Japan is a popular destination in Asia and we're just a few months away from the famed cherry blossom season. Join CP Travel Ambassador Juan Velazquez as he takes us to the best sites of Tokyo and Kyoto.
What specific cities and /or countries did you visit? Japan: Tokyo/Kyoto
What was your favorite memory? My son and I had this father son adventure planned and then postponed and canceled and rebooked due to the Pandemic. Hence, it was then, as we boarded the taxi straight out of the international terminal at Haneda; watching his face fill with emotion and excitement, I knew this was going to be a life changing experience.
Top excursions and landmarks/sites to visit: Mt. Fuji, Akihabara (Electric Town), Shibuya Crossing, Obadia (Tokyo Bay) featuring the Statue of Liberty & Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree, and all the temples and shrines especially Sensi-Jo.
Standout restaurants or foodie must-haves? If you love beef, sushi, ramen, and beer (and Sakí) then you came to the right country. My gosh, it was fun exploring the different street vendors and alleyway dives. Every turn was another foodie's culinary exploration.
How would you describe the people and culture of this destination? Any interesting cultural lessons? Japan has a prideful culture with a sophisticated characteristic for fine details and traditions. During the New Year's Eve celebration, we traveled to one of the most popular temples and gathered with hundreds of other locals to wait on the ceremonial "Ringing of the Bell". The local people took us in and allowed us to celebrate in their customs. We danced, and ate squid, and drank until it was time to say goodbye. But truly their is no real way to say good bye in Japanese. They simply said “arigatou gozaimasu“ (thank you with extreme gratitude).
What is something people would be surprised to learn about this destination? Japan is known for their traditions that date back centuries. They are also known for their eccentric style, especially with the youth. However, during the Christmas and New Year Holidays, people line up for blocks and blocks to order a holiday meal from KFC (yup, Kentucky Fried Chicken). I'm not joking.
Top 5 Tips and recommendations for this trip:
- A Double Bed typically means a Twin Bed.
- The Subway (bullet train) is your friend and so simple to use and navigate through.
- Don't tip, it's an insult. The Japanese are grateful for your business and it is their pleasure to make sure you have a fulfilling experience.
- Visit the Tokyo Skytree at night and the Tokyo Tower during the day. You'll get a better perspective of what the city looks like from two vantage points at different times of the day.
- Travel to Kyoto on the Bullet Train and stay overnight. Kyoto can be experienced in one day. However if you love Kobe Beef you might want to add an extra day and visit the famous town of Kobe followed by a trip to Hiroshima.
Did you travel via cruise ship? If so, please describe the experience and some of the standout features that you ere excited about. No, we did not take a cruise. Nonetheless, the cruise port is less than 10 miles from Tokyo's main attractions and sites.
What makes this destination a must-see in your opinion? Japan should be on everyone's bucket list. The Japanese people have a rich history with America. Most of us are not familiar with our ties to the Japanese and their contributions to the American Railway system. And, the history shared in Hawaii. Japan has a balance of the old and the new mixed in a megalopolis like Tokyo and sweet tender gowns along the ridge and foot of Mount Fuji. It is by far the most extraordinary place you will ever visit.
Additional thoughts and insights? Pro Tip: Book business class and above, if possible. On the flights you'll receive the typical onboarding for the upgrade but you'll also receive slippers/blankets/pillows/and more...
To book your next trip to Japan and check out the cherry blossoms or the bustling streets of Tokyo, contact a Cruise Planners advisor near you.