Student Flights Amy Oldfield returns to Japan
Student Flight’s Amy Oldfield returns to her second home, Japan. Amy starts her trip in Tokyo and finds endless entertainment in the city. She visits the Tsukiji fish markets, Shinjuku, and Harajuku. After a busy day Amy heads to Roppongi for a night of excitement. Amy also experiences the Setsubon Festival in Kyoto and then discovers the town of Kawaguchiko near Mt. Fuji. Amy, as a regular visitor to Japan, please share some of your insights about this fascinating country.
The cliché is to have left your heart in San Francisco, but I can safely say that if any city were to claim that title it would be Tokyo. After spending six weeks backpacking, by myself, around Japan in winter of 2010, I haven't been able to stay away and have returned whenever the chance has arisen. What makes this country special is not just one thing; it's a combination of the scenery, the people, the lifestyle, and of course the food.
I've spent a total of about five weeks in Tokyo, and experienced a lot (but not all!) of what this roaring metropolis has to offer. Starting with the Tsukiji fish markets at 5am, where you can have a bowl of sashimi for breakfast, you can then move on to the bustling hub of Shinjuku. Be adventurous and navigate the city’s subway to places such as Harajuku for an afternoon of shopping. You can visit Odaiba to see the miniature Statue of Liberty or even drive your own robot at the Miraikan Science Centre. On the other side of town is Ueno, where you can pick up a tasty bite of fluorescent pink octopus tentacles! Another great area is Asakusa, a traditional Japanese district perched next to the red light district. Finish it all with Pokémon costume shopping in Akihabara, nicknamed 'Electric City'.
After all this, it's time to head to Roppongi, a thronging mass of multilevel, multi-million dollar clubs, and the famous New Half Show for dinner, Nomihoudai (all-you-can-drink open bar) ,and a mind blowing drag show for under $60!
Another highlight would have been sitting in a stadium watching Sumo wrestlers grappling on stage, understanding roughly 0.01% of the traditions, and having the absolute time of my life.
If you're lucky enough to be in the country for the first day of spring, do not miss the Setsubon Festival in Kyoto! Geisha and Maiko (apprentice geisha) wander the streets, performing shows for the public. While there, don't miss the Golden Temple and especially not the Temple of a Thousand Gates - literally!
One unexpected highlight was Kawaguchiko, a springtime holiday town near Mt. Fuji. The town goes into hibernation in winter, surrounded by mountains perfect for snowy hiking, paddleboats with icicles in their windows, and plenty of warm Japanese curries and hotpots. Waiting in the shadow of Mt Fuji in -19°C weather suddenly seemed worth it when the sun finally crested the mountain and I could take this amazing photo.
Japan is cheap to fly to. The people are warm and welcoming. It caters for snow sports, shopping, culinary pursuits, nature enthusiasts, mountain climbers, otaku (computer nerds), and everything in between. Tokyo is no longer a holiday destination to me, it's my second home.
Looking for more information about travelling to Japan? Contact [email]text=Amy Oldfield[/email], an International Travel Consultant with Student Flights based in Fortitude Valley, Queensland who can be reached at 1300 838 649 or by [email]text=email[/email].
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