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Kanazawa was sort of off the beaten path (Tokyo - Osaka corridor), but proved to be one of the more fun stops. Hostel was one of, if not the best hostels I've stayed in. Just a really fun experience that sort of made the trip. Also went on a great walking tour which was really informative (and I found out had only started the previous week). Just two of us from the hostel on it but still fun. Closed off the night with a tour of the main gardens and the best sushi and sake so far!
One thing that set this hostel apart was that it only slept around 12. So as each person came in, the owner would give a personal tour of the place and introduce you to each guest, and since people literally had to walk through the entire house to get out, it was easy to catch people and set up dinner plans with a group.
I really love hostels that have simple night events too, bar crawls or just general meet ups, because it gives a target for everyone to hit. We did paper origami one night which I obviously struggled at and hated, but ultimately it's just a good way to hang out with the few other people in the small town. I spent the day touring with another American who was staying there which was also fun.
At sushi, someone asked me what my least favorite place I'd visited so far was and honestly couldn't come up with an answer. I always sort of think of Venice, but it's not that it was a bad city, but maybe it just wasn't the right city for the timing and tone of that trip. Overall though, I really couldn't come up with a good answer. So far anywhere new has always been fun!
I've been pretty happy with the mix of places so far. Big, medium and small all have advantages, but the ultra-small is always such a tight community. Plus it's almost entirely solo travelers since it's impossible to book multiple people when there's only space for a handful of beds.
Off to another whistle stop in Takayama and then finally several days in Kyoto. The weather finally shifted towards sunny which I hear is rare, so I'll try and redouble my efforts to capture the gorgeous fall colors starting to appear now!