Thursday, 17 April 2008
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
We leave Tokyo early tomorrow to make our way to Koya-san which is a small town in the mountains. We're staying with monks in a small temple so Internet coverage might be a bit sketchy to say the least. We'll see. After that we are off to Nara and then home.
It's been a glorious day in Tokyo today, especially compared to the drizzle and cloud of yesterday. Visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Tokyo National Museum. The latter of which afforded us a better view of Fuji than we got yesterday.
We then went shopping in Ueno and picked up all sorts of tasty treats to bring home including the infamous squeezey cheesy fish. We then headed over to the worlds 2nd biggest department store at Ikebukuro. It was the biggest until the same chain built a bigger one in Yokohama.
Finally we've just got back from a visit to Senso-ji one of the biggest temples in Tokyo.
This way for Sunshine....
Sunday, 13 April 2008
The PC I have to use is shockingly poor so there may not be any photo's with this post but I'll try my best. Two days worth below.
Late start yesterday after getting every penny's worth out of the Park Hyatt. We moved to a hotel over to the other side of Tokyo and then went to Akihabara (electric town) which is full of electronic shops and then walked around the Imperial Palace gardens.
We then headed towards the posh area of Ginza and got some photos of the Shinkansen passing between buildings. We then had amazing Yakitori (grilled meat on skewers) underneath the railway arch with the Shinkansen roaring over head. Great place, great atmosphere and great beer.
Finished yesterday with a walked around the expensive shops of Ginza (Cartier, Dior etc). Wallet stayed firmly in pocket.
A very early start this morning to get to Tsukiji Fish Market. Huge place with every type of fish you can imagine and plenty that you can't. Giant tuna just off the boats were being sawn up and hacked with giant axes. Before leaving we had sashimi breakfast.
We then headed out to Hakone to try and see the elusive Mount Fuji. The journey involved 3 trains, 1 funicular railway, 2 cables cars and a pirate ship....I kid you not, a pirate ship! Anyway, after all that we didn't even see Fuji as it was too cloudy.
Museums and art gallery's tomorrow followed by shopping.
Saturday, 12 April 2008
Thursday, 10 April 2008
Today we used the Shinkansen [bullet train] for the first time. The trains are huge, super fast and perfectly on time.
We took the Shinkansen to Himeji [below] which boast Japans largest and oldest original castle. All of the other castles are more recent concrete reconstructions. We then walked through an amazing Japanese garden [below] next to Himeji castle, that had lakes full of Koi carp.
We then continued on the Shinkansen to Hiroshima. A really beautiful city that was famously destroyed in August 1945. The rebuilt city is spacious, bright and friendly. We walked through the Peace Park and up to the A-Bomb Dome [below]. The atomic bomb detonated 500 feet above the building.
Finally just a bit of fun. A great sign we saw today in Himeji.
Wednesday, 9 April 2008
Tuesday, 8 April 2008
Spent the whole day today walking around the East side of Kyoto visiting loads of shrines and temples.
We started early at Nisiki market were you can buy all sorts of weird and wonderful things that go into Japanese cuisine.
Then we headed North East to Ginkakuji Temple which had spectacular zen gardens. Unfortunatly it's famous 'silver' temple was undergoing restoration but the garden was still very impressive.
We then walked down the 'Path of Philosophy' which is jammed full of sakura over hanging a stream (below). It was noticable the damage done by yesterday's rain and how much further along Kyoto's cherry trees are than Osaka's.
The trail lead us to the very impressive Nanzenji Temple were we had Japanese green tea cetemony and saw more zen gardens and temple buildings (1st & 2nd below). Claire then got us lost in the woods trying to find a place Lonely Planet had recommend. They said not many people go there and now we know why. Finally we went to Kiyomizu Temple (3rd below) which was perched high over looking Kyoto and had a great view.
Monday, 7 April 2008
Started the morning with the strangest breakfast I've ever eaten. Tofu and miso soup doesn't quite compute. We'll have to wait and see what we get tomorrow.
Vistied a temple with some great sakura (below) and bamboo forrest (below) but we were absolutely soaked by then, so headed back to the hotel for some dry clothes and then some shopping at the amazing Kyoto station.
Sunday, 6 April 2008
Arrived late on Friday and spent the evening walking around Osaka-Jo park (below). Loads of Sakura (Cherry Blossom) to be seen and people doing Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing) until late at night. Like a German with a beach towel they were out at 6am to reserve their spot.
Spent all of yesterday visiting Osaka and spent today at Ise-Jingu (below), Japans holiest shrine. You're not allowed anywhere near the actual shire itself. You have to be a supreme being to get that honor.
Traveled to Kyoto this afternoon and have just got back from conveyor belt sushi, which I have to say left me a little disappointed. I wanted to like it more. But we made up for that by getting thrown out of a Pachinko (below) arcade because they wanted to close. We nearly made our money back as well! If only we'd realised sooner there is no skill involved!Next 3 days in Kyoto but the weather is about to turn rainy. Much better than at home though!