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Category Archives for Japan

travel lessons

Travel Lessons Learned After Japan and China

We learned many travel lessons as we planned our trip and lived it day to day. We used information from the internet together with some second-hand, out of date travel books. Added to this we got advice from the hotels we stayed in as well as the city tourist departments.

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visiting japan

Visiting Japan a Top Bucket List Experience

Visiting Japan was an absolute pleasure. For many reasons, we were grateful we went there after China.

While China is impressive with its massive infrastructural growth in a short period of time. It has not brought the society along at the same rate. Where Japan is gentile, China is brash. Where Japan is spotlessly clean China is grimy. For some contrasts you can read about my views of China by clicking here.

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Ryokan onsen

My First Onsen Experience

We arrived at our ryokan in Hakone  and after a walk around the village it was time to experience our first onsen.

There may be some trepidation at wandering around naked in public but those concerns are all funny games in your own head!

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Hakone ryokan Japan

A Ryokan Experience in Hakone

Our first experience of an onsen was at a traditional ryokan. Situated in the village of Hakone, a small town a few hours’ drive from Tokyo. The day was grey, rainy and quite cold.

We went with my cousin and his Japanese wife so our experience was enhanced by her guidance and knowledge. It made this occasion very special.  

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Nara Todaiji Temple

Nara – Home of the Friendly Deer

Nara is situated a short train ride away from Kyoto and makes for a very enjoyable day trip.

Although it would have been nearly as easy to use the JR pass we took the Kintetsu train down to Nara … it was the more convenient and direct option.

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kyoto

Kyoto – The Temple Capital of Japan

Our Kyoto experience was 4 days sightseeing and 4 days trying to master the railway system!!

We missed stations and we missed trains … tripping like real amateurs. But all problems were quickly resolved by the Hyperdia app.

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kawasaki

Kawasaki – A Little Tokyo

We arrived at Narita Airport in Tokyo en route to Kawasaki.

Flying on a Jetstar (low cost Japanese/Australian airline) flight from Hong Kong we noticed a difference in the attitude of the staff.They were more polite and less abrasive than we’d experienced in China.

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Nagasaki

Nagasaki – Survived Devastation to be an Example to the World

Unaware that it was a long weekend in Japan we booked our stay to stay in Saga as we couldn’t find any reasonably priced hotels in Nagasaki or Fukuoka. It turned out that it was all we needed.

The hotel was within walking distance of the station (which had a super boulangerie for breakfast). It was very easy to find. The rooms are small but adequate. The hotel had coin operated washing and drying facilities and the staff were obliging and helpful.

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hiroshima japan

Hiroshima – The Spiritual Centre of the Peace Movement

After activating the JR Rail Pass our first trip was the long ride from Kawasaki near Tokyo to Hiroshima. First a short metro trip to Shin-Yokohama then the Shinkansen bullet train to Hiroshima.

On this train ride we first experienced the hospitality and helpfullness that is Japan.

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japan tokyo

Tokyo – Like Switzerland on Steroids

We spent a few days wandering around Tokyo experiencing a tiny part of their vast and complex railway system. It can be overwhelming, but ​despite its complexity it operates unbelievably efficiently and reliably. ​We marveled at the organization and cleanliness of the city. Being overawed ​by the crowds and amazed at the graciousness of the people.

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