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travel notes: japan


I recently got back from a 2 week trip in Japan. I really wasn't sure what to expect, but any expectations I had were exceeded in the most positive way. I was genuinely surprised at how much I liked it.

There were some things I knew to expect, but were pretty shocking to see in person. Probably one of the silliest of these (but also one of my favorites) was the absolute prevalence of anime/game character branding on every possible surface/medium. You would think there was some sort of mandate for every store to have some life-size cardboard cutout of an anime character. Seriously. By far the most popular was Satoru Gojo, I saw these 3 of him alone within the span of 2 days.

rip gojo-sensei, you will be missed
Shrines and temples were also everywhere, especially in Kyoto. Despite having a bit of burnout when it came to braving the dense crowds of tourists in the city, it was a lot of fun to make the trek up to Mt. Inari and make a wish at the top.
fushimi inari shrine in kyoto
Another really pleasant surprise was the means of transportations. I was aware of the near-legendary status of Japanese trains, from the subwsays to the shinkansen, but I also had great fun taking a mini-cruise to Yakushima island, and the bus while I was there.

The "ferry" to Yakushima was complete with a large observation deck, a noodle restauaunt, multiple seating areas, a mini-aquarium with baby sea turtle, and a manga library! And this was the "cheapo" option (compared to the speedy hydrofoil boat that's twice the price, I took it on the way back and was not quite as delighted, though it was indeed faster).
all aboard the yaku ferry!
The view from the bus was even more spectacular: