Japan – Day 12 (Shinjuku)

Last day in Japan. We just hovered around the Shinjuku area as this was where our hotel was. Tried some food here and there, and did more shopping. Soup was excellent at Tokyo Soup Stock, can’t believe how good it was. Zara was our main choice of clothing store.

We got a massage to sooth our muscles from all the walking we had done. Perfect way to unwind before catching the shuttle bus back to Narita airport for the trip home. Waiting at the airport made you realise that it was all over and you were heading back to reality…

 PS. Check out the bathroom shot of one of the major department stores 0101 in Japan! Also, are pics of that beautiful tasting soup from Soup Stock. And finally is a peach (green tea also exists) flavoured Kit Kat we came across whilst wasting time at the airport. Tasted real good 🙂

 0101 Bathroom PhotoSoup Stock Tokto - Chicken SoupPeach Flavoured Kit Kat from Japan

Japan – Day 11 (Akihabara, Ueno, and Roppongi)

Went to Akihabara in the morning to visit Outlet Plaza and Wink for some discount shopping. It’s pretty much like an MSY in Australia if you have ever been to one of those stores. Lots of stuff, all in boxes, little help, but cheap prices.

Moved onto Ueno to check out the street markets. You could spend all day there if you wanted too, quite action packed and you find pretty much everything.

Last destination for the day was Roppongi, and more sight seeing and eating was done here. Quite nice views from this massive complex scaling many buildings. Plenty of food, although alot of it is at the upper end of the scale!

That was the last full day in Japan. Pretty casual day, but most of what needed to be seen and done was already accomplished!

 PS. Included a nice night shot from the top of Roppongi Hills overlooking Tokyo Tower whilst playing around with the exposure on my camera (Panasonic TZ7)!

Ueno Markets (the less busy street)Roppongi Hills (within Roppongi)Tokyo Tower from Roppongi Hills - Night Shot

Japan – Day 10 (Harajuku, Shibuya, Aomi)

It was a scheduled shopping day today. Best place to shop so far was Harajuku. Plenty of designer brands, and also the lesser knowns. A good variety all round. Just get off at Harajuku and head to Omotesando.

Moved onto Shibuya to see Japan’s “Time Square”. Extremely busy is all I can say. Plenty of shops, but just couldn’t last much longer shopping. Dropped off the days shopping at the hotel, then head off over to Aomi for Venus Fort (in Pallete Town).

Venus Fort had more shopping, but in a european type atmosphere (Japan literally has it all). Not many shops though, and a lot of shops were being reopened (being rebirthed as such). Quite a cosy place to hang out. To get there, you need to catch the monorail, and it’s the first time I’ve ever been on an unmanned vehicle of any sort. Literally no driver on the monorail whatsoever (I checked!). Everything was pretty much automated by a computer.

Spotted the Statue of Liberty on the way home and quickly jumped off to take some happy snaps. Til tomorrow (last day)…

 PS. Forgot to take a single shot of Harajuku!

Shibuya TIme SquareVenus Fort in Pallete Town in AomiStatue of Liberty in Japan

Japan – Day 9 (Osaka and Shinjuku)

After downing plenty of drugs (reminder to pack plenty of medicines as you never know what you may encounter), I’m feeling a bit braindead and my stomach still has butterflys. However, I’m doing well and managing to get through my day.

Went to Osaka Aquarium this morning (which was actually planned for yesterday). Takes about an hour to see the whole aquarium, and it’s quite nice. Not aerobridges where you walk through water, just lots of glass on either side. It’s got the worlds biggest shark (I think it’s a shark) enclosed in it. It’s over 4 metres long. Plenty of other fish in there too, and quite a sight if you’re a big fish fan like me!

After having Korean for lunch in Osaka, we caught the bullet back to Tokyo to get to our destination Shinjuku. Shinjuku is an ourter suburb of Tokyo and it’s where all the daggy people/gangsters live. Because of this, there is plenty of nightlife!

If you go to Japan, you’ll notice how clean everything is and the lack of litter. In Shinjuku, you’ll find plenty of litter and people loitering! Quite a contrast. I haven’t seen the movie Shinjuku Incident yet, but I’ve been told to watch it after going home 🙂

Got to admit though, first impressions of Shinjuku. I think the retail shops here are much more my taste that I can bring back to Australia. The other places so far (Ginza etc) seemed a bit out there to bring back to the Western world!

Osaka Famous Big SharkOsaka Aquarium Cute PufferOsaka Aquarium Giant SunfishOsaka Aquarium Giant TurtleOsaka Aquarium PenguinsShinjuku Night Shot

Japan – Day 8 (Himeji)

Went trekking to Himeji to check out a castle that is in it’s original condition and structure with minor modifications/restorations. Unfortunately, this is all I did as I fell sick to gastro the night before!

