Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d ever visit Japan. It just wasn’t on my bucket list, but one day as I was helping my mother go through her credit card statements I came across a strange charge. I asked her “What’s this?” To which she joyfully exclaimed “Oh yes! I bought a trip to Japan and I need you to come with me.” I said “What?!?!” Not once did she even mention the thought. It turns out that the insurance company she works with invites their employees and their families on international trips every six months so my mother thought it would be a great idea to visit.

Unfortunately, due to her health she was not able to travel. I, on the other hand, was nervous but decided go on ahead. I’d never been on a flight overseas. Twelve hours of flying over the ocean and my stomach was in knots. We finally made it Japan! Our tour group arrived in Osaka and stayed for a few days before taking the bullet train to Tokyo. One of the days we were in Osaka we took a bus and headed for Kyoto. People were excited to see the building where Nintendo headquarters is. It’s nothing fancy, just a regular building with the name on the side, but people loved taking pictures of it.

Throughout the week long trip we visited different shrines and temples. Although a hot spot for tourists, walking around the gardens was still quite serene. Workers tended to the pond. Things just seemed to move more slowly in these places.

When the tour had nothing planned for the group everyone ventured off on their own. One of the temples we went to on our own was the gravesite of the 47 ronin which is situated inside the compounds of Sengaku-ji Temple. I’d never heard of the story of these samurai who avenged the death of their leader. After their mission was completed, 46 of the 47 samurai committed seppuku. Today, people visit this gravesite to leave incense on their tombstones and offer prayers.

I would definitely go back to Japan. It’s one of those places you say to your friends “Ooh, you have to do this and this!” Skytree Tokyo is one of those places. It’s the tallest observatory in the world. The elevator shoots you up over 1,100 feet in less than a minute…50 seconds to be exact. Your stomach doesn’t turn, but your ears pop a few times. You’ll get an amazing view of the world’s most populated city. They even have an area where they have a glass floor you can stand on and see the world below.

Have you been to Japan? Did you love it? Tell me in the comments.

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