Senior Citizen Travel to Japan

Mar 5th, 2010 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Lonely Planet was recently chosen as the best travel guide in the business. Seniors, if you are in the market for a guidebook, be sure to take a look at this book.  They far outdistance all the others on the market today.  Much of the information below is taken from their website.  Their site for Japan offers some obvious choices for your trip.  Five things you will want to pack for a trip to Japan is important information that I strongly recommend .  I can attest to each of these and it is always best to “know before you go.”

A Japanese custom is to remove shoes upon entering a home and than to put on slippers before walking on the tatami, a rice straw mat covering the floor.  Remember that red slippers are used only for the bathroom.  Other sites you may want to visit are – ryokans, temples, museums, and historical sites.  At each you may be required to doff your footwear upon entering. While in Japan on a Fulbright with a group of US educators I was able to visit many schools.  Upon entering each one we were required to take off our shoes and to put on slippers.  We each carried our own just for the occasion. Upon exiting we then had to sort through a pile of shoes to find our own. Fun and very Japanese.

I will share an “eating out” experience with a colleague in Tokyo.  We found a small restaurant near our hotel and ordered battered tempura.  We sampled several kinds – vegetables, seafood and fruit.  We did not eat all that much and when the bill came…$110 apiece!  And this was a tiny inconspicuous restaurant and we were even seated at the counter…and we did order some saki.  Yes, Tokyo is expensive, very expensive!  

Public bathrooms in Japan often do not have paper towels so carry a small towel or washcloth in your bag for drying your hands after you’ve washed.  Similarly, some bathrooms you encounter may not even have soap, especially on the shinkansen (bullet trains). A small bottle of hand sanitizer is always a good idea.  For more information on the skinkansen try http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2018.html or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinkansen.  I had the good fortune to ride a bullet train.  It was impossible to take a decent photo out the train window as we were moving so rapidly that everything was blurry up to perhaps a quarter of a mile away.  That’s moving right along!

Each time that I go to Barnes and Noble there seems to be a new series of travel guides available.  As a record number of people travel, more and more publishers are jumping on the bandwagon to cash in on the growing travel industry.  Nevertheless, finding a guidebook that suits one’s needs and whose style and suggestions you like is not always easy.  This link reviews many fine guides.   The 10 Best Literary Travel Books of the 20th Century and the Top Ten Travel Books make for good reading.

To view a sneak preview of the Cherry Blossom Season or Sakura in Hiroshima, view this traveller’s video developed by American Express.  It is well done.  Sayanorajeb



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