We just took our first group of Dragon Trippers on our new Japan backpacking tour – and they loved it! The trip was full of more amazing and unique experiences than anyone expected. Read on to find out about some of the highlights.
Everyone loved the sushi and calligraphy classes, and not just because they got to eat the sushi and keep the calligraphy they drew as a souvenir. The group loved getting hands on with two ancient Japanese art forms in beautiful settings. Plus, our sushi chef/teacher, Morris, is a legend.
Bath-breaker beats ice-breaker
There’s no faster way to forge friendships than with a session in a bathhouse, according to the Japanese. They call it “hadaka no tsukiai”, or “naked communion”. The group were happy to put this to the test when our guide, Evan, took them to a Tokyo sento bath – and it worked! There was plenty of laughter for the rest of the trip about the “naked communion” that got the ball rolling.
Karaoke with a twist
Karaoke is a must-do when in Japan. We put our own spin on things with cosplay costumes for everyone as they sang and drank the night away! Photos to follow…
Supermoon and Bambi
Japan is famed for its natural beauty, but it isn’t just big landscapes and views of Mount Fuji that will impress. It’s the unexpected moments too. Our first Japan backpackers were in historic Kamakura during an enormous full moon and spent an evening watching it move across the bay, lighting up the ocean below. Then on Miyajima, just outside Hiroshima, the group was approached by the tame deer that live on the island among the temples and forests. Bambi even managed a photobomb!
Our meditation session at a Kyoto temple was led by a real master of Zen who had written his own Buddhist texts. Be ready to focus during the session – the monk will keep any wandering thoughts about lunch or last night’s drinking out of your mind with a firm (and slightly painful!) tap to the shoulder blades. Our guide, Ramsay Kerr, will confirm the monk’s naughty tap works – you’ve been warned!
Japanese people are incredibly hospitable and, of course, super polite. But they can also be loud and raucous as our group found out at a baseball game in Hiroshima. The local team won that night and we celebrated with all the fans around us like they’d won the World Series. For a different type of intensity and energy we spent some time in the arcades, playing a few games but mainly watching in awe at the dedication and skill on display as crowds gathered around the most skillful players.
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