My second trip to Japan starts now! My first trip was nice, but as you can already guess, it was not enough!
I’m taking a week off to properly visit some of the areas I did not have the time to go to last time. This includes Nara, Hiroshima, Miyajima & Osaka!
Japan is very beautiful and it’s worth showing its beauty to the world. As usual, I will be sharing some highlights of my trip in a “video log” kind of format! I hope you will enjoy the videos! Of course, I will also post pictures!
Chapter 1: Tokyo Game Show 2018
My first stop is a little visit to the Tokyo Game Show! As a video game person, I had to be there again this year knowing that some of my favorite games are going to be showcased there! Basically, this is Japan’s E3 and the place to be for gamers, and let me tell you, our Japanese friends are real fans of games!
Once again, TGS takes place at Makuhari Messe in Chiba this year. Public days are from Saturday to Sunday. I went to both days because I had a lot of things to see!
To get there from Tokyo, we need to take 2 trains. The trains are always on time! We stop at Kaihimmakuhari station and make our way to the convention center. When we enter the site, there is already a bunch of activities and stuff to see! The entry to the show itself is very clear thanks to the staff members. I’ve arrived early and there were already a lot of people!
Once inside, I’ve headed straight to the Capcom booth. This year, the company was showcasing Resident Evil 2 Remake, Devil May Cry 5 & Mega Man 11. I got some pretty sweet swag! There was also a special DMC5 presentation with producer Matt Walker and game director Hideaki Itsuno. I even got a picture with Itsuno and he complimented my T-shirt (which was obviously not intended, ahem)! Dante’s voice actor, Reuben Langdon, even made a special guest appearance! This party’s getting crazy!
After that, I went to see all of the booths! The most impressive one was definitely the PlayStation one! They let us go inside and there were many many games that we could try out. I mostly stood back and took footage of the games as it was permitted. Good guys Sony win this year!
Other activities there are obviously the merchandise area where you buy souvenirs. I got myself a few Tokyo Game show T-shirts! There’s also an Indie Game Area where you can try out a bunch of very interesting games! Monster Boy was there and it looks amazing! Also, big shoutouts to the cosplayers, some of them were amazing!
So that was it for Tokyo Game Show this year. I’d love to come back next year as it’s always a fun experience!
Next stop: Nara with its beautiful deer garden and even more! Stay tuned! 🦌
Side Quest: Tokyo
Turns out I’ve found a branching path in my quest!
No, but seriously, I’ve already covered most of Tokyo in one of my previous videos (a 30-minutes one at that!), but since there is so much to do in a day other than the Tokyo Game Show I decided to take the time to go discover and even rediscover some parts of Tokyo!
As usual, the best way to visit the city is to use the Yamanote train line, which goes around most of the interesting prefectures/areas that you’d want to visit. I do revisit places like Akihabara, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Harajuku and Shibuya, but there’s a twist: instead of being night time, it’s day time (or vise versa)! Wow, now that’s novelty right? I did what I could with the time I had! 🤣
Important thing to note: September 23rd was Automnal Equinox Day in Japan and it is a national holiday. This means a lot of the shops were either closed as people had the day off. This also means there were a lot more people than usual walking around the tourist areas! I decided to walk to my destinations as much as possible to see the city anyways.
In Akihabara, I had to revisit Super Potato. I self-labelled it as “Japan’s GameStop” and got told hard by Benjamin Goulet that it isn’t. So anyways, I bought a Sega Saturn game that I’ve wanted for a long time and it was super cheap too! Yay for no shipping costs I guess (no but seriously it was reallllly cheap)!
If you’ve never been to Ikebukuro, it’s like living in an underground maze! Turns out it’s also, or probably, the biggest grocery store out there! I’ve tried a bunch of food in there. Halloween is coming soon and there were lots of thematic sweets, pastries and cookies to try out.
