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Transcript of Japan
Around 2 years ago, during reading week, my friends and I went on a trip to Toronto, where I discovered my love for adventuring and my long hidden inner-self, my childish side, and had a blast while during it.
Fast forward 2 years, and I find myself slowly losing my connection with that inner self as I'm constantly being bogged down by school and work. I was slowly becoming lost again...
What better way to rediscover and reconnect with my inner, childish and adventurous self than to look back to the past?
I grew up during a time when cartoons and animes are just getting really popular, and as such just about everyone at school watched and talked about the shows they watched. Shows like Dragonball Z, Yu-gi-oh, Digimon, gundam, pokemon, etc... I was no different.
As a result I grew up idolizing Japan, and I've been interested in Japan ever since.
Due to my facination with Japan and my attempt to understand the Japanese culture, I took up drawing and even took Japanese class in highschool in the hopes that I would one day get an oppertunity to travel there.
During those years, I've also took every opportunity to try out various Japanese foods such as sushi and ramen, and found them to my liking.
So what better way to reconnect with my inner self then to take a trip to Japan?
A Trip to the Past: Japan
Me, having lost my connection to my inner self is now looking for a way to reconnect with it. Facinated with Japan and the Japanese culture, and loves Japanese food!
Stafan, one of my oldest friends, big fan of Japanese cusine.
Josh, a really good friend, interested in Japanese culture
Shahed, another really good friend, interested in everything Japanese, speaks fluent Japanese
While I do love the feeling of discovering new things and meeting new people, the trip to Toronto wouldn't have been what it was without my friends by my side.
So I presented the idea to my friends, and they immediately agreed! It seems they too were looking for an adventure just like me!
Eventually a plan was put into motion that would see my friends and I journeying into the heart of the country that we've all dreamed of this very summer!
When: July 16th - July 26
Departure: July 16 11pm from Toronto
Arrival: July 17 8:30pm in Sapporo
Return: July 26th 2:30pm from Osaka
Arrival: July 26th 10:50 pm in Toronto
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Sapporo is located on the island of Hokkaido, and is the capital of the Hokkaido prefecture.
It's known for its winter festival (Yuki Matsuri) during the winter months and its the home of the Sapporo brewery, as well as being the birthplace of miso-ramen, the special white-chocolate biscuit (shiroi koibito), and known for its fresh sea-food based sushi.
There are many reasons for visiting Sapporo, first and foremost are the foods, especially the miso-ramen as miso soup and ramen are amongst my favourites. Also I'm excited to visit the brewery, which is now a musem, since I'm a big fan of sake and I'm interested in trying out other types of Japanses beers. Lastly Hokkaido is known for its flower viewing during the summer as well as its outdoor osens, and arcades and game centers, all of which are common themes in animes, and I've been dying to try them out.
The estimates arrival time to Sapporo is July 17, 8:30 pm. upon arrival we'll be staying at the Nakamuraya Roykan ($129 per room), which is located very close to the Sapporo station, allowing easy access to the rest of the city.
Day 1: Yawaraginosato Hoheikyo Onsen, Sapporo Brewery, Sapporo Beer Museum and Susukino district (at night, for drinks and arcades).
Day 2: Flowering viewing at Hakko Gakuen Iris Garden, Moerenuma Park, Asahi Beer Hokkaido Brewery and Sapporo Art Museum
Food: Ganso Sapporo Ramen Yokocho (strip with ramen resturants), miso ramen, sushi, soup, curry, jinisukan (barbecue lamb), etc...
At 10pm on July 19, we'll be taking the night train (Hokutosei) from Sapporo to Tokyo (~16hrs, $63 with Japan Rail Pass, B class)
Tokyo is the capital of Japan, its where the Japanese government as well as the seat of the emperor is located. Its one of the most populus cities in the world, but despite that, its ranked as one of the best cities to live in. Its is also known for its many museums, festivals and its fine cuisine.
A big reason for visiting Tokyo is not only because its one of the most advanced cities in the world, but because its the setting of many originating from Japan, anime or not, and I'd like to see just why that is. Also the cuisine in Tokyo is supposedly out of this world, so I've been told, and I really want to visite the shopping districts.
