Hello all from Japan!
I flew out of Australia on Monday. We started the first leg at a very early hour, then had a lunchtime layover before starting our second leg.
Plane trip photos:
Remember Womble Bear? He’ll be in some of these photos – after all he is my travel bear now.
Our first night was spent in a lovely guest house only a short train ride from Kansai Airport. The managers were very welcoming and we slept on futon mattresses on tutami matting. A true Japanese experience.
We’re now staying in a tiny apartment in Kyoto.
Catching the train everywhere has been good so far (excepting yesterday morning), though it was easier once we didn’t have to carry our big luggage around. Also, maps and even the supposedly very good app can’t account for everything. So we’ve been very grateful to the friendly locals who’ve helped us out.
Yesterday was a full-on day. We started the day by exploring the edge of Osaka, near to where we were staying and the airport. We were going to walk it when the lovely guest house offered bikes!
It was the first time I’d been on a bike in a while and I was a bit wobbly at times. But it was so. much. fun. 😀 We cycled around down the main street of the area towards the beach. There were bike paths around there and we made good use of them. I’m quite pleased with myself, tbh. Especially since I even managed to go up hills a few times. The starting was the main annoyance because I was always a little wobbly at first, the bike weaving about a bit as I tried to push off effectively.
Some context: I learnt to bike ride late, because I have mild coordination and processing problems. It was difficult to balance and stay on the bike without wobbling too much to continue, and I hated hills because they were too difficult – a problem given that the area I grew up in was full of them.
My best biking experience came when we went overseas to Holland, which is super flat. At a bike path there, I could ride quite well. That was a while ago though and I haven’t really been motivated to practice bike riding.
This year, I’ve wanted to bring my bike from my hometown to Melbourne but haven’t yet. After yesterday, I’m re-motivated.
The other activity of yesterday was to go to Nara and see the Giant Buddha and the deer. The Giant Buddha is indeed impressive. Imposing and magnificent.
The deer were cute but also pushy. They know how to get food from humans. Did you know that an impatient or upset fawn sounds like a squeaky door?
I didn’t get many photos of the afternoon at Nara because my phone died on me. I’ll grab some from others later.
I got lucky on day 3 though – my phone lasted pretty much all of the day. After some mucking around with transport details (let’s just say trains can be confusing if you’re not a local, until you get used to them), we got the right train and settled in for a journey to Himeji Castle.
The Castle itself was pretty cool. Once inside the main keep we had to take off our shoes and replace them with provided slippers. Climbing steep stairs through the six floors to the top is tricky in slippers! The views were pretty good though.
The castle was refurbished only two years ago so we could see it in all it’s glory. It’s a magnificent structure.
We finished the day with a look at the harbour of Kobe on our way home.
Today we’re exploring Kyoto to see places like Nijo Castle, Nishiki Market, and Kinkaku-Ji (Golden) and Ginkaku-Ji (Silver) Temples, among others.