Whenever my husband tells me he is planning a trip to Japan I am straight online looking at ticket prices. I love Japan. Its crazy energy, the history, the architecture and most importantly the food. I was concerned at one point in time that I might actually be addicted to wasabi but this proved to be just a love of the spicy green paste !!
At first its not the easiest city to get around but once you understand the metro and how it works - its a breeze. All the stations are numbered and the lines are in different colours, so its actually very straightforward, it just looks a bit scary with all the Japanese symbols and the sheer number of lines and stations !!
As An Expat Wife I had to accept, as I have mentioned before, that I am going to be alone during the day and often in the evenings, so it is important to organise myself and research things that interest me. Its actually a perfect scenario. There is no compromise about which temples you visit or how long you spend there. When it comes to dining it is also a bonus as most Japanese restaurants only 'do' one style of cooking. So the sushi restaurants don't 'do' Tonkatsu and the Ramen Noodle restaurants don't 'do' yakitori. This can cause conflict if you don't want to eat the same things as your partner/friends but when you I am alone - I only need to make a decision for myself !!
Over the last 8 years we have made many trips to Japan. I have also managed to visit Osaka and Kyoto with my husband and Hakone, Yokahama, Nikko and Kamakura as day trips alone. Its is all perfectly do-able. There is a fabulous travel centre in Tokyo main station and they will help you out with tickets and lots of advice. This trip to Japan in May 2014 we decided to go to Takayama for 2 nights at the end of the trip. We took the shinkansen bullet train and were there in 4 hours. Its was an incredibly pretty town with lots of history and also several sake breweries who had showrooms and tastings !!
I find the Japanese to be incredibly helpful too. I've been at a train station trying to match up the symbols on the departure board with what is written in my guide book and it really doesn't take long before someone who knows a little English will offer to help. What is also very helpful is the displays outside the restaurants with plastic versions of the food you will find inside. You can just point and smile and something yummy will arrive at the table !!
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