Quarantine Post #22: Bucket List Travel List (Japan Edition)

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I think that in the back of most anime fans minds, they long to visit Japan. There is a lot of history and great food. There is no downside. I have always thought there is nothing better than seeing the world and how other people live in it. There is a lot to do in Japan and as always I plan to see it all. So let’s jump into it.

This particular tour has peaked my interest. Tours are my thing.

I will start this out by saying I wanted to see the One Piece Tower. It was the basis around everything I wanted to see in Tokyo. But since COVID ruins all things… The tower shut down this year for good. I am so sad about it. So now it has come off the bucket lists but that doesn’t mean I will not be heading to Japan in the future.

Tokyo (It would have been nice to go to see the Olympics but I have missed that.) (https://www.goaheadtours.com/guided-tours/japan-2021-gold-medal-moments-in-tokyo)

  • MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: EPSON teamLab Borderless-Odaiba, Tokyo – The museum offers an unique interactive art experience with the latest high technology. Multiple digital art exhibitions are displayed in a huge space and the artworks are projected across walls and floors, and immersive installations of light and sound move and reflect by your movements and touches.

  • Tokyo Tower – Tokyo Tower has been serving as the symbol of the city for many decades. Tokyo Tower seems enjoyable either seeing it from distance or gaze the city from its observation deck of the tower itself. I have to do it. (Seems great for pictures.) The One Piece portion is closed.
  • Drive like Super Mario – Go Kart has been one of top choices among tourists in Tokyo in these days. With a valid Japanese/international driving license, you can drive Go Kart in character’s costumes through the city just like in the video game, Mario Kart!! Race with a group and drive through bustling areas of the city such as Akihabara, Shibuya and around Tokyo Tower.

  • Japanese Cooking Class – Japanese cooking classes have been a popular activity among eager foodies travelling in Tokyo. And I am definitely a foodie. Not only typical Sushi making class, but a wide variety of cooking classes are available today such as RamenGyoza (Japanese Dumplings)Udon NoodleWagashi (Japanese confectionery) and home cooking Japanese dishes as well as vegan and vegetarian options.
  • Ghibli Museum – The museum features the art and technique of animation, and some famous film characters such as a replica of Cat Bus from My Neighbour Totoro and a robot from Castle in the Sky. There are also a cafe and gift shop inside the museum. The museum is located at Inokashira Park in Mitaka City, Tokyo.

