FC: Japan 2008
1: How it all started . . . September 10th, 2008 MSN Convo between Vivian (Vancouver) and Angel (Hong Kong) (10:26:49 PM) Angel: i guess because of your move, you have to postpone that japan trip (10:26:53 PM) Angel: :S (10:27:00 PM) Angel: i am so free to go now.. (10:27:19 PM) ~vvn: seriously?? haha (10:27:21 PM) ~vvn: hey let's go! (10:27:22 PM) ~vvn: :p (10:27:30 PM) Angel: oh. let's go now! (10:27:50 PM) Angel: i'm serious (10:27:54 PM) ~vvn: like seriously?? haha (10:27:58 PM) Angel: like seriously (10:28:01 PM) Angel: well. maybe not tomorrow :P (10:28:17 PM) ~vvn: 'cause this is the perfect time for me! (10:31:17 PM) Angel: want to do it? (10:31:20 PM) ~vvn: YES!
2: Japan Trip Intinerary! ^0^ Oct 4, 5 Tokyo Accomodation: Khaosan Tokyo Ninja (Booked) Activities/Sightseeing Places "the usual": - Shibuya, Harajuku (hip young people places) - Mongkok of Tokyo :P - Asakusa - Senso-ji temple - crafts shops/'artsy' area - Akihabara - Shinjuku: crowded department store/shopping area/business district/entertainment area - Skip Imperial Palace Oct 6, 7 Takayama & Nagoya Accomodation: Hagitakayama Takayama Kankou Room & Breakfast Plan Y7980/person + Y150 onsen \ 7:35AM: board train to Tokyo; start using JR Pass. Bakurocho Sobu Line Rapid (Kurihama-bound) () 07:4007:44 [4 mins] Tokyo (arrive Platform 1) 7:44AM: arrive Tokyo Station. Transfer to Shinkansen. Oct 7 Nagoya - Hang out at Yvo's town! | Oct 8, 9 Osaka Accommodation IL Cuore Namba Hotel (booked) Activities: - Best takoyaki - Doutonbori shopping arcade - Dotombori Gokuraku Shotengai - Himeji Castle (best preserved castle in Japan) Oct 10, 11 Kyoto Accommodation: Gojo Guest House (booked) Activities: - Sunrise Tours - Kyoto 1 day tour - Gion district (Geisha area) - Pontocho Street - also Geish district in Central Kyoto; go at night for more 'atmosphere' - Kiyomizu-dera - Mochis are popular here! Oct 12 Hiroshima (including Miyajima) (leave in the evening for Tokyo) - Monk's place behind 5 storey pagoda - Stay away from deers - Hiroshima-yaki!!! - Hiroshima is famous for oysters. Oct 13, 14 Tokyo - Ghibli Musuem - Tokyu Hands, Loft: they have the coolest of everything you can imagine. Stationery, travel etc - MORNING: Tsukiji Fish Market: you gotta get up at the crack of dawn to go there cuz the action is early in the morning. I've never actually been, but people say it's fun and the sushi very fresh. | With 16 days to plan our trip, Angel and I got crackin' with booking accommodations and figuring out where to go. Couldn't have done it without Yvo's help, and of course, Google Docs!! (snippets of that below)
3: The 10 hour flight from Vancouver to Narita was great. Angel and I found each other at Narita Airport relatively quickly. We got our JAL passes, picked up a few maps, and headed to our first Japan hostel - Tokyo Ninja!
4: Shinkjuku, Tokyo Angel & Viv spent their first evening of Japan in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Shinjuku houses Japan's tallest skyscrapers, and the busiest train station in the world.
6: Asakusa, Tokyo Asakusa is most famous for the Sens-ji, a buddhist temple. Next to the Sens-ji temple is a small carnival complex with rides, booths, and games, called Hanayashiki. The neighborhood theaters specialize in showing classic Japanese films, as many of the tourists are elderly Japanese.
