This is it! Today I start my journey through Japan. Since today is mostly a travel-day, there’s a lot of downtime and so I thought that I’ll share my travel plans with you today.
Japan has always amazed me and after I visited Tokyo in summer 2015, I decided that I definitely wanted to see more of this country. I just finished with school in June this year and with that came the perfect opportunity to travel for a longer period of time. Then came the question of where I can stay in Japan. Paying to stay in a hostel or anything similar for 6 months would have been way to expensive.
That’s why I started looking around for volunteer programs of all sorts. After a lot of searching I really didn’t find anything that peaked my interest. So my plans were put on hold for a while until a friend of mine showed me the website Workaway. It’s basically a platform for people that need help in everything from gardening to taking care of their kids to building websites for their business. In return for working a few hours a day for them, you get to stay with them. So this was the place where I finally found something to stay.
The Plan – Draft #1
The plan originally was to leave in October and stay in Tokyo for two months. Then go to a ski-resort or something similar also for two months and then two months in Kyoto. But there were a few reasons I didn’t leave in October. First, there was the issue of finding something in Tokyo. Even though workaway has quite a big selection of places in Japan, very few of them were in Tokyo and the few that sounded promising were already full. Also, we just returned from our family vacation to Namibia in the middle of September. There would not have been a lot of time for me to prepare. So I had to change my travel plans. Starting later also meant that I could work at home for a bit, to not have to take a credit of sorts from my parents. But the biggest thing would be that I am now able to witness the cherry blossom fully here in Japan.
The Travel Plan
1. My first destination is Hakuba. It’s a small town in the japanese alps, one mountain away from Nagano, where the Olympic Winter Games were held in 1998. In fact, the guesthouse where I’m staying is only about 500 meters away from the big Ski-Jump that was built for the winter games. I have heard a lot about how amazing the snow in Japan is for skiing and wanted to see myself what the hype is about. Hakuba itself has around 8 different ski-resorts which is a lot especially if you know that the town itself only has about 9000 residents. If you want to go skiing in Japan, there’s really only two options that I know of. That would be Sapporo in the north and then Hakuba/ Nagano and the region around it.
2. The second destination is Kyoto. With around 1.5 million citizens, it would be an understatement to say that it’s slightly bigger than my previous destination. It was the old capital of Japan and currently has 14 temples and shrines that are under UNESCO-protection. It’s littered with parks and especially many cherry trees, which will blossom at the end of March. It’s also really close to Osaka and Kobe.
3. After that, I’m going back to Tokyo to meet up with my parents. They’re visiting Japan for one week and I am going to join them in that time. After that I don’t have anything planned yet but I’m sure that something will come up.