Japan · 8 Days · 10 Moments · September 2016

30 September 2016

Early start today in Takayama with another traditional Japanese breakfast, before heading off to get the Shinkansen to Kyoto! Bit of a long day travelling but with some amazing views of the mountain areas as we went. Once we finally got to Kyoto we checked in out our hotel and freshened up before heading back out to check out the famous shrine nearby known as Fushimi Inari (aka 10,000 gates). The shrine opened up from a gigantic orange tori gate and into a beautiful shrine adorned with figures of foxes to bring luck and protect the area. A short walk through a bustling market led to the main attraction the absolute insane amount of gates that snake there way up the mountain. We opted for the shorter path with the long one taking 3 hours. (Pretty tired after a long day in transit) We then headed back to the hotel to relax for a bit before heading out with the group to our tour guide Nikki's favourite wine bar up the road. A lot of good drinks were sampled to say the least 😉🍻🍷

29 September 2016

Day 2 in Takayama! Started the day off with a traditional Japanese breakfast at the Ryokan. After breakfast we all jumped in a bus with our tour guide for the day Nori, a lovely lady who was local to the area her whole life. Nori took us to the morning markets were we sampled some of the areas famous apples and cider. We then did a bit of shopping in the area before heading over to the old samurai house with a beautiful garden. After a look through the grounds we then went for a walk and grabbed some lunch having hida beef (again) and some ramen 🍜 We then met back up with Nori and walked over to the local sake brewery and sampled a "few" of the local brews 🍶 After the brewery a bit more shopping about the markets ending in a cat plushie for Meredith. After jumping back in the bus we headed back near the Ryokan to a Japanese folk village in the mountains. Too much to post here about it all! We then walked back to the Ryokan before heading out later for dinner with the group.

28 September 2016

Today we took the Shinkansen to Takayama, a mountain city north of Tokyo. The trip up through the mountain was breathtaking with grand views of the river running through gigantic mountains with fog hanging low and tiny villages perched between mountains and trees. Once we arrived in Takayama we checked into our traditional Japanese hotel or Ryokan as it is known before getting changed and going out to try the famous local cuisine, Hida beef! The beef was delicious and a great little restaurant. Time for sleep in our petite room before our tour tomorrow with a local guide called Nori.

27 September 2016

Last day in Tokyo for the tour started as a quite relaxing day, we walked up past the Sensoji temple to the giant Asahi brewery building (the gold building) which is actually a giant beer. Where we then got the lift up to the sky bar, located in the froth of the building. Up there we sampled some fine beers and ran into an older gentlemen who made oragami for us all. After starting the day off on a great note we then caught the train to Shinjuku, where we walked to the Samurai Museum. Inside was breathe taking with one of the largest collections of Samurai heirlooms, we then watched a live sword demonstration by a master swords man. Once we had finished there we met up with the tour group for the craziest part of Tokyo: The Robot Restaurant. I can't even begin to explain the show, with an insane amount of lights, noises, explosions and robots. I wish I could post more photos at the moment. Words can't explain. Next day will be the train to Takayama!

26 September 2016

Meiji shrine had a beautiful walk through a lush forest that wound its way finally to another large gate that opened up into an amazing old shrine were people came to pray and wish for happiness and good health. After the shrine we returned to the metro subway and caught a train to where the famous Shibuya crossing is. Now this was utterly packed with people, upon a green light everyone crosses at once in all directions. This is were our tour ended and we said good bye to Michi. We headed back to our hotel to freshen up before returning to the crossing to a small bar where everyone had a hard earned drink. Naturally this turned into a bit of a late night before getting the last train back to our hotel for some well needed rest.
The imperial palace was massive! With gigantic gates sectioning off parts of the grounds. From there we headed over to Shibuya, which was by far the busiest place we have been to so far. We walked from the station to the area known as Harajuku which is the trendy young people's area with a crazy amount of fashion stores and other shops. Once through Harajuku we stopped for some lunch getting sushi, sampling some delicious red tuna. The tour then continued up the street to the Meiji Shrine, which was surrounded by a large forest.... (Part 2)

25 September 2016

Finally another update! We hoped in a taxi from our hotel in Shinjuku to where we were staying in Asakusa, which was a great way to see the city. It's been a crazy few days in Tokyo with the tour starting and meeting everyone, including our great trip guide Nikki! Nikki took us the first night to a bar I stayed at the first time in Tokyo called Nui. It was great having drinks and getting to know the other people on the tour The next day was a big day of walking, with our lovely guide Michi. We started at Sensoji temple which was breathtaking and bustling with people. From there we headed to the imperial palace were we walked the moat.... (Part 1)

23 September 2016

Finally checking in again after a wild first night in Shinjuku, after Meredith and I finally got to our accommodation we decided to go out for a walk and look for some dinner. We ended up in a Japanese curry house which served some amazing Katsu curry's. just what we needed after our long day. After we had finished dinner we then decided to walk further up into the heart of Shinjuku, to a block of buildings called the Golden Gai. The Golden Gai was insane, the thin walkways between the buildings were cram packed with single room bars and absolutely bustling with people. We ended up having some drinks in a few of them before settling in one where the owner would serve drinks and then play Japanese blues songs on the guitar with a harmonica. Needless to say, was a pretty late first night and a wild intro to the crazy city of Tokyo. Day 2 was a lot more relaxed with some minor headaches felt by both of us haha The Tour starts tomorrow!
We have arrived! The flight went pretty smoothly and arrived on time. We are pretty damn happy to be able to stand up and walk around now. #numbbums Once we cleared customs and retrieved our bags we then jumped on the Skyliner to Ueno. Not long until we will arrive at our accommodation in Shinjuku and we can lay into some beers and proper Japanese food.
And so it begins... Was an early start today, waking up at 3:30am, but we have made it to the Airport and waiting for our 8am flight. Solid start. Excitement levels are increasing tenfold! Meredith on the other hand is feeling nervous for the flight, but excited for the trip!