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Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto » Higashiyama April 14th 2024

Casual start to the day as our Shinkansen bullet train was booked for 12:07 and were only a 30 minute bus ride from Odawara Station. We were a bit too casual though, and just missed our bus so had to wait an extra 40 minutes. We reached Odawara around 9:30.am. This gave us 2.5 hours before our train, so we put our bags into two lockers at the station and had breakfast at Mr Donuts, before walking to Odawara Castle. We followed the directions to the main gate and walked through to the castle. It was lovely walk, with cherry blossoms lining the main road. When we finally reached the castle, there was a long queue going into the castle, so we decided we didn’t have time and continued our walk through the park when we ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Yamanashi » Fujikawaguchiko April 13th 2024

Early start to catch the Fuji Excursion train to Kawaghchiko. We managed to get our 3 days supplies into my big bag and 3 back-packs, after forwarding our other two bags to Kyoto. We left the hotel at 7:20 and reached Platform 9 at Shinjuku for the Fuji Excursion train with 30 minutes to spare. We departed on schedule at 8:30. The train is very comfortable, and the seats are7 wide enough, with the arm-rest up, for Oscar to sit between Krissy and Daisy. Oscar is young enough for a free ride, but no seat. You can take this train without a reserved seat but there is a risk you have to stand for the entire journey. About 45 minutes out, the terrain gets hilly and bushy and it feels like you've left Tokyo. We arrived ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Kanagawa » Hakone April 13th 2024

Sometimes when travelling, things don't go precisely as planned and that was one of those days. Plan was to catch the 10am express bus to Gotemba Premium Outlets (but not stay) and connect to a local bus to our next Ryokan, but it turned out that it is a very popular bus and you needed to book a ticket and it was sold out. This meant we had to catch the local bus to another stop and change again. So three separate buses. This meant a much longer journey and arriving over two hours later than planned around 14:15. In hindsight, I should have stayed in Kawaguchiko and kept the car for 2 days and have a day trip to Hakone from there, but then we wouldn't have had a wonderful stay at our next ryokan. ... read more
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Asia » Japan April 12th 2024

Quick Donki rummage before we checked out and stored our bags and then a few last gifts hunted before the boy humoured my monorail geek out and we did a few stops on the Chiba Monorail. It’s twinned with the Wuppertal Schwebeban we rode last year when inter-railing. Back into the centre for a burger lunch before hanging out at Tokyo Beach for Gatchas, sunset, disco stairs and Gundam. We had booked Team Labs Planet as a way to kill time when our flight got moved and it was pretty good, said goodbye to Shinjuku cat and we’re at Haneda awaiting a monstrous journey home. Hopefully it helps with the jet lag. Zzzzzz... read more

Asia » Japan » Fukuoka » Fukuoka April 12th 2024

I headed to Fukuoka in the Kyushu region, western part of Japan. As a child, in geography, when I read about regions of Japan, I only remembered Kyushu, maybe because it was a cute name. I had no idea that one day I will be traveling here. Kyushu region has been the port of entry for both invaders and traders to Japan. And Fukuoka, the biggest city in the area has been at the forefront of this intermingling with the rest of the world. Fukuoka is the 6th largest city in Japan, a port city and a city of canals. One interesting bit is when the Mongols invaded Japan in 1274, they with a much larger force and an armada of 4,000 ships managed to push into only 15KM from Fukuoka. But then, out of nowhere ... read more
Maizuru Park
Maizuru Park
Maizuru Park

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ueno April 11th 2024

Later start today as we just have tickets for the Samurai and Ninja Museum in Asakusa which is only a 12 minute bus ride away. We were probably a bit too relaxed as we were late so had to join a later group. The guide, Akira, took us on a tour of the small museum and was very entertaining and informative, giving us a brief history of Japan during this period of time. We were given plastic star knives and had a few opportunities to practice before a competition. We were then able to dress up as samurais which was fun. We then explored the Asakusa area a bit and spent quite a bit of time at a discount variety chain store called Don Quijote(not Quixote) and bought quite a bit. Then it already past 2pm ... read more
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Asia » Japan April 11th 2024

Very early start as we won free lottery tickets to the Toyosu Tune Auction. Facts we learnt; 200-400 fresh Tuna per day caught in the Japan sea 1000 frozen p/day caught around Spain/Iran Frozen sells for 3k-4k yen per kilo (£10-£15) Most expensive fresh tuna sold for new year celebrations at $3.1 million for the whole thing. The floor is green to allow a good visual contrast with the red meat. We obviously had sushi for lunch with friends and a mooch around Asakusa (being cleansed) and Akihabara (arcades).... read more

Asia » Japan April 10th 2024

Another day behind but needed an early start for today. So Wednesday we hit the retail, started at Itoya, 7 floors of stationary needs, and a card for someone’s 50th this weekend. It might not make it in time…sorry. Then to Gotokyji temple, with all the beckoning cats in a lovely neighbourhood with interesting architecture, good tree combinations of Sakura, Acer and Pines and bonus Swedish Fika 😍. Then to Shimo-Kitazawa as teen is into thrift store resorts, a lot of Americana as that’s clearly the trend but not quite what we were after, however some purchases were made but then an early night. ... read more

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ueno April 10th 2024

Had the hotel buffet breakfast again before leaving at 8:30. We reached Ghibli Museum just before opening time at 10am. Ghibli tickets sell out within an hour or so. They go on sale for a month on the first day of that month at 10am. I had registered but even though I logged in at that time, I was still customer 3,000 plus in the queue. The queue moved quickly and I got on after about 45 minutes, but by then, the days we are in Tokyo were already sold out. I then googled and found out Klook and Trip.com sell them. I already knew about Klook but the price is outrageous, at bout $90 each. Normal prices are just $10 for adults, $1 for toddlers. I paid $130 for ours, so $90 extra, but at ... read more
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Asia » Japan April 9th 2024

Lost track a little so might be duplicating ourselves. After USJ the boys headed off to an arcade and then we had some amazing Okonomiyake. Yum. Next morning (yesterday) we did the cat cafe thing, it wasn’t all bad and I don’t feel they were mistreated, no cafe as such, just cats. Then the last Shinkansen back to Tokyo 😕. Fab hotel with rooftop bar and free beer machine (hullo there), we did and evening dash to the Mega Donki 😳 and Shibuya Scramble. Woke up early today and took a stroll around Ropponghi Hills. ... read more




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