Sad to leave, hard to believe it has been three weeks. So many place I want to come back to. So glad I bought comfy warm walking shoes it turned out quite cold the last two weeks.
Breakfast at the hostel, walk to local station and catch a train to Isaka. Store bags for a few hours at the hostel.
We had to queue for an hour for lunch: okonomiyaki another Michelin awarded restaurant.
Hot chocolate and dessert at Daimaru food hall.
A drink to celebrate a great holiday. Thanks Kyle xx
Namba shopping and sight seeing.
Light breakfast at hostel, check emails and relax. Head to Shinsai bashi to have coffee, second breakfast at Elk and shop.
Back to Dotonbori to walk around. Shops everywhere sticking all sorts of kitchen goods: plates, cups, knives, equipment for restaurants even shops selling the plastic food that all the food shops display. I bought some nice hand blown glass dishes.
Snack Time and more walking.
Takoyaki squid snacks.
Yakatori for dinner.
Dinner at Tori Dining ...Tsuki no odori, yakatori restaurant. I had plum liquour on ice with my dinner. Beautiful food, duck and chicken skewers, salad and a egg and chicken dish. Semi traditional seating, feet touching sunken floor.
We receive a pair of souvenir chopsticks when we leave as a thankyou from our host.
More walking , train and walk back to room.
Strolling Day in Namba, Osaka
Free breakfast at hostel: I love this place, I could stay here again.
Train from Yodobashi to Namba.Shopping and eating day.
Pizza at Pizza Stand , coffee at Luli Coffee Roasters and shop at Uniqlo.
Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi. Pancahes at ‘elk’
Osaka Castle by night
Dinner Ramen.... of course
Ramen for dinner, Kyle’s favourite.
Train to Osaka
We are off to Osaka, breakfast first at Tully’s, pancakes and coffee. Buy a suitcase at Don Quijote, to fit in all my shopping !
Bags in storage at Osaka Station, much easier to find it at this station.
Train Osaka station to Minoo
Owl cafe near Minoo Station for lunch.
coffee and cake time.
Another beautiful garden with lots of little waterfalls.
Pick up bags from storage and head to air bnb
Train and Walk to air bnb
Kamon Hostel, Higoboshi, Osaka
Dinner and a Movie
A quick dinner in Namba and off to see Thor in 3D with Japanese subtitles.
Train and walk back to air bnb, it’s 11.30pm and trains stop at midnight.
Sagano Train, Arashiyama
Up early to head to Torokko Saga station again. Hopefully we can get on the old train this morning. We are there by 8.20 am and there is a queue already. We book in for the 10am train.
Coffee again by the river.
Colourful walk back to the train.
From Arashiyama to Kameoka. The view is best from the right side of the train. The engine is at the back going this way. Luckily we got the right side, the view from on the left is good for the initial part of the trip,
Golden Pavillion: Kinkaku-ji Temple
We walk to the next train station past rice fields and shops to catch a train and a bus to the Golden Pavillion. A stunning temple of gold with a beautiful pond. Another popular tourist spot, so many people and school groups.
A bus takes us close to the Philosopher’s Path. We walk past little local shops and buy some sandwiches and pastries for lunch. Then walk along the stepping stone footpath of the Philosophers Walk.
Cute shops line the sides, coffee shops, souvenirs, pottery shops.
Coffee for Kyle and a hot chocolate for me at the Rail Model Cafe. Cozy and warm inside and complimentary red bean treats and a walking map of Kyoto.
Pretty trees with Autumn colours of red, orange and yellow.
We walk along and find an open garden and temple. Zenrin-ji Temple.
Special Autumn Exhibition, lots of people have come to see inside the temple and the trees in their Autumn splendor. We take our shoes off to walk around the buildings and timber deck pathways connecting the rooms. Old paintings adorn the screened rooms.
312 Ichirenshachō, Nakagyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 604-8146, Japan
Geisha spotting, in Pontocho
After coffee at Starbucks we head to the Pontocho area, to try and catch a glimpse of a geisha ! No luck but there are many small bars and restaurants to look at, also restaurants that look to be quite private and exclusive. One side of these restaurants faces the waterfront, so would have a great view during the day.
Train and then walk back to air bnb.Last night here. I would not stay at this air bnb again. The smoke from another unit came through the vent in our door. It was also too small.
Breakfast at Hoshino Coffee
The Japanese love their coffee. We queue up and put our name on a waiting list. Coffee and French toast and a boiled egg.
