Arrived at Nirata Airport yesterday evening, very tired, but successfully picked up by the Green Tomato taxi service (complete with white lace coverings on the seats - wouldn't survive on the farm for long!). A wonderful comfortable welcoming hotel complete with authentic bedroom and Japanese pyjamas! Everyone said we were lucky not to have arrived the day before as they had such heavy snow all flights had to be redirected. However, with typical Japanese efficiency all roads and pathways have all been cleared.
Today we went to the Imperial Palace Gardens (which had been closed on our last visit). Fabulous gardens even at this time of the year - lessons to be learnt on how to prune trees(!) and the winter blossom really showed up against the snow. We then took a train to a very different area to see The National Art Gallery which is closed on Tuesday's. As today is Wednesday it was a surprise to find it closed today! However it was set in a very affluent area with many of the foreign embassies and a lot of designer shops (Em, thought you could spend many a happy hour here!).
Tomorrow we fly to NZ at 6.00pm so have got time to jump on a train (we've really got the hang of the trains this time)and have a bit of culture in the morning visiting some Temples and Shrines (if they're not closed!)