Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Zooming down to Kyoto

Today was the day of our ride on the Shinkansen..exciting!! we were heading south to Kyoto.
After checking out of our hotel, we went back to Shinagawa Station, not be squashed onto a city train but to book a comfy seat on the train that has a top speed of 300km/h

Here is the best photo of 10 that i took, they go so fast that taking a photo can be challenging
Our Shinkansen train racing into the station.
The lovely Japanese lady I was sitting next to pointed out Mt Fiji to us

We arrived in Kyoto at about 2pm, where we got terribly lost trying to find out way to our accomodation but luckily, our taxi driver was able ( after a phone call) to find it.
For the next two night, we stayed at the Watazan Ryokan, where we bathed in a public bath, sat on  tatami mats, slept in futons and wore Kiminos

Our room, having our Japanese tea.
Just down the street was a VERY busy market area, where they sold lots of food we didn't recognise, lots of food we DID recognise but wouldn't dream of eating (eel for one!) and then we stumbled on...

A very full lolly shop! Heaven for the kids and me :D

The next day, we walked down to a more traditional part of Kyoto 

River side living

One of the mail streets of Kyoto
Where we stumbled onto a definite highlight of our trip...a traditional Shinto Wedding.
The bride and groom, with family behind.
It was one of those moments that was hard to walk away from. Even though we had no idea what they were saying we were captivated. Even the children!

After the wedding we walked and walked. We saw many temples and shrines....

Temple Entrance

And then in the afternoon we went to the Nijo Castle
Two very busy days in Kyoto!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Japan - two more days in Tokyo!

Today was the day we now call 'The Day of the Crush"..yes, whose idea was it to catch the train at 8.45am from Shinagawa Station, what a mistake! I am sure you all have seen those images, well we were THERE! Poor Mollie, I am not sure how she could breathe. We were squashed in so tight you couldn't move and then someone came along and pushed more people. 
Needless to say, we avoided that time from that time on.  I would have loved to get a photo, but I literally could not  move, and all Mollie could do was laugh :D
So after that experience, we headed to Ueno Station to go to the National Science and Nature Museum.
A nature display
Interesting Science Experiments

Lots of information about animals in Japan (and skeletons)
And then just around the corner there was a zoo
The kids were so excited 'Pandas'
Well....yes, Pandas asleep in a ball in the back of the enclosure, was what it was.
So a photo with a plastic Panda statue it had to be....

The best we could do

Seeing a polar bear was a lovely treat!
Lovely big polar bear!

And after this full day, we headed back to the hotel for an early night. Guess what we had for dinner, yes SUSHI!!

The next morning, we went back into town, down by Tokyo Bay this time. 
Sing it with me, cause I did many a time 'We're on our way to Tokyo Bay' (gotta love the Wiggles :D)
Light rail 

There was an excellent light rail system that went over the Rainbow Bridge and all around the Bay.
One of the many streets of Tokyo
We stopped off at a Maritime Museum, where Lucas got to use a Ship simulator and moved many a big ship safely into Tokyo Bay...while

Mollie watched something about aeroplanes on a big TV, ALL in Japanese.

Then we went aboard a science research boat, very interesting!

And check out this bus!!
Driving round Tokyo, love the bright colours.

Dinner this night was the yummiest Tempura Japanese meal, a bit of a guess of the menu, but we did well!
Served with Miso soup, lovely.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Our Japan Holiday part 1

We arrived in a Winter Wonderland!!
It was so cold but with the pleasure of seeing snow, the coldness was all forgotten.. 
We arrived into Narita Airport 8pm and caught a bus to our hotel.

Very dodgy photo out the window of our hotel at about 10pm

The next morning, we braved the metro train network and headed into town.
First Stop:  Zojoji Temple

One of the entrances into the temple area

A Jizo Statue - one of many in the area

Beautiful statue near the temple

The snow was the main attraction for the children today

The tokyo tower behind two temples
The sky was beautiful and clear bit it was chilly!!

Next stop: Tokyo Tower

And the view over Tokyo from of the windows.

First impressions of Japan..WOW!! We were not really prepared for the sheer volume of people. Quite often we would find ourselves just stopping and watching the crowd of people zoom by us. 
Everyone was so helpful too, anytime we reached for a map, someone was on hand to help. 
After our day of sightseeing we headed back to the hotel, a dinner of sushi from the supermarket and we were in bed. All ready for our big day out tomorrow.