Japan 4 Youth - City Trip 8 days
Highlights of this trip
- cosplay culture
- boat trip
- metropolis Tokyo
- Ryokan and Capsule hotel overnight stay
- Sake brewery
1st day - Going East
Our journey starts in the early evening at the airport of Frankfurt. Here we also meet our tour guide who will accompany us the whole trip. A direct flight of about eleven hours through the night brings us to Tokyo in the most comfortable way.
2nd day - Tokio-Feeling
Because of the time difference of seven time zones between Germany and Japan, and the fact that we fly in the direction of the sun, we arrive in Tokyo in the afternoon (the time switch is compensated by the return flight). To start in the better way after our arrival we drive to the hotel.
A short break to relax and let's go to visit Tokyo!
Our destination is the business district called Shinjuku with its skyscrapers. From the 45th floor of the Metropolitan Government Building we gain a great view on the city. As far as we can see there are houses and in the case of clear sight you can behold the mountain Fuji far away, which we will see closer during another day of the trip. Back on the ground you realize in what a big city you stand.
3rd day - Temple and manga
We start in Asakusa and visit the Senso-temple, which is famous for his giant red lampion inside the Kaminari-mon, the so called "gate of thunder". The legend says that in the 7th century two fishermen found a Kannon-statue in the river Sumida and built a temple in which to venerate it. So the Senso-ji is the oldest temple of Tokyo.
On the Nakamise in front of the temple there are a lot of small souvenir shops to visit.
The trip continues by boat on the Sumida River from Asakusa to the gardens of Hamarikyu. During the ride which leads us through a lot of colored bridges we can have a wonderful look at the skyline. The Hamarikyu Garden is the former park of the shoguns and the ideal stopover to regenerate before we come back to the action.
Now we continue with theTokyo subway tothe scenic and nightlife-suitable district of Shibuya to visit the Mandarake, the manga shop of Tokyo. Here you can find everything about manga -actually all you could imagine! - and you get served by employees who are definitely kind and dressed up with Cosplay costumes!
The shopping tour in Shibuya goes on until we reach Harajuku. At the latest you'll see them here - the crazy teenagers of Japan!
4th day - Kamakura und Fuji-san
Today is the first day outside the city. A little south of Tokyo there is Kamakura, which is known as the city of the shoguns. From here the Minamoto clan dominated Japan from 1180 to 1333. There are so many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines that you don't know where to look first.
First of all we visit the shrine Tsurugaoka-Hachiman-gu which was founded in 1063 when Hachiman, the first Kamakura shogun, was adored here as the god of war.
We continue our walk to the great bronze Amida Buddha statue which has a height of over 13 meters. He meditates here open-air since the Kotoku temple was destroyed by a tsunami in 1498.
But now let's go to the lake, so called Ashi, in the volcanic crater of Hakone. Here on a boat we marvel at the volcano Fuji-san an absolute must-have at every journey to Japan because it is the national number 1 symbol! Its flanks are nearly symmetrical and are alike the Japanese sign of the number eight. This form promises luck and wealth.
From the Ashi Lake we take a cable car up to the volcanic crater Komagatake.
What a view!
5th day - Nikko - the 3 monkeys
Again we go into the surrounding area of Tokyo. Today we go into the north to the World Heritage Site in Nikko. From the 17th to 19th century it was the cultural center of the Tokugawa shoguns. "Don't say glorious before you have seen Nikko" says a Japanese adage.
But where should we start?
The Toshogu shrine is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shoguns.
The stable of the unit of buildings is decorated by the famous carving of the 3 monkeys. The first keeps his eyes, the second his ears and the last his mouth shut, which symbolizes the Buddhist teaching of "don't see, don't hear, and don't talk".
We now continue to the Rinno temple. Here stand impressive Buddha statues beside the Tayu-in that is the mausoleum of the shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu. His work was in 1633 the isolation of Japan from foreign countries for a period of 235 years.
The Futarasan shrine impresses with its Torii out of bronze and the red lacquered arch bridge. Inside the Futarasan also resides a "Ghost-lantern". The legend says that even some samurais were seriously frightened by it during the night that they attacked it with their swords.
Back in Tokyo awaits us a really special night. We are going to sleep in a capsule hotel!
But don't be afraid, the capsules are for one person and contain everything you need, even a TV. The bathrooms are used in common but they are always very comfortable and clean.
6th day - Comiket and Odaiba
Today is the day for every fan of the Japanese pop- and manga-culture: we are going to drive to Odaiba to the Comiket!
This comic market is the greatest manga fair in the world. It can't be compared with European fairs or anime conventions. There are not just publishers but also over 20.000 Dojinshi-circles (circles of fan art). It is almost as a flea market and a lot of famous illustrators had their debut here. One of the main attractions is the cosplay terrace on which the cosplayers pose for photos. Who is willing to join them can do this after registration. The change of clothes takes place in the changing rooms at the Comiket. Here you can see the most amazing costumes ever!
There is always a great flow of visitors: spread into two days a year about 500.000 fans marvel at the mangas, animes, dojinshis, fan articles and so on.
After a walk on the beach of this artificial island we spend the afternoon dip into the futuristic and romantic world of Odaiba.
Then we go shopping in the Venus-Fort, one of the most special malls of Japan, where you will feel like in a Disney type of Venice.
Inside the Toyota showcase every enthusiastic person can have a look at the modern techniques concerning the cars production sector; you can therefore admire cars like the "Emeraude" or the "Caldina" and see or test what the future of the automobile engineering will bring.
From one of the greatest big wheels in the world with 115 meters of height we gain an amazing view at the Rainbow-bridge, the harbor and Japanese Eiffel tower, so called "Tokyo Tower".
What a great end of the year!
The only thing left to do for tonight is to choose the perfect party location…
7th day - Happy New Year
In the morning we sleep a bit longer - the Japanese New Year's Day starts without haste. The ones who pull themselves together (and are willing to) can take a walk over the Ameya-Yokocho market. Here you can go shopping at cheap prices and for example buy some souvenirs for your friends at home. Today is the last chance for some purchase. After that we walk to the near Ueno Park that is the only over 100 year old city park of Tokyo. The nearby Kanei Temple is a great coulisse for game reserveinside the park. The nearby Kanei Temple is a great coulisse for game reserve inside the park.
Now it's time for all the technique and computer fans as well as the anime and manga enthusiasts: we drive to Akihabara.
Here animes, game centers, multistory department stores like the Gamers Honten with magazines, mangas, dojinshis, art books, DVDs, videogames, model kits, goods and trading cards are waiting for us. Beside numberless shops with the newest electronic goods there are also shops with second-hand DVDs and Blue Rays. After the shopping tour we relax in one of the famous Maid-Cafés (medo-kissa) in which the waitresses are dressed in the style of the Victorian Age.
8th day - Mata-ne Japan
The time of saying goodbye has unfortunately come.
We fly back to Frankfurt. One more look out of the window of the plane. But who is now infected by the Japan fever will come back!
So we say "nihon mata-ne" - "See you soon, Japan"!