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A Japan Wrap Up

So for the past week I’ve been mentally writing this post, I just hadn’t picked up my iPad to do it until today, a week almost exactly since my flight took off home. I wanted to share my favourites and some tips I picked up in case I’ve inspired you to go.

Top 5 Moments - this was a hard one and I’m sure I should be doing a top 15 but I’ve narrowed it down to 5

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Seeing Mt Fuji in full - I was speakless that moment I first saw her, she was an absolute beauty and that was only a small section, to see her in full the next day was amazing.

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Pandas - lucky enough to see them at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo & Kobe, I just wanted to cuddle them!

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Sanjusangendo - this temple very plain on the outside but inside contains 1,000 pretty much identical statues.

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Collecting Goshuin - all a bit of fun going from temple/shrine to temple/shrine collecting these stamps, there is a small involved for each stamp.

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Arashiyama Monkey Park - I’m not sure if this one should be in the top 5 instead of one of my other favourite moments because it is hard work, there’s a number of steps and a fair incline to get to the top but it was worth it. The view over the city is great plus there’s these guys, you can spend quite a bit of time just watching.

Favourite Meal - again so hard

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Okonomiyaki- Japanese pancake, the first one we had Kyoto would have to be my favourite.

Biggest Disappointment

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Arashiyama Bamboo Grove - this was on our must see list, the photos I had seen looked fantastic but I felt it was very sparse and nothing like I expected.

Tips

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Get a JR Rail pass (there are different options) we opted for a 21 day ordinary pass and would reserve seats if we could. The pass was simple to use, made the trip easy and pretty sure it saved us a fortune.

Socks - Japan have a line where outdoor shoes stay outdoors and inside shoes stay inside so you take your shoes off just inside the door and put slippers on while you are inside. This also applies to most temples & shrines. And unless you want to go barefoot around a temple/shrine wear shoes with socks or pack a pair of socks in your backpack for these purposes.

7 Elevens - want cash out a 7 Eleven ATM didn’t charge a fee (your bank might though). 7 Elevens, Family Marts & Lawson’s also became our go to for dinner whether is be cup a noodles, sushi, pancakes, crisps, bread, great for the budget.

People - most Japanese were helpful even if they couldn’t speak English, somehow we would manage to order meals & get directions. The school kids would often get a kick out of saying ‘hello how are you’ as they walked past.

Google - google maps & translate became our friends (a Japanese SIM card in an old phone was a great idea) even if it was just for a laugh at the translation.

Ask for help - there are plenty of information spots or just ask at a shop we found people were most helpful.

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Capsule Hotels - don’t be afraid to try them, I was worried it was going to be like sleeping in a coffin but they are quite roomy. We picked hostels with woman only floors and never felt unsafe. We also chose to mix up our accommodation so we weren’t staying in a hostel every night.

I could go on.... Japan is up there on the list of one of my favourite trips and would recommend it.

Next adventure who knows...watch this space :)

Posted by ChristieA 20:08 Archived in Japan Tagged animals japan rail Comments (1)

The Big Buddha

Today we took a day trip to Nara & crossed off some Unesco sites plus the Big Buddha was on our want to see list. We managed to see 6 out of 8 sites before we ran out of time. So to be brief this was our day

Kohfukuji Temple

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Kasuga Yaisha Shrine

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Todaiji Temple

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Yakushiji Temple

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Toshodaiji Temple (we were too late to see in this one bit we still got a look at the outside)

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We walked to the first few temples (yes we’ve well & truly done our steps for today) and you go through the deer park. The deer just roam the open spaces, people feed them, pat them, take stupid selfies......

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Tomorrow we are having a proper travel day something like 5.5 hours train travel so I don’t think there will be a blog entry.

Posted by ChristieA 03:48 Archived in Japan Tagged animals japan temple unesco shrine rail Comments (0)

Baby Shark Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo

Sorry I bet your now singing it like I was after I heard some kid singing it this morning. The weather forecast wasn’t going to be in our favour so we opted to visit the Osaka Aquarium. It was pretty good we saw puffins, penguins having an ice bath, dolphins playing, the whale sharks surveying there tank, little schools of fish, patted a shark & sting ray (I think I can still feel that horrible jelly like skin), I could go on but I’ll let you have a look at these pictures.

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Leaving the aquarium the weather wasn’t too bad the odd spot of rain so we jumped on the largest Ferris wheel, in 1997 it was the tallest but has since been over taken. At 112.5m it was enough for me, I was fine until we were about 3/4s of the way up and then it sunk in how high we were but it was ok.

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Since we had seen a few other castles we thought we better get a look at the Osaka Castle, we opted not to go in.

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Leaving the castle we were stopped by two nervous school girls asking if they could interview us, they asked us a couple of questions, where are you from, favourite food & sport, etc. when done they gave us a nice certificate to say thank you.

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We thought we could fit in the Shitenno-ji Temple but they must have closed before we got there, we could still see the temple grounds just not inside.
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Posted by ChristieA 04:16 Archived in Japan Tagged animals osaka temple castle aquarium 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)

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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