Japan series part V – Tokyo – Skytree

Japan series part IV – Kyoto III

Japan series part IV – Kyoto II

Japan series part II – Osaka I

Japan series part I – Trains

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