Across Seven Seas, Uncategorized

Why Japan?? I’d say, Why Not?

I never imagined that the first post in my blog would be about Japan!

There were so many interesting trips I went on since the time I decided to catalog my travel experiences. But I never really got down to ‘business’. The lazy writer in me refused to get to the writing desk even for the most adventurous trip of my lifetime, the famous and treacherous Chadar trek on the frozen river of Zanskar in Ladakh!

So, with Japan I do my blog’s Shree Ganeshaay Namah! May the Bappa inspire, conspire and fire me onto the blogging highway.

So, Why Japan?

This was the moot question almost everybody posed to me, before I went to Japan. And after I was back. And so I have two sets of answers – one for before, and another for after. So, please bear with me.

Logically or rather more commonly, I suppose a European destination or the USA or if budget was a concern (which it always is) any other South East Asian country would probably be the most likely choice for people like us, who don’t do so much foreign travel (the budget, you see. And the fact that India has so much to offer and we are never really done traveling through India. No sooner is one destination off the list, three more interesting ones take its place).

So, when I had the whole world to choose from, I went for a place that is on the wish list of so few. Why?

Well, if truth be told, the first carrot that hooked me was that there’s a Disneyland in Japan!

Disney Sea, with a volcano set in the centre to set the mood for Japan.

However childish that may sound, I wanted this ‘foreign’ vacation to be centered around Gia, my eight years old daughter. Friends had suggested that we should give it another two to three years, when Gia was aged about 10 or 12 to slate a US Disney trip. But a mother’s promise to her daughter had to be fulfilled.

So that got me reading about Japan. Little did I know that my research was the little big key that opened Alice’s door to Wonderland.

Well first things first, Japan does not just have one Disney Park, it has two!! The Disneyland and the Disney Sea, which happens to be unique and the only one of its kind in the world.

The Disney Sea, Tokyo
The Disney Sea, Tokyo

We’ll definitely read more about Disney Sea as my posts progress. But suffice to say, as I read on and on I was hooked, lined and sinkered to the Nippon world.

Every blog post, every website I read enticed me to visit this amazing country of manga, bullet trains,  technomania and cute mascots.

However, all the words of praises and beautiful descriptions about the country notwithstanding, there was still an X factor about it that kept evading me. I was sure it was there somewhere. But it still had to come out and hit me, then grip me and finally possess me (which is what generally happens when I obsess about visiting a special place).

And then it happened. Out of the multitude of tabs and windows I had opened emerged a place hidden by a blanket of snow.

Though I had read and compared itineraries of dozens of bloggers and trip review sites, I hadn’t found a single mention about this place. Or maybe I missed it. It was the call of the mountains that leapt out of a Google Search page.

It spoke about the Japanese Alps! Alps… In Japan? That sounded interesting. I had never related Japan with snow. That shows our, correction – my – ignorance about a whole country, doesn’t it? More than that, it shows how little and how formulaic is what gets written about this country.

Well, my curiosity was piqued to a point where it led me to the almost dreamlike stretch of 90 kms of the Japanese Alps, called the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route! And it was the Alpine Route that nailed my Japan trip.

So, the Alps fall in the central part of Japan, which is fondly looked upon as the roof of Japan. Blessed with a pristine Alpine climate and scenery right out of a landscape photographer’s annual calendar, the beautiful Chubu region (Central region) is flanked  by seven beautiful cities that surround the Japan Alps (my good fortune that I could visit four of these).

Alpine autumn

With every change of season the Chubu resets to a new kaleidoscopic pattern – from the myriad colours of spring blooms to the lushness of summery greens, the red and yellow of the Autumn, to finally a carpet of white wintry snow.

The X factor that I was looking for came in the form of Yuki-no-Ohtani, which literally translated means the Towering Wall of Snow. The snow walls carved out to make the roads motorable in spring climb up to a height of more than 20 metres! That’s like a 10 storeyed building. And we were at the end of spring! Probably the best time to traverse the Snow Corridor! Plus, to add to the beauty was the amazing one shot chance of experiencing Japanese prowess at technology and transportation.

