Pre-Travel Diaries: Visiting Japan

Kamari Koonce

Why Japan?

Next month I will be visiting Japan for the first time. Before coming to South Korea, I had always wanted to visit Japan, but I didn’t plan for it to happen this year at all. Japan is a country that has managed to stay in power with few invasions over the course of its history and because of this it has been able to maintain many aspects of its culture. Additionally, Japan has been the center of many American films like Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Memoirs of a Geisha, which I’ve heard about so it will be amazing to see it for myself.


How did I plan it?

Traveling anywhere outside of the United States is extremely expensive, and going somewhere like Japan could easily cost $1500. When I arrived in Korea, I started to talk to other exchange students about their plans to travel. I found out that traveling around Asia is more affordable than I thought. Also, I was so surprised at how much cheaper it was to fly to Japan during November. My roommate told me that she was also going to Japan, but she is flying there during December. Flying to Japan during the holiday season is much more expensive. My flight in November was $180 versus my roommate’s flight in December for $400. So, if you also plan on visiting Japan that is something to keep in consideration. I found my flight using my favorite flight tracker: google flights. Google flights scans all of the airlines and discount airline websites to give you the best price option and suggested dates of travel.

What I Want to Do

The three cities I chose to go to are Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. I figured that if I am going to go to Japan, then I absolutely need to see Tokyo. One of the things I look forward to the most in Tokyo is trying the sushi and ramen. My friends and I are also visiting one of the most popular museums in the world right now called the Digital Art Museum. It is known for its borderless 3D art. However, I don’t love capital cities too much because they can get overwhelming at times. The reason why I chose Osaka and Kyoto was because they are smaller cities than Tokyo, but they also hold more of the cultural sites to see. While I am in Kyoto, I hope to see Fushimi Inari Taisha. Apparently, it is the most photographed location in Japan and has over 10,000 Torii gates. Another cool place that I want to check out is the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. I can tell from the pictures I’ve seen online that this grove is beautiful.


This will be the first time I am traveling to Japan and spending part of my trip exploring the country on my own. I feel a little nervous about the trip, but I know that I am probably going to get over those fears once I am finally there. I recommend that other exchange students at Hanyang take the opportunity to explore this country before returning home to their country at the end of the semester. In conclusion, I believe that going to Japan will be an experience I will never forget; I hope that I come back from Japan with a greater appreciation for the Japanese culture.


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