ENJOYING THE BLISSFUL GRACE OF JAPAN IS ESPECIALLY CALMING IN AUTUMN. WHEN THE LEAVES FALL AND TREES TURN GOLDEN-BROWN, THE COUNTRY OF SAKURA SHOWS ITS LOVELY SEASONAL SIDE ONCE AGAIN.
Autumn is always a wonderful time to visit Japan. Temperatures have cooled and the days are pleasant and sunny while mild nights are invigorating. As I arrived into Tokyo a cool breeze gently whispers its greetings to me. I started my trip by visiting one of my favourite culinary destinations; Ichiran Ramen in Shinjuku. This legendary eatery made its reputation way back in 1960 and today has shown no sign of a down side to its reputation. Here I enjoy the best ramen I have ever tasted anywhere.
After treating myself to this great culinary experience; Ueno Park became my next destination. Located next to Ueno Station in central Tokyo, the park grounds were originally part of the Kaneiji Temple, which used to be one of the city’s largest and wealthiest family temples of the ruling Tokugawa clan during the Edo Period. It is here that people gather to witness the glory of Sakura (cherry blossom) from the more than 1000 cherry trees lining its central pathway
Now of course it was not a shower of cherry blossom but one of golden autumn leaves. On this day the park was vibrant with street artists, musicians and an eclectic range of individual and unique demonstrations.
I didn’t miss a chance to visit Tokyo Disney Sea the next day. Dubbed as ‘The happiest place on earth’, Tokyo Disney Sea attracted an estimated 14 million visitors in 2013, making it the fourth-most-visited theme park in the world. The nautical-themed amusement park is so vast and
entertaining that it is impossible to cover all it has to offer in one day. I did my best however to visit the different parks; namely American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast and Mysterious Island.
The Iconic Mount Fuji is of course not to be missed on this trip. As one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains” along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku, Mount Fuji is a place of scenic beauty and one of Japan’s historic sites. It was added to the World Heritage List as a Cultural Site on 2013. Mount Fuji has inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimages for centuries. It is not hard to see why this conical picture postcard mountain has been the subject of so much spiritual attention.
There was one more thing to do here in Japan before the end of my trip; to treat my weary body to the hot springs of Kawaguchi Onsen. Almost all hotels around the Kawaguchi region provide this natural hot spring facility. I tried one that sources its water directly from Mount Fuji and my plunge had real rejuvenation value it was truly Japanese experience that will stay with me long after I leave this beautiful country.