How to beat.. visitors -fatigue? Easy planning tip for expats
Friends and family visiting Japan is so great but planning the best trips for them, and us, can be a headache.
One little idea makes planning so much easier, and the trips together amazing. Also for us, expats. Rent a camper car!
Oops, you guys are here already?!
Do you also experience those those mixed feelings when the day nears that some friends or family members will be arriving in Japan, again? That oops-is-it-that-close-already-feeling? And the I-was-going-to-organise-this-for-all-of-us-but-I-didn’t-yet-feeling?! Don’t worry, it is normal. Most expats experience that..
Don’t get me wrong, I love to see them and catching up in real-time is so much better than any Skype could ever be, but that it is precisely why I feel mixed. And there is also this what-to-do-with-them, where-to-take-them-this-time-feeling. I want them to experience Japan as my family does, real-life faces and places, but we should not forget about the famous sightseeing spots either.
Fuji again? Boring..
At best the trips should be new and exciting for me and my family too! I mean, there are not many holidays in the Japanese expat calendar so going to Fuji-san and Hakone with ALL our visitors does not give us many new adventures. It is fun yes, but not the ultimate fun.
Keep in mind that for a (small) group, everything is in planning. More than once I found myself calling (yes, calling..) hotel after hotel because for some reason unknown to me that weekend was a local holiday, of the not-on-the-calendar sort. Japan gets busy, and the great places even more so.
The best planning includes highlights AND hidden corners
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to be 100% together to make the max of these short visits and show them highlights and hidden corners at the same time? Hidden corners means that precious time-of-work gives you some new adventures, too. And, without doing too much homework on research and bookings? Sounds like a dream?
Now, you book only 1 thing!
So let me wake you up with my planning solution to all of this, to beat that visitors -fatigue! Once the dates are clear, you just book 1 thing. The one thing that covers it all but leaves it all open at the same time. A camping car! Get your camper confirmed, big or small, or even 2 if you need, and feel relieved; all you need is booked! It’s that simple!
Last autumn my in-laws were over. Most of the time is spend around the house, with the kids and joining our every-day rhythm. With some local adventures thrown in of course. But there should always be 4-5 days of a real trip in the planning, going places, preferably also partly new to us. So we packed the camper and drove off early on a Friday morning, for a trip to Matsumoto and the surrounding mountains. And the Izu peninsula, which is not far, in Shizuoka-prefecture.
Get that elephant out of the car!
Four adults and 2 young kids do need some space, so let me explain something first, to get ‘that elephant out of the car.’ A camper is a small space, and Japanese campers are not the super-extravaganza-XL-type-a-vehicles you might know from the US or New Zealand. I mean super and extravagant it always feels, but XL, never. So there has to be a little love. And the trip should not be too long. These last two go hand-in-hand. But when these conditions are met and you are a little adventurous to begin with, all will be fantastic. And indeed, not bringing too much stuff does help too.
Example of highlights and new spots
It was an amazing trip; awesome coloured autumn leaves in the mountains, hot spring experiences in Matsumoto and Shirahone, throwing first snowballs-of-the-year and enjoying lip-smacking tempura soba. Really fun, and we all loved it. But that was the part we had campered before…
For me it was the Izu Peninsula that made the biggest impression. As it was a new place to explore for us. You know, that out-of-the-way peninsula south of mount Fuji. Via Fujisan we came in, at sunset, always a great start. And we based ourselves just outside Izu-town. Rice terraces, Fuji in the distance, bamboo forests and hot springs. Izu Peninsula is off the beaten track, as it sort of sticks out, away from it all. And it is blocked by Mount Fuji and the Hakone-area which get all the attention. So besides your normal hordes of local visitors at daytime it is quiet. Although they are prepared for more as the major signposts are already multilingual; Chinese and Portuguese now can find their way too!
Sabi-farm, onsen and picnics: best of Japan
We drove winding mountain roads, visited a wasabi-farm, view-points and more onsen. It is fairly small but seeking your own way and straying off the main roads into the forests means you take well over 3 hours just to get across. Conveniently making coffee and lunch on the way is added value of bringing ‘your house’ along. Of course campers and sightseers are not made for speeding anyway!
Excited kids, and happy (grand)parents. Isn’t that the secret ingredient for a successful family trip? So when you’ve got visitors coming , you now have a new option!
Create you own unique trip! Go Camper Japan!
How experienced expats explore Japan? By camper! Read more:
How to.. overnight anywhere you want
How to.. wash and bath on the road: hot springs!
And all other how to..’s you can think of…
Ideas to save money on travel? Check out Cheapo Japan