In Shinjuku, I mostly do sightseeing. Seeing it at day feels very different. I’m glad I took the time to walk around the place! I do revisit the Metropolitan Government Building to get a nice view of Tokyo. This visit is free and all you have to do is go to the building for the observatory tour.
OK, now for the most important part of this quest: this time, it was a Sunday, and I did NOT miss cosplayers at Takeshita street in Harajuku! I’ll be honest though, I could not recognize a single character some were trying to portray! Harajuku is also a place to set trends, so maybe it was just that after all! 👍
To finish the day, I go to Shibuya and take some nice pictures of the Shibuya scramble, the busiest 5-way crossing in the world. I went to my usual favorite café to enjoy the view (and the meals obviously!).
That’s it for the “side trip.” Very little shrines and touristic spots were covered, but I hope you will still enjoy this revisit of the city!
If you’re interested, here’s a link to the other video ▶️ https://www.facebook.com/KEURQUE/videos/1301982123244952/?story_fbid=1301982123244952&id=1111294308980402
Chapter 2: Nara
Continuing where I left off, my next destination was the city of Nara. It is known as the city where animals are king, especially deers! I’ve stayed in Nara for two days!
I had to be there on the 24th! Four events were happening at the same time! The first one being the C’Festa, Nara’s annual food festival. There was also the Nara Film Festival (not covered in this video), where they had outdoor screenings. After that, the Japan Coffee Festival where you could taste coffee from different brewers across Japan! The most impressive one was the Uneme Festival, which is a yearly festival where they celebrate Uneme who was a court lady who served the emperor in Nara during the Nara period. The Hana Ogi (flower and fan) dedication parade holds place first. Then two Kangen Boats (Ryuto and Gekishu), on which the Hana Ogi, the Hana Ogi Envoy, Miss Uneme, and Miss Nara ride, go around amidst the 40 lanterns on Sarusawa Pond. It is an elegant event, though I did not stay until the end!
What was next was a pleasant time: Nara Park, aka Deer Garden, is exactly as I’ve expected it to be: there are deers everywhere! I got to feed one of them and they were very gentle. I could also pet them! They are living animals, so you had to respect them too.
The last thing I did was climb Mt. Wakakusa. It is a 2.5 km walk to the top and can be reached along the main road where Nara Park is. If you reach the top, you get rewarded with a nice view of Nara city along with a possibility encountering couples trying to take pictures with deer!
Finally, the place I’ve stayed at is probably the most beautiful and traditional Japanese place I’ve seen yet! It was a traditional tatami style house with a garden in the middle of it all. Family live there usually. Toshiyo, her husband, her mother and even both of her kids were superb hosts and I will always remember them!
Next destination: Hiroshima! ⛩️
Side Quest: Ikaruga
On my way to Hiroshima, I’ve found this little town called Ikaruga. Yes, it’s named liked that one shooting game that I really love to play! It is the only time during my trip that I’ve decided to really take the time to visit a few temples and this town is filled with some very old ones!
The first temple that I visit is called Horyugi. The main temple was in construction when I visited, but there were still a few nice things to see, especially the pagoda! The temple itself was huge! I lost myself in the huge empty corridors. There were also a lot of little gates where you could peek inside and find amazing gardens!
On my way out, I’ve found another temple called Horinji. I did not visit this one, but took the time to take a few shoots of the pagoda on my way to Hõkiji temple!
While I was walking around, I’ve noticed a little entrance to a “secret” shrine. I decided to take a look and walk up the stairs. Many statues and lanterns were there and it seems like people go pray to this place every day.
The main temple in Ikaruga is Hõkiji temple. It is one of the oldest temples in Japan, with structures dating from the Asuka period! To enter, you need to pay 100 yen, but once inside you find a three-storied pagoda and some very very old structures! It was a magnificent sight.
That’s it for my little excursion in Ikaruga. I hope you’ll like the video and photos!
