My Japan Bucket List

Maybe you’ve heard the term bucket list (or bucket list in English) before?

What is that?

In German also called Löffelliste (spoon list), things are named that you would like to do before you “give the spoon”.

Things you have never done before, but would like to do in your future life.

The Bucket List refers to the colloquial phrase “to kick the bucket”, an expression used when someone dies.

I also keep such a list and there are some things explicitly appearing for Japan that I would like to introduce to you here.

Why a Bucket List?

Sitting down, thinking and writing down my wishes for life helps me to set goals, make decisions and orient myself in my life.

When I sit in front of the list, I first have to realize my desires.

It’s not always easy, because sometimes I suddenly realize that I’ve been going in the wrong direction for years.

Changing course often means questioning one’s whole life and turning it upside down.

In my bucketlist there are both small things and big life dreams that I want to tackle before I die.

Therefore such a list is nothing more than a motivator for a fulfilled life.

The list screams formally:

  • LIFE!
  • DO YOUR THING!
  • DON’T WAIT TOO LONG!!!

It is a list with my personal WHY? Why am I here in the world? What is my personal WHY? What makes me happy?

I love to check things off. That’s the only reason I keep a to-do list every day with simple tasks and things that I’ve crossed off and done again.

My bucket list for Japan or 13 things I want to do in Japan before it’s too late:

To Japan by train

I used to have the big dream to travel around the world without using an airplane.

Taking my time and driving through time zones is still one of my favourite journeys.

To Japan by train – with the Trans-Siberian Railway through Siberia to Vladivostok and then by ship over to Hokkaido.

Before that I have been dreaming for a long time.

It is not impossible and not necessarily cheaper than to fly, that much is clear.

I already took the train from Berlin to Mongolia – the Transmongolian Railway – and then on to China. It was great!

So I know what to expect and how to do it (get visas and buy train tickets on the spot, where it’s a lot cheaper).

The way back I would like to start then of course also overland.

Maybe with a ferry first to Taiwan and then further to China.

From China there are trains to Mongolia again and then on to Moscow and Berlin Ostbahnhof! Like then!!!

In fact, I could take the train from Berlin to Portugal and would only have to change trains once in Paris.

You could do that, but you’re not on my Japan list now.

Everything I need for it: TIME.

Just a lot of time!

Hokkaido by bike

I would like to repeat my grandiose bicycle journey in Okinawa only too gladly on Hokkaido.

There are no special places on the northern island of Japan that I absolutely want to visit. I already got around there by car.

Therefore I just want to cycle and see what there is to experience there.

To cycle a month (or two) on Hokkaido, where even in summer it has pleasant temperatures, a long dream of mine, which was born during the bicycle trip in the heat of Okinawas.

Must be great if it’s not so hot!

And scenically Hokkaido is the hammer.

Pilgrim trail on Shikoku

Shikoku Henro – 四国遍路 or Shikoku Junrei – 四国巡礼 is the name of the pilgrimage of 88 temples on the small island of Shikoku.

As a big fan of slow travelling, running has become a very special experience for me.

I love the stories of people who just run, cross countries with blisters on their feet and experience new adventures every day and meet great people.

Two friends of mine walked through America. Since then I’ve been packed and just a few days ago another girlfriend from Berlin went to Spain* (*with daily updates from her trip on Facebook).

Even though I don’t have a lot to do with religion, I am enthusiastic about pilgrimages.

There must be something about it. I would like to find out.

Preferably in Japan.

Even if I am a little afraid of the pain on my feet and in my legs, my hiking boots have been worn in for a long time…

It could start tomorrow.

Travelling to Osaka

Now you’re wondering.

I’ve lived in Japan for 6 years, but I’ve never been to Osaka (well, a short time at the station doesn’t count).

I am almost sure that the city will be a perfect match for me.

Many Japanese from Osaka who I met were … especially … extraordinary.

They confirmed my suspicion: Osaka is different from the rest of Japan! The mentality here is more creative, somehow everyone is a little more individual, the fashion is more wacky and freakier and the food is great.

That’s why I finally want to go to Osaka to see for myself.

I don’t really need a tourist program here. I would simply let the city come to me.

On my personal list are the following things:

  • The castle of Osaka: Osaka-jo – 大阪城
  • The food
  • The market in Namba
  • Celebrate with friends
  • karaoke

Sightseeing in Tokyo

A point that many visitors to Japan already have ahead of me.

I’ve been to Tokyo a lot. But I don’t really know the city very well.

I have

✔ good parties celebrated
✔ at a music festival on the beach danced and eaten kebab
✔ danced through the nights
✔ proved during Karaoke that I can’t sing
✔ my hair with the English-speaking hairdresser to let cut ✔
✔ cherry blossoms viewed
✔ hung in the parks of the city
✔ temples and shrines seen
✔ Sushi eaten at the fish market
✔ left a lot of money while shopping
✔ much and tasty eaten ✔
✔ visited all stationery shops
✔ I get lost one or the other time or another
✔ in Akihabara properly traded in all the electronic stuff that I wanted
✔ Museums visited
✔ Odaiba visited
✔ lost me in the masses on the Shibuya crossing
✔ art exhibitions seen
✔ from the Metropolitan Building, the city hall in Shinjuku, desperately looking for Fuji-San
✔ I looked at the ice sculptures in winter
✔ watching a sumo competition

But Tokyo Tower and Skytree?

Never seen them.

It doesn’t have to be up there, but at least I’d like to see the two landmarks of the city.

I’ve never done real sightseeing in Tokyo before.

About time, or what do you think?

For my bucket list and my next visit to Tokyo. Maybe.