Fushimi Inari Taisha

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.

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Day trip to Nara

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.

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Looking for Mount Fuji and Confusing Americans

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”

Walking and cycling in Tokyo

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.

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Rainy Tokyo Musems

There are quite a few museums in Tokyo, we only made it to two on different days. The first was visited was the Tokyo National Museum. We took the train into town using our JR passes. At the station we managed to spot a desk with helpful people selling tickets to all the museums in the area. I pointed my phone at the handwritten signs to work out exactly what they were selling. We then walked through the park in the rain to the museum armed with our tickets. My Hong Kong umbrella served me well.

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Kyoto – Day 1

There was a small confusion with our rooms when we checked into the hotel in Kyoto, I didn’t pay for the hotel breakfast, and dad accidentally booked for one person in a smoking room. Mum and dad ended up with a nice non-smoking room, and I was quite happy to get breakfast from 7-Eleven, there were three convenience stores within a convenient walk.

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Nikko Tōshō-gū

There were two day trips we planned to do from Tokyo while we were there. One to see Mt Fuji (but not go to Mt Fuji) and one to the north to Nikko National park. We thought that we should be able to do the Mt Fuji trip ourselves on the trains, but the Nikko one would have been a little more complicated, and decided to get a guided coach tour for that. The tour group did hotel pickups from Shinjuku, but not ours. I’m not surprised I wouldn’t want to try and get a coach through the tiny street it was on. I rang them up to confirm the pickup location at Shinjuku Station, the hotel phones didn’t dial external numbers so I used Hangouts on my phone.

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No English menu

The probable with going to eat with more than one person is the endless procession from place to place because no one is willing to commit. Those that know this know you eat at the first place no one has any strong feelings against. A “Yeah, I guess” should be considered a roaring endorsement and the location settled.

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Hong Kong and the highly integrated very efficient mass transit system

Before I had even gotten through immigration I managed to pick up SIM card with unlimited* data and was back online. I grabbed my bag from the carousel and headed towards the train. There is a customer service centre just after customs with a big sign that says “There are more places to buy your ticket, including the destination station.” or something like that. I bought a ticket anyway and head to the platform. Exiting the customs area and into the arrivals hall they have giant TV screens showing the other exits passengers can come out, just in case people waiting for you are at the wrong one they can see you.

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Switzerland, Day 2 – Jungfrau

Our second day in Switzerland started quite early. We had booked on the train to travel to Jungfrau the highest train station in Europe, up in the alps. The tickets we bought meant we had to head up early in the morning, and head back well before the last train. We drove the car down to Interlaken Ost station and got there way too early. The platforms weren’t open yet. There were a few other people in the car park getting their gear together, climbing harnesses, ropes, toe clips. I had my camera bag with all my lenses, a couple of lenses, and a jumper.

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