7: Akihabara, Tokyo Akihabara is Tokyo's "Electric Town". The area houses thousands of shops selling every technological gadget you can imagine, from computers to gaming consoles and vacuums to DVDs. This area is also known as the "Gamer's Mecca" and has in recent times become strongly identified with anime/manga subculture.
8: Takayama Takayama is a city in the mountainous Hida region of Gifu Prefecture, which has retained a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town.
10: Ryokan & Onsen Fun! | Natural hot springs (onsen) are highly popular across Japan. Onsen water is believed to have healing powers derived from its mineral content. A particular onsen may feature several different baths, each with water with a different mineral composition. Onsen is great for those who want to get away from the hectic life of the city to relax.
12: Avy's Purikura Adventures!
14: Shitennoji Temple, Osaka Founded 1,400 years ago as the first -- and therefore oldest -- officially established temple in Japan, Shitennoji Temple is the spiritual heart of Osaka. It was constructed in 593 by Prince Shotoku, who is credited with introducing Buddhism to Japan.
15: Dotonbori, Osaka Dotonbori is famous for its historic theaters, its shops and restaurants, and its many neon and mechanized signs. Osaka is known for its food, and Dotonbori is the main destination for food travel in Osaka. Osaka regional cuisine includes okonomiyaki (pan-fried batter cake), and takoyaki (octopus dumplings).
16: Osaka at night
17: Himeji Castle Himeji Castle, also called Shirasagijo (White Heron Castle) due to its white outer walls, is the best preserved castle in all of Japan. It serves as a classic example of Japanese castle architecture, having been designated a national treasure in 1931. Incorporating both strategic design as well as a very conscious awareness of space, it functions as a military command, a center for political life, and as a monument to the glories of an earlier age.
18: Kaiseki is a type of art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance, and colors of food. Only fresh seasonal ingredients are used and are prepared in ways that aim to enhance their flavor. Local ingredients are often included as well. Finished dishes are carefully presented on plates that are chosen to enhance both the appearance and the seasonal theme of the meal. Dishes are beautifully arranged and garnished, often with real leaves and flowers, as well as edible garnishes designed to resemble natural plants and animals.
19: Pontocho is a district in Kyoto, Japan, known for geisha and home to many geisha houses and traditional tea houses. Like Gion, Pontocho is famous for the preservation of forms of traditional architecture and entertainment.
20: The Golden Pavilion, or Kinkaku, is a three-story building on the grounds of the temple. The top two stories of the pavilion are covered with pure gold leaf. The pavilion functions as a shariden, housing relics of the Buddha (Buddha's Ashes). The top floor is built in traditional Chinese style, and the middle floor in sober Zen-style. The ground floor is rendered in shinden-zukuri-style, without gold leaf.
21: The Golden Pavilion is set in a magnificent Japanese strolling garden (kaiy-shiki). The pond in front of it is called Kyko-chi (Mirror Pond). There are many islands and stones on the pond that represent the Buddhist creation story.
22: Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto Kiyomizu-dera is an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto. The temple is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage site. Not a single nail is used in the whole temple.
23: Fushimi Inari Shrine is the most famous of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari across Japan. Inari is the Shinto god of rice, and foxes are thought to be his messengers. Therefore, many fox statues can be found at Inari shrines. Inari Shrine is also famous for the countless torii gates, offerings by worshippers.
25: Miyajima (literally "shrine island") has been celebrated as a sacred island and one of Japan's three most scenic views. It is most famous for Itsukushima Shrine, which, together with its large wooden torii (gate), stands in the ocean during high tide.
26: Gion Corner, a unique theater in Kyoto which presents seven traditional performing arts of Kyoto, including the heart of Kyogen classical comedy, Kyomai dance, Gagaku Imperial Court music, koto (Japanese harp) , flower arrangement, and Tea Ceremony.
27: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Dome
28: GHIBLI MUSEUM MITAKA
29: Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. A visit to Tsukiji Market is best combined with a fresh sushi breakfast or lunch at one of the onsite or local restaurants.