Saturday, July 21, 2018

JAPAN 2018 - PART 6

The next part of our journey sees us travelling from Kanazawa over to Osaka for a week.

Day 10 - Saturday 7th April, 2018

We arrived at Kanazawa train station at 9.30am for our departure at 9.54am, trains in Japan run on time 99% of the time so it's best to be there early.  After we boarded the train and were settled, an elderly Japanese man boarded wearing a suit and had 4 security guys accompany him on the train however only one travelled with him.  He must have been quite important as the guy sitting behind him on the train followed him when he went to the toilet and was wearing an earpiece like the FBI do when following the American President. They got off at Shin Osaka station and there were another 2 guys waiting on the platform when they got off the train.

                                              Our train approaching Kanazawa station
                                          A quick photo before boarding our train

As we were stopping at a town on our way to Osaka we were this VERY BIG statue, she was just
magnificient standing so tall above everything.

                                             A couple of scenery photos from the train


The view outside our hotel room in Osaka, in most cases I booked hotels close to train stations, in Osaka we were about a 10 minute walk from the Temma loop line station.

Our Hotel room, quite spacious
Loved these blackout curtains, you didn't know it was morning until opening the curtains, they cut all all of the light.

So we're only up to day 10 and wheeling our suitcases around managed to damage the wheels on my suitcase which I didn't notice till we were pushing/pulling them along the tiny, tiny streets/laneways to our hotel in Osaka and I noticed the suitcase wouldn't push, then I looked down and one wheel was quite damaged so it was quite difficult and a little further down the road another one broke. So firstly we arrived at Osaka train station, Shinkansen tracks and then had to negotiate our way to the loop line platforms to catch a train to Temma station, only 3 stops from Osaka station. It wouldn't have been so bad if they were both on the side but one was the front and one was the back so I was in all kinds of stress trying to pull my suitcase down the road.  We had finally gotten to the main road and we were going to wait to see if a cab came by as we had 3 blocks to walk to get to the hotel.  Suddenly a lovely little lady came across the crossing with a flat bed trolley (they are used a lot in Japan), she didn't speak much English but she could see my suitcase was broken and asked where we were headed (sort of) I pointed down the road saying to the APA Hotel.  She bundled my suitcase onto her trolley and took it to the Hotel reception for me.  I was so grateful and couldn't believe our luck that she came along at that particular moment.  I think I had a guardian Angel looking out for me.

By this time it was 1.30pm and we had to wait till 2pm to go to our room so we sat in the lobby and had a rest.  I asked the reception staff about somewhere to buy a new suitcase, an expense I didn't expect on my first overseas trip.....   It turned out just behind the Temma railway station is the Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Arcade which is 2klms long, so after checking into the hotel we went for a stroll down part of the Arcade and I found a suitcase which was J.Y16,800, quite expensive, I talked her down to J.Y16,000.

                                 Our walk to and from the Hotel we passed the Asahi Brewery.

It was quite cold so we stopped at MACCAS near the train station for dinner then headed back to the Hotel for a nice warm shower before settling in for the night.

DAY 11 - Sunday 8th April, 2018

Day trip to Kurashiki which took 2 hours by train, we arrived at Kurashiki station around midday, it was bitterly cold so we stopped at Starbucks to have a coffee and roll before walking around Kurashiki.

                      A photo of the front of the Kurashiki train station, taken near Starbucks

     Photo of one of the rail staff, they all dress very dapper with their white gloves and hats
 These are on the streets and at the rail stations all over Japan, I believe these had a lot to do with wrecking the wheels on my suitcase as they are difficult to get your suitcase over them.  Are you wondering what they're for? I was complaining to an ex work colleague in Nagasaki about them and he informed me they are for the blind... The ones with the lines are for straight ahead and the dots are for corners.

                                           Our coffee and Ham & cheese roll at Starbucks

We were walking along the street where there is an area with about 4 street which are full of eating places, drinking places and shops for souvenirs etc.  A little old lady grabbed my arm and was talking Japanese, of course....... and took me to this little hall where there were dozens of little children being dressed in these ornate outfits by their parents.....  Then she grabbed my arm again, all the time talking, I couldn't understand a word she was saying........ she led us to behind this shrine....


We saw lots of children in these gorgeous little outfits holding flowers, many adults taking photos so I had to squeeze in to take some photos, hahaha....... and sitting down was a Buddhist monk dressed in white with a purple robe and a Gold hat, can you see him?
                                        This is a better photo of him       Look at this little cutie

So after our long journey through Japan, the day before I we came home I met with an ex Manager of Marubeni and I was showing him photos of my trip and he said was this on the 8th of April, I said yes, he said this is a flower festival for children and how lucky we were to come across this, he us now 70 years old and said he did this as a little boy and remembers it well.

