A couple of years ago I was fortunate to be in the same country as The Tour de France at the same time. We were in Belgium, staying a short train ride away from where the race would wind through a small town and up a decent hill. The plan then was to catch a train and walk up the hill.
This trip to Europe like the last ones started with a conversation with dad along the lines of:
“Tim, I’m going to a conference in <European Country> in about 12 months, mum is going to come, would you like to go to Europe as well?”
“Sure, can we also go to <small European country / principality / micro-state>?”
The next day I had breakfast in the hotel and waited for Alex and his wife, Lyn, to meet me before we headed out for the day. I got a message saying they were going to be a bit late, so I should head out in the morning first and they’ll meet me a little later at the hotel, so I went for a wander.
I had an early start today, a very early start. I had to catch the first train out of Shinjuku going to the airport for my whirlwind trip to Seoul, Korea. To make getting around easier I arranged to leave my suitcase at the hotel in Tokyo, and just take a backpack with me.
At our first day in Kyoto we went to the Imperial Palace only to find that we needed to book a tour at a specific time. As soon as this happened I of course remembered that this is exactly what happened last time I was here.
I like trains. I’ve mentioned this before, severaltimes. I don’t like buses. Buses were part of my commute to high school for several years, but I never enjoyed them and after a while I just started walking from the train station to school. Today, armed with a transit map and a rough bus timetable we headed out into Kyoto, on the buses.
After the morning, that turned into most of the day, trip to Nara we caught the train back to Kyoto Central. Mum headed back to the hotel, dad and I caught another local train just a few stops to visit Fushimi Inari Taisha. It is a very popular place in Kyoto to visit for locals and tourists. Again, there were people everywhere. There were a lot of people walking around in traditional kimonos, some were locals having what appeared to be graduation photos taken (mortar board, certificate), others were tourists (speaking Chinese, or American). Dad and I joined the throngs people on the walk up the hill through the torii gates.
The day started with the standard can of coffee and random rice spicy rice thing for breakfast from a convenient convenience store on the way to the station. We caught a local train from Kyoto to Nara, just over an hours trip. I hadn’t previously been to Nara, on my last trip I had stayed in Osaka with a day trip to Kyoto, but not to Nara.
When planning our trip one attraction we did want to see was Mount Fuji. We read up on the best places to go and visit, I checked with a friend from work, and it definitely sounded like the best idea was to go to somewhere where we could see Mount Fuji, and get a good view of it, not Mount Fuji itself. There were options for a guided tour, or a bus trip from Tokyo, but we were confident we’d be able to do it on our own on the the trains. Mum wasn’t feeling the best in the morning, so dad and I set off with our JR passes on our own. Continue reading “Looking for Mount Fuji and Confusing Americans”
One of my favourite things to do travelling is walking around cities, and Tokyo is a great city to walk around in. There are so many subway and local train stations that you can walk in almost any direction and just end up at another station and catch a train back. When I visit Melbourne or Sydney I enjoy walking around the cities. I tried it once in Canberra, but the city area isn’t an overly interesting place to walk around.