Because, to traverse the Alpine route one has to change some seven different forms and five modes of transport taking you from an elevation of 7 metres to 2450 metres! Taking you from the base of the mountains to the top of their tallest peaks in marvels of Japanese engineering that dates back to 1971. Boring through tunnels, hanging out from ropeways and suspended in trolleybuses.

Reason enough to pack my bags, don’t you think? But there was still the moolah part to be looked at.

Japan is expensive!!

Apart from the iconic Mt. Fuji, the second almost legendary thing about Japan is that it is very costly!

And to think we were trying to avoid US for being expensive ;-). But by now I was head over heels in love. I had to visit this place and get it out of my system.

I got a few estimates from a few friends in the travel business. The costs they proposed sucked the breath out of my nice round cheeks. And they had not included even half the places I planned to go.

But where traveling is concerned there’s very little I won’t do to make a trip possible.

I decided to shred through the briefest of details and get a hang of the entire trip before I actually started out on one. I read. More and more. Met people who had visited Japan. And believe me, they were so few. And nobody had been to the places I had in mind. The Alpine route especially worried me no end, because it was a tricky one. Very time bound, not much first hand info about it. And the extreme climate to consider.

But because Seekers are Finders , I started looking for ways to minimize my costs or travel smartly. And slowly the costs started falling in place, making me feel better and confident that I could manage the trip well within my budget.

So yes, Japan is expensive, but not that much that you come back a pauper. The costs are quite comparable to Europe or US or Australia- New Zealand (of course, you can do two trips to any other South East Asian countries in that much budget but that’s a different issue).

Also what helps is that Japan, which is not all out to woo foreign tourists, on the flip side is extremely tourist friendly. It has got so many travel passes and plans which are very cost effective. And which are not even available to its own citizens. The greatest savings come in the form of the Japan Rail Pass, which gives you unlimited rides on the superfast Shinkansens (bullet trains) and other affiliate train, buses and ferries running all across Japan! You can opt for a 7 or a 14 days pass.

So, if you plan your travel well and to the last detail, you can tame the tiger.

Stay tuned for the next part of the Japan series, solid reasons for making that Japan trip you never considered.

116 thoughts on “Why Japan?? I’d say, Why Not?”

  1. Nicely written and lovely pictures! Good information on Japan being tourist friendly.

    Looking forward to your next post!

  2. Quite intrigued by the Japanese Alpine route of Tatayema, involving the various modes of transportation……you have got me hooked Kavita….now be quick to continue the Japanese series. I am eagerly awaiting to hear your actual travel experience on the route, of course complemented with some tale telling pics👍

    Hope the wait is not too long…..

  3. A lovely set of pics definitely setting your thoughts on how and why you could “tame the tiger” too. Also leaves an intriguing feeling as to whats gonna be the next. An enthralling read !!!

  4. Very well written Kavi….now Japan on my wish list too…..also I need to see it to complete the song…London Dekha, Paris Dekha…but na Dekha Japan…..😙👌

  5. Ïn̈ẗër̈ës̈ẗïn̈g̈ r̈ëäd̈. L̈öök̈ïn̈g̈ f̈ör̈ẅär̈d̈ ẗö ẗḧë n̈ëẍẗ p̈är̈ẗ öf̈ ẗḧë J̈äp̈än̈ s̈ër̈ïës̈.

  6. Very beautifully written…but like a hindi serial…keeping the viewers high and dry right at the climax…”next episode mein dekhiye”. Will wait for more on your Japan trip…

  7. The why Japan question has been put to rest.. very well articulated. Now for the ” where to go” and what to experience … await the next one .

  8. Very well written Kavita, ekdum dil se. One can almost see your thoughts and memories moving faster than your writing speed 🙂 There’s so much more that you want to pen down. Waiting for the next chapter…..

  9. Wow …..lovely platform to a great experience ….wonderfully written ….felt like panipuris on the plate and you are allowed to have only one …ha ha ha!!!! 😂😂😂😂Very tempting ….waiting for the next one asap !!!! Welcome to the club 😄😄😄

  10. All the facts nicely stated! Each line shows your excitement and fun you had on your trip! Waiting for many such blogs from u!

  11. As usual amazing trip u had!!! And finally finally u got around to telling the the world!!! Looking forward to more of the trip!!!

