After China it’s time for our next country, Japan! Beforehand we think about going for two weeks, but we like it so much, we stay for five-and-a-half weeks. This is our travel journal Japan, part I.
After a whole night of travelling we arrive in Tokyo! We are so excited and curious, we can’t wait to explore Japan and its culture. We arrive at the most awesome couchsurfing place ever and sleeping is the only thing we want, we are so tired. Immediately we experience the Japanese way of sleeping, on a futon! The host isn’t there and there are also other couchsurfers, crazy right? And so much fun! The next days we don’t see a lot of the city, we relax at home and have the chance to update our blogs, pictures and videos.
After those days we finally explore the city. Tokyo is a huge city, so we decide to explore one part at the time. Public transport in Tokyo is expensive and not very easy to use, so we walk a lot. Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akihabara, Odaiba, Tsukji Fish Market, there’s so much to see and so many fun things to do! We actually thought we would see crazy things everywhere, it is a bit different than we had in mind, but still we love it!
With the other couchsurfers in the apartment it feels like a family. Michèle makes the best Italian food for us (multiple times!), and Milan and his daughter bring the best red wine. So obviously we don’t want to leave the house. But we have to leave the house for a couple days because there are too many people. We discuss it with the rest and we stay. Only nobody knows there are some angry Polish people on their way who only expect two other people in the house… The atmosphere in the house changes, but luckily they already leave the next day.
Together with Michèle we explore the rest of the city and we go to the Kawaii Monster café. We also meet up with a Japanese friend of Maartje, Aiko. She brings some very traditional Takoyaki with her! Too bad we don’t like octopus so much.
We are thinking about hitchhiking from Tokyo to our next destination, but Michele gives us two free bus tickets (awesome!) to Nagoya, Kyoto or Osaka. So after two weeks in Tokyo we travel further, and Nagoya it is! The night bus to Nagoya is the best, it’s so luxurious! After an okay night of sleeping we arrive early in the morning in Nagoya. With some difficulties, we only know the number of the building, we arrive at our new couchsurfing apartment. Our host, Shun, is a great guy. And his English is so much better than most of the Japanese people. We drop our bags and go out to explore the city. There’s not much to do but there’s a beautiful castle and a great park for a nap! In the evening Shun takes us to this traditional Japanese style restaurant were we have some delicious Miso Katsu.
The next days we finally do the thing we are already talking about for ages, getting a tattoo! Finding a good Tattoo shop is a bit harder than expected, but luckily Shun helps us out. Normally only the Yakuza (Japanese Maffia) have tattoos in Japan, so our host Shun never went to a tattoo shop before. When we show our tattoo to him his answer is ‘it’s so cute?!’ For Japanese people tattoos are everything except cute, so he’s surprised. And we love our first tattoo. It didn’t even hurt!
The unknown Sekigahara
From Nagoya we take the train to Sekigahara. Sekigahara? Yes Sekigahara. Nobody goes there, but everybody in Japan knows about it. Historically it’s a famous place for a battle. We go there to meet Maartje’s friend from the United States, Denton. And it’s so much fun, we have the best time together. He has a car, and owns a big house! We have delicious food together and explore the area around Sekigahara. We even stay a night longer than expected. Together we visit Hikone’s castle, accidentally fall into a jet show, and enjoy a picknick at the largest lake of Japan. The next day Denton takes us to a beautiful park with a waterfall and a cool art park: site of Reversible destiny.
And then our next adventure awaits, hitchhiking in Japan! Denton makes us a nice sign in Japanese en we are ready to go. A bit nervous and excited as well we wait on the side of the road. And we wait, and we wait. Nobody stops, but apparently we are not standing on the right spot. We move to a different place and instantly we have a ride. A cool dad with his son, who are going to fish for the day, take us with them for about an hour. It’s the best first ride we can have. After three other rides, some giggling girls, a couple who can’t say a word in English, we arrive in Kyoto!
Our couchsurfing house in Kyoto is even crazier than the one in Tokyo. Our host has a second house, solely for couchsurfers. The house is amazing, on every wall someone wrote or painted something. And we are not alone, we meet an other couple who are also couchsurfing in the house. We exchange our travel experiences together. Our week in Kyoto is not enough, there’s so much to see and to do. We go to the must sees: the Fushimi Inari Shrines, the bamboo forest, the Kinaku-ji temple, spot geisha’s in the famous geisha district Gion and walk around the city centre. And we meet up with Andres and Bryant, two couchsurfers we met in Tokyo!
After Kyoto we hitchhike to Osaka. To be continued…
Read how far we get by hitchhiking here.
Are you thinking about travelling to Japan? Do it, you will definitely like it!
If you have any questions about our trip, feel free to ask anything.