Land of the Rising Sun: Part 2

Land of the Rising Sun: Part 2

Five months and nearly 5,000 miles have passed since we first arrived in Japan. Everything we went through to get here feels like a distant memory. We’ve fallen into the swing of Japanese life and spend our time here soaking up as much history, landmarks and culture as we can every day…

How to ride motorbikes in Japan

But now it’s time to leave. We have decided to leave our motorbike here and rent and buy bikes through Pakistan, Nepal and India. We’ll return to Japan in August and explore the north island of Hokkaido in summer (instead of its current -8C temperature) and then ride to South Korea and chuck the Yamaha on a container ship destined for Cambodia.

We’ll then meet the bike in Cambodia around November time, circle back round and visit the countries in South East Asia before swinging back round again and heading for Australia and New Zealand.

This way, we’ll also get to explore South Korea in the sun (instead of -10C) and save a miniature fortune (£4000!) on flying our bike to India and riding through the carnet countries.

Phew! That was a mouthful, but hopefully it makes sense! Here’s our rough mini-map for the next stage of our trip.

Mad or Nomad's route map

We are going to miss Japan, even though we’re coming back soon. We have finally become used to the serene Japanese way of life, the beautiful landscapes, stunning architecture and incredible history.

Looking out over a Japanese volcano

We loved our time here, and so for this blog post we thought we’d just share some of the things that we’ve found interesting in the last few months. Thanks for sticking with us, and we hope you enjoy our next post from Nepal!

Japan's epic sunsets and the Land of the Rising Sun
Iya Valley double vine bridge
Incredibly beautiful vines slither across the water creating stunning bridges that look magical.
How to visit the iya valley vine bridge japan guide
The double vine bridges are two separate bridges, dubbed Husband (44 metres) and Wife (22 metre) Bridges

The Madness of Tokyo

Bright lights of downtown Tokyo
Tokyo is a city like no other… there’s no way we can fit a description of such an insane city in a little caption!
Digital Art museum in Tokyo
The Digital Art Museum in Tokyo is definitely worth a visit!

Beautiful Kyoto

Epic shot of Golden Temple reflecting in water
Kinkaku-ji, otherwise known as The Golden Temple or Golden Pavilion, is one of Japan’s most popular buildings.
The Red Gates of Fushimi Inari Japan
It takes hours to walk through The thousands of Tori Gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine
Japanese samurai statue in Kyoto
The two samurai at Maruyama Park. The statue is in honour of Sakamoto Ryoma and Nakaoka Shintaro, who were assassinated in Kyoto in the 19th century while opposing the shogunate rule. They dreamed of an equal society, free from feudal government.
Kyoto's Bamboo forest
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove (or Sagano Bamboo Forest) is a major attraction in Kyoto - don’t believe those beautiful Instagram pics you see of an empty pathway, the forest is crammed with tourists!
Japanese tea ceremony ritual
A thousand-year-old tradition and a deep-rooted part of Japanese culture
Japanese kimonos and green tea tokyo guide
If you’re heading to Japan, take the time to experience a traditional ceremony and learn about the many rules, subtleties and etiquette that go with it
How to visit the Takachiho Gorge
This is probably one of the best places in the world to row a boat! Japan’s Takachiho Gorge is stunning… but that’s not all. Takachiho is shrouded in legend…
Himeji Castle guidebook how to visit
Himeji Castle is a Japanese masterpiece and no visit to Japan would be complete without a gaze at its pearly white walls.
Himeji Castle gardens
You’ll find beautiful Japanese garden right next door to the castle

The 1,200 Rakan Temple

Kyoto and the The Otagi Nenbutsu-Ji temple guide
The Otagi Nenbutsu-Ji temple in Kyoto is known for housing 1,200 laughing stone buddhas
The Otagi Nenbutsu-Ji temple in Kyoto and the 12,000 laughing stone buddhas
But they’re actually Rakan, which are Buddha’s disciples
Hiroshima A Bomb Dome
Over 220,000 people died in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 during World War II.
Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Guide
While the bombings killed most people instantly, many thousands suffered severe physical and psychological damage from radiation in the months after and people are still suffering now.
How to visit Ritsurin Garden guide
The ancient Ritsurin Garden is widely regarded as the most famous and most beautiful garden in Japan.
Japanese crane at Ritsurin Garden
If you can only visit one green paradise, then this is it!
BMW G310GS motorcycle touring in Japan
Having our own transport in Japan made a huge difference. It allowed us to travel to every nook and cranny and see another side of the country that you just can’t from a train window. More importantly, it let us connect with locals on a more personal level.
BMW R1200GSA and BMW G310GS motorcycles camping in Japan
Friendly Japanese locals
Many people were very kind to us during our time in Japan. Strangers would randomly buy us coffees as we loaded up our bikes, people would offer us food and drinks as we waited for ferries and families would share oranges with us when we woke up in the morning after camping on the beach. The list goes on and on. We met this lady one evening when we tried to wild camp in a quiet field. She insisted we camped in her front garden instead. She pulled us into her home in the morning and fed us and we talked for hours about her family… despite neither of us knowing the other’s language. The Japanese always want to help, share and be kind… and we love them for it.
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