Hello! Today I will be sharing a guest post from fellow travel blogger Rhiannon from Rhiannon Travels! Of course as many of you know I adore making friends with likeminded people online and fortunately blogging and social media such as Instagram can be absolutely fabulous for that! Rhiannon is from Australia and has travelled to many places, her native country, the USA, and of course Japan! In fact that’s how we got in touch in the first place! I was in awe of all of her gorgeous snaps on Instagram from her month long trip, and lets just say I was oozing with jealousy! So we’ve been talking since and decided to guest post on each other’s blogs! Her post today is all about why she too loves Japan and all of the lovely off the beaten path spots she found! (As you know, I’m all for finding hidden gems!) I really hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.
Before a deep love and desire for travel took over my life, I had never even considered visiting Japan. It was one of those places I had never been educated on. I didn’t study Japanese in school, and I didn’t know very much about the country at all. But when my partner and I started researching Japan for the trip we recently took in March, I instantly fell in love. And this was before I even arrived!
Japan is one of those places that you have to see to believe. It’s so different to the rest of the world. I can say that for certainty, even though I haven’t actually explored the rest of the world! There’s something so relaxing, unique, polite and kind about the people and atmosphere in Japan. From the moment I stepped foot off the plane in Tokyo, I was in awe. I knew the next month would be one of the best times in my life, and I was right. Excitement bubbled under my skin, and the anticipation for the next four weeks of my life was very real.
There’s so much to see and do in Japan. It’s pretty overwhelming, actually. If you’ve only got a short period of time to explore the country, there are a few cities in particular I recommend making a priority.
Hiroshima is easily one of the most beautiful and relaxing places I have ever visited. For a city with such a devastating history, the people are so genuinely kind and understanding of foreigners. If you’re looking to visit a bustling, jam-packed and exciting Japanese city, Hiroshima probably isn’t for you. But if you’re after a city to break up the craziness of Japan, to relax and recharge, I wouldn’t think twice before adding Hiroshima to your itinerary.
There are a few ‘off the beaten path’ places within Hiroshima, that my partner and I discovered while exploring the city. One of those places is Shukkeien Garden. We stumbled upon this beautiful garden one day accidentally. I didn’t even have my camera, as we were planning on just having a relaxing day of shopping and walking the streets. Not focussing on snapping away at everything (sometimes days like those are nice, even being a blogger!).
Shukkeien Garden is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The amount of greenery and incredible colours is overwhelming. It costs 260 yen to enter, but worth every bit of that fee. You can stay for as long as you like and take as many photos as your heart desires. I would definitely suggest bringing a proper camera though. Don’t make the same mistake I did!
For something completely different to Hiroshima, and a little bit cheeky and fun, let’s talk about Tokyo! Shinjuku is one of Tokyo’s most popular districts, and where we stayed for 12 nights at the end of our Japan adventure.
While researching things to see and do around Tokyo, we came across the Shinjuku Indoor Batting Cage! Now, I’m not a natural by any means when it comes to sport. In fact, I almost failed gym class. I’m that girl who used any excuse to sit out, as I have no coordination and prefer to avoid embarrassing situations. But I love to try new things and have fun. Whether or not you’re a fan of baseball or good at sport, this is definitely something I recommend giving a go! It’s a very Japanese type of activity, and watching everyone try to hit a baseball flying at full speed can be quite entertaining. It costs 300 yen for 28 balls, and whether you hit 1 or 28 of them, I guarantee you’ll have a blast!
Lastly, let’s talk about Osaka! There is a shopping district in Osaka called Dotonbori. It’s insanely busy, and you’ll be bumping shoulders with hundreds of people no matter what time of day you visit. It took us a few days to realise that there are actually backstreets that lead to the Dotonbori district, filled with tons of cute stores and eateries! Instead of walking along the main road, head a few streets back and emerge yourself in a different side of Osaka. You won’t see all of the high end stores and boutiques, but you’ll get a taste of Japan that you wouldn’t otherwise see!
Japan is a wonderful place, and there is an endless amount of things to see and do. But if you’re hoping for a different type of experience, head off the beaten track a bit. Don’t follow the main roads, so to speak. There’s so much of this beautiful country that most people don’t know about, which is half the fun! Get out there and explore Japan for all that it is – beautifully unique, and one of the most amazing countries you will ever visit.
I hope you found this post helpful. Have you discovered some off the beaten track places while traveling? Which ones were your favourite? Thank you Sophie for allowing me to guest post on your wonderful blog! I had a blast writing for you! Make sure you head over to my blog to read all about Sophie’s experience with learning a new language!
All photos in this post belong to Rhiannon, to follow her: