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2007 Trip Planning

As soon as I was able, I booked my 2007 Japan trip. I'm now enjoying a bit of planning.

This will be my fifth visit. As before, I'm aiming to go for a little bit over a fortnight, so that I have plenty of time to mooch around and talk crap to strangers. I've not had it yet, but I'm eventually going to get the question, "Haven't you seen enough yet?". The answer (if you hadn't guessed) is,"hell, no". I guess if I'd chosen to speak French it would have been an awful lot cheaper, but there you go.

So, as usual, I started thinking of the things I want to do this time - and as usual there's a few, so here's a list:

1) Rotemburo - You've heard of me talking about bathing and onsen (*clicky*), but they hold nothing to the Rotemburo, which in the open air. I tried to find a picture of one and this was the best I could muster up. Apologies for using a shot which has lots of exposed flesh, but at least you get the idea (*clicky*). After going to Bath's Thermae Spa and enjoying the rooftop bath, I can confirm that outdoor bathing is a wonderful experience, which I hope to find again in some of the most tranquil settings in Japan.

Talking of which, if anyone wants a read, I found another good article on Japanese bathing - here you go. (*clicky*)

2) Fuji - Previously I've been to Japan in March/April (Cherry Blossom season) and September (typhoon season), which are both really bad times to climb. This time, I'm going in May/June, which whilst not being the "best" time of July/August (when the entire country climbs), it should make the weather an awful lot more hospitable than freezing temperatures or torrential rain. I'm aiming to climb a few days before coming home, to maximise my chances of good weather.

3) Hokkaido - Generally renowned as a very different island to Honshu, Hokkaido is supposed to be a much greener and rural affair, with several national parks. I'm looking forward to seeing untouched woodlands and soaking up some lakeside tranquility - unless I go to Sapporo, of course. In temperature terms, it's also the coolest of the main islands. As a person who doesn't get on well with super-hot temperatures, this should feel much more bearable than the 35 degree humid unpleasantness that exists back on Honshu, as it's about 5 - 10 degrees cooler.

I guess that this time, what I'm looking for is contrast. The frantic pace of Tokyo is a huge contrast to the solitude that can be experienced in the middle of a Hokkaido national park. I spend my days at work continually dealing with people. To take a step back and experience tranquility will be a welcoming affair. True, no man is an island, but for a couple of weeks I'll be looking forward to enjoying just my own company.
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