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Hajimemashite, Japan (Wrap-Up) Posted by on Dec 11, 2012 in Culture, Holidays, Travel

It’s been my pleasure to share my stories, pictures, and videos from my two trips to Japan with the readers of this blog over the past few months. Unfortunately, I’m fresh out of all of the above. Seeing as how I haven’t seen much of the Land of the Rising Sun beyond the capital city of Tokyo, I’ll just have to go back again. Hopefully next time I’ll have more than a week, as there’s so much more of Japan that I’d love to explore. In case you’ve missed out on some of the posts I’ve made, here’s a recap:

  • Introduction: The first post in my series here on Transparent Japanese, this post introduces my two trips to Japan and gives a basic rundown of everything.

Tokyo's night scene from above.

  • Temple Hopping: Check out some of Tokyo’s most famous temples – Senso-ji and the Meiji Shrine – in this post.

Inside of the Meiji Shrine.

  • Tokyo Wards: Tokyo is actually a bunch of small cities within a massive city. Learn about the details of this mega-metropolis and some of the most notable wards here.

The madness of Shibuya.

  • Sumo: Sumo wrestling is Japan’s national sport, and you can catch a huge tournament in Tokyo three times a year. Thankfully, we were fortunate enough to see an afternoon of it on our last trip.

Sumo mural outside of the tournament.

  • Sushi and Fish Market: If sumo is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Japan, sushi is probably the second. This post teaches about the history of sushi and explores the hectic Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.

A tasty plate of raw fish and rice.

  • Hakone Intro: There’s more to Japan than Tokyo, and we were fortunate enough to get out to explore the country a little bit with a trip to Hakone, a mountainous area a few hours from the capital.

Stunning scenery of Hakone.

  • Ryokan: In Hakone and many other areas of Japan, you have the option of staying in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese style inn. Learn about the history and traditions of these uniquely Japanese accommodations here.

Inside a traditional Japanese ryokan.

  • Onsen: One of the main draws for Hakone (and many other tourist destinations in Japan, for that matter) are onsens – natural hot springs. This post introduces this important part of Japanese culture.

Green tea hot tub at Yunnesun in Hakone.

  • Hakone Sightseeing: In Hakone, you can buy a “free pass” that grants you access to the cable car, buses, ropeway, and even a pirate ship. There’s plenty to see out there, so all of these transport options come in handy. Take a brief tour of Hakone in this post.


Cruise around Hakone on a pirate ship.

If reading isn’t your thing, and you’d rather watch a video, you can check out all of my travel videos on our YouTube channel. Here’s my personal favorite of the handful of videos that I made, which highlights the ryokan where we stayed in Hakone, along with the incredibly cool onsen themed water park:


Although both of my trips to Japan were far too short, they were both incredible experiences. I’ll never forget how amazed I was the first time I visited Tokyo – how such a massive, crowded metropolis could be so clean and efficient, and how the people could be so friendly and helpful. On my second trip to Japan, I was enchanted by the natural beauty of Hakone and the hospitality of the ryokan owners who, despite our language barrier, did their best to make us feel right at home. From the insanely busy streets of Shibuya, to the peaceful calm of an outdoor onsen, to the raucous sumo tournament, to the tranquil temples, I enjoyed every minute of my stays in Japan. A big thanks is in order to the wonderful people of Japan for being so hospitable to us, Transparent Language for giving me the chance to share my experiences here, and last but not least, all of you, our dedicated readers. In case you didn’t already know, you can follow us on both Facebook and Twitter, where you can learn new Japanese words, check out interesting links, or post your own questions and comments. Hopefully I’ll be back on this page sooner than later with more tales and videos from Japan, but until then, you can always find me over on the Chinese blog. Until next time, ありがとう!


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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


  1. chris:

    Wow sensei I learnt lots of religious things about temples and shrines