Hello965friends: Yamanouchi, Japan

By @Almallaks

Why we chose this city: This city in particular would be great in the winter (even though it was cold when we went). We wanted to see the hot springs and also, the monkeys! Yessssss.

 

Duration: One night.

 

Where we stayed:We stayed at the Shibu Hotel. Although we liked the hotel, we actually wanted to get a very Japanese experience with sleeping on the floor in a traditional Japanese way. The hotel wasn’t like that, but it was still a nice cozy place.

  • Things to do/see in Yamanouchi:
    • You can walk around the small mountain town in traditional Japanese robes (yes walk around outside in it!) with its small shops and of course the main attraction: bath-houses. We really couldn’t muster up the courage to go to the public baths, but we did try the outdoor foot-baths, which are filled by the flowing hot spring water! Very cool experience.

       

    • Monkey Park. It is exactly as it sounds. The hotel was nice enough to arrange for transportation to the location meeting point. But then we had to walk for around 20 minutes to get to the park. It was a gorgeous setting for a walk so we really didn’t mind. And you get to see the monkeys in their natural habitat and even taking baths in the hot spring water! So cute.20140401_104812(0)
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  • Food in Yamanouchi:
    • The best thing about our hotel was that it gave us the chance to experience traditional Japanese meals, which were prepared for us in a private room where we sat on the floor!20140401_081145
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    • 20140331_175957

After all this, we went back to Tokyo for a few nights before heading back home to Kuwait. Do you see why we took as little luggage as we did?

 

Some random information:

  • The Japanese do not accept tips. Don’t know why, it’s a thing.
  • If you’re having your morning coffee and walking around. It could be very hard to find a trash-can. They are mainly next to the vending machines and convenient stores.
  • If you ever take a bus, which in Tokyo you probably won’t, you pay as you leave the bus not when you get on. We had to take one in Kanazawa.
  • If you ever take a cab, the doors open and close automatically!
  • Whenever you go to a store, at the cashier, they will always have a small tray. So when they tell you the total, don’t hand them the money, put it on the tray and they will take it.
  • We recommend japan-guide.com for sightseeing tips and highlights.

You know, I think we’ve been very specific with our cities and what we want to get out of each one, which was really great to have on such a trip. We got to experience different cities each with its own flavor. This is what we recommend you do to plan your own trip. Research all the cities and what their known for and see what interests you, then plan your route!

 

This was really a trip of a lifetime for us. It was completely different than anything we’ve ever done and it hands down one of the most amazing trips we’ve ever taken. Unforgettable.

 

We highly recommend visiting this beautiful country. But do advise to keep an open mind. It can get frustrating at times especially when you’re lost and trying to communicate or get directions, but it really is all part of the experience. Also, don’t worry about the food so much. There are plenty of non-Japanese options. You will not starve.

 

Happy planning!

@Almallaks

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