A Travellerspoint blog

Japan

Himeji

Today we moved across to Himeji, our main aim to see the castle. You could see the castle as you came in on the train, it’s stunning. Thankfully Himeji is fairly flat, exploring the castle however is not. You have to remove your shoes (again thankful to be wearing socks) and climb the stairs often steep & a little slippery in socks. Inside is fairly plain not many displays or anything but the views were good.

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We brought a combination ticket which included the Koko-en garden, a serene spot neat to the castle with lovely ponds & quiet areas.

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Neither place was too busy but it was a little warm and they did mention it was hot to wear your hat over the loud speaker at the castle.

Bit of down time this afternoon so I’m chilling in front of the tv, what’s on you ask....sumo wrestling of course. Here’s one for you to ponder do sumo wrestlers do there mawashi lines (bikini lines)?

Posted by ChristieA 01:20 Archived in Japan Tagged japan garden castle unesco Comments (1)

I Heart Pandas V2.0

Today’s weather forecast was rain & thunder and as you know with travel you have to push on regardless and hope for the best or miss out. Just as well we pushed on because while it was overcast & humid were still waiting for the rain & thunder.

So It turns out I’m a sucker for a panda and when we found out there was one at Kobe Zoo it instantly went on our list, right at the top. Other than a mass of primary aged school kids on an excursion there were few people so we got to view Tan Tan without waiting and he just looked all soft & cuddly. There was kangaroos, emus & Koalas amongst all the usual zoo animals.
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After consulting google maps, crossing the road, staring at the signs in Japanese we thought we were at the bus stop going in the right direction, however this Japanese lady who had tried to help Birte with directions came running back telling us we were going the wrong way. So we crossed back over the road & on to the bus, the lovely lady rode with us, then walked us all the way to the wrong railway station. We figured this out when we started moving but didn’t have the heart to tell her so we got to see another part of Kobe.

We did eventually make it to the ropeway and up to the herb garden, there’s also a waterfall viewable from the ropeway. The herb garden was a pretty spot with views over the city. I managed to entertain half of Japan well at least the small tour group whose leader had a microphone, had to think what she was saying while I tried to get into one of the hammocks on the grounds. I’m probably a contender to win Japan’s funniest home videos.
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The one thing we decided we should do while we were here is have some Kobe beef, so off we trooped looked at a few menus, settled on one. Well I couldn’t bring myself to part with the cash so I settled on the special a Kobe beef hamburger which came with a few vegetables. Well I’m not sure if it was the beef or something similar to a home cooked meal but it was amazing (it must be good for me to say that about meat).
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Since it was getting dark we strolled around the harbour watching the lights.
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Sorry for everyone whose written comments I can’t seem to reply but I do read the.

Posted by ChristieA 04:21 Archived in Japan Tagged animals food japan lights zoo garden asia kobe Comments (1)

Another Day, Another Shinkansen

So today we caught the Shinkansen a whole half hour down the road to Kobe, a Harbourside city. The buildings look like they butt up against the mountains. Really a quiet day, feeling a little tired there’s nothing quite like been woken up by a Japanese ambulance in the middle of the night, they seem to not only have a siren but some megaphone setup that shouts Japanese as it drives down your street.

After a massive buffet lunch, a mix of Japanese & western food (I really should learn to stop, I won’t be needing any dinner tonight) we walked it off by exploring round the harbour. It’s a nice little stroll & refreshing after the humidity & heat we’ve had.
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And look who we met strolling round....Elvis!! In 2009 he was one of only three Elvis statues in the world or something
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We took the chance & went up the Kobe Tower it’s a bit dated but the view was still good & even better it wasn’t crowded.
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The photo is for Koby, I won’t tell you how many dodgy selfies I have of me & the word Kobe until we stumbled across this Be Kobe sign.
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Travel tired and heading back to our hotel which we walked practically straight past but we say it’s so we could get another stamp at the Minatogawa-Jinja Shrine.
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Think it’ll be an early night for me but the disappointing fact there’s no tv in the bath but at least the bath is almost full size.

Posted by ChristieA 02:11 Archived in Japan Tagged tower harbour japan asia shrine kobe Comments (2)

UNESCO Tour

Today we followed the self guided unesco sites tour from the travel information, pretty sure we got full value of our all day bus passes. There were a couple of sites included that weren’t unesco & I think we missed one of those, so here they are

Nijo Castle (we feed the fish here....with food from the vending machine)
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Kinkakuji
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Ryoan-ji
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Yasaka Shrine (stumbled across another wedding)
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Kiyomizu Temple
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Each site was beautiful & yet they were all different.

Starting to feel like I’m wearing out the soles of my socks removing my shoes to enter temples. Tip when travelling to Japan wear socks as clean as the temples look I keep seeing people with bare feet.

Posted by ChristieA 03:20 Archived in Japan Tagged kyoto japan temple unesco asia Comments (1)

Hey Hey It’s The Monkeys

Still in Kyoto we decided to go explore Arashiyama with the bamboo Forrest high on our list. Armed with a walking map from the tourist information at the train station off we went.

Our first stop the Tenryu-Ji Temple as we had to pay we decided to just pay to see the garden as we had read it was good & we enjoyed strolling through the peacefulness & laughing at the toilet paper vending machine.
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We were heading for another temple and found this little statue garden on the way (we skipped the other temple we had to pay to go in)
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So next on the itinerary was the bamboo forest let’s just say I was a bit disappointed, I don’t know it wasn’t quite what I expected.
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Turning back we headed to the bridge & the monkey park which was the best bit of the day minus the steep climb. You have to hike up the mountain which well having battled a cold last week & well coming from flat ground was a struggle but I did it. You get to the top and there’s MONKEYS!!! Even cute little baby monkeys, I wanted to take all the monkeys home, your meant to stay 3m away but it’s hard when they just stroll straight past you just about treading on your toe. The view over Kyoto was quite impressive too.
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We stumbled across a kimono walk, which was just poles covered in material the look effective.
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Now it’s been some 22,000+ steps kinda day, a little warm (like 30 degrees) so a bath was in order (our bath is like 4feet by 1 3/4 feet)
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Yes that’s a tv in our bath, nothing much in English but still alright to channel surf while scrunched up in the bath it’s really deep & strangely comfortable)

Posted by ChristieA 03:55 Archived in Japan Tagged animals kyoto japan temple garden asia Comments (0)

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