So its another year with plenty of trips being fulfilled. I have managed to tick off my hit-list it has been wonderful with plenty to write about. Last year (2017) I missed out a trip to Helsinki and Tallinn with the winter proving too expensive for me to finish the year off, however 2018 fulfilled this plan.
Below are just some of the places ive managed to visit, click on them to read some of my write-ups. Next year I already have plans to go to Cambodia, Turkey and Chamonix in France. Other places that are a possibility are Morocco, USA and a return to South America.
South American Trip
Sao Paulo, Mar 18 – First trip of the year and entering South America for the first time on a Brazil and Peru trip. The city was safer than I thought I used public transport and walked everywhere.
Lima, Mar 18 – The Peruvian capital was a pleasure to visit, its museums were different to any other in the world.
Cusco, Mar 18 – The city is beautiful, old churches and Incan ruins was out of this world. Be very careful when visiting this place as the high altitudes do affect people in different ways.
Ollantaytambo, Mar 18 – One of the smallest but most beautiful places I have stayed. Me and my brother stayed next to a river with some of the best views of the surrounding river.
Aguas Calientes, Mar 18 – The main stage for the world famed Machu Picchu, one of the best places I have been, truly majestic.
Rio De Janiero, Mar 18 – As long as you’re extra careful Rio is a safe place to be, maybe a few money hustle form a few taxi drivers or vendors but other than those it is safe. Its scenery and beaches are some of the best in the world.
Cardiff, Apr 18 – A short weekend in the welsh capital, a place full of investment in order to establish it as a shopping haven.
Philippines & Japan Trip
Manila, Jun 18 – Its that time again where once a year I visit Philippines. A base to srelax before we head off to Japan.
Osaka, Jun 18 – Our entry point in Japan, smaller than Tokyo but a metropolis nonetheless.
Kyoto, Jun 18 – Beautifully preserved temples and religious places. Home of the world famed Geisha entertainers and the most cultural traditions preserved.
Tokyo, Jun 18 – Last city visited in Japan, a beautiful busy metropolis. Very crowded and bustling 24 hours a day. Bright lights, most modern technology and cuisine were a huge plus for this city.
Finland & Estonia Trip
Helsinki, Dec 18 – The Finnish capital had little to offer in attractions however the beauty of the capital is its people, arts and history.
Rovaniemi, Dec 18 – A true winter wonderland, the coldest place ive visited and the most magical place for families.
Tallinn, Dec 18 (post coming soon) – Outstanding pagan churches, Medieval Castles and modern festive market. Spookiest place ive ever been to with many stories of haunted past on many building in the old town.
This was my first trip to one of the richest and most powerful country in Asia, one which has rich history and best preserved tradition. I expected a very busy working country and also the most technologically advanced. My trip consisted of three of Japans most notable cities or prefectures (as its known) in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. I only had a total of 6 days and took the local trains to travel around except for a flight to Tokyo. I saw the most modern side of Japan but also its magical history and culture all whilst experiencing Japans world famous dishes.
Please click on the cities below to see how my journey went.
First part and entry point of my Japan trip was Osaka, starting with a busy airport and a confusing transport to our hotel. City looked industrial with many modern amusements.
A tiring start to the Kyoto experience, as we used a very busy commuter train to travel from Osaka. Although it rained on our Kyoto visit, the city definitely had character.
The last city on my Japan trip, a bustling mega city.
Type : City
Best Date : Sep-Nov, Mar-May
Expense : Expensive
Things to do : Sightseeing, Dining, Shopping, kart tours, ect
Points of Interest: Meiji Shrine, Tokyo Imperial Palace, Senso-Ji, Ueno Park, Ginza District, ect
The Good: Friendly and respectful people
The Bad: Very complex and busy public transport, Expensive
Tokyo (formerly known as Edo) is the capital and the largest city of Japan. However the city or prefecture was not always the country’s capital, as this always moved around depending on where Japan’s emperors wanted them. Furthermore greater Tokyo is said to be the most populated city (according to worldatlas) and known to be an alpha world city the largest modern metropolis in the world.
Tokyo was the third and last city I visited during my tour of Japan. My expectations before I visited was a bustling metropolis full of the most modern technologies and infrastructure. Researching before my travels I found the city to be very reputable, which has more acclaimed restaurants than anywhere in the world, even more than Paris. Furthermore it is said to be one of the most safest capitals in the world with the lowest crime rates than any around the world especially against tourists.
Firstly one of the must do activity in Tokyo is shop, as the city known as the best tax free shopping around the world. Ginza is an upmarket district in central Tokyo which has the most famous brands such as Gucci, Armani, Chanel and many alike. Furthermore many nightclubs, hotels, cafes and restaurants are also around here.
Another shopping area in Tokyo that centre around the younger audience is Harajuku and Aoyama. This is a small narrow street bustling with affordable garments, accessories, toys and adventurous deserts , souvenirs are also found here and I believe the best place to buy them.
Shinjuku is also another place for shopping, and centred around the middle working class community. Here there are the more affordable brands such as Uniqlo, Lumine, Muji and others alike.
However probably one of the most famous shopping district around the world, due to its bustling atmosphere is Shibuya. Most notable for the ‘Shibuya Crossing’ which has featured in many movies such as ‘Lost in translation’, ‘Fast and the furious’ and ‘Resident Evil’. The crossing is said to be the busiest intersection worldwide and is beautiful moreover at night when all the lights make for a great picture phot opportunity. Restaurants fill the streets in this area and there are a lot more amusements such as arcades, karaoke and clubs.
