The Linville family travelled to Japan at the beginning of March 2011, a couple of days before the massive earthquake and tsunami struck the Tohoku region in northern Japan on March 11th. The family of four started their trip in Tokyo before heading to the cultural capital of Kyoto 500km south of the Metropolis on the day of the tsunami. They stayed in Kyoto for six days and enjoyed traditional festivals amongst other Japanese cultural highlights. The Linville’s then headed back north to the mountains and hot springs of Hakone national park in the shadow of Mt. Fuji before returning to Tokyo on March 19th.
During this time, there have been all sorts of sensationalised reporting in the west about the earthquake, tsunami and the situation at the Fukushima power plant and it is hard for people to know what to think. Although the earthquake and tsunami is devastating for the people in the northern Tohoku region of Japan, life does go on elsewhere in this beautiful but stoic nation.
John Linville has kindly allowed InsideJapan Tours to use his feedback from their trip (March 8th-20th 2011) which is as follows;
“We had a great time, even with what was happening to the north. We decided the best thing we could do for Japan was to stay there. I had trip insurance and could have left without any problems, but we didn’t want to do that.
The Japanese people were great hosts our entire trip. The way they continued their daily routines, you wouldn’t know there had been a disaster. We had no idea how big it (the earthquake) was until much later that night. There were no disruptions to our itinerary, and only a minor inconvenience of planned power-outage’s when we went to Hakone. Even that was no big deal. The Ryokan in Hakone will definitely be one of the best memories of the trip. The accommodation and food there were excellent.
I can’t think of a single thing we missed due to the earthquakes, tsunami, or nuclear emergency. Words can’t describe how impressed, and how much respect I now have for the Japanese people. We would have loved to stay longer.
There are obvious problems north of Tokyo, but as long as people travel south of Tokyo they should have a great time. There is so much to see and do in the Kyoto – Osaka – Nara areas. Thank you and everyone at Inside Japan Tours for a great and unforgettable vacation”
John Linville, Illinois, USA
Along with John’s comments, we are hearing all sorts of praise for Japan and the Japanese people from our returning customers. The majority of people note that life is carrying on as normal hundreds of miles south of Tokyo and that their trips were largely unaffected by the events in the north. Some people have expressed a feeling of guilt for thoroughly enjoying their Japanese cultural experience, but the Japanese people would not be happy to hear this. In general, the Japanese are always very keen for foreign visitors to enjoy Japan as a nation and culture and will go out of their way to make sure visitors enjoy the country that they are so proud of.
Late March and early April are traditionally the most popular times of year to visit Japan, with temperatures getting warmer and cherry blossom season brightening up the temple gardens and mountainsides. Cherry trees across Japan will still bloom and although thoughts of Tohoku will no doubt be in their minds, the Japanese people will still enjoy ‘Hanami’ (Cherry blossom viewing) largely unaffected by events hundreds of miles away in northern Japan. With a massive rebuilding project about to take place in the north, Japan as a nation needs foreign visitors now more than ever to support local economies and the people across country. Japan is still a beautiful nation with amazing people.
Please donate to InsideJapan Tours’ Tsunami relief fund. All proceeds are going to the Japanese charity, Civic Force who are providing direct relief in areas hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku http://www.justgiving.com/InsideJapan