  • Ueno Park – Ueno Park consists of numbers of attractions and facilities such as museums, a zoo, historical monuments and rich nature. The park is especially popular place to visit during cherry blossom season as people enjoy Hanami (cherry blossom viewing party) there. The park is massive, so you can easily spend an entire day.
  • Odaiba: Tokyo Bay – Odaiba is one of the most entertaining districts in Tokyo where numbers of shopping malls, restaurants, museums and entertainment facilities gather. The area is especially known for high-tech entertainments such as robots at National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan), the latest VR at Tokyo JOYPOLIS. I can easily spend a whole day on this pleasurable island.
  • VR (Virtual Reality) World – At some VR theme parks provide multiple games and activities where visitors can spend all day, and it’s a great option especially on a rainy day. Recommended VR spots in Tokyo are VR Park Tokyo in Shibuya, Joypolis in Odaiba, Sunshine City in Ikebukuro and VR Ninja Dojo in Akihabara.
  • Enjoy 4 Seasons at Japanese Gardens – Several traditional Japanese gardens such as Rikugien and Shinjuku Gyoen are located in the heart of Tokyo, and they are great hideaways where people can take a moment to relax and appreciate the nature and Japanese tradition in peace and quiet space. Also Tokyo is home to several great parks such as Yoyogi Park and Imperial Palace. (Cherry Blossom season anyone?)
  • Tokyo Disney Resort – An amusement/entertainment resort consists of two popular theme park: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Remember from my bucket list post that I have never been to Disney here in the states but I plan to see them all.
  • Ascend Tokyo Skytree – Tokyo Skytree has the claim to fame of being the tallest building in Japan. At night the tower shimmers blue and pink and I can visit at night until 10 pm so that I can check out the sparkling city below.
  • Take a cruise – This will take me past the downtown area of the city and these cruises have been operating here since the 8th century, so know that you are following in a time honored tradition. As you cruise you can also drift past areas such as Asakusa and Hamamatsucho, or you can also charter a boat and head out on a custom tour if you prefer. (I am always glad to cruise anywhere.)
  • Ride the Asukayama Park Monorail – This train is free of charge and you can travel to the summit of this pretty park which is located on a scenic hillside. The ride allows you to take in the amazing views over the city and it takes around two minutes to reach the peak.
  • Visit the Robot Restaurant – One of the most famous spots in Tokyo is the Robot Restaurant which is features a stage where an iconic robotics show takes place that has dancers and robots as well as music and theatrical performances.
  • Enjoy a sumo match at Ryogoku Kokugikan – Ryogoku Kokugikan is known as the National Sumo Hall in English and is one of the best places to come in Tokyo or so I hear.
  • Visit Tokyo National Museum – This is one of the best spaces in the city if you want to know more about the history of Tokyo and wider Japan and you can check out gorgeous galleries filled with Japanese art work.
  • Try the Sumo Wrestler’s Stew – Chankonabe which is also known as Sumo Wrestler’s Stew. The reason for the name is that this stew is usually eaten by sumo wrestlers as part of their daily diet and is made up of vegetables, meat, fish or noodles. If you want to try this iconic stew then one of the best places to do so is at Yoshiba which is known for having an old sumo stable, ring and restaurant in the same building.
  • Enjoy the Ramen Museum – You will get to walk down replicas of old fashioned alleyways and visit a range of noodle shops and of course there are a number of opportunities to try the delicious noodles as you explore the history of ramen.
  • Stroll along the banks of the Meguro River – The Meguro River is located in the Nakameguro District of Tokyo and is known as being one of the best places to check out the cherry blossoms in the city. There are some 800 cherry trees that stretch along the scenic banks of the river and these are also illuminated at night if you are in Tokyo in the spring time and can catch then when they are in full bloom. (Um… yes please.) I love it.

Osaka

  • The Osaka Castle – Once inside the castle you can check out a selection of weaponry as well as art work and there is also an observation deck on the 8th floor where you can take in views over the adjacent park and wider Osaka.
  • Explore Sumiyoshi Shrine – Sumiyoshi Shrine has the claim to fame of being one of the oldest Shinto shrines not only in Osaka but also in wider Japan.
  • Ascend the Umeda Sky Building – The Umeda Sky Building is one of the main landmarks in Osaka and you can see it from all over town. The building soars to a height of 173 meters and it has an observatory which is located on the 39th floor which is known as the Garden Observatory.
  • Visit Osaka Aquarium – This is one of the largest aquariums in Japan and has eight floors of exhibits which include a plethora of marine life such as whale sharks, otters, dolphins and turtles.
  • Check out Shitennoji Temple
  • Enjoy the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum – One of the most iconic sights in Osaka is the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum which is dedicated to the humble instant noodle. The museum also offers you the chance to taste and even make your own noodles as part of a series of workshops.
  • Visit O-hatsu Tenjin – O-hatsu Tenjin is the name for a shrine in Osaka that is said to date back some 1,300 years and which is known for its unique legend.
  • Admire the Tower of the Sun – The Tower of the Sun is one of the more unusual attractions in Osaka and is made up of a tower which is 70 meters in height and was designed by Okamoto Taro, a famous Japanese artist.

Hiroshima

  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum – the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is a must-see for those who want to understand the horrors of the atomic bombing and the events that led to it and took place after it. 
  • Cenotaph for A-bomb Victims – This concrete saddle-shaped monument in the center of the park is designed to symbolize a shelter for all the souls who perished in the atomic bombing. 
  • Atomic Bomb Dome – The building is the remains of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, which was located near the hypocenter of the bomb.
  • Shukkei-en Garden – Shukkei-en Garden is a fine stroll garden. There’s a lovely pond in the garden.
  • Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art – Sleek museum housing works by Japanese & international contemporary artists, plus a cafe & shop.