Train to Arashiyama
Train trip to Torokko Saga station Arashiyama. The Sagano Train and river cruise back was booked out for the whole month, you can only book it in this region so it is a little difficult to book ahead.
Ticket office at Torokko said if we come early tomorrow we will be able to get tickets.
We queue to walk across the Hozugawa River, It is so crowded people everywhere.
Coffee and Souvenir shopping.
Tenryu-ji Temple and Bamboo Forest
Train from Arashiyama to Kyoto. Pizza for dinner at Kyoto Station.
Explore and Shop in Kyoto
Shopping and exploring day for me.Kyle came home at 6am !!!
Breakfast at Tully’s, Acheson coffee shop.
Walk around Porta and Avanti Shops. Lunch at a macrobiotic cafe called Cosmo Kitchen Cafe.
Alfons Mucha’s Women
Alfons Mucha’s Women an exhibition on level 8 of the Isetan Building. This was a huge shopping Centre, and very busy. A whole level for fresh food and another for take hone food and food as gifts and souvenirs.
Coffee at Lower East Street Hostel
Kiyomizu-dera Temple by night.So pretty.
Dinner at Ramen Sen No Kaze
We arrive at the ramen place for dinner in Gion, people have been waiting for hours to get in. A young couple hand us their number they have to go ! We are so lucky !!!
Shinkansen to Kyoto
Left air bnb in Okayama and had a coffee at Starbucks at the station. Bought some sandwiches and waffles to eat on the shinkasen to Kyoto.
Lunchtime all the lockers are full already. We ask information for baggage storage room. Found a bag storage place to put our bags for the day as check in for air bnb is not until 4pm.
Coffee at Kurasu Coffee not far from the station, another shop Kyle found on instagram.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Train to Inari to Fushimi Inari Shrine
Train back to Kyoto, Collect bags from bag storage at station, head to air bnb.
Dinner and coffee
Walk back to Kyoto for dinner and coffee at cute hostel near our air bnb. Looks like great place to stay ! Our apartment is tiny !!
Trains to Ritsurin
Should have walked to Okayama instead of Omoto Station, to get the faster train to Takamatsu. Had to catch local train and change onto the faster train at Chayamachi. Plan trains and ferries if not in city areas, they are on time but don’t run as often.
The train goes over the bridge over the water to the South Island. Great views from the train of the sea, oyster farms and lots of different boats and ships. You can see tiny islands dotted in the bays.
Ritsurin Garden is worth visiting. A large garden filled with beautiful trees and ponds with koi. There are boat rides and many scenic spots to take photos.
Lunch in the Garden Cafe then head through park back to Ritsurinkoen Kitaguchi Station to Takamatsu.
Train from Ritsurin Garden to Takamatsu
Ferry from Takamatsu to Naoshima Island.
3.30pm Ferry from Tokamatsu to Naoshima Island. Unfortunately we are too late for Chichu Museum.
We walk around towards the Chichu Gallery, beautiful bay views and sculptures. We walk for about half an hour then turn around and head back as the sun sets.
If I came to Japan again I would stay here for a week and explore the island and neighboring islands.
Train back to Okayama.
Return ferry at 5.30pm from Naoshima to Uno, sumo wrestling is playing on the tv.
Train to Okayama, dinner at Cocoichiban, Walk to air bnb.
Train to Okayama
Nazomi Suoer Express train to Okayama, Bento box for lunch to eat on the train.
Train Okayama to Kurashiki
Kurashiki Historical Village.
Ranen for dinner st village before we leave.
Train back to Okayama
Walk back to apartment, stopping off at Sega for Kyle , about a 20min Walk, cold night tonight.
Back to air bnb, WiFi wasn’t a portable one so made on the spot decisions about train difficult. Nice sized room, a little bit to far from station especially with bags.
Shopping in Fukuoka
This morning we booked the Shinkasen to Okayama for tomorrow. Trying to plan ahead so we don’t run late tomorrow.
Then off to the shops. Coffee at Starbucks, they are everywhere.
Lunch at Ichiran
Famous for its ramen. You place your order on the photo screen and pay , the waitress takes you to small booths in little rooms that have windows to the kitchen.
We walked down to look at the Sumo stadium then along to the waterfront. Beautiful big sea birds flying above and always ravens. Past the jet boat race stadium and through parks and past quaint shops.
Trains back to Hakata for more shopping, games and dinner at ‘Camp’
Morning in Fuji
View from our room. Free breakfast, cereal, boiled eggs, bread and jam, tea or coffee. Such a great place to stay.
