When the owner and founder of Real Pilates, an awesome studio and the only STOTT PILATES Licensed Training Center in this part of the world agreed to be part of Travel Junkie Diary, we could not have waited any longer to have him on here! We are in Japan with Reza Alavi who is a huge fan of traveling and an inspiring traveler. He also has plenty of stories to share and the love he has for Japan had inspired him to run and design his studio the same way.
Here is his diary
Destination Nara and Kyoto in Japan.
The Japanese strive for perfection in everything they do, small and big, with discipline. If I may borrow a line from The Last Samurai, “from the moment they wake they devote themselves to the perfection of whatever they pursue”.
Stayed at Mitsui Garden
A superb balance between business and family hotel. Very helpful staff, superb restaurants available (especially in the Tokyo Ginza branch), always brilliantly located (specially the one in Hiroshima) and depending on the branch they sometimes have integrated Japanese hot springs or at least a wonderful spa facility.
Month The best season in Japan is obviously at the time of Cherry Blossoms (Sakura) in late March, early April. Hanami festivals celebrate the beauty of the cherry blossom and for many are a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful view.
In your suitcase Aside from the usual items (clothes, etc.), my favorite books (I still like paper so no e-books for me) on Japan and its secrets, a reusable water bottle and super comfortable shoes!
Dined at Ironically my favorite restaurants in Japan were the Korean barbecue restaurants were you get served fresh meat and vegetables at the table and get to cook things yourself: if you like meat, absolute awesomeness guaranteed! TORAJI is my favorite chain.
Shopped Not a great fan of shopping I am afraid other than the unavoidable amazing Japanese electronics: so the entire Akihabara district in Tokyo is a must see!
Diary Wake up around 7-8am, have an awesome buffet breakfast, take a walk around the hotel, catch a bus to one of the numerous amazing sites around town, my favorite being Todai-ji. I would then wander around the beautiful gardens as the entire city is like a giant garden. You have beautiful deers walking freely around town because it is believed they are sacred animals, so everyone respects them deeply. A small non-touristic restaurant would be my next step. Noting like the taste of authentic Japanese food! Often such restaurants are in the corner of someone’s house so you get to also experience a family like atmosphere. After a few more hours contemplating the natural beauties of the city I would then head back to the hotel to get ready to go and relax in one of the typical Japanese hot springs (Onsen)… after that, light dinner, a bit of reading and ready to go to bed.
Tips Try everything, be patient when facing a Japanese with limited English skills. They will always try to help you to the extent that they might walk you all the way to your desired destination simply to be kind (and also because they cannot communicate well). Expect DIFFERENCE. Everything about Japan and the Japanese is different
Mode of travel Emirates Airlines to Kansai International airport in Osaka – fantastic quality as always; followed by bullet train Shinkansen after that. Easy, safe and comfortable.