What a roller coaster month! With all the planning and prepping my voyage home, it may feel a bit like the last weeks in Japan were an afterthought. But not so! It has been an incredible month with kimonos and castles, hells and heavenly gardens, memories of war and soothing dunes and colorful wisteria.
This post ends a few days early, fitting in the end of my Japan travels and the ferry to Shanghai, and leaving the week spent in China in preparation for my final container ship trip to the next monthly review. Without further ado, the review!
Best of the best
Getting the Chinese visa and booking the next container ship from Ningbo to Spain. After thinking I wouldn’t be able to complete my world tour without flying, it was such a relief to find a way to do so.
And the opportunity to go home on another container ship just thrills me to bits! Almost four weeks of rest, writing, the ocean, and meals and accommodation I didn’t have to book sounds just perfect to me!
And of course I had the great good fortune to visit some amazing places! Kyoto was perhaps my favorite, just so much to see and do in that wonderful city. I was quite happy to spend some extra days there while I waited for the Chinese visa.
Well, that sucked
The moment when I thought it wouldn’t work out. I had gotten only a tourist visa for China and heard from CMA CGM that my original boarding port, Yantian, wouldn’t allow me to board with that visa. Luckily CMA CGM came up with the option of boarding in Ningbo where a tourist visa was just fine. Voyage home saved! There are two posts on the way about the prepping phase for my home voyage, so watch this space!
The gear is pretty stable at this point. The only replacement was when my reading glasses gave up the ghost, and I bought a new pair in Himeji.
I’m quite pleased and a little surprised how well I have kept up with my writing. I usually sort through my photos every evening and select the ones that get uploaded to Flickr. That means that when it’s time for another post, the heavy lifting is already done. All I have to do is check my photos, write the post and select the few that go into the main post. When you take as many photos as I do, it’s the photo sorting that takes the time.
Traveling in Japan is the best! The trains are frequent, fast, reliable, safe, clean, easy to book and especially on the Shinkansen trains, have the nicest toilets on any form of transport I have ever experienced. The trains are not particularly cheap, but they are supremely comfortable. I usually didn’t even bother booking my transport in advance, as the trains were so frequent, that there was always space, even though I bought a ticket without seat reservation. The only time I booked trains was during the Golden Week, when accommodation was fully booked so I thought it prudent. Needn’t have worried, there was still plenty space. However, I was taking short hops between less popular destinations, but trips between e.g. Kyoto and Tokyo would have been vital to book in advance during that time.
Not only is traveling super easy and comfortable, but Japan is full of fantastic destinations, the hostels and dormitories are the best in the world, and the people are hands down the nicest I have ever met. All dormitory beds have reading lights and charging stations, yes, right there in your bed. Most bunk beds have privacy curtains, many hostels have women only dormitories, and mattresses are thick and comfy.
Shared toilets are squeaky clean and usually of the all-dancing-all-singing toilets with bidets and bum washes and heated toilet seats. Receptionists usually speak good enough English and are super helpful to guide you to the best ways of getting where you want to go. Even though I prefer private rooms, if you have to stay in hostels, Japan is the best country for it.
It is no wonder that Japan shot to my personal “best travel countries in the world” – list.