Wanna go to Japan? Chances are, based on the statistics, your answer is “yes!” According to multiple sources, Japan is a top global tourist destination for 2024/4=25. The real question is how do you want to go to Japan?

Fall Weather in Japan: Postcard Blue Skies, No Rain, Temps in the Low 60’s

Sure, you could take a package tour, from a Japanese tour company. Of course, seniority still rules in corporate Japan, meaning, a bunch of old Japanese guys will likely determine what you see. On my last trip, we ran into a group of school kids touring temples. When I asked them if they were going to the beach later, they looked so confused, “you mean there’s a beach??” It was sad.

Or, you could wing-it on your own, a la Google, TikTok, and Instagram. The problem there is, you won’t get great receptions with all those mountains and skyscrapers. You’ll probably walk half a city block in the wrong direction before you figure out it’s the wrong direction! Then, you’ll have to go old-school and ask for directions.

The problem is Japanese people get embarrassed if they don’t know the answer to your question, so they may just give you their best guess–as though it were fact. Watch out for the air-through-teeth noise! Or, dreading foreigner encounters, they’ll wave you away frantically, especially once you’re out of the city center, where you need the most help!

Besides, once those social media influencers post about the latest hotspot, it will be swarmed! Plus, they’re not going to tell you the best way to get there from where you are. Sure, Google Maps is a big help, if you want to take a BUS!?! Warning: don’t try to take a bus if you don’t know//read at least some Japanese. Don’t expect great signage either. For instance, wouldn’t you think the station for the monorail to the major international airport would have a big sign posted “Airport Monorail” in English?? Nope.

So if neither of the above, sounds like a good plan, you may be ready for a YogaHotDish Bold Venture! There are many versions of Japan and I guarantee I’ll show you my best version. My Japan derives from living in three different neighborhoods, all at different socio-economic levels over three years. I was first a student, then an English Teacher, and finally a Branch Manager for a Wall Street software company marketing to Japanese banks.

I was blessed to have an awesome mentor, a woman who was a teenager in WW 2. She lived through several Japans, as a rare female business owner in the go-go 80’s, and a somewhat struggling property owner in the 1990’s. I even got to go to court with her as her “cheerleader” when she was evicting a tenant!

The Fujiya Hotel, En Route from Tokyo to Hakone. Tokyo was The World’s Most Expensive City from 1992-2013

So all I can do is promise to do what I do in yoga: take the best of traditional Japan, mix in the best of modern Japan, marinate in a rich zen sauce and serve it up with humor and heart! Ready, set?

DATES: OCT 23 – NOV 6 (Wed-Wed), 2024. This means you leave the USA on Wed, arrive in Japan Thursday afternoon.

CITIES: Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, Kamakura, (possible Hiroshima daytrip from Kyoto).

COST: Direct flights on Delta from MSP are currently around $2000, but may dip, so I buy changeable tickets. Some of the accommodations have already been reserved, so you will reimburse me, others you can book yourself online. I will charge a flat fee for arranging/guiding the trip. Your on-the-ground cost will be about $2000/week, 2 weeks.

CONTACT: shailayoga {@} gmail.com. This trip only has a couple more openings left!

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