After years of planning and saving for our RTW trip, not to mention all the obstacles we overcame to take it, you would think that Tony and I would have been bursting with uncontainable joy once we hit the ground in Tokyo. Finally, our dreams were reality and we were living the life we had worked so hard to get!

Unfortunately, our first few days in Tokyo weren’t really like that at all. I don’t know if it’s just that we were dealing with jetlag, or if we weren’t prepared for the oppressive weather, if it’s because I had a terrible ear ache and “foggy head” due to my ears not popping after our second and third flights, or if our generally wretched dormmates made it impossible to get a good night’s sleep so we were still sleep deprived, but for whatever reason, things just weren’t clicking for us. Yes, our first three days each had some wonderful moments and we saw some wonderful things, but it was undeniable that the two of us were in a bit of a funk. We’ve always traveled well together before, but in Tokyo, we were almost constantly out of synch with each other: when one of us was enthusiastic and high-energy, the other one was cranky or solemn (and no, it wasn’t always me!). Under normal circumstances, this would be annoying, but to start off our big trip under such a dark cloud? That just added to the pressure. We should have been over the moon to finally be out there in the world, and the truth is that we just weren’t. Even during our happiest moments in Tokyo, we felt a bit like we were putting on a façade simply because to do otherwise would be an utter disgrace. How dare we come to Japan and not be having the time of our lives?

In retrospect, I think all of the personal reasons I mentioned above contributed somewhat to our collective malaise. I expected we would take to our new travel lifestyle like the proverbial duck to water, but that wasn’t really the case. Still, if I’m being completely honest, I don’t think our issues were entirely our doing either. No, the truth is, we just didn’t really care for Tokyo. Of all the places we were visiting in Japan, it was the one that I was the least invested in prior to our arrival – I knew it was a city brimming with activities and attractions, but the thought of them all was either too overwhelming, or they just didn’t seem to appeal to me. After 3 days there, we both agreed that Tokyo is probably a great city to live in, with great amenities and lots of things to make your daily life awesome… but as a tourist destination? It just wasn’t the right fit for us. It was probably one of the easiest places in Japan for us to cut our travel teeth, but it also felt kind of diluted and like we were in a theme park version of Japan. I know at some point every travel blogger questions the authenticity of a place or an activity and I loathe to do the same, but we kept searching for something that would make us feel like we were in Japan and really hammer that reality home for us, but we just couldn’t find that within the confines of Tokyo.

For three days we had tried to connect with Tokyo, tried to find something to kickstart a blaze of unbridled enthusiasm and energy. For three days we had failed. Thankfully, on our fourth morning in Tokyo, we woke up knowing we were taking a daytrip out of the city to Kamakura, a bucolic town known for its abundance of temples as well as its Daibutsu (Giant Buddha). Here was a chance to get out of the city and see whether Tokyo had been contributing to our underwhelming response to Japan or if the problem really rested solely on our shoulders. I admit, I fretted for nearly the entire hour-long train journey that we would disembark at Kita-Kamakura and feel completely unchanged, but no. Upon exiting the train and finding ourselves surrounded by tiny lanes lined with quaint Japanese houses and seeing all the lush, verdant greenery around us, a huge sense of relief suffused me. Finally, three days late, it felt like we had arrived in Japan and not some strange parallel universe’s version of it.

The entrance to Jochi-ji.
The well of delicious nectar water!

Based on our reading about Kamakura, one of the most popular and best ways to see this city is to get off the train one stop early (at Kita-Kamakura) and then do a gentle 3km hike along a trail, passing various shrines and temples along the way, before reaching la pièce de la resistance, the Daibutsu. We are not really hikers, but we’re still young and pretty spry, and 3km is nothing, so we figured that was what we would do!

