In October 2023 I had the great fortune of visiting Japan with a few friends. It was a perfect time to visit as it wasn’t overrun by other tourists and the weather was phenomenal. There is overwhelmingly much to see in this country and I can only recommend others go. The Japanese are extremely hospitable and the food is of exceptional quality pretty much wherever you go.

Tokyo – Sunshine Aquarium

Located inside a mall, it was hard to find (at least for tourists) but was well worth the visit. They had all sorts of animals and it was a great experience.

Kawagoe and Kitain Temple

Kawagoe is a historic area of/near Tokyo. If you want to see traditional buildings, this is the place to go.

Kitain Temple was extremely impressive. It’s around 1200 years old and it was easy to imagine it looked much, back then, as it does now. We couldn’t help but feel a sense of tranquility exploring its grounds. Visitors are asked not to photograph the inside of the temple so I only have pictures from the outside areas.

Nara park

This park is, by now, quite famous and we definitely wanted to visit. It was quite interesting to see animals, that are normally very shy, come up to us. Some of them were downright demanding. It was very entertaining to see tourists buy treats for them, yet panic and run away when they were approached by a hungry animal. The whole park is very beautiful.

Hakone & Lake Ashi

Another popular destination was an active volcano in Hakone. There was a distinct smell of sulfur in the air that you quickly got used to. You could see extremely far.

One of the local curiosities was their famous black eggs. We stood in line talking about what culinary experience awaited us. To our surprise they were just ordinary eggs. The reason they’re black is because they place them on top of sulfur vents which turns the shells black and boils them.

Afterwards we took a trip around the beautiful Lake Ashi.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

In Osaka we explored a large bamboo forest. It was quite interesting to experience a forest that was so dense, yet you could see so far. It gave off quite a different atmosphere compared to a typical European forest. The whole area was extremely pretty.

Osaka Castle

This castle is now a museum, so if you like history I would definitely recommend a visit. The architecture is, of course, very different from the castles I’ve seen here in Europe, and very pretty.