Apart from shopping there are also various attractions you could visit in Tokyo, its newest attraction which opened in 2012 is the ‘Tokyo Sky Tree’, this is a broadcast centre which is fast becoming the city’s cover attraction. Including restaurants and a observation deck this building is inspired by traditional Japanese architecture and is a great place to go if you are looking to see the city from a different view.
A much older point of interest in Tokyo is the ‘Meji Shrine’ which is not too far from the world famous ‘Shibuya’. This shrine is located in a calm tranquil area in the middle of the beautiful ‘Yoyogi park’, which is again a sight to see in the cherry blossom season. Completed in 1920 the shrine which is dedicated to the Emperor ‘Meji’ and Empress ‘Shoken’ is surrounded by ‘Meji Shingu’s Forest’ which is entered through 2 large ‘Torii Gates’ one in the northside and the other southside. Pass these gates there is still a serene 10 minute walk to the shrines complex and upon arriving there is plenty exhibitions such as banzai trees, artwork, rituals and many others. The complex itself had various traditional architecture which is an excellent place for photographer type tourists and is a definite must whilst visiting Tokyo. There is a lot to see in the vicinity of the forest and you may stumble upon the ‘Kiyomasa Wells’ and the ‘Sake Barrels‘. Overall I believe that this was the best place to visit in Tokyo.
‘Tsukiji Hongwanji’ is an operating Buddhist temple with free admission for tourists. It is a landmark for the Tsukuji area. Built on 1657 this temple has had huge historic significance. For me it was just a simple touch and go visit, so I am unable to give more information.
Next to the temple is ‘Tsukiji Fish market’ a haven for fish or sushi lovers, a place where wholesale fish occurs, viewers are able to observe tuna auctions. Moreover there are plenty sushi restaurants where you are able dine and also learn the trade. Other produce are also sold here so for any food lovers this market is worth visiting.
Lastly the ‘Imperial Palace’ which is the current residence of Japans Imperial family. It is actually the location of where Edo castle used to be. An interesting fact was that the palace was destroyed during the world war but then rebuilt in the same way afterwards. Similar to that of Osaka castle the imperial palace is bordered by huge stone walls and bridges which are appealing but does get in the way of a good picture. Take note no visitors are allowed inside the complex nor the buildings, however guided tours are available for the palace grounds.
Other places to visit are the ‘Senso-Ji Temple’, ‘Mount Fuji’ and various other museums and parks but I didn’t have time to visit them so I wont write about them.
All in all Tokyo was an interesting metropolis, it was definitely the busiest place ive been, a working city just like London. However unlike Kyoto and its magnificent shrines, in my opinion Tokyo’s main appeal for tourism is its shopping and dining as it doesn’t have many historic buildings. In my opinion a 3 or 4 days visit is enough in the city, stay very close to central of Japan and most places should be walking distance.
Reference: According to worldatlas.com (Population) https://www.factinate.com/places/30-interesting-facts-tokyo/ http://www.globalblue.com/destinations/japan/tokyo/top-ten-most-interesting-facts-on-tokyo
My Tokyo experience in pictures, please press on the link to my gallery…
Posts of my 5 days Japan Trip coming up. Blogs and Videos will be uploaded soon.
My last overseas trip to South American was somewhat of an eye opener. The terrain, nature, culture and infrastructure of both Peru and Brazil was amazing with so much learnt. After Peru and Brazil I travelled across the United Kingdom to Cardiff, Wales’s capital city. Cardiff had similarities to London (my home) but is developing with huge investments, hopping to be a striving tourist destination, especially for shopping. However now its time to go far again and I’m using my yearly trip to the Philippines (which is my second home) commencing this May 18th to venture to new places and excurse to a nearby Asian country. Whilst in the Philippines I’ll be staying in my home city of Quezon City but I plan to roam and visit places I have never been yet, however till now i don’t have a clue where yet.
One thing is for sure and that’s a confirmed trip around Japan. Knowing me I like to roam as many cities in a limited amount of time, just like in Peru and Brazil with a duration of 10 days and my ‘South France and Spain trip’ which took me only 5 days.
The cities I will visit in Japan are Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto which should show me many of the old and new aspects of the country.
I will enter Japan through Tokyo but will transit (flight) straight to Osaka where I will stay one night. This should give me enough time to visit places such as the ‘Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium’, Osaka Castle and other attractions in the city. I will then take either train or bus from Osaka to Kyoto where I will stay for 2 nights, giving me 3 days to roam. Kyoto which was once the capital city of Japan is famous for numerous Buddhist temples, imperial palaces and much more. I intend to visit many of its attractions and dine in their many traditional restaurants. After Kyoto I will head back to Osaka and fly straight to the capital Tokyo where I will spend a further night. I believe Tokyo will be the bustling modern city of Japan, one of the worlds most advanced in technology. Furthermore as an extra bonus I may see some of the sites for the Olympics due to commence in 2020.
I expect Japan to be very technologically advanced but very intact with their history and ancient culture. Furthermore I’m guessing Kyoto to be very strong in traditional culture and religion, whilst Tokyo and Osaka being a modern metropolis with the most modern infrastructure. Finally I think Japan will be fast paced and one of the most expensive ive travelled.