• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

Anime Aunties Visit Japan
The Final Day

by Jacki Jing,

I've been back in the United States for two days now, and I woke up at 4:30 AM today, woo jet lag! So now, as I wait for the rest of the world to wake up, I will look back at one of the most epic trips of my life.

I am not going to take us too far down memory lane here since many of you have been reading along every step of the journey, and the Anime Aunties are deeply grateful for that. Thank you so much for the kind comments in the forum.

My last three days in Japan were busy, busy! We were hauling ass around Kyoto, trying to see as many temples, castles, shrines, and “Anime IRL” aspects there. Kyoto was a bustling city, but the fact that you could stumble across some historical greatness just by walking around, block to block, was incredible.

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto
Photo by Jacki Jing

The Fushimi Inari Shrine, with rows and rows of torii gates, was spiritual and arduous. It was a lot of uphill hiking, but the serenity from nature and shrines helped combat the sweat and knee pain. The view of the city from the highest point, though, 100% made it worth it. I have no idea how the people who rented kimono weren't dying, though. I was sweating and breathing heavily in jeans and a tee.

We then went to Fushimi Castle, which is haunted. Yes. It is undoubtedly haunted. The closer and closer we got, I could feel this overwhelming heaviness. Our portable internet box stopped working, and a raven flew above us, cawing ferociously; it sounded like a man screaming. When we finally got to it, it was so grand and palatial. The overgrown vegetation and grey sky made it look unwelcoming and mysterious. We inched closer, and my eyes scanned the locked doors and boarded-up windows, and something was just not right. We left, agreeing it was resplendent and gigantic but eerie.

Then my boyfriend went down a rabbit hole learning about the siege of the castle that, in 1600, ended tragically and bloody. I'll give you the cliff notes. Tokugawa Ieyasu knew the castle would be targeted and would likely go down. Regardless, Torii Mototada decided to guard the castle with a small garrison and go down with the ship. Ishida's army assault dragged on for days, and at one point, one of the towers was set ablaze, and one of the guards lost his life putting it out. All for naught. After more intrigue and bloodshed, Torii and his family eventually committed suicide. The blood-stained wooden floors in the castle would be moved to a Kyoto Temple and remain there today. Definitely haunted.

I recently looked back at my first journal entry when I landed in Japan, and I wrote about how exciting it was to be in the birthplace of anime, to be in the country, the land where it all began. What an understatement. How exciting to be in this country with such rich history and deep roots. Whether it was a haunted Kyoto castle or the bright lights of Akihabara, there was some powerful energy I felt the whole time I was in Japan. I could feel it in my bones, to my core. I can't really explain it, but it was heightened at the historical, spiritual locations.

Tokyo Skytree
Photo by Jacki Jing

We rounded out our trip with a visit to Tokyo Tower and Skytree. Tokyo Tower just happened to have a cosplay convention of sorts going on the day we visited, put on by COSSAN. The tower was inundated with cosplayers from Gojo to Sailor Moon to Kamen Rider. Am I dreaming!? Tokyo Tower is featured in so many of my favorite anime, and here I am at it with a bunch of cosplayers. It couldn't get any better for an otaku.

Skytree was a different vibe. We could see it from miles away, sparkling, rotating through different colors of the rainbow. The closer and closer we got, the more excited I became. Then there was a little festival outside the Skytree doors with beautiful lanterns, just really getting me more amped for the experience, and WOMP WOMP – they were sold out. It's okay. I still took 3843029843908 photos from every angle until we returned to the train station! I was super bummed; we did another city view earlier in the week and saw Tokyo lit up at night from up high. It's like you're in the movie Akira. I kept pressing my head against the glass like a 7-year-old trying to get as close I could to those glittering lights.

So, now jetlag is really hitting me hard. It's barely 5 PM, and I am about to knock out. I am going to dream of Japan. I miss it dearly already. I hope it's the nice Tokyo Tower where I am a Sailor Scout dream and not the one of me as a samurai trapped in the haunted castle. Goodnight, and thanks again for sharing in our adventure <3

discuss this in the forum (48 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

back to Anime Aunties Visit Japan
Feature homepage / archives