We have visited Japan once, in 2011. This trip had been a long time planning – it was on our wish list for many years. However, a month before we were scheduled to go, Japan was rocked by a huge earthquake and tsunami. Many people changed their travel plans, and we were tempted too. We decided to sift through the media hype, do our research and wait for more news. Despite continued concerns from most friends and family, we made the decision to go. We ended up changing our itinerary to give Tokyo a miss and only travel in the south away from the devastated area. We were very happy with our decision in the end, but there was never a problem.
Japan was fabulous, it is such a great country to travel in. Everyone is so friendly and relaxed, and although they did not speak a lot of English it was very easy to get around. Japanese people loved the kids, but were more reserved than the locals in Malaysia when we visited last year. In Malaysia, people tended to just come and pick them up and cuddle them and carry them off! Japanese locals were really friendly, but less hands-on. It was really quiet regarding the number of tourists, in fact, the plane on the way over was practically empty, a strange feeling.
We felt so safe and there was really no problems at all from the quake and tsunami etc. We did see lots of fundraising efforts though, so we were happy to support the country by travelling there. Our four year old Olive was great, she really enjoyed the beautiful gardens and even the temples, and was a trooper with doing lots of walking every day. She was so excited all the time though, which was hard to contain at times. With lots of walking, Clare at 25 weeks pregnant was pretty tired by the day’s end. We were all sleeping together on the floor Japanese style, so it was good that we were always exhausted from the day’s touring. Jetson our one year old was no trouble at all, he loved the food, ate anything with noodles or rice which there was plenty of.
Even though two weeks was long enough for a holiday, we could easily see and do more, and if the chance comes we would gladly return to the land of the rising sun.
We spent four nights in Takayama, a smallish town in the Japan Alps region where we could explore on foot, then three nights in Hiroshima to visit the Peace Memorial Park and Miyajima Island, then finished with six nights in Kyoto with day trips to Himeji Castle and the old capital of Nara. Kyoto is packed with temples and shrines, and we only just touched on the main attractions.
- See also our Japan Food Diary.