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Old 06-13-2005, 05:17 PM   #1
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Well some of you know I will be going to Japan in August for at least 4 months or so, I will be living in Hirakata City, which is in Kansai, roughly right between Oosaka and Kyoto. I dont know if anyone has any reccomendations for must see things in this area I have a short list from someone I know who already did the program but I trust you guys taste if you have any or for that matter anywhere in Japan. Thanks
Kyle
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Old 06-14-2005, 03:39 AM   #2
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I just met a girl from Japan last night, and we had a great chat about all the things we missed, like, etc. Anyway, there's a million things to see and do in Kansai, but if you get a chance to head up north to the Tohoku region, you'll be rewarded with traditional rural Japan, and some truly stunning scenery. I'm not sure if the shinkansen is running up to Aomori yet, but if not, you can take it to Sendai and then switch to the local trains. Morioka is a great place, but I'm fond of Aomori prefecture. Akita has a great lantern festival (in August, I believe) and the nebuta and neputa festivals in Aomori are spectacular. (Also in August, I believe.) Hirosaki has a lovely castle, though it's more famous for cherry blossoms in the spring. To get out into the countryside, travel to Oirase Gorge, a beautiful mountain walk, with a huge lake (you can take a boat trip if you want) and a stream running through the mountains. Lovely and a nice cool break from summer heat. There's also a fantastic onsen resort there, Oirase Gorge Resort, I think it's called.

It's also nice to get to the Pacific Coast there, swimming is dangerous because of the undertow, but the black sand is toasty warm and it's soul music for those who like the ocean. You can sometimes find glass fishing floats washed up on the shore. For a different coastal experience, head west to Mutsu Bay which is more sheltered and better for swimming. There are some wrecks on the beach somewhere, but are tricky to find. You can also head all the way to the northeasternmost point (on the top of the "hatchet" as it's called) and see the wild horses that live near the lighthouse there.

Since you've made it that far, hop on a ferry to Hokkaido, and check out Hakodate, which was the first trading post that Perry was able to force Japan to open in the 18th C. It's a bizarre combination of all the cultures that influenced the place - 18th C. "western", Russian and of course Japanese. Another possibility is to go see the snow monkeys (though I found it depressing, as it's more or less a cage, rather than a wildlife preserve. But they are the northernmost monkey species in the world, so interesting in that regard.

A trip up north will give you insight in a Japan that those who only see the south could never imagine! Have fun! I'm jealous.
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Old 06-14-2005, 08:14 AM   #3
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Thanks thats the kind of stuff I was looking for, How long were you in japan and for what reason? Where all did you go as well if you dont mind, Awesome thanks again
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Old 06-15-2005, 05:00 AM   #4
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Hi Kyle,

My husband was stationed in northern Japan for three years, so we had plenty of time to explore the region (as you can see from my last post!) Mostly we stayed up north, because of time/cost to travel down south (with three kids, these things add up). I would just pile everyone in the car and drive around to all the little villages to see what was up there. In the summer there was a festival almost every day, so it was usually pretty colourful, even the tiny little places decked out the streets. Though obviously the best shows were in the big places. Besides the north and Hakodate in Hokkaido, I also had a brief trip to Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo, as well as a week or so on Okinawa. The latter has quite a different culture from mainland Japan, and is really a beautiful and fascinating place to visit.
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