United Kingdom, Japan · 14 Days · 17 Moments · July 2017

Clague Clan in Japan


22 July 2017

Osaka
Kyoto day 3

21 July 2017

Kyoto day 2

20 July 2017

Kyoto day 1

19 July 2017

Hiroshima day 2 (Miyajima day trip)

18 July 2017

Hiroshima day 1 An extraordinary day.

17 July 2017

Kanazawa day 2

16 July 2017

Kanazawa day 1

15 July 2017

Takayama day 1

14 July 2017

Day 4 - Tokyo to Takayama by train 🚄 Staying in a Ryokan. Mum was delighted to see her name 'Fiona' where our shoes were swapped for slippers, and was even over the moon to see her name on a list of guests outside. It's the little things that please dear mother. Bit of a struggle to find a place to eat, and with our blood sugar running low, tensions were running high. However we finally found somewhere that was open, a sushi bar called 'sushi nob'. We started off as some of the first few customers there. The husband and wife team finding it manageable to both serve and cook for their customers. However, an hour later the place was packed with tourists, who had likely found that this was bizarrely one of the few places open for dinner. The poor owners were swamped with orders and probably wished not to see another westerner again. On returning to the ryokan we all tried our first 'onsen' experience.

13 July 2017

Day 3 - Shinjuku Gyoen and South East Asian contemporary art exhibition at the National Gallery Day 3 started at the highly recommended gardens near to our Citadines hotel in Shinjuku. It was the perfect place to be on a summer's day. However there were some complaints as I lead the wanderers into a large modern greenhouse. After our tour of these fantastic gardens we headed back to the Harajuku area, which was even busier than before. After trying desperately to find a nice place to eat we did eventually find a western style cafe/bar. Which turned out to be one of most enjoyable meals, and very reasonably priced. After lunch we made our way to the National Gallery through the Aoyama cemetery. Mum revealed she would sometimes take us here for picnics, a bizarre location for a picnic but granted it was peaceful. Eventually we made it to the gallery where we were treated to one of the highlights of the trip so far. The exhibition providing a stunning insight on life in the region.

12 July 2017

Day 2 (continued)- Kamakura day trip, Kencho-ji The highlight of the day was undoubtedly wondering around Japan's oldest Zen monastery. Having wondered into unknown territory to find the site, we were glad to reach our destination, and having entered we were even happier to find that we practically had the place to ourselves. After we had enjoyed many of the main sights, we decided to hike to another temple at the top of the hill that overlooked the grounds. Although, it was a difficult to keep going up the steps the view from the top was worth the physical effort. The lofty heights was however too much for some and Mum decided to start making her way down at a more leisurely pace to the one set on the climb. It was however quite lucky that we started to head down at this point, as we arrived at the gates to find they had been closed. Luckily a delivery van opened the electronic gates and we stealthily slipped through to the other side.
Day 2 (continued) - Kamakura day trip 12th century shrine dedicated to Hachiman, God of war.
Day 2 - Kamakura day trip Today we travelled to the coastal city of Kamakura, an hour away from Tokyo by train. First stop 'Kamakura custard', a place of unknown legendary status in the Clague household. Although we did manage to locate the shop, we were unable to see the original pink custard pots that we used to consume when we were younger. Our small custard filled buns were however very tasty. We then walked in the searing heat to the 'big Buddha', an 850 tonne bronze statue, that was once housed in a great hall, before the hall was washed away in a tsunami. Following my protests at the lack of food, we returned to the centre of the city. Soon we stumbled upon a "sushi go round". Initially we were completely lost. However, we were eventually able to pick out plates we liked, all of which were incredibly cheap but absolutely delicious. The sushi was thankfully able to revitalise the troops, and so we pushed our way through the crowds on the main high street to the main temple

11 July 2017

Tokyo day 1 (continued) - Harajuku & Shibuya Next we entered the bustling shopping district of Harajuku. We began by walking down Omotesando, THE street for the worlds most high profile fashion brands. We however opted to visit a classic tourist shop, and the church where Emma's rooftop nursery was. After a quick 7/11 lunch we continued on to the 'trendier' district of Harajuku. On the way we passed where we used to live. After a quick stop off at an edgy cafe we were provided with our first introduction to the Japanese hipster. We then carried on walking through the maze of small independent vintage clothes stores and then on to the district of 'Shibuya'. Here we observed the organised chaos of the famous pedestrian and then walked with the crowds to a popular department store. Despite, spending nearly an hour at 'loft' we left relatively empty handed. By now we were feeling quite peckish and so were guided, somewhat by our stomachs, to find a touristy Chinese restaurant.
Tokyo day 1 - Meji Shrine and Yoyogi park. After a terrible nights sleep, due to jet lag, we were unexpectedly woken up at 11am by room service. We swiftly got ready to go out, having dramatically overslept. First stop 'Meiji-Jingû', a shrine dedicated to the former Emperor and Empress. Our guide, Mrs F Clague showed us the praying ritual at the magnificent central temple. Following this we wondered around the peaceful gardens around the site. Next to the shrine is the large green space of Yoyogi park, where Mum used to take Emma to visit the 'children's cycle centre'. Much to both mum and Emma's delight, the same pink and red 'Hello Kitty' bikes were still there from 20 years ago. Their jubilant cheers were so loud, a park employee came to check if everything was ok.

9 July 2017

London Heathrow 🛫 to Narita Airport, Tokyo 🛬 (via Dubai) Mum and I set off promptly at 8:00am from sunny Bradford on Avon. On the way to Heathrow we swung by Reading station to pick up Emma, who had been down in Mudeford for a Lloyd hosted party. After safely navigating our way back to the motorway, we soon arrived at Heathrow. Having glided through check in and security, we 'made camp', in the departure lounge. On board our Qantas airlines plane we were treated to a terrifically Australian experience, with Aussie wine as part of our meal and our captain Bruce navigating us to our destination. Having landed in Dubai we passed through the glamour of duty free to wait for our flight to Tokyo. After a couple of hours we boarded the plane, although we were unfortunately sat in different sections this time. I was delighted to be able to continue watching lego batman from the previous flight. After a 9 hour flight we touched down in Tokyo.