                                         This is a different Monk walking from the shrine

We then proceeded down the streets, this little man was grinding coffee beans and posed for a photo for us,   hahaha........

Me, outside a Masking tape/washi tape shop, that's all they sold, there were literally hundreds of different ones, it was a difficult choice what to buy.

                                                                     A little shrine

                                                              A beautiful big vase

                                                        Same shop, taken from a distance
                                                     More shops, it was a busy Sunday

                               These rickshaw drivers were everywhere, no we didn't...............

                                                          The masking tape shop

See what I mean about the tiny narrow streets, that's why they have small cars, plus the streets are for pedestrains.

                                  A Wedding, she would have been freezing, it was a cold day
                                                   Me rugged up with my coat and scarf

                                                             Enjoying a boat ride

 On the train trip back to Osaka I saw this lady in her Kimono waiting at a train station

These little enclosed rooms with seats are at most train station platforms, to keep out of the cold

                                                                 My new suitcase

Enjoying a couple of whiskey and cokes before bed, I prefer to drink whiskey with ginger ale or
ginger beer but through the while of Japan we only found ginger ale in one place.....


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

JAPAN 2018 - PART 5

Day 7 - Wednesday 4th April, 2018

KANAZAWA - after returning from the Ryokan we checked into our hotel, this was our room, the beds were so comfortable and a good size. Our Hotel was a 2 minute walk to Kanazawa train station, so convenient and handy.

We then went to the Tourist information counter at Kanazawa station and spoke to English speaking ladies to find out about using our JR pass on the free loop bus for sightseeing around the city.  We caught the bus to the Higashi Chaya district to look at all the old tea houses and glorious Sakura blooms along the river. 
Me underneath a white Sakura tree..

                                                                Some of the tea houses

                                                         A very pretty Pink Sakura tree

                                    Look at these gorgeous trees along the bank of the river

                                 This is taken from the bridge on the opposite side of the river

I'm admiring the gorgeous blooms 

                            The bridge across the river is a walk bridge and a vehicle bridge

                                                             Some more tea houses
                                                      I just love the dark pink blooms

After our few hours of walking we caught the bus back to the train station and went to a lovely bakery and enjoyed a coffee and bun before going back to the hotel

Day 8 - Thursday 5th April, 2018

Day trip to TAKAYAMA - we caught 2 trains taking 2 hours in total, the scenery was so lovely as we headed up and up into the mountains.
A selfie of us on the train.

                                         A couple of photos of the streams along the way

As we headed up into the mountains we saw quite a bit of snow still on the mountains from winter.

                           A cemetery, these are dotted in small clumps like this everywhere

We found an amazing shop that sold Ice creams and filled crepes, there were so many to choose from                                                

                      We both had the caramel popcorn ice cream, it was really delicious.

I asked this young couple could I take their photo, they were having the crepes filled with delicious goodness, yummmmmm........

                          We came across this small temple on our walk around Takayama

                                                                A restaurant

An antique/second hand shop, inside was tiny and had lots of stuff, it was quite difficult to walk around in there 

                                                           Sake barrels outside a shop

                                       A museum, we weren't allowed to take photos inside

                                                                           A shop

                                                               Outside a restaurant

Little postal vans, all the cars are like this, they are so cute.  They need to be tiny, the streets are so narrow......

                          These two photos are of items inside the rail station at Takayama

                                                 A little boy having Maccas with his Dad

                   Our Maccas late lunch waiting for the train for our return trip to Kanazawa

Day 9 - Friday 6th April, 2018

KANAZAWA - Our hearty breakfast before our big day of sightseeing.

                                            Some Wedding photos at Kanazawa Castle

Kanazawa Castle is truly a glorious sight, you can only walk around the grounds and tale photos, you can't enter the castle.

                         Some ducks swimming in the moat amongst the fallen Sakura blooms

Leaving the Castle 

                                                           Japanese ladies in Kimonos

                                                         It was sprinkling a little

                                           Statues of Japanese Gentlemen at Kenrokuen

                                                 Walking through Omicho markets

                                                           Lots of oysters

Fish and oysters at Omicho


                                    This large structure is outside the Kanazawa train station

                                                        Outside the train station

                                                            Outside the train station

                                             The view outside our Hotel room at night

Both Sandra and I loved Kanazawa, it was a gorgeous city and runs at a nice slow pace.

Part 6 will take us over to Osaka



Another "0" Birthday in our family for 2018, My Mum turned 80 on Monday 10th December, 2018. We celebrated with a Birthday lunch ...