Japan gives new and repeat visitors a collection of visual images to store in the mind. Whether these images are of natural beauty, manmade monstrosities, food or art, the images delight years after leaving for home. I have been extremely fortunate to see Japan not as a tourist but a family member along for a trip to connect with my wife’s aunts, uncles, cousins and grandmothers. I’ve felt more like a lucky tag-along family member to visit a rich relative of a spouse than a tourist, but the wealth has been of experiences and memories of this land of wondrous explorations.
The first trip was a long time ago and I didn’t know what to expect. I figured I would do my family duty and meet the part of my wife’s family living in Japan and be done with it. What I hadn’t expected was to fall in love with the Land of the Rising Sun, and always want to go back soon after each subsequent trip. It is tricky business photographing people in Japan as they are not at all thrilled to be caught in my camera’s lens. I do my best to be respectful and shoot mostly art, food and scenery.
From this most recent trip in January where we took advantage of a surprise $695 round-trip fare from Baltimore to Tokyo, we saw several great location on the main island. Here is a sampling of those sights and experiences.
One of my favorite things to do in Atami is to hike the Seven Springs Trail.
One of the best ramen restaurants in all of Japan is Ichiban. It is not far from the Atami train station walking downhill through the market and a bit farther.
The Shinagawa Prince Hotel is one of our usual stop over places after arriving in the country. It provides a decent room, at a good price and is right across the street from the train station.
It is possible to travel more like a visitor than a tourist. All you have to do is pay attention, be polite, and engage with the locals. Most of all enjoy the trip.