Japan: Summer Highlights (Top Picks!)

Even with the blazing heat and unnecessarily high humidity that take place in the summer in Japan, there are so many things to do and sites to explore that will make all the sweat or stickiness that remain on your body totally worth it.

Unfortunately, summer is almost coming to an end. I personally don’t mind the heat and humidity too much, but I know many who are awaiting the cooler and crisp weather.

Even though the places I visited this summer were slightly restricted due to short amount of time I had at each site, I’d still like to share my top highlights of the places where I left my footprints. I am a little biased with one of the places I mention, I’ll admit ;).

Now, it’s time for me to reveal my summer picks (in no particular order expect for the first one)!

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My Latest Obsession: Cherry Blossoms & Hanami

The countdown to spring is finally over! Actually, the countdown ended about two weeks ago… I’ve been looking forward to this season since I arrived in Japan. It’s nice that the weather is starting to warm up, but it’s still chilly outside that I still have to carry a jacket around with me. According to many locals, it’s been a very cold spring season.

What excites me so much about spring time in Japan is the cherry blossoms (sakura)! This is what I’ve been looking forward to since my arrival in Japan. I can’t simply help but appreciate the beauty of these flowers. The sad thing about these beauties is that they are so short-lived. The fully bloomed blossoms only last about a week or two.

A yearly Japanese tradition in the spring is to have a cherry blossom viewing party, which is commonly known as a hanami party. This usually takes place in the end of March or the beginning of April when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Hanami literally translates as “flower viewing.” A lot of people gather at a park for a picnic and spend the entire day enjoying the transient beauty of the cherry blossoms. Yesterday was my first hanami experience and it was surely a lot of fun. I went with some of my friends who work in the same company and we hung out with lots of foreigners and locals while pigging out on food and drinking. Of course at these hanami parties, don’t be surprised to see a whole bunch of drunkards wandering around! This is very much expected since drinking in public is legal. :)

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A Tourist for the Day: Kamakura

Hello everyone!

A few days ago, I decided to meet up with one of my buddies from training and go on a day trip to Kamakura. It took me three hours to get there from Takasaki Station, but it was surely an easy commute. All I needed to do was hop onto the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line towards Odawara and stay on that train until it stopped at Ofuna Station. I was on that train for about 2 hours, 50 minutes. My only transfer was at Ofuna Station where I switched lines to take the train towards Zushi, but I only needed to go two stops to arrive at Kamakura. This took about 6 minutes so it was definitely a super quick transfer! From Takasaki to Kamakura, the train fare was about 2590 yen one-way, which is definitely pretty steep for a traveler on a budget (like me). However, I told myself that it’s just like going on a day trip from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C. Sadly, I spent more on transportation than I did in total for eating and visiting the tourist attractions. On the brighter side, I thought that this day trip was worth my time and money! I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it to those who live in Tokyo and Yokohama since it’s close by. Sometimes, it might be nice to get away from the city and get a grasp of the historical aspect that Japan has to offer.

Kamakura is known as the ancient capital of Japan and is now a very popular tourist destination for both foreigners and locals. This small and quaint city offers many historical sites such as temples and shrines, which many are within walking distance of each other. Another thing to mention is that Kamakura is also known for its food. Yes, you heard me! Not only that the food there is delicious, but it is also affordable so it’s a great area for foodies, like me, to explore.

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