Dani Searle

Joined October 2018
  • Day12

    Farewell Kyoto

    November 11, 2018 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Off at the crack of, we catch the No 5 bus to the Silver Pavilion which is the beginning of the walk known as the Philosopher’s Path. I think it’s around 2.5 ks. It’s gorgeous. Because we are so early, there are hardly any other people there. I can only image what it would be like in Spring time with all the Cherry trees in bloom. We wind around the outskirts of Kyoto, just under the mountains. We’ve only donned T-shirts because we are (stupid) Aussies and come from the land down under of sun and sand, and it’s bloody freezing. My hands and feet went numb by half way through and then my nose started running, so I declared us both ‘degreed’ in philosophy and we went in search of the sun. Lovely part of Kyoto, probably the nicest and very upmarket homes and cars. Back on Bus 5 and in ten mins we are home ready for a quick 7 Eleven breakfast of egg sambos and latte. We have to check out at 11am so we leave our gear downstairs and take a two hour walk around Gion. The land of the Geisha. It’s a great area. Full of life and tradition, guest houses, many in traditional attire and at night, the authentic Geisha (which can be differentiated from other’s just wearing traditional clobber – by their hairstyle and makeup which is very particular. It’s packed being a Sunday and there are traffic cops on every intersection (and I’m talking lanes, not main roads) to keep the throngs of people moving and to help the cars steering through.

    A great walk back over the river, back to the hotel to collect our bags and backpacks and off to the Station. Armed with great food for the three hour trip to Tokyo, we’ll change there for Narita (which we now know is pronounced ‘Nari-tar’ and not how the Aussies pronounce it, Nar-ita). The Toyko trip was without incident and very comfortable. Can't be said for the Tokyo-Narita experience. Thousands of people squished onto the train, standing room only - (in Japan they actually have special 'people pushers' to shove people into the carriages - Yes. I am serious). Well, we ran, carriage after carriage trying to get on and finally PC pushes me on, with my bag, then his - and the doors close right on top of him! Luckily they quickly re-opened allowing him entry or I would have been on that train alone with all the luggage and documentation and money and our 'fail safe' method for when we lose each other would have been a miserable FAIL with a capital 'F'.

    If we do lose each other on hols, our 'thing' is to go back to the last place we saw each other. Works fine. Usually. PC says, so what would you have done if I'd not got on the train? And I said, I would have completed the journey to the airport and parked myself on the platform, assuming you would have got on the next train. Buzzer. Nope he says - that's not our thing. He says, "I would have waited for you to get off and get a train back to me". Right. Except I'm on the friggin sardine can train with ALL the luggage, two huge cases, backpacks and me. How on earth would that have panned out??? Luckily we didn't need to find out, but it was a reminder to have a contingency plan.

    So we are on the train and I've timed it just right to get to terminal three on time as instructed by Jetstar. Which would have worked out fine if we'd been on the right train. Yep, the last train we jump on in Nippon is the slow train to the airport, not the 'Rapid' train. We have NO idea how long it's going to take and the blood pressure is rising. Finally 1 hour 40mins later we alight and literally make a run for it. You'd think we were greyhounds belting out that gate after the rabbit (both with suitcases and backpacks). It's 3/4 kilometer between terminals and we didn't miss a beat! Got to the Jetstar counter with 20 mins to go until it closed. Which, thank God, allowed enough time for two healthy glasses of white wine before we boarded.

    Two nips of scotch and a Valium later we were out to the count by 10.30 and awoke to the sun coming up just over Rockhampton. Apart from a couple of small disturbances during the night, we didn't hear a thing. We had a small delay with some border control bloke entering the plane because some kid was sick and they wouldn't let us off until they had check she didn't have Ebola, but apart from that, we are back in one piece and loved every crazy minute of our trip to such a beautiful place.
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  • Day11

    Omi-Hachiman – A day in the country

    November 10, 2018 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    After a day at ‘home’ yesterday visiting the temple, we decide to venture further afield. While PC caught up on his beauty rest, I searched the internet for places on the JR line (make use of the passes I thought) for a suitable place. Quiet a bit of choice within an hour of Kyoto but I found, thanks to my friends Google and Travel Advisor, a city called Omi-Hachiman, situated on the largest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa. 40 mins each way on JR and local train (and a bus thrown in on way back). Cable car to the top of the hill promising ‘magnificent views of Lake Biwa plus old wooden boat rides up and down the town's canals. Great reviews on TA.
    As promised, Omi-Hachiman is about 40 mins from Kyoto. Unfortunately, no-one spoke any English on our arrival and there was no information office, so after wondering around for a bit we hopped a taxi and showed him the photo on my phone of the old wooden boat and canals. Proving that a picture is worth a thousand words (Japanese or English), within seconds we were hurtling down the lanes of this older city to the back docks of town and safely deposited at the shrine, the cable car entrance, and where, to our delight were also the boats and canals. All in one glorious tourist trap couple of acres.

