Blogs from Kyoto, Japan, Asia

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Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto » Gion June 6th 2017

This is a quick blog about travel insurance companies and the caution you must take in committing to any travel insurance purchase. Japan, May, 2017 one of my tour members fell breaking her hip. she was rushed to a hospital in Kyoto and the nightmare began with her travel insurance company. The company she paid for the insurance outsourced it to another to execute the claim. It took 24 hours and an act of God to get them to provide the air ambulance she needed to return to the USA. At first they wanted her to pay the $130,000 to fly back. She had paid for a $1,000,000.00 policy for repatriation. Not only was this woman incapable of handling the "but clauses" of this policy, but she was in pain from the injury, blurry in her ... read more

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto April 14th 2017

Day2. Kyoto to Nara. 52k Sixteen on this popular tour with our top guide Ken and his helpers Saori and Shogu. It was great to be able to set off at 9.30, after setting our bikes up, in warm sunshine in shorts and shirt, with a light jacket for 2 Hrs only. Once out of the city on busy roads and pavements we hit the river and followed its course on cycleways for just about all of he say to Nara. The sky was blue with a slight headwind and we observed the small birds chirping merrily away and an egret standing in the river looking for a meal. The riverbank is quite fertile and was home to manny small farmers growing vegetables and loads of small tea plantations covered in black netting. There were also ... read more
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Todai-JI Temple

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto April 13th 2017

The one day we need the kids up early for a day trip, they both sleep in and have to be dragged out of bed. We are heading out to Arashiyama and hope to beat the crowds. For a city with mountains on 3 sides, Kyoto city is remarkably flat. Every bit of flat space is filled with the suburbs of Kyoto. Arashiyama is further out at the base of Mt Arashiyama. We've come to check out the bamboo forest and so have the other thousands of tourists - both Japanese and foreign. The bamboo grove is beautiful but crowded. The surronds are calming but the crowds diminish the vibe. Beyond the grove and avoiding the tourist trap of a traditional garden, we find look-outs that provide a breathtaking veiw of the Oi river and the ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto April 11th 2017

Precautionary back stretches backfire and I'm immobile and in spasm. Not great, but nothing a handful of nurofen zavance and a hot shower can't alleviate. It does delay us by a couple of hours, but the inclement weather isn't motivating us either. Jules is folding the washing and finds a cherry blossom petal has found its way into the basket of clothes. Both of our airbnbs have had parks/playgrounds next door and each has had a CB. For 355 days of the year these trees are bare but we are blessed to be here while they are in full bloom. By 10.30 the kids are going a bit stir crazy in the confines of our Kyoto apartment and it's time to brave the elements. Thankfully previous guests have left their umbrellas behind. We rug up and ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto April 10th 2017

Futons are not our friend. After waking with a sore back each morning we've been here, I was pleased to wake without pain. Only to sneeze while reaching for a tissue and put my back out. And the 'pillows' aren't doing Jules' neck any favours. I don't remember these aches and pains last time, but we weren't 40 somethings last time. Kyoto is the city of a thousand shrines and we plan to check out a few of them today. It's also the city of a thousand transport options. Trains are so patronised here that private operators are justified to build private rail lines adjacent (in parts) to the existing JR lines. There is also 2 subway lines and multiple bus operators. This makes in unnecessary to own a car and most people ride their bikes ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto April 9th 2017

We catch the Thunderbird Shinkansen to Kyoto today. 260 kms in just over 2 hours. These trains are awesome! We saw the sights we wanted to see and then some, yet it feels like we leave Kanazawa too soon. Jules and Deaks went for a run along the Sai River before breakfast. It runs from the snow capped Mt Okura to the Sea of Japan. It is drizzling rain today, but they proudly kept up the tradition of running in foreign lands. The veiw from our 4th story airbnb isn't as dramatic as Tokyo but has it's own appeal. The rain overnight has left the dark shingles shining and the native trees look like bonsai among the power lines and antennae. The hum of the traffic pauses, pierced by the chirp...chirp chirp of the pedestrian walk ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto March 19th 2017

Sunday 19th March A day of waiting and travelling by train today. As usual we awoke early and after showers, breakfast and cleaning the unit we were still too early. We made the decision to go to the station and catch an earlier train. This was a good idea except today is the Sunday of a long weekend and everyone seemed to be out and about. We were told by the ticket office that all the reserved seats had been filled. We therefore took the chance for a seat in the unreserved carriages only to see that they were packed also. Therefore we sat back and waited for the next train, coming in an hour, where we had reserved seating. Three and a half hours later we arrived in Shin-Kobe where we had to wait another ... read more
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Nijo-jo Castle
Nijo-jo Castle

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto February 17th 2017

So last night i was super helpful in making sure no cocktails were wasted they even put alcohol in the ones that were for display so i drank the as well haha. New day new adventure and today's adventure is Arashiyama although the weathers not to good but I'm sure it wont rain to heavily haha famous last words. I took the train from about 20 minutes to get there and then quickly found my way to the bamboo path via another temple that required me parting with my money for entry. When i was walking through the path it was impossible to guess how many bamboo trees were actually there maybe thousands lining each side of the pathway and easily deep enough on each side to not be able to see where they ended like ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto February 16th 2017

When i arrived in Kyoto i was very pleased indeed with the hostel i can recommend it Piece Hostel is the name very close to the train station and super comfortable. I had my first bath in 6 months i didnt want to get out could of happily sat there all night and just kept refilling the hot water. I was also introduced to my first Sake which is the Japanese rice wine and im quite a fan i must admit it's a lot easier to drink that the chinese rice wine put it that way. So between my Sake my bath and my comfy bed im well happy. Fushimi Inari shrine My favourite film is Memoirs of Geisha i know original when travelling Asia but hey never mind. One of my favourite scenes from that ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto February 16th 2017

Having spent a little bit of time planning last night today went a lot smoother but no less tiring. I invested in a bus pass today having spent a fortune on transport yesterday but that had a lot to do with repeatedly getting lost oops. Anyway first stop of the day was Nijo Castle, a very old traditional building surrounded by lush gardens, archways and beautiful scenery. Inside the castle I was unfortunately unable to take any photographs as they say it will damage the wall art but then in the same breathe they tell you that the art on the walls are copies and if you want to see the originals you can pay to go in to the museum on site. Convenient. The building was large and quite creaky with perfect wooden flooring throughout ... read more
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