Beautiful Sights in Japan

Guest Post By: Erika Chaffin, a Senior studying Marketing and Japanese. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through a Foster Exchange and Direct Enroll at Kobe University in Kobe, Japan, during Spring Semester 2022.

The one thing people love to do when visiting a foreign country is going sightseeing! I had an amazing opportunity to explore the country of Japan with my friend, starting from Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto, flying up North to Hokkaido, and then slowly making our way down to the Tokyo area. During our travels, we went to many historical temples, shrines, and castles as well as places designated for entertainment, such as Universal Studios Japan, various Pokémon Centers, and One Piece stores.

I took advantage of the fact that Kobe, where I stayed for the majority of my exchange, is right next to cities known for tourism, traveling to Himeji, Kyoto, Osaka, and more. My friend and I were able to tour Himeji Castle, walk around Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, walk through the Thousand Red Gates in Inari, and found time to go to Universal Studios, a Pokémon Center, and a One Piece store all in Osaka before our flight up to Hokkaido. We also met up with friends who live in the Osaka area and got to go to one of the biggest fireworks shows in the country! Walking around and experiencing both the historical and entertainment side of Japan in a small part of the country was an amazing experience and something I’ll never forget!

Once we flew up to Hokkaido, we traveled around Sapporo and worked our way down to Mt. Hakodate and saw an amazing view from the top, walked around the first Western-style fort built in Japan at Goryoukaku, and walked through several Western-style houses in an area called Motomachi. Afterwards, we traveled further South towards Tokyo using the Shinkansen (bullet train). We stopped in Aomori, a place famous for their apples, and Miyagi, a place with a ‘cat island’ off the coast, on the way, tasting delicious apple juice and petting cats during our travels!

When we got to Tokyo, we experienced as much as we could in the short amount of time we had left. We went to a zoo in Yokohama (one of the biggest in the country), stopped by Shibuya and Ikebukuro to shop at more Pokémon Centers and One Piece stores, walked through various stores in Akihabara full of figurines and game centers, and went to the Studio Ghibli Museum. One of my favorite memories from the Tokyo area was when we got to wear kimonos and walked around Asakusa with a good friend of mine that lives there. We wrapped up the day by going to the Tokyo SkyTree and seeing a spectacular night view of the Tokyo skyline. I’m grateful for the opportunity I got to study abroad and visit Japan after dreaming of doing so for years, and I made sure to take full advantage of it by traveling throughout the country. While it was exhausting some days while traveling a lot, it’s an experience I enjoyed to the fullest and will always remember!

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