Caitlin has already talked about what she’s most looking forward to in Japan. What about me? The whole experience is going to be amazing, but even so there are some parts I’m especially looking forwards to.
You can be sure that after we’re back and have recovered and digested, we’ll report back on if things stayed true to our expectations, or if we had unexpected stand-outs. For now, though, what’s at the top of my list?
- Naoshima. Coming from an art family, being surrounded by sculptures and having a sizable part of of my family’s home devoted to music and woodwork were… normal. It was more surprising to learn that my friends’ homes weren’t overflowing miniature galleries! So, the opportunity to actually stay in an art gallery, on an island of art exhibits and pieces scattered like creative Easter eggs. Knowing that we’ve also decided to splurge on a couple really special meals at Benesse House’s restaurants certainly helps whet my appetite too!
- Takayama. Every travel book I’ve read casts urban areas (Tokyo especially) as places of constant self-reinvention. So the chance to stay in a traditional ryokan inn in the mountains and see not just one but two museum villages – one of them an actual inhabited town with open-house buildings – is a window into history I’m really excited about.
- Tokyo. It’s the largest city in the world; covering almost 2,200 square km and home to almost 14 million people (about half again larger in both measures than New York City), Tokyo is seemingly built out of superlatives. We’ve booked some very traditional experiences – from pottery to cabaret to swordplay, and are looking forward to seeing the grounds of the Imperial Palace and famous shrines. Yet, at the same time we’re excited about the side of Tokyo that’s the world capital of geek culture, robots, electronics, French maid-catered cafes, cyberpunk dystopian street markets, bold-coloured full-size Eiffel Tower replicas, meme-inspired pop-up shops… yeah. It’s less about what I’m excited for in Toyko in particular, and more the chance to simply dive in and explore.
I’m also excited about the temples of Kyoto, the deer of Nara-koen, the aquarium on Okinawa… we wouldn’t have picked any of these places if we weren’t excited by them! But these are the ones I’m anticipating the most.