Our first stop of the day was Jochi-ji, one of Kamakura’s five great Zen temples, which lies at the foot of the hiking trail we would take. According to the entrance sign, Jochi-ji boasts well water that is sweet like nectar. Given that it was another hot & humid day in Japan (some things that were true in Tokyo were bound to be true elsewhere, I suppose!), that seemed like too good of an offer to pass up. Indeed, the well water was extremely cold (a rarity in Japan – most water from the tap is lukewarm at best and never truly chilly) and refreshing, and while you wouldn’t normally think to call water delicious, it was! Tony loudly proclaimed several times that it was much better than all the other water we had been drinking.

The added bonus is that Jochi-ji, which used to be a large sprawling temple complex, is now small, tranquil, and a very beautiful place to spend a half hour or so just wandering around. Although it was still very muggy on the grounds, lovely breezes would gust through the grounds and caress our damp skin, the overall effect being incredibly soothing.

After having our fill of Jochi-ji, it was time to start our trek to see Daibutsu. Based on the write-up the hike between Kita-Kamkura station and Kamakura proper we read in the Lonely Planet, we were expecting the hike would take us about 2 hours to complete and be fairly innocuous… We were wrong on both counts. Although the hike started off deceptively easy (on paved roads no less), we soon found ourselves wending through rather steep peaks and valleys (and many of the downward slopes looked like cliffs requiring swan dives to reach the bottom at first glance). Although the forest around us was very beautiful, with its towering red cedars, the foliage did little to keep us cool and the breezes that graced us on the trail were far too infrequent. Although we were hardly climbing mountains (just rather large hills), we found the hike quite physically draining especially given the weather.

So you can imagine how triumphant I felt after about 40 minutes of hiking when we reached a clearing with a progress map and it looked like we had cleared about 66% of the trail! And you can also then imagine my disappointment when I realized that I had been looking at the wrong end of the map and we still had more than half the course to go. I tried to waylay my disappointment by taking part in a ritual at the little shrine at this checkpoint where one smashes a small pottery dish on a rock, which is meant to symbolize overcoming obstacles. Given how crummy I had been feeling the last few days, this little ritual felt like it would be a good way of symbolizing a turning point in our trip.

We also got to witness two married rocks, which is certainly not something you see every day (but is also not something I would hike to see!).

They are tied together because they are married… Or are they married because they are tied together?

Having given our already tired feet a break, we soldiered on, making our way to Zenirai-benten, a Shinto shrine that is famous for the money washing ritual that many Japanese pilgrims take part in there. Legend holds that any money that is washed in a cave here will provide the washer with double or triple its usual gains. While we did not wash any money ourselves, the grounds of the shrine were really beautiful (and cool to enter, walking as you do through a large hole that has been bored through a rock) and we enjoyed watching others engage in the money washing ritual (some people even washed credit cards!).

Just imagine, if this doubles or triples his money, he could have hundreds of… Yen…

And then, the bane of our existence on this day: more hiking. I said before that I am not a hiker, and that is putting it lightly. You might even say that I am anti-hiking, so why I thought this wilderness walk would be a good idea, I cannot say. I often have the tendency to push myself to do things on trips that I would not choose to do in my daily life as I want to maximize my experiences, but at times this hike was pretty brutal. The scenery was lovely, but the weather was awful (it’s one of the rare times we saw Japanese people looking uncomfortable from the heat!). We would walk for 15 – 20 minutes only to see signs suggesting we had merely advanced 500 m (or sometimes, no distance at all), so I am calling bullshit on this whole thing only being 3km. Maybe if you measured the distance between the start and endpoint of the trail on flat ground, but when you add in all the up and downward travel we did, I think it easily was double that distance.

Only 500 meters, after you walk 300 meters more.

There were times when I seriously doubted that this self-inflicted hiking horror would ever end, but eventually we did reach the end of the trail, and hobbled our way to Kotokuin, which is the home of the Great Buddha. We rewarded our hard work with a delightful melon-flavored ice cream cone, and then prepared ourselves to be awed.

