Day 12: Nara

Nara is a really beautiful city situated near both Osaka and Kyoto. It’s famous for its mochi and the deers.

The trip between Osaka and Nara takes around 40mins (you can get on the express train either at Osaka or Tennoji stations). And it’s a really comfortable ride (not as comfortable as the shinkaisen of course, but still really comfortable) 

After arriving at Nara, we walked to the park and ate some takoyaki. Nara has really good street ffood, and the pipping hot takoyaki was really delicious.

We walked up to the park, at the front gate sat a deer, looking uninterested at the tourists and locals entering the main park. 

The fawns are really cute

We got some deer biscuits (around 150yen) and they started chasing us around the park. They were just looking for food and learnt to bow in order to get a reward, you can see that the older ones were more confident.

A curious deer

There’s also quite a bit of temples around Nara which was also really fun to explore too. 

Nara also has quite a few Buddhist Temples

Day 10: Himeji Castle and Mt Shosha

Himeji Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Japan.

 We explored the eastern bailey and the main castle and actually ended up exploring the castle for 2 hours without realising it. You can also see how  thought out the defences were, several walls each wall with Archer holes, and at each gate also stood alot more Archer holes. The low lying roof upon the stairs designed to slow attackers down. 

After lunch we explored Mt Shosha, which was a mountain full of temples. 

Day 9: Hiroshima

Hi there! I haven’t posted in a while because we were moving from Tokyo to Osaka.

Yesterday we went to Hiroshima. As some of you might know Hiroshima was the city where the USA dropped the first nuclear bomb as a weapon.

N700 Shinkaisen 

After travelling on the Shinkaisen to Hiroshima, we head over to the Atomic Bomb Dome, where. The dome was preserved as part of the Peace Park.

Hiroshima’s Street Car reminds me of Melbourne 

Then it sank in, the horrors and atrocities of war, the deaths of peaceful civilians all gone in a mere few seconds. And exploring the Eternal Flame (where the flame keeps on burning until there are no atomic. Bombs in the world), the memorial and the Peace Bell  was really sad. 

Atomic Bomb Dome
Peace Bell

Another awesome place to explore was Shukkeien Gardens – where the lords can have a peaceful rest in Feudal Japan.

Day 6: Ueno Park, Ameyoko Market, Akihibara

After having a rest day yesterday exploring the Kitchenware Street, we headed down to Ueno Park. 

The main walkway in Ueno Park

As it was a public holiday the park was full of people. There even was a ninja event on – which we watched the shows for a bit.

I really like taking bodies of water

Ameyoko Market is a street market where it was a blsck/grey back in post-World War 2. The market was also packed with people, with vendors selling street food (such as kebabs, soup dumplings, takoyaki), clothes, bags and other cool things. One thing we saw everywhere was the hospitality that everyone provided. (I also managed to finally find my dads Christmas present, finally) 

 After lunch at Ameyoko, we headed down to Akihibara to satisfy my weeb tendencies. (there was also a lot of ‘exotic’ material too). And everywhere you go there’s people looking at figurines, manga, posters and other anime materials.

Akihibara was an amazing experience to enjoy the culture of Modern Japan (and for all the weebs and otakus out there, no shame) 

Day 4: Mount Takao

Sitting at 599 metres tall, Mount Takao is a mountain around 1 hour from Tokyo (or 2 hours by train from where we are staying), along with Mt Fuji it is one of the more popular hiking spots around Tokyo.

Taking the train was Mout Takao was really enjoyable, as we were sitting in the first carriage we get the extordinary view as we approached Takaosanguchi Station. It was also a beautiful sunny day with barely any clouds. 

Driver’s Cab on the Keio Takao Line

As we got off the station we were greeted by amazing view of the actual mountain itself and bearing our directions we set off on our hike. Not before we got a cheeky Soy Sauce flavoured Mochi Dango.

We took Route 1 which was the longest and the one with the most scenic views of Mt Takao’s surroundings. The route was a total of 3.8 kilometres.

We stopped halfway for lunch on the observation area (around midway up the mountain). 

“Woah, we’re halfway way there” 

After taking half an hour for a break and lunch, we trekked forwards passing the cable car station onto the next scenic viewing area. 

