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Japan is back--almost
Tourism is set to finally open up again, 3 years after pandemic started
The border to Japan looks to finally be re-opening any day now, which is great news for any of us who have been clamoring to visit.
Japan has been closed longer than most other countries, although it did open a crack earlier this year, in June, with a huge asterisk. Yes, we could now visit, but only if we signed up with a guided tour and agreed to be supervised.
Unacceptable. No thank you.
“The key is to have a sponsor in Japan, like a travel agency, and that they know the whereabouts of the traveler on a given day,” a tourism official told the Japan Times newspaper. “They will also offer information on Japan’s social distancing rules and be the contact person if travelers get sick.”
As many of you know, our son Sam lives in Japan, and we haven’t been allowed in to visit since the border got closed in 2020. So we’re eager to return.
Now that I told you he’s in Japan, your mind probably assumed that he lived in Tokyo, the largest city, with a population of nearly 40 million in the metro area. In fact, he actually lives near the tiny, by Japan standards, city of Kobe, home to 1.5 million people,. That’s about the size of US cities like Philadelphia or Phoenix.
Tokyo is wild and crazy, electric like New York City and with so many people rushing around at top speeds, it could be a sensory overload. The no. 2 city Osaka is similar, albeit with half as many people. (Only 20 million.)
Kobe, the sixth largest city in Japan, is what would constitute as a normal city for the country, one with a European/international flavor, due to its waterfront port, and trade spot with other countries. It’s the home of Kobe Beef and has one of the 3 Chinatowns in the country of Japan. And just like Tokyo and Osaka, it too has the crazy vending machines, 7-Elevens that are stocked with gourmet items and Kit Kat bars in dozens of exotic flavors.
We’ve loved visiting there. I put together a PhotowalksTV episode from Kobe, filmed in 2019, pre-pandemic, but just did a re-edit (smoother, sharper) with an all-new soundtrack from the ultra-talented brother of mine, Jez Graham. I hope you’ll take a look and let me know what you think.
Kobe is a town many skip, preferring Tokyo (3.5 hours on the bullet train), Osaka (40 minutes on subway) or nearby Kyoto (one hour.) On a thrill ride basis, Kobe does pale to the bigger cities, but that’s what make it an attractive stop. It’s right smack dab in the middle of the sea and mountains and more of a real Japan than an amusement park feel.
The Japan trains are so good that from here, you can whisk over to Osaka and/or Kyoto easily.
Or just stick around and enjoy yourself in easier to manage Kobe, which is how we do it.
Headed to Japan? Have questions? Happy to answer them. Just click Reply!
That Sunshine Coast
As many of you know, I just spent 3 weeks up north, mostly in the amazing, beautiful British Columbia section of Canada. The PhotowalksTV episode is being edited as we speak. I hope to have it out by next week, along with a gallery of my favorite images.
Well, here’s one photo highlight. Those of you who know me well have learned that there’s nothing I love to eat more on the road than a fine grilled cheese sandwich! And this one sure was stellar!
Back to the Beach
Just in time for our return, a heat wave (!@###) and some amazing morning views down at the shores of Manhattan Beach. Love those high tide A.M.’s
Did you miss me while we took a break for two weeks? Hoping the answer is a big yes! Thanks, as always for taking the time to read, watch and listen. Let me hear from you!