Japan is the perfect combination between past and future, tradition and modernity. A thousand-year-old culture that coexists perfectly with cutting-edge technology.
In fact, Japan was one of my pending destinations for many years, and I must admit that it has managed to surprise me in every way.
Although I only stayed there for a week, it was really intense, and I certainly made the most of it.
There are endless details and situations that surprised me during my trip. But the most significant one is definitely the people. The Japanese build their lives and day to day around a central imperative: respect towards others. In fact, cleanliness, neatness, and of course, order, are consequences of this philosophy.
In Tokyo, for example, you can sense an organised "chaos". In this huge city there are millions and millions of people moving through its streets, catching trains, buses, etc., but although it may sound contradictory, you can find peace and tranquility in this chaos.
In Japan, even the unforeseen is planned, and everything is thought of, because it’s been perfectly organised.
Contrary to what I thought, it’s an ideal destination to get in touch with yourself. In fact, it’s very easy to travel around the country, so it’s a perfect place to enjoy a little alone time.
Also, as a lover of gastronomy, design and culture, I enjoyed the best of these disciplines in this amazing country.
My first accommodation in the capital was Aman Tokyo, definitely a destination in itself. Entering Aman Tokyo is immersing yourself in an oasis, an ideal place to blend in with the environment, and learning the delicate art of observation.
In Aman Tokyo I met with my friend Gonzalo, with whom I had the chance to visit the coolest alternative places in this amazing city. In fact, there’s something cooking up in Tokyo... We will keep you posted!
During my stay I was able to experience some of the most interesting and fun activities, I even had the opportunity to take a picture with the Imperial Family!
The good thing about Tokyo is that there are hotels for all tastes. During my visit I was able to stay at the Mandarin Oriental and the Palace Hotel.
The Mandarin Oriental is ideal for family trips. The rooms are spacious, it’s located in an interesting shopping area, and it offers great service and a wide range of gastronomic options.
The Palace is an ideal hotel for business, but also to relax in its Evian spa and to exercise in its state-of-the-art gym.
From Tokyo I traveled northwest, to Kanazawa, aboard the legendary bullet train. The escort service in the train station was impeccable, as well as the experience on board the train. In fact, the Shinkansen is an excellent means of transportation: an easy, safe and comfortable way to travel around the country.
On arrival in Kanazawa we headed straight to the market, where we discovered Japanese tapas in small and quaint food stalls, definitely off the beaten track.
In the city gardens I was able to witness how the gardeners meticulously take care of these natural havens. It’s also an ideal place to enjoy some tea served in a traditional way.
I spent the night in Yamashiro, in a ryokan, a traditional accommodation where simplicity, service and gastronomy are the most important pillars of the stay. There, I was able to relax and even enjoy a bath on my private terrace.
In Yamashiro I also witnessed the Japanese tea ceremony for the first time in my life, a fascinating ritual that truly surprised me and surpassed all my expectations.
Back in Kanazawa I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art, an impressive place.
Moreover, my birthday took place while in Kanazawa, and I got to celebrate it three times!
My last stop in Japan was in Kyoto, a charming city, and probably my favourite place in Japan.
During my visit to the old capital I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, an elegant and stylish hotel, with fantastic views and an excellent location.
Kyoto is an ideal place to get lost between temples and toriis, and of course it is the perfect place to spot a geiko while walking around Gion. Unfortunately it’s very easy to turn geishas into a tourist attraction, for this reason we were always extremely respectful to them.
I bid farewell to Kyoto through its cuisine, enjoying a meal in an excellent vegan restaurant and an elegant dinner at Chef Nobu's restaurant.
In Japan, I learned a life lesson about the importance of doing things properly. It’s a lesson that fits perfectly with our philosophy, our obsession with excellence and our aim of always doing things in the best possible way.
After my first visit to Japan, I know that there will be many more to come!