Published: July 9th 2010May 24th 2010
Finally the time has come and we were heading to Japan for a couple of weeks. My parents were also joining us which was a great help to us for interpretation purposes. At the airport we were greeted by my cousin Maki who helped us find our hostel in Tokyo. We spent a couple of hours at the hostel owned bar for a few sakes and beer afterwards. The next day Maki showed us around Harajuku area.
My parents were arriving the next day, so it was back to airport for us and Maki to meet them. We went straight to my auntie's house in Ibaragi, to stay with her for a couple of days. It was great to see her again after such a long time and also my cousin Chikage and her little son. On our last night Kishiko had ordered some sushi for everybody and we had to say farewell the next day.
Our next stop was Kyoto an we decided to spend 3 nights there. Our guesthouse was conveniently located near the railway station and it was fairly easy to get around by bus. Kyoto is absolutely beautiful and the temples and shrines are stunning. We also
had the most amazingmeal there in a tiny little restaurant. We had to wait for a table for a while but man, was it worth the wait. We ordered a few different dishes and their speciality, the hot pot. It was so good, I can still taste it when I think about it :)
During our time in Kyoto we visited my uncle Yasuyoshi in Osaka. It was only a short visit but I was happy to have met him because I have never seen him before. My mum was also very happy as she hasn't seen Yasuyoshi for such a long time and there was a lot of chit-chat going on between them.
The last family visit was in Fukuyama near Hiroshima to my uncle Motoichi. He collected us at the train station and at home we were greeted with a fridge full of beer! We stayed with him for 2 nights and there was a lot of drinking going on. Motoichi was also driving us around the area to show us some nice spots. Thankfully we left after 2 nights because I don't think I could have done another night of drinking. My parents stayed for an extra
night and were threatened to be thrown out of the house if they don't drink with him, haha.
Ed and I went to Hiroshima for just a short visit to see the A-bomb dome, Peace museum and Hiroshima Castle (which was a bit disappointing, really). We couldn't really be in Hiroshima thought without tasting the local speciality Okonomiyaki, a japanes pancake with cabbage and meat. Unfortunately we had underestimated the travel time to Fuji the same day and we didn't make it to Kawaguchi-ko in the Five-Lakes area. So, what to do if hotels are to pricy to stay in...stay the night in an internet cafe. Yes, it's possible in Japan and it's not to bad. I had more comfortable nights but for the price it was ok.
We made it to Fuji the next day but we didn't really get a good view of Fuji-san on the 2 days we were there. The best views we had were on the bus going there and one evening in the dark. Nevertheless, it is beautiful around the area and we had a little glimpse at least. Our hostel was great too. It had an onsen (hot spring bath) on the top
floor with a view of Fuji-san.
Our trip was coming to an end and we stopped by my friend Christine and her boyfriend Frank in Yokohama for the night. I haven't seen her for years and it was brilliant to see how well she's getting on in Japan.
The last couple of days we met up with my parents and my cousin Maki in Tokyo again and said our goodbyes.
All in all, it was a fantastic but very short trip. We were lucky to have booked the railpass because it made travelling around Japan so much easier and cheaper. I was also glad that my parents joined us on the trip. My mum was a great translator for us and she was delighted to have seen her family again. My dad loved it too because he hasn't met my uncles yet either.
It was a lot more affordable than we thought too. It was also very easy to talk to locals and everyone was so friendly and polite. We will definitely be back here some day.
There are more photos below