Japan is and will always be close to my heart because it is here that I discovered that there are some beautiful people who are half my age who love me for just as I am and it was another point in my life where I had to stop and reflect on life’s gift of friendship. I will always treasure the friends I made here. Taking me out for dinner or introducing me to the 100 yen bakery, including me in sightseeing trips…if you are reading this, you know who you are!

For a girl who has not stopped dreaming, a trip to Japan was a dream come true! Travelling solo, I remember being anxious boarding the flight from Heathrow to Helsinki , then onward to Osaka, filled with emotions, thinking of what life would have in-store for me for the next five months in Hirakata. Arriving in Osaka Airport, I was overwhelmed with the huge crowd and the long queues going through the immigration gates, but to my surprise, there were so many immigration officials dotted around the floor that we got through in no time at all. What struck me the most, was their professionalism and respect for Rules! Everything they did was so systematic, so orderly and one is hushed along so quickly and politely. As I walked along to meet my awaiting taxi, my thoughts returned to my anticipated journey to Hirakata, ‘home’ for the next 5 months, and I had plenty of time to learn of their culture and their Rules.

Hirakata is a city situated in the north-eastern of Osaka Prefecture, in Kansai region of the Honshu Island. It has an estimated population of little over 400,000.  I chose Hirakata because it is within proximity to Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Uji and Nara, which were the main places I wanted to visit, all within half-an-hour to two hours of journey time. Hirakata is served mainly by the Keihan Line, and I soon noticed that the trains arrived spot-on time, every-time!

Prior to my journey though, I had already researched the places I wanted to visit and costed out the journey as I was on a strict budget. Everyone who plans a journey to Japan will already have their list of places to visit with their starred favourites! Mine were Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Uji, Hiroshima, Tokyo and Mount Fuji. I hope my perspective will help you plan and enjoy your trips just as much as I have, if not more. I welcome you to read my adventures in Japan, a beautiful country that is full of life, a centre for technology buffs and a land that preserves its national and cultural heritage. Enjoy reading the following by clicking on the link:

Kyoto – the top 5 must see places! Kyoto – Top 5 MUST see places

Kyoto’s Markets – A must go! A must see! A must buy! Trip!

Nara – A day trip to Nara

Uji – A day trip to Uji

Osaka [Coming soon]

Hiroshima – A 2-day itinerary to Hiroshima

Tokyo –  How to make the Best of 3 days in Tokyo

Mount Fuji