New Mexico has branded themselves as the “Land of Enchantment.” However, anyone who has ever been to New Mexico knows that this is just a marketing strategy to attract more than three tourists annually. In my mind, this title rightfully belongs to Japan. It’s the reason I’ve been fascinated with the country since first reading about it in my high school world history class. Reading the stories of the feudal daimyo and their samurai fascinated me. The 47 ronin, the shinsengumi, and the battle of Sekigahara are just a few of the many epic tales of feudal Japan that have captivated me for so long. In addition, unlike most Western cultures, Japan’s culture developed around a pantheistic philosophy. Because of this, the Japanese have a deep reverence for all aspects of nature, and the shrines of the native Shinto religion are located in some of the most scenic places around Japan. I have always known that when I did, in fact, get the opportunity to visit Japan, I would want to come back to America with the most comprehensive understanding of Japanese culture that I could possibly achieve with my time there. In order to do this, I wanted a trip which integrated both the feudal history of Japan, along with some of the most important aspects of Shintoism.
日本 – Land of Enchantment