After finishing our three week whirlwind tour of Japan, our next stop was the only one we had decided to plan before leaving home; a 16-day trek to Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
It was supposed to be a dream hike through the Himalayas culminating in the shadow of the world’s highest peak, Mt Everest. We were going to make our way through the storied towns that fans of mountaineering literature (see: Krakauer) knows well.
Apart from our transcendental experience with Buddhas high in the Koyosan mountains, our Japanese venture consisted primarily of city seeing. Kyoto was no exception.
We decided to visit the great city of Kyoto twice during our month in Japan since our first attempt was spoiled by four days of consistent rainfall.
We couldn’t ask for better weather our second time around and made up for all the sites we missed the first visit.
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This was the entire reason we stopped in Hiroshima but nothing could have prepared us for what we were going to experience. As we turned the corner adjacent to the Peace Park Memorial we were greeted with a grizzly scene that set the mood for our visit:
This building, formerly the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotional Hall but now known as the A-Bomb Dome, was the only one left standing near the epicenter of the first of
Being the animal lover that I am, Nara-koen was definitely one of the most entertaining parks that we visited in our Japan travels. It’s a park in the Nara Prefecture, which is home to some of the most noteworthy religious icons as well as hundreds of wild deer.
But not just any deer…the elusive Sika stag!
And not just “barely catch a glimpse” wild… they walk up to you!
It was a perfect mix of culture
The Hiroshima Carps! The city’s beloved professional baseball team just happened to be playing the night we arrived and to our further delight, the stadium just happened to be a 10 minute walk from our hostel! Game on!
So we headed off with the hordes of Carpheads (just made that up) toward the field donning a pair of plastic bats hung around our neck (thanks to our hostel staff) meant for clapping together to cheer the
So as we continued down the uber-touristy path set for us by Japan-Guide.com (which is a phenomenal site for a first-time Japan visitor – and whose suggested itinerary I followed almost to a T…) we headed south of Kyoto to the mountain town of Koyasan where we had booked a once-in-a-lifetime, one-night-only, tell-your-grankids-esque stay in a Buddhist temple with a bunch of real life monks! Woo!
Hopefully you’re as excited as I was. If not, then
It’s 4PM and I’m sitting at the same common room table at Singapore’s The Hive Hostel where I was found 7 hours ago. The weather was beautiful today – hot, but beautiful – and we decided to let today go without doing anything one would normally attribute to travel.
Yet what I did today – which was sit, read Harry Potter and drink coffee – is vitally important to sustaining a trip of this length.
For our travels in Japan we opted to do the Japan Railpass. This 14 day pass gave us complete freedom to explore the country as we pleased. We paid one price for the pass (prices dependent upon the number of days you are looking to travel) and were given access to train routes all over the country as well as smaller trains and metro systems within each city.
If you are looking to travel throughout the
Chris and I boarded our flight to Tokyo knowing little about what to expect when we landed in Japan. The extent of our research for the trip was a Japan Guide website and Will Ferguson’s book, “Hitching Rides with Buddha” (which turned out to be extremely entertaining, might I add).
The book mentioned Karaoke as being a unique (belligerent) must-do, but I thought nothing of it as I have never been a proponent for karaoke. In
See what a did with the title there? It’s scuba and adven…
Alright I’ll stop.
One of the ‘pillars’ we set for this trip (i.e. activities we were okay spending what would normally be an uncomfortable amount of money on) was to dive the Great Barrier Reef. Being the scuba enthusiasts we are (with a grand combined total of 9 dives under our belt) we thought doing a 4-day liveaboard trip that would more than triple