Japan Part Six: Back to Tokyo (Part 2)

Sunday 13 October – Tuesday 15 October 2020

The next morning in Tokyo’s Asakusa district, it didn’t feel like there had been a storm at all. The sky was a clear blue and the streets were filled with people once again. Our first stop was Kappabashi Street, where the shops were open again. We wanted to buy some plastic food. Unfortunately we found out these souvenirs would cost actual money. I’d been hoping it would be relatively cheap so, not wanting to spend like £40 on a fake meal (however well done it was), I settled for a token noodle soup magnet instead of a life-sized dish. I couldn’t come away without anything after all. Continue reading “Japan Part Six: Back to Tokyo (Part 2)”

Japan Part Five: Back to Tokyo (Part 1)

Friday 11 October – Saturday 12 October 2019

We arrived back in Tokyo on the Friday night before Typhoon Hagibis was due to hit. We were staying in the APA Hotel Asakusa Tawaramachi Ekimae and considering that we had booked this a while in advance we were pretty lucky on timing. We got to Tokyo the evening before the trains shut down ahead of the storm. We’d debated booking a hotel in Yokohama for the Saturday night so we could stay after the rugby game we had tickets for (England v France – typically one of the few games that got cancelled) but had decided just to go back into Tokyo. If we hadn’t, we would have found ourselves kicked out of the APA Hotel on Storm Day and trying to get to Yokohama with a waning number of trains (if that). As it was, we had a dry hotel room where we could wait out the storm. Continue reading “Japan Part Five: Back to Tokyo (Part 1)”

Japan Part Four: Hiroshima and Himeji

Thursday 10 October 2019

During our time in Osaka, we decided to take a day trip and we had quite an ambitious plan for our day. First, we would be catching a bullet train to Hiroshima. On our trip to Japan, I generally held the position of Tour-Guide-In-Chief. My Dad and brothers were keen explore the country but didn’t really have any particular sites in mind. This worked quite well because – even though I don’t always like being in charge – I had quite the to-do list. Hiroshima, however, was one place that my Dad and brothers were pretty set on, and that wouldn’t be our only stop. Between Osaka and Hiroshima is the city of Himeji, home to a very famous castle, so we planned to stop off there on our way back.

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Japan Part Three: Osaka

Tuesday 8 October – Friday 11 October 2019

We arrived in Osaka Station fresh off – not a bullet train – but a Thunderbird. This was less exciting than it sounded. It was an older train but still got us from Kyoto in a pretty quick time. Osaka Station was quite impressive. There was a big shopping mall next to it and we spent a while in the Canterbury sportswear store in there trying to dig out Japanese rugby shirts to wear to the England v France world cup game we had tickets for (any rugby fans reading this will know how that story ends. Stay tuned). Continue reading “Japan Part Three: Osaka”

Japan Part Two: Kyoto

Saturday 5 October – Tuesday 8 October 2019

It was a very easy journey from Tokyo to Kyoto on the bullet train. We climbed aboard the train and a couple of hours later we climbed back off again. We’d even caught some views of Mount Fuji from the window as we sailed by. The train station in Kyoto wasn’t as central as the one in Tokyo and we decided to make the 30 minute journey to our hotel on foot. We walked for a while down a pretty narrow road, getting snuck up on by electric cars that we couldn’t hear until they were right behind us. Continue reading “Japan Part Two: Kyoto”

Japan Part One: Tokyo

Wednesday 2 October – Saturday 5 October 2019

Japan has been on my bucket list ever since I read Memoirs Of A Geisha, nearly 15 years ago. I was in my teens, the film had just come out on DVD and I couldn’t afford to buy it so I bought the book instead – despite generally being more of a watcher than a reader.

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My UNESCO World Heritage Checklist

After doing my list of the Seven Wonders of the World, I wondered how many UNESCO World Heritage sites I’d seen without knowing it and how many I had left to do. It turns out, that out of the 1,121 (as updated) preserved cultural and natural landmarks, I have been to 58. Only 1,063 to go then – I may complete my Seven Wonders list first: Continue reading “My UNESCO World Heritage Checklist”