  12. Congratulations Kavi !!on your first blog.I wud say it’s very nicely penned down, beautifully worded and of course as u wanted..asking for more.Yeah waiting for ur nxt part in the series….

  13. Interesting write-up Kavita. It has really enthused me to know more about this country which otherwise I think of only while buying electronic things. Beautiful pictures too. So looking forward to your further posts. Keep writing girl!

  14. So well written. Keeps the suspense on….
    now u can successfully say” hum Japan se aayaa Hun !!!l”
    Look fwd to the next one…

  15. Lovely write up! Always had Japan on my wish-list and now even more eager. Waiting for the next post 👍

  16. So well u projected Japan Kavita.To be very honest I was never keen on visiting Japan but after reading Ur blog Japan surly on my wish list.thks Kavita for writing Ur views.

  17. Vow, that’s as good as a travel guide for anyone , probably my next vacation would be in Japan
    Nicely done, trip and article 🙂

  18. Hey kavi,
    As usual it was a pleasure to read your words…to add to it the wonders of Japan made the whole write-up an excellent read.
    Your joy and love for traveling comes across so beautifully. Keep traveling and keep writing.
    Words directly from the soul. 🙂

  19. Beautifully described Kavita.. Alps!! In Japan !! Was my first reaction too..But got to see a different and an unexpected version of Japan..Wanting to hear more from you..Keep it up. .

  20. Wowwww……. Kavi……….amazing description…. . Guess ones who actually can’t tour Japan… You gonna take them on a tour…. Through the words and pictures… Though virtual… Its awesome… need to continue and reach destination without much of delay… Awaiting next write up… Keep it up… Going good…

  21. Good one Kavita! I lived 5 years in Japan. And I certainly think it’s a must see destination in the world. Good you tried it out! 🙂

  22. Hi Kavita. Well written post. And kudos to you for going to a place like Japan, for many the place is not even in their wishlist. For me it’s a must see place for the varied culture it offers. There were some eye openers in your post like there are two Disney world in Japan!! I honestly didn’t know that. And that alpine route in Japan. Didn’t know it had so much landscape to offer like Swiss alps!!👌
    Hope your next post in the Japan series talks in details about each places you visited and talks about their food/ people/culture among other things.. Give us more of an in depth account now..
    Looking forward to the next one! Cheers

    1. Hey sajid, thanks for the insightful and generous feedback. While no words or pictures can fully simulate what one actually experiences, i tried my best. And your comment gives me the satisfaction that there was little if any loss in translation.
      Eggs me on to write better n in a free flow since its getting appreciated. Thanks a lot.

  23. Lovely writing as usual kav.. Interesting n new info about Japan, which is truly an enigma for all.. Now waiting for the next interesting chapter about ur actual experiences there!

  24. Hi Kavita,

    Well written post on Japan. Many people would even dread thing of going to a far away place like Japan, and you actually made it happen. Kudos to your adventurous spirit! Japan is such a fabulous country, so steeped in tradition and yet technologically so advanced!! Few eye openers after reading your blog. didnt know there were two Disneys in Japan. And the Alpine route, that takes your breadth away! mind blowing it looks, i am sure it must be so fascinating to travel thru that route.
    I hope in your next series on Japan you can dig more deeper on each places you visited, the people/ food/culture.. they are just so amazing people. would love to hear more on them. Till then i shall wait for your next installment. Keep up the good writing skills.
    Cheers 🙂

  25. Hey Kavita !
    You are a natural writer :)*
    The way you have described along with interesting pics it definitely stirred my desire to go to Japan ..:))
    May u Continue to find what yoi are seeking :))

  26. Speechless Kavita dii!!!!😄But i should say that writing a blog is as superb as the live expression that you deliver to explain any kind of visit and the experiences that u experience there…And yes!!!how could i miss the fact that you just love to visit those places which are rarely explored by others..😊😁To add to it your excellent post on Japan made slight changes in my wish list by ‘Japan’ scrolling and getting placed on the top of my wish list.😉Looking forward to your further post’s.Keep it up diii👍😘😘😘

  27. Wow Kavita, penned in your style… insightful, emotional and humorous. Your blog will be gems and look forward to many more from you. Japan through your eyes looks incredibly do-able and demystified… please share more details about cultural dos n donts, food, language and personal intereactions with the local to get to know more. I think its on our to-do list… from spot 10 maybe its moved to spot 3… thanks to your amazing pictures n narration. Am loving it… pls write more. Atta girl.. take a bow for the road less travelled and giving Gia such wealth of perspectives and riches. Lov.

