Katherine's love for Japan began from an early age, when her interest in the country and its fascinating culture was sparked by her Japanese childminder. After school she would come home to Japanese meals, have fun playing Japanese games and listen to the beauty of the Japanese language which she consequently began to learn from the age of twelve.
Katherine then went on to read Japanese Studies at the University of Manchester, which included the best year of her life to date studying at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. During this time she fully immersed herself in Japanese culture and seized the opportunity to participate in various festivals by joining the local festival committee - a real highlight of her time in Japan!
Since returning to Japan with Audley, Katherine has fallen in love with the country all over again after exploring some of the more rural areas and traditional Ryokan inns that Japan has to offer.
My Most Memorable Experience
"My most memorable experience so far encaptures the kindness and warmth of the Japanese people. Having clumsily got off at the wrong stop in the middle of the Kiso Valley in Japan (with no train for the next three hours!), I went to a local cafe to consider my options. With time getting on, and my plans looking compromised, I was feeling sorry for myself and began telling the owner of the cafe about my situation. Suddenly, a lady came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder - "We're going past that town on our way! Come with us and we'll drop you off", she said.
Delighted and eternally grateful, I piled all of my luggage into their car to find four other smiling middle-aged ladies inside. They took me all the way to the place I needed to go, and even got out with me and walked me to the door of my accomodation.
I was reminded that even when you get lost in Japan, you can always rely on the kindness of Japanese people."
My Favourite Destination
"Miyajima Island is considered to be one of Japan's 'three great sights' for a reason. The sheer size of the iconic floating Torii gate is a wonder to behold, especially at low tide when you can stand at its base and run your hands accross its weathered structure.
The ropeway takes you up the island's highest peak from which the views of the sea and other small islands against the backdrop of a bright blue sky are absolutely breathtaking - a truly beautiful sight.
There is also a bustling shopping street to enjoy with plenty of food stands offering an array of authentic local delicacies - watch out for peckish deer, though!"
My Favourite Accommodation
"Without a doubt, my favourite place to stay in Japan is the Fujioto Ryokan. Mr Fujihara has been running this traditional inn for years and has absolutely perfected what a great stay should be! The tatami mat rooms overlook a beautifully manicured Japanese garden which is a fantastic feature of this property.
However, nothing can beat the food in this place! The locally-sourced dishes that you are served at meal times are explained to you in detail as you go through the courses - each one an absolute delight. You are even taught the quickest method of de-boning a fresh fish with chopsticks!
The attention to detail and service that you receive at the Fujioto is second to none and I thoroughly recommend a stay here."