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September 20th 2019
Published: September 21st 2019
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Every time we head off to Japan we go with Jetstar as they offer some fantastic deals so this time was no different. Except we were offered the opportunity to update to Business Class from Cairns to Narita which we took up. Having, two weeks earlier arrived back home from Copenhagen via London and Singapore - which entailed about 24 hours on a plane - the thought of a Business Class flight, even though it was a journey of only just over seven hours, was too good to be true. Very enjoyable!

Arriving at Narita - Tokyo's biggest Airport - around 7pm we were met by Ross and Natsumi and whisked off for the long walk to where a car Ross had hired from a company called Awayca awaited. Just like the Airbnb model, both users and hirers of Awayca report on each other after the car has been returned. The service is certainly not expensive. We stopped off for some sushi not far from the airport before we headed off for the long drive to the suburb of Nakano - which took us over two hours - so it was a blessed relief when we finally arrived at Ross and Natsumi's house. Another great night's sleep in a real bed!!

Apart from the beautiful Japanese food which Natsumi made for us one of the other highlights was the trip to Kanagawa to the Real Estate agent from whom Ross and Natsumi are buying a house. Following the signing of numerous pages of the contract, we headed off to Sajimanookadai to see the house itself which is in the final stages of being built. Workmen were putting the final stages of the deck together which leaves the landscaping, the only other job still to be done before they are able to move in. Since arriving back home we've received the welcome news that the bank's approved the mortgage and they will obtain the key on 17 October so it's all very exciting!! Overlooking the North Pacific Ocean, the house is high enough to avoid being swamped should a tsunami eventuate. Hopefully that won't ever happen though, but this being Japan it's important to consider all options. The house itself has three bedrooms, and as well as the usual kitchen, dining area, lounge, laundry and bathroom areas, it has a Japanese tatami room which most houses here have. Plus there's a lovely balcony which runs the length of the house. We can't wait to see the place once they've moved in!

We had an amazing and rather different experience for the start of the drive back to Nakano as the GPS took us through some very narrow roads which wound their way through fields and fields of rice and market gardens. So much so that it was quite relief to be back on a normal road after that little excursion. But such adventures all add to the travel experience!

Back in the sprawling densely populated Tokyo we enjoyed visits to the National Museum of Nature & Science and the National Museum of Western Art, both situated overlooking Ueno Park and which proved to be of great interest. As on previous occasions we've visited both the Tokyo National Museum and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, both also surrounding Ueno Park, we gave them a miss this time. Ueno Park itself is well worth a visit, an area where on a previous visit to Tokyo we stayed in a nearby hotel.

The area where Ross, Natsumi and their two cats now live is made of up mostly houses as well as apartments and is well served with various shops and eateries, some of which we tried as well as being treated to Natsumi's beautiful cooking of traditional Japanese food while Ross' forte is Australian food. Natsumi was also kind enough to pack Kev and I a lovely lunch bag each as we said our goodbyes and headed off for a few days to make good use of our Japan Rail Pass tickets!

Additional photos below
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23rd September 2019

Japan and Jetstar
We have not been to Japan yet but we will check out Jetstar. Sounds like you got a great deal. How difficult is it driving in Japan? Love to hear more.
23rd September 2019

Driving in Japan
I have to admit that we've never driven in Japan; it's always been our son Ross whose done the driving as he has a Japanese driving licence. But in Japan, like Australia, you drive on the left hand side of the road. Mind you we have driven in the States on the RH side and personally I don't think it's too hard to get used to. While driving in Japan, Ross uses his mobile phone to guide him where to go as Google maps directs him in English. Certainly that makes it very easy since the hire car GPS would be in Japanese. Train journeys in Japan, while quick and easy (and always on time!) are very expensive so be sure to buy a Japan Rail Pass before you go if you want to travel by train as you can't buy them in Japan. We bought ours through the Sydney travel agent JTB which, I'm presuming would have outlets in the States. Jetstar - which is a cheaper offshoot of Qantas - operates in Japan too but I've no idea if they operate out of the States. I look forward to hearing about any travels you do in Japan as I'm sure you'll love it; it's totally different from other Asian countries.
23rd September 2019
Natsumi makes us another scrumptious meal.

Home prepared
Looks fantastic.
23rd September 2019
Natsumi makes us another scrumptious meal.

Home prepared food
Ross and Natsumi will be coming back to Sydney to attend the wedding and a couple of Ross' friends. And since we've bought various Japanese bowls which we've never really used I think that calls for a request that Natsumi cooks us a Japanese meal while they're here!
23rd September 2019

Enjoy your visit
Good to see you both travelling again! Hope you are going to see some of the World Cup rugby union in Japan!! Lots of people attending this from all over the world . Best wishes from Valerie and Keith xx
24th September 2019

Visiting Japan
Great to hear from you and trust all's well in your beautiful area of North Yorkshire! We were back home before the Rugby started; albeit a couple of days late due to cancelled flights because of the typhoon. Do let us know when you're coming back to Brisbane and we'll organise to fly there to meet you. Love to you both, xx

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