2014
05.18
UNESCO Sites Japan

UNESCO Sites Japan

WHICH WAY TO TURN?

As much as I love to “wing it” — not to plan ahead — for Japan I caved.  By all accounts the Japanese are avid travelers filling up local hotels fast and historic sites to capacity.  Gone are the days of solitary travel this year.  I am bracing myself for throngs of tourists.  And I am bracing myself for having to follow a schedule.  Between juggling the climbing season of Mount Fuji, a major festival in Kyoto, the need for cheap lodging, and the expiration dates of my railroad passes,  I put together an itinerary which may look haphazard to the casual onlooker.  But believe me,  lots of work went into it and no it’s not perfect.  But hopefully it will work.

For an initial orientation, here are the UNESCO sites which I intend on covering, in addition to some of the most outstanding national treasures Japan has put on its list of protected monuments.  I will land in Tokyo and fly to my most southerly destination, the island of Okinawa.  From there, I will wind my way back up towards Tokyo and then loop North and back.  In Kyoto, one of the most important cities in Japan, I will be staying towards the end.  It is the place which will serve as my buffer — if I fall behind in my schedule, I will have to cut time a bit short in Kyoto.  If I am ahead of time, I can extend my stay there until I need to head back to Tokyo for my scheduled flight.

I will pack my pantheon again:  Bhaisajyaguru, the medicine Buddha who is called Yakushi in Japan and who enjoyed quite a cult revival there.  Ganesh, the Hindu remover of obstacles, and St. Christopher, the Christian Saint of travelers.  And in spirit, Professor Kane will be with me everywhere.  I still hear her voice pronouncing those long, vowel-loaded names of Japanese Temples.  For starters, try these:   Sanjusangendo, Itsukushima, or Dazaifu Tenmangu.  🙂  Fun!