Given that I was grumpy from our overlong hike, I was fully expecting the Daibutsu to not be worth the hassle, but I have to say, he really was a sight for sore eyes. Crafted in the 13th century, this statue was originally housed in a large building, but the structure was destroyed in a terrible storm, and the Daibutsu has sat under the canopy of the heavens ever since. I don’t consider myself to be a religious, or even a spiritual person, but despite the large number of tourists who had congregated to marvel in the sheer enormity of this image of the Buddha, I still felt as though the statue emanated this lovely vibe of serenity and peacefulness. I really liked that although much religious iconography can be rather stern or even menacing in its countenance, this Buddha had a slight smile gently curving on his lips.

TMGB-52

Our final spiritual stop of the day was Hasedera Temple, located just down the street from Kotokuin. Hasedera houses a huge wooden statue of the 11-headed goddess of mercy, Kannon, which is actually the largest wooden statue in all of Japan. The story goes that this statue (now covered in gold leaf) was carved out of a single piece of wood and then tossed into the ocean. Every place the statue washed up was racked with suffering and ailments, and so it was repeatedly thrown back into the ocean. When it finally reached Kamakura and was fished out of the sea, no suffering ensued which caused the people to decide that the statue had reached its intended destination. They constructed Hasedera up on a large hill overlooking the sea in order to honor the statue.

Hasedera temple from above.

Another modern draw to Hasedera apart from Kannon (which was very impressive, but alas, no photos are allowed) are the tiny statues that are placed on various landings as you make your way up to the hill to the hall where Kannon is held. These statues are placed by Japanese women in tribute to babies who were still-born, miscarried or aborted. There are so many of these statues placed at Hasa-dera that every year, the statues are removed and burned so that new ones can be placed as an offering for Kannon’s mercy.

And of course, when you make your way to the top of Hasedera, you are granted a rather stunning view of the sea. I may hate climbing things, but the view was pretty spectacular.

The view of Kamakura from above.

The last adventure of the day before making our way back to Tokyo for one last night was to take the Endo train back to Kamakura proper and find some dinner.  The train gave us a taste of what crowded Japanese trains can be like (I was worried at one point I’d have to hang out the train!), and thankfully we only had to ride a few stops. Once in Kamakura, we managed to hunt down a restaurant named Kawagoe-ya, recommended in our Lonely Planet guide. There was no English menu here, although there were a few pictures and our hostess tried her best to explain some of the dishes to us… In the end, I still wound up ordering something of a mystery dinner as all I knew is that it would involve something that had been lightly fried. Thankfully, both of our meals were delicious and very filling, and my meal wound up featuring fried onion fritters & cold udon for dipping, while Tony’s featured egg and pork cutlet with a sweet sauce and he opted for hot soba. Both meals came with an assortment of random pickled veggies as well as a pear jelly dessert, and most importantly, both were delicious!

Steph's dinner...
Steph’s dinner…

...and Tony's dinner!
…and Tony’s dinner!

Despite our successful orders, all mystery was not gone as along with the lack of English descriptions on the menu, there hadn’t been any prices that we could read either so we had no idea how much our delicious feast would set us back. Thankfully it only came to 1250Y per person, which is kind of insane when you consider how much food we got! It was a wonderful way to end our day, and helped our Lonely Planet guide slightly redeem itself (though one good restaurant recommendation does not make up for the surplus 2 hours of hiking we did!).

Obviously Kamakura is a wonderful city with many charms and we’re happy that we decided to take a daytrip there. But perhaps best of all was that our day in Kamakura buoyed our spirits and helped renew our optimism regarding the rest of our time in Japan. We had really been starting to worry that we would float through Japan feeling cranky, disconnected, and like we weren’t even in Japan at all. Kamakura gave us hope that by escaping from the haze of Tokyo, the odds were good we’d find the Japan we had traveled so far to see. And that’s something that not even a dubiously measured 3km hike can ruin.

