A five-day visit to Japan just isn’t enough. While I managed to squeeze a lot into my short visit, I didn’t even scratch the surface.
I enjoyed a few days in Tokyo, plus an overnight trip out to Hakone. That leaves a lot I skipped. If you want to know a few fun things about my stay, check out my Yahoo! Voices story "Six Cool Things to Expect During a Visit to Tokyo". You’ll find out that, behind the weirdness and cleanliness, you’ll be surprised by a friendly vibe rare in such large cities.
But for now, I’m left to ponder what I’d do during a longer visit to Japan. First up, I’d think about my starting place. It doesn’t have to be Tokyo. I’d look into Osaka flights just to start off a bit further from Tokyo. And I’ll admit it – the air travel nerd in me loves the idea checking out Kansai International Airport, which is built on an artificial island.
And it’s not like Osaka is actually some small town: It’s Japan’s second-largest metro area, with plenty to do -- temples, shrines, amusement parks, museums and a ton of sports. High on my list? Sumo! I missed all the sumo action during my last abbreviated trip – and there’s no way I’ll make the same mistake.
And allow me to unshackle my inner travel geek again: I also didn’t get to use the awesome Japanese bullet train. The Korean KTX train was a revelation, and I’d like to give it a go in Japan. I could catch a bullet train in Osaka to several other cities.
I also like the architecture in Osaka. You have the usual mix of skyscrapers, but with some wild and crazy stuff like the Umeda Sky building. And as a mountain biker, I’d want to see what sort of building Shimano – which builds the majority of the bike components I’ve used over the years – calls home.
Of course, I’d still make my way from Osaka to Tokyo, but with a detour or two along the way. I might also swing further south. With a country like Japan, I can head in nearly every direction and find something interesting.
I thought about visiting Yokohama, but I couldn’t spare the time while still seeing Hakone. Next time around, I’ll carve time out for it.
If you plan to head to travel in Japan, you’re sure to find it just as interesting. But give yourself more time than I did!
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