🙁

 PS. After only having jap food for 8 days running, I’m don’t think I can stomach anymore! Resorting to chinese/korean now which has more flavours. In Japan, there is an abundance of jap food, but not much other varieties. Yet to see a thai restaurant! Would love a tom yum right now…

 Himeji Castle

Japan – Day 7 (Hiroshima and Miyajima)

Had to catch a train from Osaka to Shin-Osaka, followed by another bullet to Hiroshima. This one was faster than the last! Clocked an impressive 295kmph.

Booked a tour this time, and we met at a hotel in Hiroshima just outside of the Hiroshima station. Went to visit Miyajima which literally means “Sacred Island” in Japanese. The island is pretty unusual in the sense that you see random deers just wandering the streets. It has a shrine in the middle of the ocean which is one of the main attractions, as well as the shrine itself. After site seeing Miyajima, we moved onto Hiroshima.

We went past many monuments, but the main site was a building that survived an atomic bomb hit, and is now called the A-Bomb site. We also went to see the Hiroshima War Museum. Quite a sad story what happened.

The ride home was on another bullet!

GPS 295kmphMiyajima DeersFloating Shrine in MiyajimaMiyajima ShrineHiroshima A-Bomb SiteShinkansen Train

Japan – Day 6 (Osaka)

Moved onto Osaka today (from Kyoto). Osaka is more of a shopping town, not much sight seeing around here. It’s a smaller version of Tokyo really. Day was spent browsing the streets of Namba which was packed being a Sunday. Some shopping and eating was done, which I’ve been told is what Osaka is pretty much all about.

Have a tour booked tomorrow for Hiroshima, so another early start. We’ll see how that goes.

Namba CBD

Japan – Day 5 (Kyoto)

Woke up nice and early to check out the temples and shrines. With a hot day ahead (32C), it was best to start early while it was cooler. We did a typical trail path from our hotel to the Kiyomizu Temple which is he biggest temple (actually its many temples) here in Kyoto and a popular tourist destination. Following a stone path, there was countless numbers of temples/shrines past. The path continues to wind past local shops, finishing at the main shopping strip. There was an endless number of shops selling food, souveniors, and various other items.

Caught a bus to the Imperial Castle and walked around there for an hour. Quite a spectacular building if you haven’t been in a castle before. Just like the movies, but better!

We then caught another bus to the Golden Temple (Kinkakuji Temple). This temple is literally made of gold. You can’t actually go into the temple, but there a masses of people taking pictures nonetheless.

The choice for food so far has revolved around Kyoto Station. Took the plunge tonight to head to Gion. Spotted a couple of Geisha’s along the way as well. Went to an all you can eat Sukiyuki (similar to an asian steam boat) and got completely stuffed on wagu beef. What a lot of meat eaten…

Will check out Kyoto a bit more tomorrow and then move onto Osaka!

PS. Get the day pass for the buses from the tourist info centre in the station (costs 500yen and allows you to use most of the buses). Otherwise it will be 220yen per bus ride – regardless of distance. Be good if they used numbers for bus stops, but each stop has a name instead, so watch out for it!

Kiyomizu Temple from LookoutKodaji TempleNinomaru Palace in Castle ComplexGolden Temple (Kinkakuji Temple)

Japan – Day 4 (Kyoto)

Stayed overnight in Hakone. Beautiful place (had to mention that again)! Bought some souvenirs, went for a quick stroll, and then got a ride from the hotel to Odawara station to catch the Shinkansen to Kyoto. At the station you see some of the bullet trains shoot through at reduced speed, and damn are they going fast. Quite a sight!

He ride to Kyoto took 2 hours, and was included in the Japanese Railpass (good value – you must purchase it before arriving in Japan). Kyoto station is amazingly big… shop after shop, and restaurant after restaurant. Finding the hotel in Kyoto was interesting, not many people here know English. We eventually found it though, but it was very hot day to be roaming the streets.

Many shops and restaurants in the station itself! More interested in the restaurants though. Fashion here won’t quite fit into Australian fashion/culture if I bring it back! Went for a stroll through Kyoto station and found some places to eat. Tomorrow we’ll be checking out the temples and castles around here.

Attached a pics of a GPS reading whilst onboard the bullet train! All the trains are various speeds!

 PS. Unusual things spotted so far. Bus drivers turn off their engines at traffic lights to lower carbon emissions? Something to do with the Kyoto Protocol maybe? Council workers here use cool LED looking boards with animated people to signal lane merges!

Shinkansen GPS SpeedOutside our hotel room in Hakone