Let’s ignore the fact that it has been two weeks into 2017 already, that I just started to think about 2017. You see, after a lazy new year holiday break, followed by two crazy weeks of emails, urgencies, and work procrastinated from the last year, it is actually not easy for one with full time work to sit down quietly and meditate. However I had to, because it is my birthday month, therefore no matter what I would not want to delay the pleasure of thinking about travel plans this year as a “to-do” item into my new year.
For the past two years, I have been to most of the popular places around Tokyo, and getting quite familiar with some of those. This year I want to extend my coverage, from day trip focused travel style to two or three days compact travels, and go further into other prefectures than Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba. I have been to some, but I was too tourist alike and from this year I want to tour more like a local.
- Hokuriku (北陸)
With the new Hokuriku Shinkansen (北陸新幹線) started it has become easier to travel there with a two or three days plan. I liked Nagano prefecture (長野県) when I went there last summer, and will definitely go again well planned this year. But Nagano is not the terminal of Hokuriku Shinkansen. This year, I will go to the Hokuriku prefectures for sure. Start with a three-day trip to Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture (金沢 石川県) for my birthday.
- Kyushu (九州)
Nagasaki (長崎) seems to be a popular destination for tourists, but I was never a big fan of it. Similar places but not in Kyushu include Kobe, and Osaka. I would be interested in Kumamoto prefecture (熊本県), but with the earthquake last year, it may not be a wise idea now. It may be a good idea to go to Oita prefecture (大分県) for its famour Onsen in autumn or winter, and go to Miyazaki prefecture (宮崎県) for the only mango production in Japan, but where I have always been hoping to go is Kagoshima prefecture (鹿児島県), to see the volcanic island Sakura-jima (桜島) and adventure in Yakushima (屋久島) where it is said to be the origin of the famous movie Mononoke Hime (もののけ姫) of Miyazaki Hayao (宮崎駿).
- Maybe…. Kyoto (京都)?
I really don’t know. Kyoto, is too popular with tourists these days – no season difference, full packs of tourists from Japan and overseas all year long. And no need to mention the high price of hotels and Ryokans as a result, and sometimes the deviations in the service. I would still, try to visit there during the Kouyou (紅葉) season, perhaps. It would be a big project as I may also go to the mountain areas nearby.
- Xi’an, China
Home visit in February would be so much more fun with a visit to my birth place, Xi’an! I would probably not travel, as I am too familiar with this ancient city and all it could offer for a tourist, but will definitely share some advice on food hunting. Or anything else.
This is definitely one of the biggest projects this year. It is kind of pity that I can only go to Cuba with Fidel Castro gone already, but I would hate it if I can not go while Cuba is still what it is now, before being changed by the outside world. Not sure if this is politically correct, though.
When my friend Nancy and I went to Spain for vacation last year, we originally wanted to go to Peru. But we couldn’t, because the ticket to Machu Picchu on our available days sold out by the time we decided our schedule. But this year we are going to make it! Hopefully.
So far, this is the plan. I will most likely change it along the year, adding more and removing some, but so far it looks good.