We travelled from Tokyo via Kyōto and Hiroshima to Kagoshima and spent the last days on the remote island of Yakushima. In each area we visited many of the local attractions and collected interesting and amazing impressions of the traditional and modern Japan with its buddhist temples, shinto shrines, and cemeteries, its ryokans, minshukus, western-style star hotels and ultra-modern sky-scrapers, its bullet trains, cable cars, and taxis with automatic doors and white-gloved drivers – just to mention a few. We loved the Japanese food and every single meal was a pleasant experience but also a little adventure. Last but not least: the people, always friendly and trying to help despite our incapacity to speak, read or write their language.
The highlights of the journey were when we managed to travel off the beaten tracks like in our excursions to the Gokanosho mountains and the Yakushima island. The outstanding hospitality of our hosts at the minshuku of the Heike samurai clan in Gokanosho, watching the knife and sword smiths of Moritaka Hamono, and climbing the steep hiking trails into the rainy mountains of Yakushima with its abundant vegetation, millenia-old Yakusugi cedar trees and endemic monkeys and deer will always remain in our memories of this fascinating country.