Crazy Halloween

Japan has always been a must visit country for Lotti and Lutz of us, unfortunately they closed up due to Covid so we didn’t plan on going any time soon (not this trip but rather the next). And when they decided to open up for tourists we quickly changed plans and bought two tickets to Tokyo. 37 million people are living in the metropolitan region of Tokyo the capital of Japan. After visiting quite a lot of big cities we expected it to be at least a little bit crowdy and noisy but we definitely didn‘t expect it to be that awfully quiet and clean everywhere. The silent hybrid cars and the few other tourists besides us were being the loudest thing and there was no litter anywhere to be found (although the lack of trash cans across Japan).

First things first – we wanted to try some Japanese food, but due to our late arrival (it wasn‘t exactly late: around 11pm) there weren’t too many restaurants (there were quite a lot actually but mostly closed already). After walking a bit we came across a small place where we tried Japanese curry, miso soup and an almost raw egg, which honestly was delicious – all of it.

The next days we went outside and although it was now daytime there still weren‘t people out there until we got to a temple. I’ll just say it was a contrast to the other parts of the city we walked through beforehand. Afterwards we surely had to go kitchenware shopping… and we weren‘t only stunned by the beauty of the dishes but also the incredible view we got from the Tokyo Skytree (an amazing sunset lightning uptrend city including Mount Fuji – which by the way is located 100km away from Tokyo).

As short term tourists we had to take advantage of the 7-day Japan Rail Pass and were now able to hop on and off bullet trains whenever and wherever we wanted to.

Kyoto the old capital and historical city surrounded by an autumn forest – and our next destination where we not only took a hot bath in an Japanese Onsen but also tried Sake (Japanese rice wine) for the first time.

In Kyoto we bumped into a very kind Japanese-German couple with whom we walked through the so called Monkey Park. And yes there were monkeys – a lot of monkeys, some of them adorable others rather frightening…

Some things in Japan are really fascinating. Take a look at this Taiyaki production machine:

The restrooms have been quite all around Japan but some hostel restrooms were not only quite small but really tiny… But there hasn‘t been one toilet that wasn‘t highly technical with all kinds of functions (music…). Not so highly technical but highly punctual- local trains with engine drivers who are constantly checking their second based schedules on a pocket watch. If we could only have as much faith in the Deutsche Bahn as Japanese hotel owners have in their hotel guests with trust based cocktail buffets, 1 cocktail per person -couldn‘t and wouldn’t happen in Germany…

The bullet train stops for about 70 seconds (we timed it). But that surely is enough if everyone’s following the rules and using the well marked lines on the floor. Luckily we by then knew how to do it and didn’t miss out the next stop: Nara – the city of deer. A very touristy city with more than 1000 deer waiting for (the actually not that many) tourists to feed them their ¥200 deer cookies.

To make the 7-day Rail pass worth it‘s money we also spent an evening in Kobe to eat the famous Kobe beef (which honestly wasn‘t worth it), went on a day trip to Hiroshima to pay the Peace Memorial Museum a visit and stayed a night at Fujinomiya with a great view of Mount Fuji.

We timed our trip through Japan thoughtfully – to be able to spend Halloween in Osaka. The second biggest city of Japan is not only a food paradise but apparently also a good place to be when big events are due (just like Halloween) and even after the bad things happened in Seoul the other night we still could see the Japanese people dress up crazily, party and just enjoy the night.

Finally it was time to buy some souvenirs and end our trip around the world. It was a great (if not the greatest) year. We have learned a lot and have dozens of stories to tell ( some didn‘t fit into the blog;)). So meet us in Germany to hear them or travel to find out on your own (and tell us about it!).

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