Japan, here we come!
Dad and Jeff - Jeffrey and I flew from Korea that morning and we just met up with the parents in Osaka, and now we head to Kyoto and then Shimoda on one of the bullet trains!
We started our travels by staying a few days in Shimoda 下田 on the Izu Peninsula 伊豆半島.
While there we rented a car and traveled all along the coast taking hundreds of pictures as we went.
It was "off" season, so the roads and tourist areas were not busy.
Good thing for the roads especially! They are very much like the roads you find in the peak district in England.
Beautiful, narrow, and very curvy! Fun but a little scary at times.
Also the onsens (Natural hot springs heated from the earth's core), were mostly empty so we could relax in our own private baths.
While in Shimoda, we stayed at a Ryokan. (Ryokan are Japanese style inns - Guests stay in Japanese style rooms with tatami floor and a low table. Shoes are usually removed at the ryokan's main entrance, where slippers will be kept ready. You are supposed to remove even your slippers before stepping onto tatami mats.
Dinner and breakfast are included in the overnight stay, except at some no-frills establishments. Some ryokan serve meals in the guest room, while others serve them in separate dining areas. Both meals are in Japanese style and often
feature regional and seasonal specialties.
A yukata (Japanese robe) is provided to be worn during your stay at the ryokan. The yukata can be used for walking around the ryokan and as pajamas. In many onsen resorts, it is also okay to take a walk outside of the ryokan in your yukata.)
Our Ryokan was beautiful, and our 2nd floor room open unto a lovely quiet (Zen like) pond that was surrounded by lush greenery and flowers, along with the walls of the building itself.
Just to even get to our room was quite the adventure.
I was sure we were going to get lost.
One day I documented the walk from our room to the front door with pictures, just so you could see how long and varied the walk was.
From the Izu peninsula, we left our car and took the bullet train (very fast - 300km/hr) to Kyoto where we then spent another few days.
But Kyoto will be found on Part 3 of my Japan blogs.
So sit back and enjoy the experience of Japan!
(If you are sitting in a Kimono or a Yukata, it will definitely enhance the experience!)
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