Below are some pictures from our trip to Japan in February 2023. It was our second trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, which we owe this time to our younger daughter. After her elder sister had completed an internship abroad in Osaka in 2014, we had picked her up there and explored the country for two weeks for the first time.
Obviously, this experience had left a lasting impression on our youngest daughter. In the meantime, she has decided to study Japanology and has enrolled for a semester abroad at the University of Tsukuba near Tokyo for the winter semester 2022/23. Needless to say, we again took the opportunity to visit her there and explore the Land of the Rising Sun once more under her guidance with her profound knowledge of local customs and traditions. Thanks to their linguistic skills, it was an even more intense experience this time than during our first visit. If you are interested in more details, you can find them in my detailed travel report.
With almost 10 million inhabitants, it is not only the country’s largest metropolis in terms of population, but also the capital of Japan as the seat of the Japanese government and the Tennō. The Tokyo prefecture is, the center of the Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan region, which is home to more than 38.5 million people (as of 2019), making it the largest metropolitan area in the world.
Founded in the 13th century, Hiroshima gained sad fame after the atomic bombing on August 6th, 1945, which destroyed 90% of the city. By the end of ’45, approximately 140,000 people had died. After its reconstruction from 1949 onwards, Hiroshima developed into an important industrial center and is now the 11th largest city in Japan with a population of more than 1.1 million.
Kyōto, the former capital, is world famous for sophisticated culture and fine delights, while the prefecture offers the charm of rural Japan The city of Kyōto attracts millions of Japanese and international visitors who want to experience traditional Japanese culture. Temples and shrines such as Kiyomizu-dera and Kinkaku-ji as well as the bamboo forests of nearby Arashiyama attract crowds of tourists.
Himeji is an ancient castle town in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. It was elevated to the status of a city on April 1st, 1889. Himeji Castle (Himeji-jō) is one of Japan’s national cultural treasures and was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1993. The park around the castle is known as one of the particularly beautiful places for the cherry blossom festival Hanami and attracts many visitors every year.
Mount Fuji or Fuji-san is a volcano and with 3776m height the highest mountain in Japan. Its peak is located on the main Japanese island of Honshū. Fuji has been considered sacred in Japan for centuries. To pacify its eruptions, the deity Sengen ōkami was interred and worshipped by the imperial court.
In Kyōto, we rented a Toyota Corolla Hybrid and took a day trip to the Japanese Sea. We also used the car to drive from Kyōto to Mount Fuji and explore the surroundings there. In total we drove about 1000km with the car. Here are some pictures from “on the road”
We had booked a total of 4 hotels for our trip. In Tokyo and Kyōto we chose an aparthotel of the MIMARU group. In Hiroshima we booked again the Mitsui Garden Hotel as in 2014 / 15. The time at Mount Fuji we spent at the Fuji View Hotel, which lived up to its name. All hotels were very nice and are all worth a recommendation.