My month long trip to Japan

I’ve been thinking about writing about my experience in Japan for some time now. It was a trip of many firsts for me (first university trip, first time travelling alone, first time in Japan and so on) and I really wanted to document everything so that I don’t forget, and so that I may possibly help someone doing their own research before travelling. Even though it’s barely been 3 months since my trip, I sorely miss my time there, and honestly, this is just an excuse for me to reminisce.

In total, I was in Japan for about 25 days. I spent a majority of that time in Kyoto, before flying to Tokyo for about 5 days. I also took day trips to nearby cities and mountains. I was actually there for a language immersion programme, so I had classes at Ritsumeikan University, a university in Kyoto, on weekdays for 3 weeks. This is why I did not travel out of Kyoto much, which really does not matter because it is a really beautiful place and there is a lot to see and do there. Classes focused on learning the Japanese language and culture.

The hills surrounding the university

Ritsumeikan is a quaint little university in the northern region of Kyoto city. The small buildings surrounded by autumn colours were a stark contrast to the large structures of my own university. The university is a little far from kyoto station, but a mere 10 minutes walk away from the ultra famous Kinkaku-ji temple. Since there is no airport in Kyoto, the university arranged transportation from Kansai International Airport to the place we were staying, which is about 20 minutes away from the university.

We arrived at the peak of autumn

Where I come from there are only 2 seasons: sunny and rainy. It was my first time experiencing autumn, and let me tell you, I absolutely fell in love with it. It was cold but not too cold, and everything was just so darn beautiful, painted in streaks of yellow and red. Anyway, we spent most of the first day touring the school and having classes.

First meal in school!

After school i just explored the area with my roommates and ended up walking to the supermarket, Izumiya. This was the first of many trips there.

Izumiya has everything

We stayed at the international dorm provided by the university, named Taishogun international house. It was in a really quiet area, away from the main road. We used to walk to the university everyday, since short term students were not allowed to cycle and there were no direct buses (buses are really expensive anyway). The common areas were large and really nice. This included a TV area, kitchen, study area, shower room, toilets and random little traditional Japanese room.

You can see the traditional japanese room at the back

Our actual rooms were really small. Like seriously small. There was barely any space beyond the beds. This is why in my room i spent a majority of my time on my bed, where I ended up piling most of my stuff. But it was alright, since we were only staying there for 3 weeks. My bed was also closest to the heater, which i absolutely loved. It kept me nice and toasty. And also, Japanese toilets. Need i say more?

a room for 4

While we were there, a group of japanese students were attached to us, whom we called ‘buddy san’ (so super cute). They took turns having lunch with us, and brought us around during ‘buddy events’. Besides these events and school, we were completely free to plan our own itineraries, which of course I had already planned (totally not over excited at all).

I had initially thought that I would end up travelling mostly on my own, since I joined the programme on my own, while most others had joined with friends. But I’m really glad that I managed to make a few friends whom I travelled with, and really had a lot of fun with. My classmates were also amazing and hilarious, and I ended up having lots of fun in class as well.

I’ll probably be making separate posts for each day, including places I went, transportation I used and things I ate. Hopefully I won’t leave this half completed like I leave everything else.

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