When I decided to visit Japan, I initially planned to stay for 1-2 months. I ended up staying for the entire validity of my visa: 3 months. And I can’t remember how many times it felt like Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray in Lost in Translation. Even if this movie was released in 2003, it is still the most accurate depiction of visiting Japan.
This is not a surprise, the food is incredible in Japan. Not only in restaurants but also the different Bento or pre-prepared meal in grocery stores. Although, after 3 months of noodle, curry rice and sushi, I’m craving for some change. Also, TripAdvisor or Google Maps is definitely useless. I don’t remember a single bad meal. Actually yes, when I cooked my own food once.
It is safe enough to fall asleep on the subway with your bag next to you without any surveillance. Although I did get my cookies stolen once in the basket of my bicycle. However, it may have been the birds. It is not really about safety but I did sometimes felt unwanted in some places or simply couldn’t go somewhere as a foreigner.
It is easy to get lost in the busy streets of Japan but it is usually not an issue. People will always help you until you are on the right direction. As I mentioned above, Japan is the safest place I have ever visited. Hitchhiking is also an option if you have time.
The big 4
While travelling for a few weeks in Japan, people usually visit the main cities of Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima. But as soon as you start visiting less known places, you will discover another side of Japan. A less cliché and less crowded cities. Although it may be a bit more challenging to visit those places, it is definitely worth it. My personal big 4 are Rishiri/Rebun, Tottori, Naoshima and Kawaguchiko.
What I learned
This 3 months in Japan taught me an important lesson about travelling: it is always about timing. To be able to photograph some of my pictures, I had to wait a few hours or a few days to get the image I wanted. And all the people I have met so far, it was only because we were at the right place, at the right time that we were able to meet and share unforgettable moments. It is always about timing but sometimes, you decide when it is the best moment for you.
Here are all my pictures from this trip: Japan