Japan

Kireto

The Force is Strong With This One
Is it just me or do the Japanese, generally speaking, tend to go to extremes in terms of their attitudes. For example, I have always admired the Japanese craftsmanship and when it comes to cars, the average hobbyist over there put "enthusiasts" in other countries to shame. I can really sense that most Japanese people really do devote their heart and soul into whatever they do; then you have these "hermits" who are spending the majority of their lives imprisoning themselves.

Or, could it also be to do with how the media portray and perhaps exagerrate the situations, just for that shock value so more people are bound to watch the documentaries for entertainment, as opposed to awareness and education.

Bit of a segue, but I am heading over to Japan in Spring-Summer next year, spending most of my time in Sapporo attending a language school for us gaijin (foreigner), and atleast a week in Hiroshima. I guess this question is directed at Aya, but I suppose any of you who have been before might know of any interesting places to visit in either of the two cities/prefectures?
 
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Aya

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Is it just me or do the Japanese, generally speaking, tend to go to extremes in terms of their attitudes. For example, I have always admired the Japanese craftsmanship and when it comes to cars, the average hobbyist over there put "enthusiasts" in other countries to shame. I can really sense that most Japanese people really do devote their heart and soul into whatever they do; then you have these "hermits" who are spending the majority of their lives imprisoning themselves.
I think that is just bad attitudes of the average hobbyists. The people who really really know their stuff (the professionals), encourage others to learn their field of interests.

AFAIK, soon business people are going to bring AI. We might see craftsmen using new technology, so as to make their current knowledge and skills accessible to wider audiences and to devote themselves even further to advance their expertise.

Bit of a segue, but I am heading over to Japan in Spring-Summer next year
I will get back to you with some recommendations shortly. :-)
 

Aya

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Bit of a segue, but I am heading over to Japan in Spring-Summer next year, spending most of my time in Sapporo attending a language school for us gaijin (foreigner), and atleast a week in Hiroshima. I guess this question is directed at Aya, but I suppose any of you who have been before might know of any interesting places to visit in either of the two cities/prefectures?
You will be attending in a language school in Spring, so I’m assuming you are travelling to Hokkaido and Hiroshima somewhere towards the end of June or in July?

Maybe (or maybe not), some suggestions might be a bit ‘touristy’ for you. Nevertheless, these are the places I recommend to people, visiting Hiroshima for the first time:

HIROSHIMA

If you visit Hiroshima, you cannot miss Miyajima island. You can take JR to Miyajimaguchi-station, walk 10min. to get to the ferry terminal, and then take a ferry to the island.

Most people go to Miyajima island to see Itsukushima shrine, but there is also an old shrine right next to pagoda called “Senjokaku” or “the hall of one thousand tatami mats”. Not many people go there and pass-by, so be sure to drop by to look at the wooden structure: it’s a quiet and spacious old shrine. Itsukushima is a sacred place and the entire area got a good vibe and positive spiritual energy. You can also take a ropeway up to the mountain called “Misen mountain”. From there, you can see the entire view of Hiroshima Bay. Again, many people skip this mountain part. If you want to be adventurous, there is a trekking course, too. You can spend an entire day there; there are souvenir shops, aquarium, and deer walking around (you will see them). The tourist information is right at the ferry terminal, when you get off the ferry, you can stop there first.

◆Itsukushima shrine on Miyajima Island


The old shrine is made of wood and built in water.


◆Senjokaku (the hall of one thousand tatami mats)


Another place you might like to visit is “Sandan-kyo gorge” There are direct shuttle buses going from Hiroshima Bus Centre to there. I think Sandan-kyo would be green and beautiful in the summer. You can walk around the valley to see waterfalls; you can take a ferry boat ride to go through narrow passage through the rocks. Also, there is a place you can take a hot spring and look around for souvenir after trekking.

◆Sandan-kyo
 

Aya

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I don’t know if you like cats, but if you do “Onomichi” is another place I recommend. You can take JR to Onomichi station. When you get off a train, you will see the tourist information right by the station. Most people take ropeway (one-way ticket) to go to "Senkoji temple park" to look at the scenery of small islands in the Seto Inland sea, then walk along the "narrow cat trail” to go down. There are few museums in the area, if you are into art. Some people go for cycling on Shimanami expressway – 70km bike route.

