June 2, 2008

August Vacation - Booked

Aside from Golden Week and New Year's, the other big Japanese holiday vacation week (and by this, we mean one of the times that Mike's work is essentially closed) is Obon Week in the second week of August.

The problems with this, in terms of travel, are: (1) everything is insanely expensive, because everyone in Japan wants to travel during this week; (2) everything is insanely crowded, because everyone in Japan wants to travel during this week; (3) it is blazingly hot and humid in Japan, and it is also hot and humid or rainy season for many of the nearby destinations in Asia.

Although we investigated many options (e.g., Australia, Taiwan, China, Korea, and Hokkaido (up in northern Japan), these were all either prohibitively expensive to fly to (in addition to the standard holiday week mark-up, the prices on gas these days don't help either!) or potentially bad weather-wise.

Ultimately, we settled on doing two mini-trips within Japan during the August holiday week (much like we did during Golden Week). Both are in the Kansai area, and we have heard good things from others who have been to both places.

First, we will be heading first to the Lake Biwa area. Lake Biwa is the largest lake in Japan and apparently one of the oldest lakes in the world. It is located just outside of Kyoto, near the towns of Otsu and Hikone, and surrounded by mountains.

After that, for the second part of the holiday week, we will be heading to Awajji Island. Awaji is the gateway to Shikoku Island, and is accessible by the longest suspension bridge in the world (with what must be the most expensive toll in the world - more than $55), the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. Awaji Island is famous for its beaches and for its the view of the Neruto whirlpools.

You'll be hearing a lot more about both of these places in August. For now, we are excited to have our holiday plans set!


Lisa said...

$55??? That is insane...that'll be exciting to be on! Makes the GWB seem like a bargain! Sounds like those trips were the right choice and will be great! Love you all and so happy i'm up to date..missing 3 isn't so bad. Talk to you tomorrow!

The Ricketts Family said...

How do you get to these places? Take a plane? or a train?

Mike said...

Train from here to Lake Biwa area - about 1 hour. For Awaji, you can take a bus from Kobe; probably under 1 hour. But we are considering renting a car for the first time and braving driving on the other side of the road. We shall see...