Tuesday, August 14, 2018

#JaFun Birthday Adventure

Summer in Japan.

The first time I went to Japan, the leaves were falling, the foliage had already started to turn orange, and it was getting colder as days went by. Most streets in Tokyo's financial districts don't sleep at all, and people still wear their corporate attires even at two in the morning. Despite the busy crowd of Tokyo, I was still in awe. How can a big city become so clean and so organized despite having a population of more than ten million? I thought maybe these things only exist in Tokyo. But, Japan is known for being Japan. Man, I couldn't have been more wrong about it.

Weeks ago, I went to Japan to celebrate my 28th birthday. It has become my tradition to celebrate my birthday abroad. I guess it's a great birthday present because you get to immerse yourself in an unfamiliar culture or tread the less traveled road. For nine days, we explored three cities in two prefectures namely Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka. The only drawback for this trip was Japan's heatwave. This year, hundreds were killed because of heat stroke. According to the news, Japan is experiencing the hottest summer for the last hundred years. When we got there, the highest temperature we've experienced was 40 degrees Celsius in Nagoya.

Exploring these cities was an eye-opener, albeit the scalding summer weather. Despite their crazy summer heat, Japan will always remain as one of my favorite destinations. You see, there's a lot to discover about this country. There's something about Japan, particularly the Kansai Region. While Tokyo is a huge metropolis with specks of history scattered around the city, Kansai is a microcosm of old and modern Nippon. Walking around the old quarters of Kyoto, or within the guarded premises of Osaka Castle felt like a trip to the past - a country that was once ruled and governed by the powerful Tokugawa Shogunate empire.

More than its innovation, orderly and cleanliness, and discipline, it's the Japanese hospitality that keeps visitors coming back to their country. I would be back here and spend more time in Kyoto and explore new towns and cities like Hiroshima, Nara, and Kobe, but definitely not during the height of their summer season.

There are millions of reasons why you should visit Japan. Here are some:

Nagoya

Nagoya Castle.



Meijo Park

Central Nagoya

Nagoya City, view from Sky Promenade Building.


JR Towers at sunset.

Osu Kannon Temple, Nagoya

Nagoya City Science Museum.


Kyoto and Osaka

My visit to Kyoto was short but sweet. I would definitely go back here during the colder months. Summer in Japan was just too much for me! I thought growing up in a tropical country was already enough, but no. It wasn't a walk in the park.

There's something about Kyoto. It's unexplainable, but I guess this 'unexplainable feeling' will always lure people to revisit Kyoto and discover more about its culture and history.

Arashimaya Bamboo Forest

On our way to Fushimi-inari Shrine.

Fushimi-inari

38 degrees Celsius. Probably the hottest summer I've experienced. Even the locals were complaining about the heatwave.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto

Yasaka Shrine.

Gion District. Too bad there were no geishas that time, probably because of the weather.


Osaka Castle.


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