Kyoto

  • Wander through the incredible Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine – Kyoto’s most iconic treasure, the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine is located at the end of a flamed colored walkway made up of thousands of traditional torii gates. Visitors can easily spend a day wandering through the trails surrounding the network of ornate shrines. Half way up the mountain, expect incredible views of Kyoto at the Yotsutsuji Intersection.
  • Visit the Kinkakuji Temple – a Zen temple wrapped in gold leaf, with the top floor gilded both inside and out. It was originally built as a retirement home for a famous shogun, who sanctioned the building to become a temple after his death.
  • Visit the Kiyomizu-dera Temple – The temple is known for hosting an array of magical features. Walk between two stones with your eyes closed in front of the Jishu Shrine, build to honor the god of love. If you can do this successfully, then you will find true love.
  • Enjoy a panoramic view of the city at the Kyoto Tower – A modern structure in a city of temples, the Kyoto Tower is the tallest building in Kyoto. Visitors can view panoramic views of the city extending all the way to Osaka.
  • Find peace at the Eikando Zenrinji Temple – Not as crowded as many of the other temples in Kyoto, though just as stunning, this temple is hosts a serene environment with large koi ponds.

  • Climb to the top of Mt. Kurama and relax in the hot springs – About 12.5 miles from the center of Kyoto is Kurama, a quaint town known for its traditional hotels and baths. Travelers can hike to the top of Mt. Kurama to Kurama-dera, an ornate Buddhist temple just above town. Those who want to save their energy for later can even take a cable car halfway up. Past the temple is a steep hiking trail surrounded by old trees with outstretched roots where its common to see songbirds, deer, monkeys, and other wildlife.
  • Enjoy the Kyoto International Manga Museum – At the Kyoto International Manga Museum, you can browse through popular manga, learn about its influence in the post-WWII era, watch artists create manga, and even have your portrait drawn. Though the majority of manga is in Japanese, there are quite a few English copies in the gargantuan manga library.  Fans of Pokemon, Dragonball Z, and Sailor Moon are sure to feel a pang of nostalgia.
  • Smell cherry blossoms at Maruyama Park – Maruyama Park is Kyoto’s best place to view cherry blossoms. In the evening, the central weeping cherry tree is even lit up for a spectacular display. The magical thing about this park is that it has many varieties of cherry blossoms, so visitors can witness a range of color, size, and texture.

I have a feeling I missed a few things… let me double check.

  • Learn about samurai honor at the 47 Ronin Grave – Popularized by a silly film starring Keanu Reeves,  the 47 Ronin are a very cool piece of Japanese history.  The incident is known across the country and their graves can be found in Tokyo. Graveyards in Japan have a pretty cool aesthetic regardless.
  • Photograph one of the country’s most incredible ancient statues at Kotoku-in – The largest monument the Great Buddha in the Kotoku-in buddhist temple. The statue itself, cast from bronze, dates back to 1252 and is one of the most hauntingly beautiful sites in all of Japan.
  • Take a hike up Mt. Fuji, Japan’s tallest peak– While this climb is totally doable for hikers of all capabilities, it’s 8 hours long and can be strenuous, even for those in tip top shape. Make sure that you take all necessary precautions, do your research and stay safe. And, most importantly, enjoy the (actually) breath-taking view from the top.

As you can see, I have thought this through… I may have to take some serious time off. And even then I may not come back. I should end here. Because I could go on for quite awhile… I can just hear Leah now… “You want to visit EVERY temple?” I don’t have to explain myself, are you coming or not???????????????????? That is all guys… be sure to leave comments. If you have ever been… I would love to hear from you. If you also want to go or have an idea as to what I should add to my list, let me know.

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