Final week in JapanApril 15, 2017 in Japan
So we left off last time leaving Osaka, we travelled on to Takayama which took a long time! Friday 14th marked the start of the Takayama spring festival.
We were up in the mountainous Hida area where it gets very cold at night. We stayed in a Japanese lady's house (airbnb) because all the hotels get booked up fast for this festival. We were a little nervous about this but she was a lovely host, she made us breakfast (it was easier to eat than the super traditional nyuto onsen breakfast...), provided information leaflets, gave us tea and sake and even gave us little gifts before we left!
We were lucky that Friday was a sunny day and despite being around 0 degrees when we woke up it went up to 18 degrees by 1pm (according to accuweather). We saw the pretty floats around town and watched the marionette show, then went to see nearby Hida folk village which has a few different old fashioned styles of housing from the Hida region. In the evening they parade the floats around takayama, all the while playing flutes and banging drums and dancing. One float paused a while and gave everyone nearby cups of sake (including us foreigners). We really enjoyed seeing the evening festival. There is a small video of it on Toms Facebook (when he went 'live').
Saturday the festival continues but mostly similar to Friday without the night parade, instead of sticking around to see it again we went to Tokyo because it is a very long journey. Our final stop!
In Tokyo our time was a bit less planned out, only a few things pre planned. Sunday we went to the Ghibli museum (movie studio behind spirited away) which was a very quirky building and interesting to visit, and then visited nakano Broadway and akihabara (famous anime goods related district). Tom enjoyed eating at the gundam cafe in particular and recognising a few sights from video games.
Monday we went to odaiba, which a man-made island in Tokyo Bay. It has some landmarks in the area such as the rainbow bridge and fuji TV building. We rode the ferris wheel (it was the world's largest when it was built, it lost its status to the London Eye), explored the shops, played in the arcade, went on a trip to the Tokyo Bay pokemon centre (not so close to odaiba...) sang in a karaoke booth and then for the night we had a cruise of Tokyo Bay at night which we really enjoyed.
Tuesday we went to Tokyo sky tree, the second tallest structure in the world and highest tower. It's amazing how quickly the lift takes you so high. The view of Tokyo was impressive, and we could just about make out Mt fuji in the distance but it was a little cloudy so not very clear. Then we visited our last pokemon centres, bringing our total up to 7! Finally we headed to harajuku and did a bit of souvenir shopping, which then led to us having to buy a 'megabag' to transport some decorative swords home (Tom tells the story well, ask him in person!)
Wednesday was Disney day, we went to Tokyo Disneysea (they also have disneyland but we'd heard Disneysea was considered the better Park) it was a warm sunny day but quite windy, and a lower expected crowds day. This meant although there were some long queues it wasn't so bad and we managed to see what we wanted to (that was open). We enjoyed toy story midway mania (long queue though), Tower of terror, indiana Jones ride and journey to the centre of the earth. The park itself is very pleasant with the lands themed well.
Thursday was our last day but we had to do a hotel switch and were feeling pretty knackered. We managed to visit shibuya crossing (possibly the world's busiest, we were there at what we expected was a relatively quiet time and it was still very busy) and meiji shrine which was very peaceful (shrine surrounded by trees in the middle of Tokyo but you can forget you are in a city)
We are back home now, and are spending the weekend trying to get back in the correct timezone (back to work Monday!) Tom is uploading more pictures shortly :)Read more