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Last day in Japan and surprise, surprise, it's raining again. We decided to venture out to visit the imperial palace for one last cultural adventure so we left our baggage in the lobby and out we went into the elements. We had to walk through the Tokyo Train Station before arriving at the palace. We entered via the Ote-mon Gate and via a guardhouse. (Guardhouses are rare to see as they have mostly been knocked down.
Slept over 11 hours!! Pity the rain remained, it has been constant for four days. We leisurely had breakfast (rice ball count: 26) and then made our way to the department store complex in the search for a massage. We were advised by our Cairns mates that department stores have massage chairs set up so people literally sit in them for hours. We liked the sound of that! We went up to the 11th floor (of 13) and they had free wine tasting from every possible region.
Utterly exhausted after today. Up at 5am, went to get food from the local Lawson's only to find they hadn't received stock of the day so I ended up getting some ham and cheese swirly bread. We caught the early shinkansen in the event that it would be busy at Utsunomiya and we were right. There was a line and the first bus was already full so we had to wait another 15 minutes before the next one arrived.
Today was a long day. Up at 5.30am to walk to Tokyo Central train station for the 6.12am bullet train to Utsunomiya. We packed breakfast to eat whilst traveling and caught the correct train. After eating some more rice balls (total: 23), yoghurt and some juice, I had a brief nap until I was woken up by Jacinta saying that we were nearly there. Once we disembarked, we got on the designated bus to the track.
Early rise before heading to Disneyland. For breakfast I had some yummy tuna rice balls and yoghurt (rice ball count: 21). We both put on our makeup that was Snow White inspired with matching bows. Unfortunately, it was terrible with pouring rain.
When we got to Disneyland, we both bought ponchos before venturing to the sites. It truly is the most magical place on earth. Being a wet day, there weren't any lines for the rides so we were able to experience a few more than Universal Studios.
Today was our final transit day before we head back to Melbourne. Our hotel check out was 12 noon so we had another sleep in, packed everything loosely and traveled across town to the Ginza area near Tokyo Central Station. Tokyo Central train station is busy but it appears to be controlled chaos. Everyone seems to know exactly where they are going and then there are the tourists standing in the middle of walkways with confused looks on their faces!
Today was yet another day of waking up at 5.30am and feeling completely refreshed. I checked a few emails and went through some photos from yesterday and then eventually fell asleep again. We got up at 10.45am and had some breakfast. Jacinta had some spaghetti whereas I had mixed veges and a banana (I was craving some broccoli!). I bought some fresh Hokkaido milk to have with breakfast. The milk from Hokkaido is completely different to what we normally have at home.
Woke up at 6.30am, realised it was early so went back to sleep for a few hours. I eventually rose at 11.25am and got ready for our big day!
We headed back to Harajuku and went to the Meiji Jingu Shinto Shrine. The shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken as they shaped Japan into the country it is today. They both died more than 100 year ago but in their lives they introduced Western Civilisation and technologies into Japan whilst preserving the Japanese identity as well as promoting national welfare and women's education.
Late rise today, we both needed it after a few alcoholic beverages in the hotel room late last night/early this morning! We eventually got up and ate some microwaved prepacked meals whilst overlooking Shinjuku Road. We walked along to Shinjuku Station and through some smaller streets before we came to a huge square of high rise buildings, flashing signs and massive tv screens.
We had a look through some of the electronic stores on the hunt for the relaunch of the 1990's toy, Tamagotchi.
Our final day in Kyoto and when I opened up the curtains there was beautiful sunshine!!
One problem is that because we were checking out, we would have to carry our luggage around. We boarded our train to Kyoto and when we got to Kyoto Station we tried to find a locker to put our bags in. Well, everyone else had the same idea and there weren't any left. We even tried leaving it at the ‘Baggage Room’ but we were kindly turned away as they were full too.
Before I go into too much detail, it was a miracle we managed to fit everything in today. Considering yesterday was completely wiped out due to rain, we were on a tight schedule to see the main attractions in Kyoto. Accommodation > walk to Nijo Castle > Nijo Castle > walk to Nijo Station > train to Arashiyama Bamboo Forest > walk to Forrest and through Forest > train to Emmanchi Station > Bus to Kinkaku > walk to Rokuon-Ji Golden Pavilion > bus back to Emmanchi Station > train to Kyoto Station > train to Gojo Station > walk to accommodation When we left for our adventure, it was only lightly drizzling, nothing too serious but Jacinta took her umbrella just in case.