After shower and breakfast , 7am we go for a Morning walk towards Fuji up the hill and onto the walk that leads to the start of a Fuji trail.
Beautiful Autumn coloured leaves and tall grand trees.
We walk around the grounds of the Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine. It’s still too early everything is closed.
Bus to Shinkuju
Bus back to Shinjuku to pick up bags, train to Narita airport. As we leave, Mt Fuji is masked by rain we were lucky we went for a walk early.
Train to Asakusa to pick up bags, train to Narita to fly to Fukuoka.
Stop off at Harajuku for coffee. A hidden gem Kyle found on instagram, no signs out the front and hidden away in a side street.
Coffee means a long black here in Japan and they serve it with little pods of cream.
Plane to Fukuoka
Artive at air bnb and dinner with Kyles friends; Maria and Long at Hakata Station.
Lunch st Shinjuku then a 2 hr bus trip to Fujisan. We should have prebooked the bus as we couldn’t get one till 2pm.
Bus was great really comfortable with great views.
Great hostel close to the station, clean and bright. Great host too. Free bread, cereal, coffee and tea.
A night walk and udon noodles for dinner, followed by coffee at a coffee salon. Always quirky places with jazz playing. I had a delicious coffee, chocolate and orange drink.
Skytree Shops and Solamachi Centre
Kyle partied till 6am so I am off for a wander around Asakusa. First stop Skytree Shops for breakfast and a coffee. I love the little things here, you always get a wet cloth to wash your hands before you eat, sometimes just paper or a cloth. The train seats have heaters underneath them, I am forever peeling off layers. Even toilet seats are heated !!!
There was a bit of a queue but I’m glad I waited. The Aquarium was small but a great display of jelly fish, fish, penguins and sea lions.
I had dinner before I left the shops and walked back along the waterfront home.
Train and monorail to Tennozu Isle to visit the Pigment Shop. Gorgeous colours fill the shop, below are my favorites. I can’t help but buy a few watercolours indigo, and Dragons Blood Red ,paper and a brush.
Tokyo Flea Market
Monorail to Tokyo Flea Market for Vintage Kimino !!! Success !!! and my favourite statue is there ‘the kiss’ by Rodin.
Coffee and pastries at a local shop at Shinagawa-ku, called ‘yummy bakery’ on our way back to the station. Train to Kamakura and bus to Hokokuji Temple.
stopped to hear a lady sing as we changed train lines.
Bus from Kamakura Station to Hokokuji Temple and bamboo forest.
Doughnuts and coffee from Hoa Cafe as the sun sets on Zushi Beach. This place is on my bucket list to come back to.
Walk to Kua’aina Sandwich Bar for a burger for dinner.There are veggie shops out of the city, colours so bright. A coffee on the way back to Kamakura Station in a tiny coffee shop. Then train back to our apartment in Asakusa.
Train to Shimbashi then monorail to Odaiba to see giant Gundam statue and shop at Uniqlo.
Story of statue: en.japantravel.com/tokyo/gundam-statue-gundam-front-tokyo/12256
Venus Fort Shops
A unique shopping experience, Italian style shop fronts, a central sculpture fountain and beautiful sky screens.
Next door is the home of the Megaweb Toyota Museum.
Decks, Tokyo Beach
Walk to Decks, Tokyo Beach shopping Mall.
More info: www.odaiba-decks.com/en/
The National Museum of Western Art
Monorail back to Shimboshi and then a train back to Ueno to the The National Museum of Western Art. To see another art exhibition:
‘Hokusai and Japonisme’ an exhibition of western artists including Monet,Degas, Gaugin and Cézanne influenced by Japanese art. Particularly ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai . There are drawings, paintings, woodblock prints, glassware and timber parquetry furniture. A stunning exhibition.
Coffee at Starbucks at Shibuya,we look at a Kimono shop where the prices are around $1000 au dollars or more, such gorgeous colours and designs. We walk past ‘piss alley’ all the tiny restaurants all packed so we went for dinner at Shinjuku.
We find a place selling gyoza, as usual we seem to pick places full of the locals no tourists. The soccer is on the television , food is great but unfortunately smoking is allowed inside restaurants.
Breakfast at ‘Be a Good Neighbour Coffee Kiosk’ at Skytree, then walk to Senso-ji Temple, close to our apartment.
More info on Temple: www.japan-guide.com/e/e3001.html
There are kimono hire shops everywhere. There were many girls walking around in these traditional clothes around Senso-ji Temple. A few men as well in traditional outfits.