Looking away from Tokyo you get greeted by this view

Eventually we passed a Buddhist Temple which sits on the mountain.

Eventually we made it to the top after 2.5 hours and it was totally worth it, the views you get and the autumn foliage made Mt Takao really beautiful.

View of Tokyo from Mt Takao

The hike down was nice and fast, and after hitting peak hour metro trains. We stopped by Shinjuku Station to get our actual rail pass. My legs are so sore (did around 21000 steps)

Day 3: Meji Shrine, Takeshita Street and Shibuya Crossing

Today we decided to go to Meji Shrine. Meji Shrine is actually located in a forest in the Middle of Tokyo which makes it look really pretty in the inside.

Torii at the main entrance of the shrine

Walking inside makes you feel a sense of wonder and peacefulness, looking the famous Sake wall with all the various sakes from prefectures across Japan. 

Sake Wall

Walking into the main part of the shrine, after performing Omairi. We walked into the main part of the shrine where gave our wishes to the actual shrine.

Votive Tablets (ema) at Meji Shrine
Group Selfie at the shrine

After leaving the shrine, we had lunch at a really popular ramen store and headed off to the famous Takeshita Street. 

Takeshita Street 

After spending the afternoon browsing Takeshita Street, we went to a Karaoke place (this is the first time I’ve been). I still got the songs stuck in my head. 

Ramen Noodles

We also went and attempted to the Shibuya Crossing and went to the observation deck to look at the crossing.

Day 2: Yokohama and Cup Noodle Museum

After a slightly late start, we decided to head down to Yokohama to visit the Cup Noodle Museum as well as exploring the region including Chinatown.

Heading down the trains once again amazed me, even though it was a one hour train ride to the station, but it was quite enjoyable as everyone on the train was quiet and friendly. 

The Amusement Park outside the station. The red brick building is the Cup Noodle Museum
Group Selfie outside the Square. 

After finally making it to the Cup Noodle Factory, we’ve got in and explored the factory before making our own Custom Cup Noodle.

Drawing on own custom Cup noodles

With various entrepreneur themes like “never give up”, “don’t just go with the status quo” and “nurturing ideas – share ideas”, these themes are really inspiring but also are themes that I’ve already seen.

We split up for dinner, some of us went to the catch your own fish restaurant and the other group decided to find a restaurant in Shibuya.

Curry with Tempura Prawns on Rice

After having dinner we decided to head home for the night. Another thing that amazed me was that everything was designed with efficiency in mind, coming from a developers background you can actually see how well designed the train stations are, even though I don’t really know the station I can still get to the right platforms and stuff.

I actually accidentally caught the wrong train again 😅. This time I missed my station because it skipped it. Interestingly I met two other tourists from America, and they also got on the same train. So Jonathan if you’re reading this, hi.

So far, it’s been a really enjoyable experience in Japan – every one is respectable to own another (with a lot of “thank you”s and bowing). 

Japan: Day 1

I am finally here! It was a long journey but with a enjoyable short layover in Guangzhou, China (CAN).

The journey in was pretty nice, the scenery as we flew over the Japanese mainland was awesome, you can see fishing boats, as well as some mountain ranges (I guess it’s because Japan is an archipelago sorta).

Mt Fuji on the way to Tokyo Handea (HND). I was sitting in 50A which meant I got amazing views. 

After landing in Japan – the time spent going through customs was barely noticeable and meant that I got out really fast. 

After getting out of customs, picking up the WiFi router and getting a Suica Card. Navigating Tokyo’s metro was pretty hard, I ended up taking a “scenic route” and getting lost by taking the wrong train.

Day 1 Dinner: Japanese BBQ: Omlette Rice

For dinner, we went to Japanese BBQ place and it was really nice, we stopped by Tokyo Skytree on the way back and got a few more delicious foods for todays’s breakfast.

I am somehow really satisfied with the grapes
View from Tokyo Skytree

Travelling to Japan and China 🎉

So after 3 years of working on various project(s): MARIE.js and MonPlan during my holidays and studying full time, I have finally decided to take a nice, long and well-deserved holiday.

So I am really excited to be going to Japan and China right after Uni exams. So keep an eye out on this blog especially the Travel and China 2018, Japan 2018 categories, where I will be blogging and uploading links to photos.