 

Written by: Stephenie Harrison


In another life, I moved from Toronto, Canada to Nashville, TN to pursue my doctoral degree in Psychology. That chapter of my life is now finished, but I did earn the right to demand you call me Dr. Steph (though I respond just as well to plain old Steph). I am an avid reader whose book collection is rivaled only by my many pairs of cute shoes. I also like to knit, hold impromptu karaoke parties, and try new and unusual foods. Generally not all at the same time. I also really love to learn languages, which may explain why I took 3 years of Latin in highschool. I'm turning over a new leaf, so instead of looking forward, I'm going to work on enjoying the present, so the country I'm most looking forward to is whichever one we're in right now!

We want to hear from you!

Required fields are marked with red.
Anything you share with us will not be published, traded, sold or otherwise used outside this site in any way, ever. We will not spam you.

We moderate comments, so if you haven't posted with us before and your comment doesn't show up right away, we will get to it, no need to post it twice. Thanks for your patience!

A comment is required.

Name is required. You can only use alphanumeric characters (a-z, A-Z).

Read comments (31)

  1. September 5, 2012 at 7:03 am
    Sep. 5, '12

    I haven’t done tons of traveling in my life, but I have come across that feeling like you’ve had in Tokyo several times – firstly in Paris, which just seemed way too American compared to the rest of where I’d been living and visiting in France; second in Tel Aviv, where my plane landed and which looked exactly like a major US city with different language on the signs; and third in Old City Jerusalem, which was nothing more than a giant tourist trap, complete with people hawking stuff at you no matter where you went, including hawking prayers…yeah. I have always liked to get away to places that are less tourist. Bourges or Avignon in France, Ramallah in Palestine, etc. I feel like I’m getting so much out of the experience in these places!

    I admit, I love hiking. When Jason and I went on our cruise this past spring, we chose an eco-hike for one of our excursions, and was disappointed that the hike itself took place in a nature preserve and lasted only half an hour or so. Boo!

    • September 5, 2012 at 9:22 am
      Sep. 5, '12

      There are some big cities that I have enjoyed (London, NYC, Rome), but Tokyo really just didn’t do it for me. It wasn’t super touristy or anything like that, it just oddly felt like Japan-lite (I guess it was most like your Paris experience). Seeems strange because we always thought that Tokyo would be super intense and concentrated Japanese craziness, so it’s entirely possible we just went to the wrong bits and/or had the wrong expectations.

      And I guess I don’t mind a leisurely hike now and then, but I think I need to save these things for when the weather is better. I don’t do well in extreme heat (I was born with Canadian blood, remember!), so I think physical exertion other than swimming needs to be saved for Fall & Winter!

  2. September 5, 2012 at 7:26 am
    Sep. 5, '12

    I’m so glad you got out of the city and found some zen…even if it was after hiking so much! You guys are still settling into your trip – figuring out what it’s like, how you travel, how you travel together. One of the biggest hurdles is expectation – of how you will feel, of what you will experience, of how you will handle it all. It’s a tough time – be gentle with each other and, more importantly, with yourself.

    • September 5, 2012 at 9:25 am
      Sep. 5, '12

      Thank you for your kind and insightful comment. One thing I have been working on (even prior to this trip) has been learning to be gentle with myself, because I often have unrealistic expectations for myself and get frustrated when I don’t meet my own standards. And even though we have traveled together in the past, it has never been for so long or in this way. I think part of our time in Japan, as amazing as it largely was, suffered because we approached it like a regular vacation and so we had the pacing and the emphasis wrong. We went too fast and forced ourselves to do things that weren’t right for the kind of people we are and what we value… We are still figuring all of this out, but the nice thing is that we have time & Japan was not a bad place to travel “with training wheels” so to speak!

  3. September 5, 2012 at 7:34 am
    Sep. 5, '12

    Kamakura proved my favourite place of my Japan trip. In fact, I had done three days in Tokyo before doing a carbon copy of your hike and sightseeing (I think Lonely Planet keeps people on the same path). I came away from Kamakura in awe – it was so serene, beautiful, contrasting and magical.

