Three years after the conclusion of this adventure, not a day goes by that I don’t recall some events that occurred during the trip. Most of it is recollection of precious memories; such as cycling among the streets of Kyoto, wandering through the lit snow-paths of Otaru, taking an outdoor bath in Kurokawa, watching the sunset at Miyajima, appreciating the view from the lookout point at Ogimachi, sitting through the terrible Room of Living Doll ride at Osaka, being amazed by the atmosphere at Nikko, travelling all the way back to Nara for the Omizutori festival, being a nerd and exploring Toyosato Elementary School (used as inspiration for the K-on! anime series), hanging out with old friends in Tokyo, and stopping over in Singapore. There were also many life lessons we learnt on this trip which helped shape us into the people we are today.
Looking back at this trip over three years after its conclusion, it was hard to imagine how we managed to plan and act out such a massive trip. In the span of 42 days, we:
– Visited 23 cities/towns/villages (Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Sapporo, Otaru, Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kurokawa, Miyajima, Hiroshima, Matsuyama, Kanazawa, Fukui City, Katsuyama, Ogimachi, Takayama, Osaka, Kamakura, Nikko, Toyosato, Nagoya, Tokyo, and Singapore)
The places we went to in Japan (shown by red stars)
– Stayed in 16 different accommodations (mixture of hostels, ryokans, and western hotels)
– Took over 66 hours worth of transport (trains, subways, planes, ferries, buses, taxis)
– Visited 14 Unesco heritage sites, 14 temples, 12 shrines, and 3 castles
– Partook in 6 festivals (Setsubun, Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi, Baikasai, Omizutori, Light Festival at Marina Bay)
– Tried at least 40 unique Japanese cuisine staples (e.g. kobe beef, okonomiyaki, sukiyaki, among others)
– Laid 1,000 cranes each at the Nagasaki and Hiroshima Peace Park
– Had multiple dips in onsen (Yamamizuki and Dogo Onsen being the most notable)
– Explored three historical villages
– Went to eight different museums of varying nature and an aquarium
– Gotten lost or missed out on attractions (due to missing the opening hours or bad weather) multiple times
– And last but not least, had a lot of fun!
In summary, the Japan trip of 2012 was a huge life-changing experience, as you could tell from the photos. The enormous scale of it, coupled with our limited Japanese skills, made this an accomplishment in itself. I had a lot of fun, as did Brownie and Jay-C. Every time we meet, we still share stories of our trip, and often talk about going back to cover other things we did not manage to do previously (such as Okinawa, and southern Kyushu). A trip of this scale would be hard to top for us personally, if it ever will. And with this last post (with the exception of a few ‘special’ posts I have planned), it is time to bid this trip farewell once and for all and move on to diaries of newer adventures!