I was in Japan for vacation and recently just got back from what some would call a trip of a lifetime. And while I was hesitant to go at first, there was so much history and culture I took away from this experience; I know I would have regret not taking this opportunity.
Last week I signed off with a promise of giving you guys all the details on my trip; so here it comes! Japan is beautiful! I love the blend between modern and new architecture that you can find throughout Tokyo (where I spent most of my trip). First thing’s first, the transit system is unbelievable! You can literally go anywhere on the island via subway or train. So what’s the catch? It can take you up to 10 minuets just to walk within the subway station. Some platforms require up to 4 escalator rides underground! I will never complain about rush hour traffic now that I’m back home on our subway system, because transit traffic there is no joke in Japan. I had to back into the subway once just to make room for myself – there is literally no such thing as personal space. Some trains even have a separate section for women, because you’re so squished and close together that it can be uncomfortable for some being in such intimate corridors with the opposite sex.
Cherry blossoms are the most gorgeous thing ever, it doesn’t do them justice unless you see them in Japan, and trust me, the Japanese are very proud of their blossoms. They have celebrations for the blooming of their trees throughout March and April where people go to drink and celebrate. I honestly think we went to a different celebration event every night we were there!
The shopping was an interesting experience. The women in Japan don’t play when it comes to looking good. Everyone wears like 20 inch heels just to walk around in! Make up is piled on, contacts are worn, hair is dyed, nails are done, and legs are always shown. You could always spot the tourist in Japan just by looking at what we were wearing. If you were in pants or flats, chances are you weren’t from Tokyo.
People were so kind and helpful in Japan! One time we were lost on our way to Nezu shrine, and when we asked a lady for directions, she walked us the whole way there (in her heels no less!). It was the kindest thing ever. We chatted with her during our walk and she told us she taught herself English when she came to visit Vancouver, Canada for a few weeks. I was so impressed, she was amazing.
I have to say I was surprised by the amount of influence America has over Japan. I assumed that Japan would want to be very independent from their beauty and cultural standards, especially after seeing the Hiroshima museum. But if anything, they seemed to almost idealize everything to do with America. That came as a shock for me, and definitely broke down some assumptions I had of the country coming in.
We took a day trip to see Mount Fuji and it was probably my favourite part of the trip. Mount Fuji is actually a volcano that’s 12,389 feet high! According to the legend, Mount Fuji’s fires were ignited by an Emperor who was love sick over a princess from the moon. We got to drive up the to the first tier of Fuji and then take a cable car to get up even higher. Once we got up there it was freezing cold, and there was snow everywhere! It was honestly like night and day. We were so high up, I swear I could see all of Japan. It really put things into perspective.
My sister and I did a harajuku photoshoot which I was unsure of at first. I thought this was a form of cultural appropriation, but the place spoke on the history and showed us how to traditionally put on the robes (which were the most beautiful things I’ve ever worn!). If you’re ever in Japan, I highly recommend you look up the Harajuku-style Kimono and Photoshoot Experience! So worth it.
Kobe beef is amazing. All the stories you’ve heard where true. I’ve never tasted anything that good before, and it was surprisingly well priced!
Getting your nails done in Japan is next to impossible. First things first, find a place that has some English speakers (if that’s your main language), second, book an appointment! I can’t stress this enough, it takes them twice as long to do your nails (especially if you’re getting extensions) as it would in North America, so make sure you’ve got the time. Third, it’s like double the price. If you’re willing to spend about $100 on nails, Japan is the place for you.
We went to that busy crosswalk that you here so much about, the famous Shibuya Crosswalk, and it while it was packed, it didn’t seem as insane as what I expected. Now, I’m not sure if this is because I was so used to the packed subways or if I was just growing accustomed to the amount of people in Japan, but it didn’t seem to be that much of a stretch from other major crosswalks I’ve seen on my travels.
All in all, my Japan trip was a wild adventure. At first, I was worried about spending all this money on a place that wasn’t on my bucket list or in my top places to travel. But none of that really matter. It was a beautiful experience that helped my understand and appreciate more of their culture, and that’s what travelling is all about right?
Will you ever go to Japan? I highly recommend it. Follow me on Instagram to see even better pictures from my trip!