Last year I went on a trip with my mom and cousin to Japan. It was my first time going there and we went just in time for us to catch cherry blossoms in full bloom. Of course I had to blog about everything, and of course, I deleted the back up of my old blog (and ALL, i mean ALL, my photos) when I changed my laptop. I mourned about it for a week because I still had unedited and unpublished photos and videos from that trip, and I wanted to be able to import my previous blog posts into this new blog but there’s nothing I can do anymore.
Good thing my cousin backs up her files so all photos in this post are taken by her. I’m sharing with you pictures from that trip using Lightroom presets that I experimented around with. I’m still unsure whether or not I would sell it, so maybe you can help me decide by giving me feedback. 😛 This is probably going to be a travel blog slash photo dump.
Since we landed in Chubu, and I had a friend in Osaka, we decided to meet halfway at Kyoto. I really wanted to see Fushimi Inari because I’ve seen a lot of it on Instagram. Lol. But this place gave me the best memory. Before going through the trail covered by Senbon Torii (thousands of torii gates), there was a shrine (I think?) for people who wants to make a wish. My friend and cousin urged me to try it out because I have nothing to lose, so I did — I threw a coin, rang the bell, and bowed my head. An hour or two after, on our way to Gion, I received a message saying I got accepted into my top-choice med school! It will always remain as one of my happiest moments. Coincidence or not, I’m glad I did what I did. (But also should’ve wished to finish med school on time 😂).
Of course, a trip to Japan wouldn’t be complete without catching a glimpse of Mt. Fuji. It was a long train ride to get to Yamanashi from Kanagawa — it took us about 3 train transfers and a bus ride. But it was worth it because we got to have Mt. Fuji as our view outside the train. We were lucky because it was a clear day and there were still a few cherry blossom trees blooming around Lake Kawaguchiko which made pretty good pictures. There is a Fuji Five Lakes (Kawaguchiko, Yamanaka, Saiko, Motosu, and Shoji), and out of all of those, Lake Kawaguchiko is the most accessible.
Mom’s friends took us to Showa Kinen Memorial Park at Tachikawa after Lake Kawaguchi. It’s a massive park with a lot of tulips and whole lot of cherry blossom trees. My cousin and I were so happy because they were in full bloom and when there’s a breeze, cherry blossom petals would shower down on us. It was so beautiful and I wouldn’t mind seeing it over and over.
Completed in 645, Senso-ji is Tokyo’s oldest and most important temple. It was built for the goddess Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The temple was packed! There were a lot of tourists and I felt bad for the monks praying inside because people were so noisy. The alleyway leading to the temple, Nakamise, is filled with a lot of souvenir items. I had so much fun looking around the shops and even bought cute chopsticks to bring back home.
It was already evening when we got to Shibuya. Of course we had to see for ourselves just how jam-packed it is, and it really was. The amount of people crossing the intersection (to take pictures or to really just get to places) is insane! I had to cling to my mom and cousin. Despite that, people were still disciplined enough to not cross when the pedestrian light is red.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Park is massive with the following gardens: English Garden, French Garden, Japanese Garden, and a greenhouse. The NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building (the world’s second tallest clock tower) can also be seen from Shinjuku Gyoen. It’s a popular hanami spot but it rained the night before when we visited so we didn’t get to see the park covered in it. This was a memorable day for me and my cousin because we explored Shinjuku all by ourselves without any adult supervision — we ended up taking 30, 000+ steps, and me feeling feverish.
Another set of my mom’s friends (it surprised me how much people she knew living in Japan) took us to the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium. I’m not really a huge fan of aquariums or zoos but it was still nice to see different marine life: from dolphins, whales, and porpoises, to a diversity of marine animals from Japan seas, deep sea, equatorial ocean, Australian waterfront, and Antarctic Ocean.
Before flying back to Manila, we were again left to our own devices so we went to see Nagoya Castle. It was completed in 1612 to ward off attacks coming from the Osaka direction, as well as the residence of the Owari lineage of the Tokugawa family during the Meiji period. Restorations (which started in in 2009) were still being made when we went but it’s targeted to be completed by 2018.
I have this rule for myself to not go back to a country until I’ve checked off all other places in my bucketlist but Japan is an exception. I wouldn’t mind going back over and over for consecutive times because there’s so much to see and experience. I’m targeting to go to Osaka next to experience the food and Hogwarts at Universal Studios. This country is honestly the best out of all that I’ve been to. Thank you for the wonderful memories and experiences, Japan! 🇯🇵