Awaji Island

Ferris WheelAwaji Island is across the Akashi Bridge from Kobe and it was the last place I visited in Japan. It is a great day trip, but in a typical fashion, I only had a few hours before I had to pack and leave for the airport.

Just driving around the island was great. The island is made up of rolling hills and mountains, so just driving around is a lot of fun, because you can see a lot. When you first drive over the bridge, you can see the ferris wheel. As you drive on the highway, you pass different towns or just small settlements of the island. You can also see different beaches and even fishermen’s nets set up in the ocean.

 

We drove down to the southern part of the island until we reached the town Sumoto. There we got off the highway and stopped in park for a short walk. Or what we originally thought was going to be a short walk. It ended up being more of a hike that took about two hours. So my tip is bring comfortable shoes! You really never know when you will find yourself on a hike :D!Hiking

The hike was definitely worth it! There were a couple of stops along the way to the top with viewpoints, where we took lots and lots of pictures. When we finally made it to the top, we loved it! Whatever despair or regrets about our choices of shoes we may have felt, it was all worth it when we got to the top. The view was phenomenal! We could see Sumoto on one side and the ocean on the other side of the hill.

IMG_8336So, after taking copious amount of photos, we had to head back down. At this point very thirsty and craving coffee. Since we didn’t really expect a hike, we didn’t bring any water so, my second tip is bring water wherever you go! Again, you just never know when you will want to go on a hike!

Lockers for shoes in RestaurantWe got back down in about 45 minutes and we were starving! Luckily we passed a Yakiniku restaurant on our way there in Sumoto, so all we needed to do was find it. And I’m glad that we did, because we order lots and lots of delicious food, that I still have dreams about! The restaurant is called Tenzankaku, and I really recommend it, because you depending on which set you order, you can eat as much as you want, there is a time limit to what you can eat, rather than the amount of food. Bottomless drinks and ice cream are included! So if you are in that area, definitely go to this restaurant! This is a restaurant where you have to take your shoes off and leave them in little lockers by the door, so just keep that in mind.

On our way back we stopped by the ferris wheel. Obviously, if you are afraid of the heights, don’t go, because it goes very high. But if you aren’t and you love things like this, like I do, the view is so worth it! From the ferris wheel you can see the Akashi Bridge and Kobe/Osaka on the other side of the Akashi Strait. Even if you are afraid of heights, it is a good place to stop. You still get an amazing view of the cities and the bridge from the ground! Also there’s Starbucks right under the ferris wheel, so it is a great spot for a coffee break.Akashi Bridge

Awaji Island was the last place I visited. I wish I could’ve seen more of it, because there are a lot of things to see there, like various Shrines and Castles, beaches and gardens. Definitely go if you get the chance, and let me know what the places I didn’t get to visit are like!


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Japan

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Japan

Some people might think that I’m a little crazy for traveling halfway across the world for one week. And maybe I am, but it was so worth the 58 hours spent on an airplane. I absolutely loved Japan. The Kansai region of Japan is absolutely beautiful. During my stay in Kobe, I visited several places around the city, like the Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, Kyoto, the Himeji castle and other places. Here is a short description of my experiences from each place, but click through each location to learn more!

Universal Studios Japan

This was the first place I visited in Japan. That might seem a little odd, but it was definitely a fun place to go. Luckily we got some express passes, so we didn’t have to spend most of the day waiting in different lines for the rides. We went to all the big rides that were open that day (sadly, Jaws was closed for maintenance and Jurassic World didn’t open for another two weeks), everything from Hollywood Dream to the Spiderman Ride, the Terminator show (which was in Japanese), to Harry Potter the Forbidden Journey. It was all so much fun and they are building more rides, that are opening this year! So it is definitely worth a visit!

 

Kyoto

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Kyoto is about an hour and half car ride from Kobe. We were there only for half a day, so we were very restricted and didn’t manage to see all that we wanted to, like the Imperial Palace. We did go on a tour of the Sento Imperial gardens, which was beautiful, and then we walked around the city a little. You could spend hours just walking through the center of the city or just along the river, because there’s something to see on every corner.

 

Himeji

View from Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle was built in the 14th century. It is a beautiful castle and definitely worth walking through. However, just so you know, you have to take your shoes off when entering the castle. You get a plastic bag for your shoes and slippers to wear inside. Also, a little bit of a warning, there is a lot of stairs, so be prepared to climb up five floors. At the top you will be rewarded with an amazing view of the city.

When you are visiting the Himeji Castle, make sure you also go to Koko-en gardens that you can just walk through. There is a tea room in one of the gardens, where you can go to a tea ceremony.

 

 

 

Mt. Rokko

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From the top of Mount Rokko you can see all of Kobe and Osaka, so I recommend you either drive up there or take the cable car up. There are multiple places you can go to including the botanical gardens, music box museum and the observatory. By the observatory you can either grab lunch at the buffet style restaurant or you can go to a Korean BBQ.

 

Arima

We went to Arima for about an hour and a half after our trip up Mt. Rokko. It is an adorable little town with hot springs. We just walked around for a little bit, saw one of the big temples in the town and even put our feet into the hot spring outside, which felt great in the cold weather.

 

Awaji IslandFerris Wheel

There are so many places you can visit on the island that I did not have time to see. We did go on a short hike up Kannojiyama, for lunch in Sumoto and we even made it to the ferris wheel, with a view of the Akashi bridge. I wish we had more time to see everything, well hopefully next time.

 

My nine day trip to Japan was a lot of fun, even though it was short. I have a long list of things I still want to see, so hopefully next time. Here are some quick tips for when you go to Japan:

 

TIP 1: bring cash! In a lot of places you won’t be able to pay with a card so make sure you have cash!

TIP 2: Google Translate and Google Maps on your phone are a necessity!

 

Hope this helps! Click through each location to find out more about each trip and see more photos. Come back for more detailed stories from my trip! 


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