H and I first visited Japan in Oct 2010 for 2 weeks. Tokyo-Hiroshima-Kyoto-Osaka, with day visits to Kamakura, Himeji, Miyajima and Kobe. Travel by JR is the easiest, the shinkasen is fast, reliable and clean, and the JR pass though not cheap, is the best way to do a big tour around Japan.
Our first experience in Japan was exactly like the movie Lost in translation. Everything was different – the language, the dressing, the culture, and the food! The food we had was mind blowing! Even simple hole in the wall shops, or shops under a railroad track served food that was so good that we couldn’t eat Japanese food back home for a few months. We had staple Japanese food done to perfection – soba noodles, katsu, tempura, all simple food but both the freshness of the produce and the skill of preparation shine through.
Japan also has the best snow. My opinion might not carry much weight since Zermatt was the only other place I’ve skied at, but H would know as he has skied around Europe growing up. It really is powder snow, and that is great for a clumsy skier like me. I am dead tired after a day out in the mountains and a soak in the onsen is a remedy for sore muscles. It suits us that the apres ski scene is not that big as we both prefer to have a good meal and collapse in bed straight after. We’ve done 2 seasons in Japan so far and can’t wait to explore the other mountains in the years to come.
More on each of the cities we’ve visited