    It gets better and better the further you move away from Tokyo.

    • September 5, 2012 at 9:26 am
      Sep. 5, '12

      Marco, I’d love to know where else you visited in Japan. We really enjoyed our day in Kamakura, but definitely have found that the farther we moved from Tokyo, the more in love with the country we fell!

  4. September 5, 2012 at 8:17 am
    Sep. 5, '12

    Ugh: I hate the unintentionally long walk! When Mom and I were checking out San Angel in Mexico City, the tourist map showed a little route from the Metro station that would get us to same place w/o being on the main (traffic-heavy) street. Suffice it to say what would have been a 15 minute walk via the main street (as we learned on our trip back to the Metro) turned into a 2.5 hour walk/lost wandering/kind woman taking us back to public transit/figuring out new-to-us transit system (it required a plastic card that we didn’t have). It was a pretty demoralising start to the day, although our next stop, Coyoacan, perked us back up!

    Anyway, hiking aside, I’m glad you found your way out of the funk! I’d love to visit Japan, but I have absolutely no interest in Tokyo. So looking forward to your future non-Tokyo posts. 😀

    • September 5, 2012 at 9:30 am
      Sep. 5, '12

      Walks like that are always the worst when you add feeling lost and helpless on top of it! And I really do feel that if the guide had been honest and said that the hike took 3 hours instead of 90 minutes, I might still have done it but would have had a better idea of what to expect!

      And regarding Tokyo, we have found that it is really unique in terms of Japan. Most people we have met say that they don’t think Tokyo is really Japan at all, and so I suppose in that sense it is interesting to visit, but also unsatisfying as well! We have since been to places in Japan that we have loved and would happily return to, but Tokyo is not one of them!

      • September 6, 2012 at 8:59 am
        Sep. 6, '12

        We didn’t realise we were lost for the first hour and a half, which was probably a blessing in disguise, lol. And at least it wasn’t the hottest part of the day!

        I agree re: expectations being important: bad guidebook. And it’s funny to me that I have no interest in Tokyo, considering I’m usually a big city person. But that leaves more time for the rest of the country when I eventually get there! 😉

        • September 6, 2012 at 11:28 am
          Sep. 6, '12

          Sometimes the best part of travel can be in the getting lost, but if it goes on too long, it can be a bit wearisome!

          And I suppose the thing about big cities is that its easy to paint them with broad strokes, but they aren’t all alike, nor do they offer the same thing. I am still trying to figure out what kind of traveler I think Tokyo as we experienced it would appeal to!

  5. September 5, 2012 at 9:23 am
    Sep. 5, '12

    Bustling cities aren’t for everyone. I feel the same way about Madrid. I love the art museums and some of the little features about it, but it’s my least favorite place in Spain. It doesn’t feel very Spanish to me. I, like you, opted to take a short day trip out to Toledo, the old capital of Spain, when Madrid overwhelmed me. Totally renewed my spirits.

    Oh, and we just had a similar hiking experience a few weeks ago. The multiple sources I found said it was a 3 or 4 mile hike around this lake we were camping at…yeah, it took us 2 hours and we weren’t moving that slowly.

    • September 5, 2012 at 9:34 am
      Sep. 5, '12

      I have always thought of myself as a “city girl” and there are certainly bustling cities that I have enjoyed, so I don’t think it was the business of Tokyo that we found offputting. I am still not sure what it was, but I suppose it just was a bustling big city that we didn’t find very interesting! I’ve never been to Spain so I can’t say how I would react to Spain, but my feeling is that if you stick to big cities, you really only see one facet of a country, and generally it’s the least accurate one at that!

      I have just started adding like, 50% to every time estimate we get about hikes and the like now, especially when they come from Lonely Planet. While in Kyoto, we got estimates saying the walk to a restaurant from a train station was only 20 minutes, and it definitely took us closer to 35 and we were walking at a pretty jaunty pace…

    • September 5, 2012 at 11:36 am
      Sep. 5, '12

      Toledo is so beautiful! I’m a city girl but didn’t love Madrid either when I was there. Although the Prado is amazing and made up for a lot. I’d love to go back just to visit that again.