Must have been exhausted after yesterday's adventures as we slept until 10am to the sound of rain again! Such a nuisance as we were going to visit the temples and castles today. I did a bit of research and found a castle close by and a market that is perfect for rainy days as it is enclosed. We grabbed some umbrellas provided by the owner and we headed in the direction of the Nishiki Market, only a 5 minute walk.
Attempted a sleep in today but only managed to get to 8.30am before the jackhammers and trucks were out down the road to wake us up. Breakfast consisted of a rice ball with a soft boiled egg in the middle (rice ball count: 14) and a ham and cheese sandwich.
We had to pack and check out by 11am and I have reached capacity with my luggage so I am going to buy another bag for carry on soon.
Early wake up call today! Up at 7.45am ready for Universal Studios! Our rail pass only gets us onto the ‘Japan Rail Company’ lines and unfortunately there are a lot of private companies. Therefore, we had to walk 1km to the closest JR Station which luckily took us 5 stops to Universal Studios. Just walking up the gate it was busy, or so I thought. We lined up to purchase tickets and of course, I had left my wallet back at the accommodation.
First night I haven't slept too well. Ribs and neck are sore from a lack of cushioning!
We both attempted to straighten our hair to look presentable but due to the humidity, it only lasted until outside the front door!
Breakfast today consisted of a bit of this and that. I had two soft boiled eggs (from 7/11), yoghurt with banana and some vegetable juice.
It was threatening to rain so it was decided to try out the hop on hop off bus.
Today we woke to the sound of rain on the tin roof which was lovely. The realisation soon sunk in that we would be lugging suitcases around in the rain which was not going to be fun! For breakfast I changed things a little. I had a ham and mayo sandwich with some vege/fruit juice…. and one rice ball (total rice ball count for Japan: 12)
We then grabbed our gear and walked to Yokogama railway station.
Before I give a play by play recall of today. Four words sum it up: it was truly amazing.
Today I had a sleep in! I woke up at 9.30am! It was meant to be a hot day so the shorts were brought out of the suitcase! Sunscreen applied and we were off. A full day exploring Miyajima Island just on the outskirts of Hiroshima. We took the train to Miyajima-guchi station then hopped onto the ferry for 10 minutes across to the island.
Up at 9am for a shower and my usual rice ball breakfast from the convenience store. This time, I got the rice ball with the soft boiled egg in the middle, delicious!
We walked back to Yokogama Station and got onto the streetcar (tram) down to the Atomic Bomb Dome. Prior to 1945, the Atomic Bomb Dome was the Hiroshima Prefecture Industrial Promotion Hall showcasing local crafts and cultural festivals. It was built in 1915 by a Czech architect and the Dome was a dark green colour.
Last day in Sapporo before our flight to Hiroshima.
Breakfast was clam chowder soup with juice and crusty bread. I tried the drip coffee that was provided and I didn't particularly like it. A bit too bitter for my liking.
We checked out at 11am, placed our bags in storage before heading out to the botanical gardens. We caught the subway to Odori Park and decided to have an early lunch at the Sapporo Autumn Fest.
Breakfast arrived early today and it happened to be Genghis Khan curry soup! Tasted similar to a minestrone soup, jam packed with vegetables and a little bit of lamb, all washed down with some black tea with lemon.
Today Jacinta planned a full day of adventures. First stop was the Asahiyama Memorial Park. We caught the tram back to the ropeway and walked along some residential streets. Everything was peaceful and calm as a typical Sapporo day should be, then 5 fighter jets went overhead in a loop.
Woke up early again and had our complimentary breakfast. The hotel prides itself on providing fresh local produce for breakfast. We had potato and leek soup with salmon and a side of crusty bread. All washed down with the smallest juice boxes we've even encountered.
Once fed and watered, we made our way down to the Sapporo equivalent of the city circle tram stop. It only cost ¥200 for a single trip to Mt Moiwa Ropeway.
After going to bed at 1.30am, I was awake at 7am ready to start a full day in Japan! Jacinta had other ideas and wanted a bit of a sleep in as she didn't sleep much on the flight over.
At 10am, we got ready, ate our ‘convenience store breakfast’ that was purchased yesterday and made our way downstairs. This time, we were prepared and knew exactly how to get to the airport.
Jacinta and I were up at 5am ready to start our Japan Adventure! When we got to the airport we were relatively hungry so decided to get some food from only one of the two cafes that were open in the international terminal as renovations were taking place. We bought some mediocre ‘jaffles’ and then waited to board. At our seats, we were spoilt with large blankets and pillows and a food menu that was actually appealing!