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A Japan Wrap Up


View Japan 2019 on ChristieA's travel map.

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)

And the Skytree Saw Me Off


View Japan 2019 on ChristieA's travel map.

Today was kind of quiet & somber, the trip has come to an end {insert mega sad face}.

The weather was quite hot today, it was meant to reach 33 in Tokyo and there have been reports of records further north on the news. I will admit I’m looking forward to the cooler weather.

We started our day in Kamakura and headed back to where it all began in Ueno Park three & a half weeks ago. I took one last stroll around the park, amazed by how quick the lillys had put up new leaves and different flowers in bloom.

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There was one last shrine visit to Yushimatenjin Shrine, where it appeared there was some street market/party happening with market stalls set up.

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Strolling back to Birtes hotel we stumbled across a parade , I assume it was related to the shrine as we had seen some of the people dressed up there. It was interesting watching them chant, almost dance around, it was questionable if some actually had any pants on....

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As I left Tokyo on my last Japanese train ride it felt as if the Skytree was waving me off. It was quite visible and the you can see it as we skirted out of the city bound for Narita.

So now I’m sitting in my airport hotel room reflecting on the trip, kinda feels like a dream but I’m sure I’ll have a rude awakening when I crash back to earth Thursday morning.

Ps no I haven’t seen Trump other than on the tv, he didn’t seem that happy to be watching the sumo tournament.

Posted by ChristieA 02:59 Archived in Japan Tagged park japan asia shrine parade Comments (1)

Money Laundering

Yesterday we traded the mountains for the beach as we said goodbye to Nikko and headed to Kamakura. We really were quiet yesterday arriving in Kamakura about 1pm we dropped our bags off & checked out our quirky room at Omachi Junxion. The weather has been quite warm & humid here so I’m actually looking forward to some cool weather for a change. We had a little walk around the area, stumbled across a temple you can’t enter but you are able to explore the grave yard with its graves hidden in niches in the rock.

First up today we caught the electric railway to The Great Buddha, it wasn’t as big as the one at Nara but still quite impressive as this one stood out in the open and for a small fee you got to go inside. Inside was not really that exciting just a hollowed out Buddha, no peaking out the eyes or anything, still interesting learning how it was build.

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Leaving Buddha we found a hiking trail through to some other temples, the stairs to the start were hard work but after that it was alright except somehow we ended up back on a major road. Never mind we managed to find our way to Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Jinja Shrine, where we washed some of our money as the story goes its meant to double....I’m still waiting. However it was still pretty cool you entered through a rock tunnel into an open area and the shrine where you washed the money was in a niche in another rock.

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On our way had noticed another shrine, Sasuke Imari Jinja Shrine so we detoured via that, more steps (I’ll sleep well tonight) and there were all these little cat figures. Actually thinking back they were kinda creepy cat figures, small & exactly the same, I’m sure they followed us.

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After one last noodle soup we jumped on a packed electric railway car and headed for Enoshima, an island connected by a bridge. There are steps up to the Shrine but there’s also an escalator!!! I know an outdoor escalator, I was exciting & quickly jumped inline to pay I had had enough of stairs for the day. We explored a little at the top before taking the steps down (escalator only goes up {insert sad face}).

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After all the walking & stairs plus a couple gin & tonics (with real tonic!) during happy hour think I’ll sleep well tonight.

Posted by ChristieA 03:44 Archived in Japan Tagged japan temple hike asia shrine rail Comments (0)

Thursday is Temple Day ...

...and Shrine day, stair day & walk 25,000plus steps day.

We arrived in Nikko yesterday after our relaxing travel day (be warned there’s another one tomorrow, really I’m just getting you ready for next week when the trips over but I am open for sponsorship so I don’t have to return to the 8-5 job -hahaha). It’s a pretty place on the edge of mountains but I just can’t photograph it how I want.

Today we visited a few more unesco sites, I’ve totally lost count of the number of temples & shrines I’ve seen recently but I will tell you most have been amazing & today was no exception. It’s hard not to take a million photos & really the photos do not do them justice.

Nikkozan Rinnoji Temple Sanbutsu-do

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Nikko Toshogu Shrine - if you have to pick just one pick this one it’s stunning

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Nikko Futarasan-jinga Shrine

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Nikkozan Rinnoji Temple Taiyu-in (warning step steps)

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Strolling back towards the city we passed through this beautiful avenue of trees.

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I opted to cross the Shinkyo Bridge, photos don’t do it justice but hopefully it’ll bring me some luck.

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My favourite part of today was visiting these guys - Kanmagafuchi Abyss there nestled next to gorge, little waterfalls, a peaceful kinda place, I could have stayed for hours. Apparently if you count these guys the number always changes.

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Really this is only a small amount of what we’ve seen today, there’s been other little temples, shrines & plenty of river shots.

Posted by ChristieA 02:05 Archived in Japan Tagged japan temple river unesco shrine Comments (1)

The Big Buddha


View Japan 2019 on ChristieA's travel map.

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)

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