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Asia » Japan » Tokyo June 13th 2019

Onsen Explorer. Day 13. Thursday 13 June. Tokyo City Sightseeing today, but a sandwich and coffee breakfast first at Cafe Veloce. The Imperial gardens were visited after a long walk in the heat. The gardens were very green with few flowers and magnificent stone ramparts with stones well over one cubic metre in size. And a view over the city. A day train ticket was obtained so that we could explore the city and we went to the Tokyo Tower, which is like a mini Eiffel Tower. From there a spin on the underground got us to the Tokyo Government Building where we went up to the 45th floor for a free view of the city. Unfortunately it was a little hazy and Mt Fuji was not visible but the skyscrapers were very impressive. My feet ... read more
Gong
Buddhist Temple
Shibuya street

Asia » Japan » Tokyo June 11th 2019

Tokyo My first impressions of Tokyo? Huge and overwhelming, grey and unattractive, clean and safe. Getting everywhere you want to go takes a long time. We tackled a trip to Shinjuku Station on our first morning to validate our rail passes and then managed to negotiate our first subway trip using a Suica card (recommended if you are staying for a while). Negotiating this took quite some time. We got tickets for one of the hop on hop off services and an uninspiring 90 minute sightseeing bus ride ensued. However, in the afternoon, a visit to Asakusa (historic area in eastern Tokyo) lifted my spirits. There were people dressed in traditional kimono, stalls and shops a-plenty, tasty things to eat and beautiful Sensoji temple as well. Day 2: We visited a beautiful and large park at ... read more
Out for a stroll in Asakusa
Sensō-ji temple
Tokyo streets

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Shinjuku May 31st 2019

SC writes: After the relative disappointments of Mito, yesterday we headed for Tokyo, and the very popular area of Shinjuku. We dropped our bags at the hotel, eventually, and headed off to Kappibashi Dori, a street famous for catering to the restaurant trade. Here you can buy crockery in any style you like, chefs’ knives, and plastic food, which the restaurants use to display their wares - very helpful when you don’t understand a word! See the photos for a couple of spectacular examples. Cathy was shopping for dinner plates but, despite looking at hundreds, came away with nothing more than a side plate. I on the other hand went looking for a plastic fried egg but came away with plates and pasta bowls. (We are taking advantage of the fact that our baggage allowance is ... read more
“The great wave” of rice, in plastic - Kappibashi-dori
Pork Tonkatsu
Giant temple - Nikko

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Minato May 11th 2019

Friday 10 May 2019 - erev Shabbat Today, Friday, we decided would be our day off. So we spent the day writing up the travel blog and generally relaxing. Don was feeling athletic so he, being a good boy, went to the gym. He found the Sheraton hotel health spa to contain a good variety of facilities including a large pool. He did not swim, but worked out with the exercise equipment. This evening we walked to the Chabad for the Friday night Shabbat service. As usual they had to wait for a minyan (ten men). After the service we were all invited upstairs for a meal. As expected, many more people appeared upstairs than prayed downstairs. The rabbi and his wife had prepared for fifty people and there were at least fifty there. The rabbi ... read more

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Chiyoda May 9th 2019

At 9am we were met in the lobby of the hotel by our tour guide for the day Mr Kiyoshi Mori for a sightseeing tour around Tokyo emphasising Japanese history and culture. Mr Mori sat with us for a few moments with a map of Tokyo showing us where we would be going today. We set off in a taxi for the Hama-Riku Gardens. En route we passed various parks and green family spaces. The population of Japan is 126 million of which about 13 million are within Tokyo and 36 million in its greater metropolitan area. However, the population started to decline in 2011 and this is expected to decline to 107 million by 2040. Unemployment is running at 3% and so workers are difficult to find. As a result the government recently passed a ... read more
Teahouse in Hama-rikyu Garden
Duck Blind in the Garden
Chuo-ohashi Bridge over Sumida River

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ginza May 8th 2019

We left the hotel after a late breakfast to get the subway to the Ginza area. There are signs on the pavement indicating walking and bicycle lanes and warnings about smoking restrictions on the streets. We passed vending machines for confectionary and soft drinks. Then we entered the subway station. The various lines are indicated by colours and letters. We had PASMO cards for public transport which are like London Oyster cards or Israeli Rav Kav cards. The first part of the journey was quite straightforward, just two stops; easy. Then changing lines became a bit more complicated. We had to use a number of escalators and we had to remember to walk on the left. We eventually found the second line and got onto the second train but it was an 'express' train which didn’t ... read more
we enjoyed all 4 evening shows
Towel thrown to Kabuki audience
amongst images on Kabuki curtain - Samurai hockey player?

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Minato May 6th 2019

Monday 6 May 2019 - Let the adventure begin... Tel Aviv, Israel to Beijing, China The adventure began at 7pm Monday evening when we left the apartment about an hour later than I (Lesley) hoped. I had concerns about our luggage, thinking our first flight was scheduled about 10pm when it was really for 11:20. We booked two separate flights - El Al to Beijing and Air China from Beijing to Tokyo. Last year when we flew long haul to the Galapagos Islands via California our luggage didn’t arrive on our initial flight. Fortunately last year we spent a night at Don’s cousin in California so we able to collect our bags the next morning before boarding our flight to Ecuador. Plus United Airlines had several additional flights to the US reaching San Francisco, whereas El ... read more
Tokyo Tower the day after
Good night, sleep TOO tight?
Bigger is Bedder room upgrade

Asia » Japan » Tokyo April 29th 2019

10% of Japan's population live in Tokyo with 25% in outer Tokyo. You can imagine how busy it is and what pressure there is on the land . The whole place is a massive city of close together high rises and it is impossible to get an idea of which district you are in. The old city of Edo had a moat which still exists but an express way was built over most of it because they didn't have the land to build it on. There is a massive land reclamation and 1000s of apartments are being built for the 2020 Olympic Village. Our first trip was to the Tokyo Tower which looks just like the Eiffel tower. The guide said the Japanese copy everything and that the only thing they invented was Karaoke! So it ... read more
Tiz trying to look elegant in a rickshaw
Restaurant we had lunch at
Lunch

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Kichijouji March 18th 2019

After a 10 hour flight we landed at Narita Airport and once through immigration found our way eventually to our hotel - some 3.5 hours later. The highly praised train network let us down first by being late, would you believe and then by terminating before our stop so we had to find another route round. Good job we weren’t on a schedule! Next morning after a strange mixture for breakfast we walked to the Tsukiji fish market. Originally the main fish market this now hosts mainly retail fish establishments and food stalls and wandering round watching folks eating squid, fish or fruit on a stick was a little strange for us. Sue decided to try the fruit one. It had a strawberry on top of a pink yoghurt casing wrapped with pink rice paper - ... read more
fruit at the market
is it a sweet? Is it a fish? Ugh it’s both!
who ya gonna call?

Asia » Japan » Tokyo January 19th 2019

A view of snowing Fuji Mountain from a small village nearby... read more




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