I am scheduled to leave for Japan on the 6th of July arriving the 7th. This will be a really exciting period for me as I will begin living in the Buddhist priest's empty residence in the Enmeiji (Long Life) Temple in Nishi-Izu. I will be making new acquaintances with the farming village where the temple is located. Although the temple itself is in beautiful condition, the priest's quarters will require some hard work returning it to liveable conditions as it has been unoccupied for some years.
It seems that I am at last going to be able to do something that I have been wanting to do for a long time. And that is taking some friends to Japan and showing them a face of Japan that I came to appreciate during the more than 40 years that I lived there.
Two groups of friends have asked me if I could do this and I am really excited about setting this up and seeing just how viable this will be.
Of course they want to know the costs and everything prior to making a commitment. So I am going out on a limb by going to Japan on my own dime and setting up an itinerary for them.
Anyone can go to Japan and take a tour. And a lot of folks, especially the younger more adventurous hike, bike and hitchhike. And that is a lot of fun too. But I want to introduce the friends that go with me to my friends in Japan and to enjoy the things that a person would not normally get the opportunity to enjoy.
So as I set this itinerary up, I want to keep a running blog of what is going on. I will do a twitter and Facebook for this as well and as soon as I get both of them setup, please subscribe to them and give me some feedback on what you think would be interesting or have questions about.
The Airline Ticket
The tickets are unbelievably inexpensive right now. I got mine for $710 round trip. I fly from Phoenix to Seattle and from there to Narita Airport which is located about 1 hour out of Tokyo. On the way back I fly from Haneda located in Tokyo to Los Angeles and then to Phoenix. A ticket that I got 2 years ago cost me almost twice as much!
Passport My passport had expired since I was last in Japan so I had to renew it. Since I have permanent residence in Japan, kind of like a green card here in the US, I need to keep my old passport with me since it contains all information required for me to enter into Japan. However, the US and Japan have an agreement that allows US citizens and Japanese to freely enter and leave each other's country without a visa. In such a case, you are allowed to stay up to 3 months.