Published: March 13th 2012March 13th 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
In typical fashion, I was up at 5:00am, jet lag, what is that? Since everyone was still sleeping that early, took my computer to the hotel lobby to check email, etc. While walking in the hall and standing in the elevator, there was a very faint sound of birds over the speaker system. What a relaxing way to start your day.
Around 8:00 am everyone was up and ventured down to the hotel restaurant. The breakfast was a nice mix of Japanese and American fare.
We packed the couple of bags we carried on and heading to the lobby to plan our day since the original plans changed due to our late arrival.
Today our plan included a visit to the Tokyo tower, Kamakura to see the Great Buddha, and train trip to Osaka. Tokyo Tower
After leaving the hotel, we took the Tokyo subway to the Tokyo Tower. The Tokyo Tower was completed in 1958 and modeled after the Paris Eifel Tower. It is 1093 feet tall, slightly smaller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris. At the base of the
tower are an aquarium and multiple floors of activities including amusements. There is an elevator that will take you to two observation areas; one 492 feet (main observatory) and the other 820 feet (specialty observatory). We visited both areas. Each area provided a different view of Tokyo and surrounding areas. The best views in my opinion were the Pacific Ocean/ Bay area, the metropolitan areas and the view of the snow packed peak of Mount Fuji. I heard before visiting Japan that seeing Mount Fuji is a big deal because it is always covered clouds. Even though Mount Fuji was quiet a distance away, the view is speculator.
I included photos of the tower and photos from the tower. Kamakura and the Great Buddha
After leaving the Tokyo Tower, we boarded the subway and took it to Tokyo City train area. From here we got tickets to take a train to Kamakura Japan.
Prior to leaving the states we purchased a 7-day rail pass on the national railway system called Japan Rail or JR. We can use this pass to travel around Japan with this pass. We bought first class, or green
seating. Whenever we decided to travel longer distances, we go to a JR ticket office to reserve a seat and first class rail cars.
Kamakura is a small but charming seaside town one hour south of Tokyo by train. According to a guide book, the town is full of temples and wooded hills. It has 19 Shinto shrines and 65 Buddhist temples.
While making the long walk to the Great Buddha, we walked through this really beautiful and old market area. There all types of shops from clothing to fresh vegetables. Too bad we did not have enough time to visit these shops. It was amusing seeing all the dogs sitting outside the shops. A family affair.
After about a 45+minute walk and asking for directions, we arrived at the Great Buddha.
The Great Buddha is Kamakura’s most famous sight. It was first built in 1252 and built out of bronze. The statute is of Amida Buddha. Legend has it that a large tsunami pushed the great Buddha from the seacoast to the hill it currently stands.
The Great Buddha park area was great. The photos attached
really don’t do much justice to its true size. It is enormous. The kids and I walked instead the structure to see how it was constructed. I also included a photo. Cindy visited the Great Buddha with her Dad and brother in 1997. She highly recommended it, glad she pushed us to visit.
After leaving the Great Buddha site, we walked back through the small town and ate at a very small café. Yes, when in Japan you eat Hot Dogs. Well really, you eat the local flavor; however that did not look good. Jennifer and Michael bought a few souvenirs.
We boarded our train back to Tokyo, during rush hour and made our back to the hotel to pick up our bags and call American Airlines to check the status of our bags. There are supposedly arriving at our Osaka Hotel Wednesday morning.
Before heading our journey to Osaka, we finished shopping to use the funds that American Airlines gave us. Cindy and I finally bought a few items; however let the kids spend most of the money.
When we finished our shopping adventure we went back
to the train station and boarded our train to Osaka. Our dinner this evening included cold sandwiches from a newsstand, actually not too bad. The train ride was on a bullet train. Not quite sure how fast it went, but it was smoking. Most the journey Cindy and the kids slept, I stayed awake to make sure we got off at the right stop. We arrived in Osaka at 11:30 pm. The train station was incredibility huge and well maintained.
Our hotel, the Hilton Osaka, was a 5 minute walk from the train station. This hotel is absolutely beautiful. I will post photos at a later date. While checking in, we were given hot towels. This was really welcome since it was freezing cold outside. The bellman took us to our rooms, which were adjoining. The Courtyard by Marriott also had adjoining rooms. The rooms are very similar to the Marriott; however the view of the city is much better. Michael thinks this room is better.
There are more photos below