◆The narrow cat trail


Goodluck cat stones


Onomichi cat


If you are lucky, you will see a whole bunch of them...!


While I was looking for pictures, I found the picture of a black cat trying to get into the cat museum. So, funny!


◆Shimanami Expressway


Other than that, it depends on how active you are, what kind of interests you have, and what your budget would be like etc., there are plenty of things you can do there. There is a famous historic site called Kurashiki, you can go there by JR. It’s in Okayama prefecture. In addition, you might be able to catch a summer festival somewhere in the city, if you are going there in summer.

◆Kurashiki


As for food, Hiroshima is famous for oysters, Hiroshima lemon, Hiroshima Okonomiyaki (not gluten free), and a popular souvenir sweet of Hiroshima called Momiji Manju (not gluten free), in case you are interested: here and here.
 

Aya

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HOKKAIDO

You can’t go wrong with trips inside of Hokkaido, so I don’t think you need my suggestion so much. It would be better to leave your plan open and flexible, so that you will have a plenty of time gathering local information while you are in the language school. I’m sure you will get some ideas where to go, and how to plan your trip by networking with friends in school. Maybe you will have opportunities to talk to locals, too!

Sakura (cherry blossom) season in Hokkaido is around the first week of May, during the Golden week in Japan. Goryokaku’s sakura (The star-shaped fortress in Hakodade) is the most famous one in Hokkaido, if you have time to visit by any chance.

◆Goryokaku’s sakura


Also, people from around the world come to visit Furano and Biei in Hokkaido in the summer. If you decide to go, it’s probably best to book bus tickets one month in advance. There are shuttle buses going from Sapporo Bus Center, you can do a day tour going to both places.

◆Lavender Farm in Furano


◆Flower Patchwork in Biei


I hope this helps!!
 

Yupo

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FOTCM Member
Is it just me or do the Japanese, generally speaking, tend to go to extremes in terms of their attitudes. For example, I have always admired the Japanese craftsmanship and when it comes to cars, the average hobbyist over there put "enthusiasts" in other countries to shame. I can really sense that most Japanese people really do devote their heart and soul into whatever they do; then you have these "hermits" who are spending the majority of their lives imprisoning themselves.

Or, could it also be to do with how the media portray and perhaps exagerrate the situations, just for that shock value so more people are bound to watch the documentaries for entertainment, as opposed to awareness and education.

Bit of a segue, but I am heading over to Japan in Spring-Summer next year, spending most of my time in Sapporo attending a language school for us gaijin (foreigner), and atleast a week in Hiroshima. I guess this question is directed at Aya, but I suppose any of you who have been before might know of any interesting places to visit in either of the two cities/prefectures?
Yes, the hobbyists are really over-the top! Whatever your craft, I recommend investing in a Japanese manual for the same craft, with illustrations for an example of how much better it can be. Examples for me have been books on machine knitting, basket weaving, handbag making and dress pattern drafting. You'll figure it all out without the language. Highly inspiring! Very intelligent, creative and diligent people, based on such attention to detail as I've seen with all this.
 

Kireto

The Force is Strong With This One
You will be attending in a language school in Spring, so I’m assuming you are travelling to Hokkaido and Hiroshima somewhere towards the end of June or in July?
Yes, I will be attending during the term that spans from April till end of June.

Itsukushima shrine on Miyajima Island
I actually visited Miyajima Island in 2017! It was a really cool place and the Torii gate standing in the water was something else! Was very hot though, and I remember being welcomed off the ferry by deer who ripped the map out of my hand with its teeth :'D Here's my blog recounting my highlights of that trip! Japanese Dream: Another Trip to Tokyo, and Beyond

Sandan-kyo
Is this place known as a "powerspot" by the Japanese? If I remember correctly I have seen this on NHK World TV channel. I will definitely visit.

Kurashiki
Looks interesting, I never visited an old town on my previous visits, even in Kyoto.

Goryokaku’s sakura
This looks amazing, funny enough I just saw this photo in a travel guide I saw in a bookshop today.

Flower Patchwork in Biei
Beautiful, I hope to go and visit this also!

Thank you for the informative response, Aya! Atleast now I won't be wandering around aimlessly the whole trip :')
 
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