Our Neighbor Totoro


When you think about “Nature” in Japan, what first comes to your mind ?

The bamboo forest. On pictures, the forest might seem huge but in reality, it is pretty small and located in a large garden. This place is so peaceful, if you manage to come early in the morning. You might want to think twice before visiting it during high peak season, because if you decide to have a walk there after 10 am, it will be very crowded with tourists or scholar groups. What else? Ha ! I saw the Mount Fuji from the right side of the Shinkansen* on the road from Tokyo yo Takayama. I could only take few pictures and I dont't think it is artistically OK to show off about it ahah. Our plan is to climb it for our next journey in Japan though.











What was your best memory of “Nature” in Japan? (check out our video below)

I would 100% go for the countryside from Takayama to Hida Furukawa. In Takayama, I mostly loved the historical and authentic side of the Old Town. In Hida Furukawa, I fell in love with the landscapes, in the middle of rice fields, hills and plains. We could admire greenery as far as our eyes could see and beautifully decorated gardens. As we are very fond of Japanese culture and animation, we felt like we were shooting "My neighbor Totoro" !! We went cycling for 3 hours with Satoyama Experience to discover the region, which we highly recommend !








What did you like the most while visiting Japanese gardens ?

Apart from the ceremonial and spiritual side, I loved how precise and well-kept paths are built. My husband does not visit a temple without getting some information about it first, like its context and History. I am more of a free spirit, who follows the crowd. I was even able to sit on a bench and take a nap in the middle of our visit. Benches are great places to admire the view, until the sunset !







What about the rain ?

:) People might think that the rain prevents from visiting or going to touristic places. However, it kind of gives a particular atmosphere. Among the 21 days we were in Japan, we only had on tops 4 days of rain. Our first days in Japan, in Tokyo, it was heavy raining. And because we struggled with the jetlag, we only went out at night. Our neighborhood, Ikkebukuro, looked like a Japanese version of Gotham City, with the misty city lights from convenient stores mixed with the sound of restaurants’ kitchen utensils.  Imagine this scenery with the melody of rain ? :) Yup !


Finally, which part of your journey made you feel at peace ?

Without hesitation, our day to the beach ! We were supposed to visit Yokohama for its nightlife, but few days before going back to France, I needed some fresh air as Tokyo city life can become very toxic at some point. So we decided to go and visit a place called Enoshima, located in 1h30 away from Tokyo by train, where a lot of Japanese dramas* are shot. During that sunny and windy day, we visited the island and its aquarium and tasted some real shrimp chips.













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