Thanks for watching! 🤗
Chapter 3: Hiroshima
I have finally reached Hiroshima. I’ve waited a whole year for this! This was the most emotional moment of my whole trip. Years of history were showered at me at every moment, it was really hard to take it all in at once! I’m glad I got to see all of it with my own eyes!
The first area I visit is the Hiroshima Peace Park area. Many structures from the atomic bomb were destroyed, but the Atomic Bomb Dome still remains. It was an incredible sight to see, with rubbles still lying on the ground.
After that, I make my way to the Children’s Peace Monument. This statue acts as a symbol for a peaceful future. Next to it is the Flame of Peace. This flame will continue to burn until all nuclear bombs have disappeared from the earth. People pray and drop flowers at the cenotaph for the A-bomb victims every day. The Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims is also close to this structure.
From the park, I decide to take a boat to Miyajima through the world heritage route. You can see many old roads that are still up even after the A-bomb dropped.
When I got to Miyajima, I went straight to the Itsukushima Shrine’s torii gate. Usually, during low tide, you can walk to the gate. I was lucky and catched it during the medium-to-low tide. I got to walk close to the gate itself. There was water up to my knees and then it seemed as if it all just disappeared at one point! Words cannot describe the feeling, if you get the chance it is truly an experience to do at least once in a lifetime!
Another great activity to do at Miyajima is climbing Mt. Misen. Let me tell you, the climb up was a lot rougher compared to Mt. Wakakusa! The reward is that you get an incredible view of Miyajima and Hiroshima from the top!
Hiroshima was probably the most emotional place I’ve visited in Japan. Just watching the video again made me shed a few tears, not going to lie! Let me know what you think!
Final stop: Osaka, the water city!
Final Chapter: Osaka
My final destination for this trip was Osaka, the water city! Surrounded by a bay area and famous for having the biggest aquarium in the world, there is clearly a water thematic going on here! For some reason, I always end up there during my last day in Japan! Unlike last year though, I had the time to visit new parts of the city!
The first thing you see as you exit Osaka Station is the Osaka Grand Front building. It’s one of the city’s biggest shopping center and it has many cafés and shops.
The one tourist area that is popular and close to the station is the Umeda Sky Building, famous for its long sky walk and huge hole in the middle of its top structure. Sadly, because of the recent typhoon, they’ve closed the observatory tour, but that didn’t stop me from finding something even more interesting to see: PlatinumGames Inc. is literally inside that building! I had to visit the entrance of the studio at least! They put on display all of their biggest accomplishments and they even have replicas of Bayonetta’s guns! Stylish!
Another place worth visiting in Osaka is the Kaiyukan Aquarium. It is the biggest in the world and they have the biggest amount of species in there! Outside of the building area, there is a grand ferris wheel that lights up at night. I was amazed by the size of it! Once you get inside, you start from the top and go all the way to the bottom of the deep sea… Well, kind of! In the middle of it all is the most impressive aquarium display I’ve seen with some really huge fishes in it! Oh yeah, I even touched a ray! Sugoi!
Finally, there is no better way to finish the night than going to Dotonbori street to go eat everything (I almost mean that literally)! In my previous video, I’ve highlighted a few places that you should absolutely go to like Kamakura and Ichiran! Last year, I couldn’t try the original Kamakura ramen, but this time I did! Yay me! Other highlights are obviously takoyaki octopus balls and okonomiyaki. The lights and the famous Glico screen with the victory pose makes this place the perfect spot for photos!
So yeah, that’s it! I’ve had a lot of fun visiting Japan again this year and I’ve accomplished my goal of visiting all of the places I’ve wanted to go. Not bad, considering it was only a one week trip this time around! Thanks A LOT once again for watching my videos. I hope you had as much fun watching them as I had making them!
Oh, before I forget, if you’re interested, here’s a link to last year’s video I made about Osaka ▶️ https://bit.ly/2DHPNFH
I’ll be back next year, I still have a lot to see in this beautiful country! Matanee~! 🇯🇵