    1. Rupa, i am humbled by your feedback. Thank you. And yes, the value lessons for Gia from this trip among the Japanese will stay with her longer and stronger in her mind.
      Will surely delve deeper Into the people culture and eccentric side of Japan in my forthcoming posts.

  28. Very well written Kavita. This inspires me now to visit this country. It was so well discribed and very well explained. I can image the kind Of feel it must have been to actually do what u wanted to. Superb. All the very best and keep travelling. 🤗🤗.

  29. Very nicely written, and awaiting for your next post, after bullet train Japanese have got the best blog writer ever, i loved the volcano mountain and the snow blanket, i would love to see more pics of the same, your pics are very professionally taken, and posted. Hope to see more here soon!

  30. Great write up on the fine details of the internal travel ofJapan ….Looking forward to more posts a through travel editors post …Keep it up

  31. I was halfway convincing myself for the trip.. But unfortunately the blog ended. Looking forward to reading more of it… But very well narrated must say!

  32. Kavita …wonderfull article written.
    A fabulous description of a beautiful country.The narrations are so very encompassing and mesmerising.Your adventurous experiences are so fascinating.
    Your visits to places where normal tourist are not taken shows your indepth study.You have really inspired me to visit…….waiting for your next post.

  33. Hey Kavi…. so well written. You have put up lovely pics n it so well explained one can can actually imagine the whole place. Keep witing….

  34. Very well written Kavi…. Great for travel blogging. While you shared your experiences about the trip but waiting eagerly for your next post…. Yeh dil mange more. Was feeling sad that could not accompany you for the trip. Its always great to travel with you. The way you explore a place I don’t think anyone can ever do that within the budget.

  35. Kavli…very well written . Japan has always been on my mind…and now your blog has surely supplied the necessary fuel to charge me up and plan a trip to Japan at earliest !!!

  36. Well written Kavita … We were actually planning a trip to Japan this October but were kinda having 2nd thoughts due to the exorbitant costs. But now I think I’m just going to go ahead costs be damned!! ☺Must say the timing of this post was perfect!

  37. So beautifully written Kavi..Japan is surely on our list now..n believe me u must.. its mainly due to your lovely description of the many super places to see..just waitinggg..!!!

  38. Japan ….revisited…
    Nice kavi….very well written….
    one of the most cultured places i have come across…..

  39. Nicely done Kavi!! Been to Japan but seeing it through ur blog feels like I haven’t done a thing.. so revisiting Japan on my basket list.. thanks to u

  40. very well written ! Kavita.
    I always knew you had it in you. but now have finally read it to know it’s there.

    I think you can be co opted by the Japanese to be their tourism ambassador.

  41. Sorry dear. Finally sat and read thru. Beautifully penned and Lovely pics too. And all the very best for all ur future blogs.

  42. Hi kavi ! U always add charm n curiosity to visit d places u go ..suddenly it starts to look so intresting n adventourous ..kuddos to u ! This time it is none other than the tech super … “Japan” one wd ve never thought tht one can manage d trip expenses wisely without sacrificing on anything .. be it disney land , or disney Sea,alps , Alpine ride through different modes . u dint miss to capture its scenic beauty ..thanx for highlighting its tourist friendly policies .

  43. Finally Kavi ,I am so very proud of you 🙂 had no doubts about the blog being fantastic as I know you have a way with the words which stirs the soul of the reader .Keep going girl …..

  44. Kavita, this is so beautifully narrated with all possible details. Am looking forward to reading your next part on Japan. Japan is now certainly on my to-do list and your elaborate writeup will surely be a reference point for any travel plan.

  45. I am awestruck with your language flow and the vivid description.So if I plan to visit,will def take the details from you.Great going.

  46. Very nicely penned down the experience you had and also for us who are yet to travel a small request do take me along with you anywhere u travel next

  47. Jav, very nice article. Loved reading it. The guidelines that you offered for travellers would be of immense help. Keep writing , the articles are very informative n nicely put up. Great going dear.

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