Golden Week

Diana Dinh
May 19, 2014

This is a bit of a late post since Golden Week was a few weeks ago, but here it is anyways :]

So, Golden Week is a week set aside for several Japanese National Holidays and many of the IES Abroad students used this time to explore other parts of Japan or different countries. During this time, I traveled with a few other IES Abroad students to the Kansai Region of Japan. We stayed in Osaka for the entire trip but visited Nara and Kyoto using the public train system.

Here are a few links and tips that might help you out while planning a trip during Golden Week:

- If you’re trying to find a place to stay, Airbnb is a website that caters to people who are looking for a cheap place to stay. The places listed are not quite like a hostel and not quite like a home stay, but they sometimes offer the same comforts as a hotel or home. Split between 4 people, the place I stayed at in Osaka was approximately $56 per person for 3nights/4days.

- If you’re unfamiliar with Japanese airlines it might be a bit confusing to book a flight. My group used Jetstar airlines and the tickets were fairly cheap, but there are many other airlines to choose from. The key is to book them as early as possible and personally print out your flight ticket. If you print your ticket at the airport, Jetstar will check the wait of all your bags. However, if you come prepared with your ticket, Jetstar does not check the wait of your bags (what you do with this information is up to your discretion).

- I would advise you to keep your group size small. You will most likely run into less problems when it comes to planning where you want to go, with less people.

- Just to put this out there for people who might not know : Osaka Castle, is not a castle on the inside, it’s a modern museum. I wouldn’t suggest paying for the ticket to enter the castle, just walk around and take pictures on the outside.

-The Kansai Region in particular, is a very touristy area. Be prepared to see more tourists than Japanese locals at popular sites.

-The price of transportation will take the biggest chunk out of your expenses, but don’t let it stop you from visiting all of the places you want to go to!

On the airplane. Nara is famous for its free roaming deer. Most of them do not like getting pet, but this one was particularly docile. The deer are looking for someone with rice cakes, referred to as "senbei," to snatch out of their hands. At the top of a shrine Tōdai-ji is known for housing the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world, but the many other statues around the temple are just as amazing and intricately designed. Osaka Castle is hard to miss and is definitely a place you want to visit to take pictures! This was taken at one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto. The shrine extends up a mountain and is paved with bright orange-red torii gates. Many cats that belong to the people who up and down the mountain roam around the shrine. Took this photo down the main street in Gion. Kansai International Airport is one of few floating airports in the world.

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Diana Dinh

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi! My name is Diana Dinh, and I am a Psychology major and Sociology and Art double minor at Austin College. I am interested in fashion, food, art, and sleeping. This will be my first time traveling alone, but I am excited to experience Japan as a complete foreigner!</span></p>

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