  6. September 5, 2012 at 11:34 am
    Sep. 5, '12

    I’m glad you guys are hitting your stride! Sorry about the long hike. They must have timed people with supermodel-length legs or something. 🙂 Dottie had a similar problem with her guidebook’s estimated driving times between towns in Scotland. Seems like they should try harder with those sorts of details as they can really affect your travel experience! I look forward to hearing about your Hong Kong adventures. Nashville misses you!!

    • September 5, 2012 at 8:25 pm
      Sep. 5, '12

      You might not believe it, but we miss Nashville on occasion too! Especially you, Trisha!

      As you can tell, we’re still a fair bit lagged blogging-wise and I doubt we’ll ever be fully in real-time (these posts need time to be written and formatted!), but I think in the next week or so, the delay will shorten considerably as we no longer feel like the clock is ticking here in HK. We can stay as long as we like (or at least until Dec 5, 2012!) and our main goals here are to eat delicious food and see some friends, so our days are not as massively busy as before. We’ve only been here one full day but are definitely enjoying it here, even if it is one of the most claustrophobic and overwhelming places we have seen to date! 🙂

  7. September 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm
    Sep. 5, '12

    Expectations can be the nemesis of any traveler. It is hard not to have certain preconceived notions in your mind, particularly from reading other travel blogs and from daydreaming about going to certain locations. It is always very tough when your actual experience does not match the vision you had in your head. It is hard, but the more you can try to rid yourself of expectations of what a place will be like, the more you can relax and enjoy a place for what it is instead of what you think it should be. That being said, there are some places that you never will enjoy. And there are some places that you will never enjoy at a certain particular point in your trip. There were so many places that others loved that I was just eh about. For me, while I was somewhat meh about Japan as a whole, I loved Tokyo and found it to have tons of quirks. So much plays into it – your expectations, your mood, your health, your interests, whether you find good meals, whether you are tired, the place you just came from, and so on. Enjoyment of a place is very subjective and dependent on so many factors. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t enjoy a place you think you should – once you give a place a chance, the ability to cut your losses and just move on is a luxury in a trip like yours! I hope you guys find your traveling groove (it does take a while!) and I hope you enjoy the rest of Japan – but if you don’t, there’s plenty of other countries out there!!! p.s. By the way, I act as if I have all of the answers, but I can’t tell you how many times my husband yelled at me when I was influenced by travel blogs and such instead of forming my own expectations after arrival.

    • September 6, 2012 at 10:56 am
      Sep. 6, '12

      I completely agree that travel blogs are both a blessing and a curse: often they inspire me to travel to places I never even knew existed, and yet they help me build possibly unrealistic expectations at the same time. And I think this is doubly hard for someone like myself who LOVES to plan, because then I get very fixed ideas about what things will be like and it can take me time to recalibrate reality with my own expectations. I think this is part of why I am having so much fun in Hong Kong right now, because I didn’t actually have any big plans for this place except that I wanted to eat tons of great food (and have not been disappointed on that front), so I was more willing and able to just discover the city as it was on its own terms rather than having my every reaction clouded by what I thought something would like.

      And I’ve traveled enough to know that not every place we visit will be a place I will love until my dying day… I think it was just extra hard to be so underwhelmed by Tokyo when it was the first stop on this epic trip of ours! Perhaps part of the problem is that we wanted to be catapulted into something that felt intensely different from North America, but Tokyo is probably one of the most Westernized parts of Japan if not all of Asia!

  8. September 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm
    Sep. 5, '12

    I know this feeling so well. Because I began to travel as an adult, I had high expectations. I love big cities, but depending on where I’m going, I do have a specific idea of how I should feel. It’s why I absolutely can’t stand Milan and have seen Rome enough (3 times) to know I’m fine not going back. Same thing with London. I want the “feel” – and it isn’t necessarily something you can describe. You just know it when you feel it. I’m so glad you had that moment, even if it was after a rather miserable hike.

