Happy New Year, readers! Here we are in the first days of 2016 and I already have my planner out, scheduling in my travel aims.
Last year, I posted that 2015 may be our final year in Japan. Blessedly, I was wrong. Moving to Tokyo for yet another year in Japan was like receiving a stay of execution with none of the morbidity attached. 🙂 But now, it seems that this will be it. Unless a miracle occurs (and I truly do believe in miracles – it pretty much took just that to get us to Tokyo), by August of this year, we’ll be packing up our home once more and jetting off to … well, parts unknown at the moment.
So what does that mean for my goals this year? I feel like a broken record, but in eight years here, I have been supremely blessed to have seen and done so much. And yet for everything that gets checked off my list, another seventeen things are added! I have been to 41 of the 47 prefectures and while there are plenty more things in those 41 areas I would like to see, my focus this year is in reaching some of those locations I’ve yet to set foot in at all. So here are my top three goals for the (half?) year:
Western Fukushima – I haven’t even ventured into Fukushima, for many reasons. Sure, I have concerns about the extent of the damage (and effects) surrounding the nuclear reactor on the eastern coast but there are other areas of this rather large prefecture to explore. It just wasn’t exactly accessible when we lived in Kyushu. This winter, I would love to hit the frozen scenery on the local Tadami train line, as well as pop into the Aizu Wakamatsu area to see their castle and soak in some onsen.
Kagawa – This sliver of a prefecture was the only one we didn’t hit on our whirlwind week in Shikoku back in April, but it packs some pretty big sites. The Ritsurin Garden has long been on my list, as well as the town of Marugome (known for its fans) and the art islands of Naoshima and Teshima.
Fukui – Hmm, I seem to be missing all the prefectures starting with “Fu”, don’t I? (I didn’t even really cover Fukuoka all that much.) Fukui wouldn’t even be on my radar were it not for a beautiful temple (Eihei-ji) with stunning autumn photos and a tie to dinosaurs that my own prefecture of Kumamoto shared. Oh, and snow crabs. I love snow crabs. I clearly need to visit in winter to enjoy this delicacy. Ack – I seem to be running out of days!
I’ll leave the goals at three, because they always seem to be supplement (and in some cases, supplanted) by a myriad other mini-trips and adventures. If this is truly our final months in Japan (for the time being), then all I can say is … full speed ahead! 🙂