I watched a glass jewellery class and bought a Edogawa glass pendant.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Train to Ueno and walk through park to Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, to see Van Gogh Exhibition. Beautiful works displayed near Japsnese woodblock prints that inspired Van Gogh and other artists of the same era.
Gallery Website: www.tobikan.jp
Late lunch at a soba noodle place at Ueno station. Cold soba noodles with nanko plum, pickled plum and daikon. Delicious.
Train back to Asakusa, a take away meal for me for a nice quiet night in while Kyle goes out to see his favourite Japanese band.
Night view from our apartment.
Day 4. Sengakuji, Yokohama and Kamakura.
Train to Sengakuji Station, walk to Sengakuji Temple. The graves of the 47 Ronin. A story of loyalty amongst samurai.
More info ...www.japan-guide.com/e/e3000.html
Train to Yokohama, tea at Starbucks and walk to Cup Noodle Museum. Here we learn the history of cup noodles and make our own to take home.
About the Museum: www.cupnoodles-museum.jp/en/yokohama/
Train to Kamakura to see the Great Buddha at Kotoku-in Temple. Bought a pink calcite from the gemstone shop and had Gelato and an espresso at Kamakura Gelato. Kamakura is my favourite place so far.
History of The Great Buddha: www.kotoku-in.jp/en/about.html
Finally walk from Asakusa past skytree for dinner and sake at a restaurant Thank goodness for Kyle’s Japanese and google translate we can eat at a variety of places. .
Day 3. Shibuya, Harajuku and Asakusa
Walk from air bnb in Asakusa then train to Ueno for late ramen breakfast. The servings at more traditional places are large and I can never finish them.
Train to Shibuya, to see the famous Shibuya Crossing where everyone crosses as all the traffic stops. We shop in Towers records, where I buy some contemporary Japanese music. The streets are so noisy compared to yesterday. Music blaring from speakers everywhere.
There are no bins in the streets. Food is eaten in or near the shop it is bought from or bought as take away to eat at home.
Walk to Harajuku. We stop for a snack in Takeshita Street. In Japan you don’t eat while you are walking or in public places like trains etc. You stand and eat or drink where you are, right near the food stall or shop.
Lots of sweet things to eat and even a shop where you can pay to hug a puppy. To buy a puppy costs thousands of dollars, some tens of thousands.
Walk back to Shibuya, roof top view of the city, view of Shibuya crossing at night.
At the train stations in Japan there are usually beautiful food halls downstairs and shops above the station. The food halls are filled with all sorts of delicious take home meals.
Dinner at Midori Sushi, Shibuya Station. Beautiful food: fresh raw seafood. An elderly Japanese man buys us a raw fish salad after our sushi and chats to us. It is great that my son can speak enough Japanese to have a conversation, Half English half Japanese conversations.
Midori Sushi: www.sushinomidori.co.jp/eng/
Train back to Asakusa and walk home back to apartment.
The walk back to apartment from Asakusa station.
North Avoca is my home, a coastal suburb of NSW Australia.
2017 was the year I decided to follow my bliss, my trail of joy.
I guess my life is a bit like a holiday already. The sun greets me each morning as I drink my coffee at Terrigal Surf Cafe. I paint in my home studio amongst the trees. I teach art classes to all ages and surf.
The skies were calling me.
It's time to spread my wings.
Come to Japan my 24 year old son Kyle said, "why not' was my answer after all I had decided to do what brings me joy in each moment. So two months later we were on our way. Three weeks for $4000 each. Let’s see if we can do it !
Day 1....5th Nov
Flights. Sydney to Cairns, Cairns to Oasaka
On the plane from Cairns to Osaka I was lucky enough to have two seats ! Managed to lie down and sleep for a couple of hours.
Kansai Washington Hotel for one night. We have dinner at the station nearby and walk around at night to stretch our legs after the long flight.
Day 2....6th Nov ....Nara
We store our bags in lockers st the station and head off for the day. Several trains to Nara to see the Deer park and temples of Nara. We experienced the peak hour crush in a train and walked 10kms. We visited the local city hall to see the Chrysanthemum display and had fresh Mochi from the famous Mochi shop.
It has been a very quiet day. I noticed the recorded sounds of birds at Narita airport playing through the speakers and the sound of crickets at Rjnku town station.
At Nara the deer roam freely even out of the park. Meandering across the street in front of traffic.
We collect our bags from the station. Asakusa air bnb is our next stop. Great location, close to train station, shops and restaurants.