5 Reasons Why My Trip To Japan Was My Ideal Yatra

I have been wanting to travel to Japan for the longest time because of the amazing things I had heard about their diverse culture and technological advancements, not to forget how beautiful the country is known to be, along with the respectful nature of its people. I had the amazing opportunity of visiting this dynamic country in April this year, when I traveled the lengths and breadths of the country accompanied by 20 other photographers from across South East Asia.

Canon Photo Clinic 2016

(Image Source: Akshay Gurnani)

Here are 5 Reasons Why My Trip To Japan Was My Ideal Yatra

1. Transport

It has been my dream to travel by the world famous Bullet trains of Japan that travel at a speed of over 320 km/hr and I had the opportunity of doing so on 3 occasions on my trip:

a. Tokyo –> Inawashiro

b. Hirosaki –> Hakodate

c. Hakodate –> Tokyo

Bullet Train of Japan

(Image Source: Akshay Gurnani)

Just check out that nose of the bullet train! Looks like Snoopy doesn’t it? 🙂


2. Food

Japan is primarily a fish eating country and most of the food they consume is raw, cold and bland. Sounds quite unappetizing as compared to our Indian food but it was indeed an experience in itself to try all the various kinds of meats and vegetables they eat. Rice is also a staple with every meal with upto 3-4 different varieties of rice being served. We also had the opportunity of dressing up like the Japanese and eating food wearing a traditional Kimono. The reason why most Japanese are lean and fit is because they drink a lot of green tea after their meals which helps in digestion.

Here’s what a traditional Japanese meal looks like:

Japanese food Japanese food

(Image Source: Akshay Gurnani)

3. My Itinerary

I put together my itinerary after reading a tonne of blogs and connecting with friends and family who had visited Japan. Since I love photography and photographing the cherry blossoms were of utmost importance, I made sure to travel to the country sides of Japan where the blossoms would still be blooming. I also planned my trip in a way that I got to experience some of the heritage of the country, something not most people go to see.

This is my itinerary that I broadly followed:

Day 1: Tokyo –> Inawashiro: Highlights – Bullet Train ride and Kitakata

Day 2: Inawashiro –> Sendai: Highlights – Eboshiyama Koen and Yamadera

Day 3: Sendai –> Ichinoseki: Hightlights – Akiu Kogei no Sato and Ishinomaki city

Day 4: Ichinoseki –> Nyuto Onsen: Highlights – Kitakami Tenshochi and Kakunodate 

Day 5: Nyuto Onsen –> Hirosaki: Highlights – Fields of Katakuri Blossom and Hachiman Daira Aspite Line

Day 6: Hirosaki –> Hakodate: Highlights – Hirosaki Castle and Neputa Museum

Day 7: Hakodate –> Tokyo: Highlights – Hakodate and Gokyakaku Tower

Day 8: Tokyo –> India: Highlight – Flying by Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 – the largest commercial airline in the world! I had booked my International Flights online and got a great deal.


4. Cherry Blossoms

I was very fortunate to catch the last of the blossoms in Japan. In most places like Kyoto and Tokyo the season was over, however the country side still had them blooming. I witnessed the beautiful blossoms at Eboshiyama Koen, Akiu Kogei No Sato and the field of Katakuri Blossoms.

The best part about them is that they change colour basis the direction of the sunlight which becomes an absolute treat for a photographer. In direct sunlight they are bright pink and when the sunlight is behind, they’re white.

cherry blosssoms cherry blosssoms

(Image Source: Akshay Gurnani)

5. Onsen Experience

Onsens are natural hot springs in Japan, though the term is often used to describe a public bathing facility or an inn. The peculiar aspect of an onsen is that everyone in the spring has to be completely naked! You have to shed all your inhibitions and just take the plunge. This was certainly one of the most embarrassing experience of my life, getting into a tub with complete strangers, but I must admit it was also the most relaxing feeling after a very long and tiring trip. There are no pictures to show, for obvious reasons!

Hope you enjoyed reading about my experiences in Japan and why it was my ideal yatra!

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