Favorite or Most Memorable Japan Experiences Ever?


Aug 6, 2018
What are your most remarkable, memorable, wonderful (or terrible) experiences in Japan ever? Be as detailed or vague as you want. Multiple posts are great! I'll start with my list:

  • Being in Tokyo on March 11, 2011. With the family. We had just got off the river boat from Asakusa at Hamarikyu park. I'm not sure if we felt the original earthquake or an aftershock, because my memory tells me there were sirens going off while we were still on the boat. Quite the experience, watching trees twist and sway, and seeing skyscrapers visibly rock back and forth. Then we got stuck at Shimbashi station until they ran the Ginza line back to Shibuya where we were staying. Then the entire main intersection at Hachiko exit was DARK. No lights, no screens, no people, just empty and dark. The rest of the time in Tokyo was spent finding places that were open and stores that were stocked. Trains weren't running. I'm sure I will post more details on this later but it was a life changing week.
  • Looking out at Fujisan from the Chureito Pagoda at Fujiyoshida, May 2016. I sat and marveled at the view for probably an hour. Others were there with varied reactions. A Frenchman broke down and started crying.
  • Being a part of Sanja Matsuri at Asakusa's Sensoji Temple May 2014. The people. OMG the people. I've never seen crowds like that ever. Most humorous: The little old women basically shoving everyone else out of the way. The yakuza running around in nothing but a hankie covering their naughty bits, full tattoos on display....
  • The night festival at Chichibu in December 2013. This is memorable for three reasons: One, it was the most incredible display of fireworks I think I've seen. Including several big city displays here. Two: I've never felt more welcomed by a crowd in Japan. The people were incredibly cordial and nice and welcoming. I felt almost like a part of the "in crowd" there. Except for ....
  • 3. The old guy on the train heading back to Tokyo. The entire way he stared me down, and I know I heard him muttering something about the "Amerikajin" to his wife. Also on the return trip I witnessed a salaryman in the full grip of an emotional meltdown on the train. Practically tearing his hair out and crying, then he got off. Nobody really paid attention. I was on the other end of the train and it was pretty sad to see. No telling what it was about, and my Japanese would not have been adequate.
  • The fiasco in March 2011 when we tried to takyubin our bags from Kyoto back to Narita. Found a conbini with the Kuroneko sign, and in my best not-so-good Japanese (I thought) I explained our situation and the guy gave me the forms, and I said I'd be back later with the bags. Yeah no problem. I get back with our luggage and an old woman is now running the place. I give her the forms, she takes one look at it, throws up the big arm-X of doom and is like NO. Again I use my best terrible Japanese to figure out the problem and I guess she just didn't want to deal with it. THEN we get the runaround from at least 3 different Kuroneko counters at Kyoto station. I guess you can't take them just anywhere to have your bags sent on. We finally got pointed to a counter deep in the bowels of the department store, where they re-filled out our forms, took our money and our bags and sent us on our way. I guess in the same manner you send your purchases on home. Our bags were waiting for us at Narita, but man that was confusing.

Let's hear your best and/or worst.... If I can think of any more I'll be sure to post them.


New member
Aug 13, 2018
Front Royal, VA
That view at Chureito Pagoda: Reminded me of the same incredible scale and awe you feel at the Grand Canyon.

View attachment 40
I really need to make it out there some day.

As for me, I've had so many amazing experiences that it's hard to come up with just a few.

One New Years eve my brother and I were out and about in Roppongi. We were approached by a Japanese guy asking if we wanted to "buy some good stuff." We said no and he apologized profusely. Was just like being in DC!

I'm not a religious guy, but I've been to the island of Enoshima a few times and every time I'm there I just feel so calm and at ease. Can't really explain it.

I have to go to work, but I'll try to think of some more and then I'll add them to this thread once I get to Anchorage.
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