Last February I got very lucky and won tickets to Japan. So we started planning our trip. Because we never visited Japan before, I read many travel blogs and articles about what to see and do in Japan. My ex colleague from work, our Country Specialist for Japan, convinced me that in addition to Tokyo, we should also see at least Kyoto. So our trip soon started to look more like a cross country tour, which made me a little nervous since we were travelling with a 4 year old. But this was the plan we used, and it worked out well.
In a the middle of November we jumped into a plane and got to enjoy business class service at All Nippon Airlines. After we arrived at Narita airport in Tokyo, we stamped our JR pass (a train ticket sold only for foreigners) and took a train to Shinjuku in Tokyo. After some confusion at the metro station we finally found our apartment, and started our very first Airbnb experience.
We stayed three nights in Tokyo before taking the bullet train to Kyoto. In Kyoto we visited some shrines and castles, saw many Unesco Heritage Sites and some geishas in Gion district. We got to experience the autumn colours of Japan, and enjoyed some delicious Japanese food. We also spent one day in the city of Nara. Then we packed our bags and moved on to Himeji and Hiroshima, and finally back to Tokyo again.
Everything on our trip went surprisingly well. We were able to drag our bags and a baby stroller along, and our daughter seemed to enjoy the trip as well. We got to visit all the places we planned, and had no problems with our hotel reservations. The only blunder we had, was that on our way to the airport when leaving for home, we lost one small backpack. And of course, the one with some important things in it. We are hopeful that we will get it back. Other than that, we arrived back home to California both tired and happy. Now we have time to process what all we saw and experienced on this trip. So stay tuned!