    I do hate that. There have been several times (most recently in New York) where the distance I was told or thought it was, was actually very different in reality. And you’re hot and tired, and your feet hurt. And you just want to throw a mini tantrum. Had your expectations been different, that’s one thing. But to continue, not knowing how long you’ll be going to see the star attraction? Frustrating.

    Here’s hoping the next place is even better. 🙂

    • September 6, 2012 at 11:01 am
      Sep. 6, '12

      Yes! It sounds so goofy to try to describe this subjective feeling you were expecting to get from a place, and perhaps part of the problem here is that Japan is so exoticized in Western culture such that its verging on caricature at this point. That said, I am happy to report that there were many places that we visited in Japan where we did have exactly the experiences and achieve that “feeling” we were hoping to achieve!

      And part of my displeasure with this whole hiking business is that my feet really were in pain. I purchased what I thought would be excellent walking/all-purpose shoes for this trip, only to find a few days in that they just wouldn’t support my feet the way I needed them to given the amount of walking we were doing. When it’s hot & humid like it was that day, the last thing you need is to throw foot pain into the mix!

  9. September 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm
    Sep. 6, '12

    It’s always hard when you’re traveling and you have a bad day/experience/attitude/whatever. That’s happened to me before and I always feel guilty…like I need to always be happy and appreciative when I’m on the road.

    But you guys are going to be gone a long time, so it’s certainly to be expected that you’ll have off days. Still, it’s a bummer that they have to happen.

    Hope you find plenty more giant buddha-like experiences in the coming weeks, though! (Well, minus the forced marches through the wilderness.)

    • September 7, 2012 at 6:26 am
      Sep. 7, '12

      Yeah, in every day life, we expect that some days will be fantastic and some days will suck, but when you’re traveling there’s this pressure for everything to be hunky dory all the time lest you seem like ungrateful swine who don’t appreciate the opportunity you have. But, like you said, we’ll be traveling for a long time, and we’ll be visiting a lot of places, so not every day will be “best day eva!”, nor will every place we see be our particular cup of tea. It was hard starting the trip in a place we didn’t really connect with, but I’m happy to report that since leaving Tokyo, we’ve liked Japan more and more each day!

  10. September 7, 2012 at 6:44 am
    Sep. 7, '12

    Good read. Great pics. The view of Kamakura from top is gorgeous! Really want to see Tokyo. This year I had 18 hours connection flight in Tokyo (starting at 5pm). It was to late to go to the city. So I only went to Narita. Is December okay for travel to Tokyo?

    • September 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm
      Sep. 8, '12

      Neither of us have been to Japan or Tokyo in the winter, but our impression was that it is a country that can be enjoyed in different ways the entire year-round. If you were to visit in the winter, be prepared for it to be quite cold (though probably a bit less so in Tokyo)! They get all four seasons in Japan. The nice thing about visiting in the winter is that you could try out some onsens!

      • September 9, 2012 at 12:19 pm
        Sep. 9, '12

        Thanks, Steph! I am not a big fan of cold… That’s why I am asking 🙂
        I really want to see Mount Fuji with a snow top. I guess it doesn’t have to be winter. As seen from a plane, it was no snow top there in July.

        • September 10, 2012 at 8:52 am
          Sep. 10, '12

          Well, I know if you want to climb Mount Fuji, you can pretty much only do that during July & August. If you just want to take pictures of it, you can do that any time, and I’m sure if you did it in the early fall or spring, you would get your snow top but not have it be so cold!

          • September 10, 2012 at 9:01 am
            Sep. 10, '12

            Thanks, Steph!

  11. July 14, 2016 at 9:13 pm
    Jul. 14, '16

    It reminds me good memories of a day with Japanese friends in Kamakura … It’s quiet out there but sometimes too many tourists …

Leave a comment!