Blog to Japan: my 12 reasons for going

It’s InsideJapan Tours’ 12th birthday, so to celebrate all things great and good about the number 12,  InsideJapan Tours and Virgin Atlantic have teamed up to invite you to “blog to Japan”!

Here are my 12 good reasons as to why I should be sent to Japan to blog:

1. I would love to attend a real tea ceremony and learn how to put on a kimono and do the whole tradition properly. Also showing a tutorial of how to wear a Kimono would be very helpful to the readers, as there are reasons behind it not just beauty and etiquette.

2. I’m a big  gamer and mythology fan and my love for rural mysterious villages as seen in Project Zero and Okami have fueled my interest to see the town of Takachiho. A town in northern Miyazaki Prefecture that is shrouded in Japanese mythology. It is there at the Amano Iwato Shrine supposedly the site of where the legend of Amaterasu is set. The Shinto Sun Goddess, disturbed by her brother’s cruel pranks, hid herself in a cave, prompting the other gods and goddesses to try and lure her out.

3. Dress up Harajuku style and take photos of all the different tribes around the area and talk to them about their styles and why it’s important to them. Japan is where most of the Western trends are adapted from!

4. To see Himeji Castle, it was never destroyed in wars, earthquakes or fires and survives in its original form. It is both a national treasure and a UNESCO world heritage site. Now this I have to see, makes me reminiscent of the strong fighting casting in Robo-Geisha!

5. Take a trip to the Pokemon center to challenge the Poke masters of Japan, will I be a match for their high level Trubbishes? Who knows, a great video opportunity and chance t see exclusive merchandise not available in the UK.

 6. To hear some live Japanese music, whether it be Suga Shikao or some traditional instrumental music – Koto especially since I hear so much in anime/game background, a mix of traditional vs contemporary would be an electric blast much needed for my ears, which fancy a change from pop music.

 7. I love anime but the best by far is produced by Ghibli and would be an amazing chance to go to Hayao Miyazaki’s Ghibli Museum. I’ve been a fan since Spirited Away and have gone watched every Ghibli movie to date. Since I have a soft spot for cats I wonder I wonder if they will let me sit in the cat bus ? ­čś«

8. Ever since the mention of ‘chisa’ in Azumanga Daioh anime, I’ve been curious about the wildcats of Japan and found out it’s one of the world’s rarest wildcats. They inhabit Iriomote, one of Japan’s most far-flung islands. Almost indistinguishable from a house cat, the Iriomote wildcat is believed to be related to a leopard cat found on the Asian continent, to which this island was once linked.

9. A trip to Osaka: to Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine, built prior to the influx of Buddhist architecture, this shrine – one of the oldest in Japan – exemplifies a purely Japanese style design, then relax in an authentic hot spring hopefully I’ll recharge my HP like in Monster hunter ­čśÇ

10. Ever since the article in the Metro about the monkey butlers, I’ve wanted to see them! The Kayabukiya tavern, a sake house just north of Tokyo, employs the two macaques to help out their more traditional human waiters. The macaques, called Yat-chan and Fuku-chan, are tipped by the customers with boiled soya beans.The funny thing is they do it of their own free will!

11. Shibuya Station, you may be suprised but outside here resides the Hachiko Statue. You may remember the American movie adaptation ‘Hatchi’, based on the life of Hidesabur┼Ź Ueno, a professor in the agriculture at the University of Tokyo and his dog, a golden brown Akita, named Hachik┼Ź.  as a During Ueno’s life, Hachik┼Ź greeted him at the end of each day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued their daily routine for a year, when Professor Ueno did not return. The professor died, never returning to the train station where Hachik┼Ź was waiting, and he waited every day for the next nine years at Shibuya station.

12. Now no trip to Japan would be complete without visiting Kyoto’s most famous Geisha district in Gion. This district is filled with shops, restaurants and ochaya (teahouses), where Geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha) and Maiko (geiko apprentices) entertain. The houses around here tend to be traditional wooden machiya merchant houses.

It was hard only picking 12 great thing to do and see in Japan as there is so much to see. Hopefully all of this will give a great mix of culture, fun and colour to represent Japan at it’s finest.

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