Hello there/ Konnichiwa!
A few years ago I took a trip to Japan to explore the bluegrass scene there. Being half Japanese (my mother is from Hiroshima) I had been to this wonderful country many times; mostly as a child. It was a new experience to go there and travel mostly for the music. I jammed with great players and made life long friends on the way. My brother Tom was with me and we very much enjoyed the bullet train (Shinkansen) taking us to places we hadn’t been to before and seeing what sort of hotel rooms we ended up with after booking them from afar back in Australia.
Some nights we ate late in busy noodle bars, we wheeled our suitcases on many a busy Shinkansen platform, drank sake, ordered food where the choices seemed endless, bought gifts and souvenirs at tourist attractions that offered hustle and bustle and then areas of total peace and quiet where we could stop and be thankful for nothing more than being alive.
And then of course, there was the music. From a Hiroshima based band called Foothill Drive, to the hard driving picking in Tokyo’s famous music bar Rocky Top, we heard the result of years of musical passion that carried over into the enthusiastic audience.
On this particular journey, I want you to experience what I did that first time. You will get to meet Japanese musicians and see them play with passion in little bars and honky tonks in the middle of bustling Japanese cities - it's a surreal feeling!
This trip is not designed to be a relaxing holiday. You will need to be reasonably fit and able to carry your bag up the odd set of train station stairs. There will be quite a bit of walking involved - particularly at some of the larger attractions such as temples and castles.
To keep the price affordable we have not booked the most glamorous five star hotels. Most hotels are three and half stars. Some of the rooms are quite small compared to what we have in Australia. However, I have always found the beds very comfortable and I always sleep well. Plus - there is a lot to see - you probably won’t want to spend too much time in your room!
Japanese food is good and not expensive. Vegetarian options are available in some places however gluten free can be a bit tricky. There is gluten in a lot of Japanese food.
It’s hard to explain it all - you have to see it for yourself. A trip of three hours on the Shinkansen can be very enjoyable; the country is amazing to see whipping past and you can sit back in your comfortable seat and enjoy a beverage, meal or a sleep.
If you come on this little adventure, I want you to have a ball…….and if you come with an open heart and mind, I’m sure you will!