It was early June this year when a friend informed me that she’s planning to visit Japan mid-October to experience autumn and also to meet her boyfriend. Little did I know that she already booked plane tickets for both of us. I had only about three (3) months to plan and save money for this trip unlike my first time back in April of 2014 when I had at least a year of preparation. Moreover, I really did not intend to have any other trip as I already had an out of town to El Nido and Palawan last July.
April 2014 was my first time to visit Japan and never in my wildest dream did I think that this dream would become a reality. I thought I would just be forever admiring “The Land of the Rising Sun” in cable TV documentaries.
After experiencing the Sakura (cherry blossoms) and the flowers of spring, it’s now time to witness the colors of fall. And as excited as the first time, we arrived in Shinjuku, Tokyo last October 14. Because I am on a tight budget and did not want to be the “third wheel”, my friend and I separated ways to find our respective hotels.
I stayed in this capsule hotel which I did not get to experience during my first time. It costs PHP 1,200.00 a night but it was a great place to spend the night after a tiring day exploring the city. #wheninJapan
I was able to visit the touristy areas of Tokyo before like Tokyo Disney, Akihabara and Asakusa. Fortunately, I have friends and relatives who have helped me out to prepare for this trip. So, I visited the relatively “off beaten” tracks like Kusatsu Onsen Town and Nagoya.
Here are some tourist spot that I went to:
After exploring the Districts of Shinjuku and Shibuya, I travelled alone going to Kusatsu Onsen Town – this is outside of Tokyo. This is a popular place for Japanese and not so much for foreigners but there were quite a few Chinese also.
After a 4-hour bus ride, I arrived in Kusatsu Bus Terminal at the exact time. This is Japan after all! I directly walked towards my hotel, left my luggage and started exploring the town right away.
I think an overnight stay here in Kusatsu is not enough because there are other places to explore in nearby towns that I did not get to visit. But I need to stick with my schedule and headed back to Shinjuku for my next destination – Yokkaichi in Nagoya where my cousin has staying for several years now.
I rode an overnight bus to Yokkaichi and the trip took 6 hours. I arrived in there around 06:05am and my cousin fetched me at the bus station. I stayed in their house and after lunch, we went to the famous Nagashima Spa Island and tried some extreme rides. I must say that it trying out the rides there was perhaps the craziest thing I did in my entire life. I cannot imagine how I survived those rides.
After Nagashima Spa, we headed to Nabananosato Flower Park to watch the illumination shows. I thought it was just for seeing the flowers but I was amazed how they transformed the park into an illumination of lights when it was dark already. The park became a field of colorful lights and for this year, they showcased the 4 seasons of Japan.
I must say that #IAmUrbanBrave not only because I tried the extreme rides for the first time but also, unlike my first time, I had to do my bookings and travel alone…without an internet. Preparation is one thing…but the actual navigation as a foreigner in unfamiliar places where not too many people speak English is another feat on its own.