When I decided to not renew my lease on my apartment in Guam, I did not know when I would be back in this area again. Take that literally, I really just don't know, but it may be sooner than later. I wanted to do a trip in Asia though, before going back to Hawaii. A friend had been on these self-guided tours with the Oku Japan company and it sounded like something I wanted to do. The company makes all the arrangements for you in terms of train tickets and accommodations. There are self-guided hikes of various lengths and challenge levels that make up the day. I asked if any of my travel buddies wanted to come with me, and 2 of my friends joined me. Though the Oku company is very helpful, giving us comprehensive directions so that we would be successful in walking the trail, we ended up making it a DIY (Do it yourself) tour, for much of it. That's the great thing about the tour, though, it gives you options. In fact, we could choose to start in Tokyo or Kyoto, so we flew into Osaka, and took a bus to Kyoto. Stayed overnight at a hotel that agreed to store our luggage while we were away for the next 3 nights, Kyoto Tower Hotel Annex.
We took the 4-day, 3-night version of the tour. It was off-season (end of summer, not yet fall) so not as crowded as it could have been. On our first day, we pretty much followed the directions. We weren't sure if our pace was the same as what the company went by so there was a bit of a sense of rushing as we did not want to be late to our first check-in. We took the bullet train and a local bus to our first point, the village of Magome. There was no warning that this was a village on a hill - it was cute but on a steep slope.
At the top of the village, there was a look-out.
Before dinner, we had taken baths. Very nice traditional furo. So after dinner, we were ready for bed. Mata ashita!
I have traveled quite a bit, and am using this page to record some memories. Travel is a wonderful education, expanding your view of the world, of other cultures, of the beauty of diversity.