It seems that for first-timers in Japan Tokyo and Kyoto are the preferred destinations. However, in light of the expensiveness of the accommodation in Kyoto and taking into account the good connections of Osaka by Shinkansen (high-speed train), we decided to book three nights in Shin-Osaka Sunny Stone Hotel, a hotel located just 10 minutes walking from the Shinkansen station.
From there, and using our Japan Rail Pass, we could visit Hiroshima and Miyajima and went back to Kyoto, where we already had spent two nights, to visit some temples that remained in our bucket list. Do you want to discover the fascinating nightlife that awaits in Osaka? Just keep reading!
More than 40 million people live in Tokyo. This incredible number has a direct effect on what you see and how you see it in this fantastic city. There are some things you must do in Tokyo: visit the Tsukiji Fish Market, walk around the streets in Shibuya, Shinjuku and Akihabara, eat sushi, sing in a Karaoke, etc. And one of the things you cannot miss is Tokyo from the heights. There are many buildings you can use as viewpoints. Some of them are free, others not. However, choosing the best options is not easy.
Kyoto is the jewel of the Japanese culture, the ancient capital of the Japanese Empire and a must-see in any trip to the country. From the Arashiyama Mountains to the old Gion, Kyoto is a city full of magic, where tradition lives together with modernity. But with more than 1,600 Buddhist shrines and 400 Shinto shrines it is always difficult to choose the ones to explore during the few days that a visitor can spend in the city. And thus, while planning your trip to Kyoto, you start reading and searching for those hotspots that you shouldn’t miss.
We are sure that when we visited the city we missed great shrines, but we’re also happy to know that we saw other ones that put inside us the peace of mind and the smell of incense that makes us dream about a second trip to Japan –a really addictive country! Below you’ll find out the main shrines and moments from our visit to Kyoto.
There is an island where you can feel in the middle point between the heaven and the underworld, a place that you can only reach by boat and where the shrines seem to float on water. A World Heritage Site, along with the virgin forest of Mount Misen and numerous preserved shrines, monuments and historical sites makes you realize you are in a unique place in the planet. The perfect harmony between human beings, nature and spirituality that Japanese people usually do so well can be felt in every corner of this island, Miyajima Island, the Island of Gods.
If you are reading this blog it may be because you love traveling, you have that feeling deep inside that tells you constantly, as a whisper, “move, fly, go to see things you haven’t seen, go to experience situations you haven’t experienced yet, go to know other ways of living, escape and forget about your little world in order to feel the entire world through your eyes, your skin… go somewhere where your 5 senses are put out of the comfort zone because all of them experience new feelings at the same time”. If you need these kinds of experiences, you are one of us, you want to read this post, follow this blog and know about the experience we had in Koyasan (Japan). Because only in those places where it is difficult to get, those places that are sacred for the locals, those places where you don’t have other option than doing the same as the local people do, only in those places you are able to put down that whisper. Welcome to Mapping The Map, welcome to Koyasan!
We got up early in the morning in Kyoto. The Tanaka-Ya ryokan was a small but comfortable place to sleep in the middle of the ancient Gion quarter in Kyoto. The old, smiley landlady, that opened the door 2 days before and offered us tea and cookies, said goodbye and whished us a nice trip to the foggy and sacred mountains of Koya.