Estimated time of arrival: July 20, 2pm. Upon arrival, we'll be staying at the Asakusa hotel Hatago ($106 per night). Its located near the metro lines, allowing for easy access throughout the city, its also located near the Nakamise Street Market, allowing for easy access to a variety of restaurants.
Day 1: Sensoji Temple, Ueno Park (cherry blossom viewing), Shopping at Shinjuku and Shibuya.
Day 2: Edo-Tokyo Museum, Meiji Jingu shrine, Tokyo Sushi-making Tour, Tokyo Tower.
Food: Yakiniku (Japanese style Korean BBQ), sushi, Kiwami Course (all beef course), tsukemen (ramen), Yakisoba, etc...
At 8am July 22, we'll depart from Tokyo via the bullet train (shinkansen) to Kyoto (~3hrs, free with the train pass).
Located in Honshu, Kyoto was formly the imperial capital of Japan. It's one of the best preserved places in Japan and as such it's mostly known for its shrines, and much like Tokyo and Sapporo before it, it's also known for its cuisine and geisha.
The main reason for visiting Kyoto is to visit the shrines, and temples, which are places of serene and spirituality both in real life and in many animes. It is also one of the only places left in Japan that you can experience the 'old ways of Japanese life'. Aside from that, Kyoto also features a wide array of different cuisine to try out.
Upon arrival (~11am), we'll be staying at the Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura ($156 per night), and much like the other ryokans we've stayed at is very close to the kyoto station, allowing easy access to the rest of the city.
We'll be staying at Ryokans (traditional Japanese style hotels) for a more authentic Japanese exrience.
Day 1: Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto Cooking Class, Sake Tasting and Nishiki Food Market Walking Tour ($99)
Day 2: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Monkey Park Iwatayama, Nijo Castle, Gion District (entertainment and geisha district).
Food: Ramen, sushi, udon, Kaiseki Ryori (multi-course high class cuisine), Shojin Ryori (vegetarian/Buddhist cuisine), Obanzai Ryori (traditional home-style cooking).
At 10am July 25, we'll depart from Kyoto to Osaka, our final destination via the shinkasen (~15 mins).
Known as one of the largest metropolitan areas of the world, Osaka is the major economic city in Japan. Aside from that, Osaka is known for its many shopping districts, as well as its sake, cuisine (food capital of the world) and festivals.
Besides the delicious cuisine and sake, the main reason for visiting Osaka is the Tenjin Matsuri festival, which occurs on July 24 and 25. Often seen as the ending celebration for defeating the antagonist in animes, Tenjin Matsuri is one of the 3 biggest festivals in Japan.
It is a boat festival dedicated to Sugawara-no-Michizane (the god of learning and art). At dusk, boats will be lit on fire to illuminate the sourrounding waters, along with firework displays, traditional Japanese performance and a parade, it is a festival I've always dreamed of attending!
Day 1: Tenjin Matsuri festival, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (first time), Dotonbori (shopping and eating),
Day 2: Tenjin Matsuri festival, National Bunraku Theater, Universal Studios Japan.
Food: Okonomiyaki (pan fried Japanese pizza), Takoyaki, Udon, Oshizushi (pressed sushi), sushi, etc...
Upon arrival in Osaka (~10:15), we'll be staying at the Yoshino Ryokan ($97 per night). It's 5 mins walk from the nearest train and subway station, and it's also conveniently located by a bunch of convenient stores.
Travelling to the airport - $0 (thanks to friends who have cars)
Hotel (cost split between 2 people since 2 people per room):
Sapporo - $129
Tokyo - $106
Kyoto - $156
Osaka - $97
7 day Japanese Rail Pass - $239
Night train - $63
Flight cost - $1,668
Additional costs (food, souvenirs, tours) - ~$1000
Total cost - $3458
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I am expecting this trip to be an exciting, fresh, engaging and also a learning experience for myself. I'll try to reconnect with my lost self along the trip, and I'll hopefully be able to learn more about myself during this trip as I'll undoubtedly have many new experiences and meet many new people during it.