MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Information, Tours and Travel took 39 Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, residents on an African adventure during the Akiyoshido Cave & Safari Land trip, March 21, 2015.
I am fairly new to ITT trips; to be honest, the Akiyoshido Cave and Safari Land trip was my first one, but I was far from disappointed.
I wouldn’t call myself a barracks rat but I will say that when choosing between packing up my daily gear and hopping on the train with friends to go on a new Japanese adventure or lying in bed all day wearing sweats with an endless supply of books and movies, I tend to struggle.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to experience the culture of my host country. I am constantly in awe of the architecture, ceremonies and history it offers. The act of reaching those places, however, puts me off.
When heading anywhere further than Iwakuni City, I prepare for the trip to be an all-day affair. I pack a small backpack with everything I would usually be able to put in my car, headphones, wallet, book, etc. Grabbing my liberty card, I take out a good amount of Yen and hop in a taxi heading for the train station.
Once at the train station, I have to buy a ticket that would be so easy to lose, find the track, either race there to catch the train before it leaves or wait for it to get there. When it arrives, I pray that it won’t be full so I don’t have to stand up or be squeezed in tight with multiple strangers who I am unable to engage in pleasantries with to make it less awkward.
Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying; Japan has a wonderful transportation system. It may take a little effort, but getting around is much easier than I thought it would be when I first arrived here, but it still takes more work than if I could hop in my car and drive. Why not make it easier?
ITT offers trips to multiple destinations, including Tokyo and Universal Studios in Osaka, without the hassle that normally comes when taking off for a day or even a week, and that hassle-free trip is exactly what I got.
The beginning of the ITT trip began at 8 a.m. in front of Crossroads Mall. Attendees boarded the bus, a rather large one perfectly outfitted for a long drive, and we set off on our two hour and thirty minute drive.
One “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” showing later, we arrived at Akiyoshido Cave, the largest cave system in Japan.
Having toured the largest cave in the world multiple times during my youth, I was prepared to be less than impressed but it was beautiful.
Large, limestone creations surrounded me with the sound of rushing water adding an extra soothing effect. If that didn’t impress you, the scenery as you exited the cave surely would. A small water fall flows from the cave landing in exquisite, seemingly unnatural, teal blue water. It took effort to pull my eyes away.
After a stint of window shopping at the multiple stores outside the cave’s exit, we boarded the bus once again en route to Safari Land.
Upon arriving, we immediately took the wildlife zone tour while safely in the confines of our bus. After that, we received an hour and a half of roaming time; enough time to feed the giraffes, admire the white tigers and test your luck with a rather playful spider monkey.
All-in-all, I received a full day of entertainment, free of my regular travel stresses, for a mere $70.
I did not worry about transportation, directions or time. I let ITT do the hard work and focused on enjoying the trip and nothing more.
For more information on ITT services and trips, call 253-4377.