    The shrine was completely surrounded by GIANT chrysanthemum seriously, over 4 feet tall, all in pots. They were also bonsai style, magnificent. There were also little kids, from around 3 to 6 years of age who were dressed in beautiful Japanese traditional attire, all awaiting their turn to be blessed by the Monks. Once blessed, they came out and were allowed to ‘ring the bell’.

    Along with too many others, we were shoved into the cable car and heaved to the top, where we did indeed (after much of a hike) find the magnificent views of Lake Biwa and the entire city of Omi-Hachiman. You buy your tickets on the way in and wait for the car to be as full as a goog, and then you’re off. As always in Japan, everyone has a job – so at the top of the mountain is another yellow uniformed staffer to help you exit said car. The cable car travels up over 160 metres high over very rough terrine. It’s a bit hairy looking down (which I tried not to do). You cannot make your way to the top without the car. Which is why I was surprised when second staffer asked for our tickets before letting us back on. Did he think we walked up? I said to PC.

    Off to the canals and a wander around. Gorgeous traditional old homes on the canals. Heading down to find the boat on ramp, I spot two long haired chihuahuas in little pink coats. One blonde the other a red head. I thought, oh shit, here we go, they are going to start doing that really annoying high pitch barking that PC takes as a personal insult each time a dog barks. Next, I see him pick one up for a cuddle! Well, I’ll be. Never have I seen this in the nigh on three decades we have been together. Then he puts it down and picks up the other for a cuddle! You don’t like dogs I state. Yes, I do he says. I just don’t like barking dogs. Can we get one I say. Yes, was the reply, as long as it doesn’t bark! Praise be.

    Boat ride was a bit ‘not for us’ when we discovered a) it didn’t have any seats and b) it took 11 people (on a boat built, in my expert opinion for 4 to 6). Giving that a wide berth (excuse the pun) we decided to walk along the canals instead and found our selves in front of a lovely café serving the best Omi beef in Japan. Throwing the budget to wind, we shared a do it yourself bbq (cooked at the table by ourselves) on yet another fabulous Nippon invention, the cast iron mini hibachi with a sizzle plate and fired by something that looks like a large t-light. We have to get two of these says PC. That we will, says me.

    The Japanese are the politest and most helpful people we have ever experienced. Twice, while attempting to order two woman left their tables and came up and asked if they could assist us with speaking with the waitress. Doesn’t happen in Australia. They are kind, gentle people with a high standard of ethics and culture that leaves ours for dead. They still ‘dress’ when going out and always look immaculately attired, as to do the children. Everyone works here. There is no unemployment unless by choice. I reckon instead of having ‘gap’ years, our youth should be shipped over to Nippon to live with a Japanese family for a year and learn some basics about humanities, work and cultural ethics!

    Back home in a couple of ticks, we have our now late afternoon rest and gin and tonic, catch up on the latest goss on Facey, do a spot of emailing and then decide on dinner arrangements. If you lived the rest of your life in Kyoto, you would never be able to visit every restaurant there are so many choices. Back to every reliable Trip Advisor and wanting to stay close to home tonight after our rather strenuous day, we opt for a 5 star rated Teppan, place 3 mins away.

    It deserved it’s rating. No English again but we managed a great hot plate meal with PC deciding to have a bowl of French fries for dessert. In Hiroshima we experienced their version of the Okiwakana pancake which was lovely, but JayJay’s Kyoto version was without the noodles and much like the one PC and I make at home. But better of course! Tomorrow is our last day and we are off to walk the path of the Philosopher before we leave for the airport by train.
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  • Day10

    Autumn Leaves at the Tofuku-ji Temple

    November 9, 2018 in Japan ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    The reason we came in November. It's been unusually warm here in Japan so the leaves were a little slow in coming to full colour. But we were certainly rewarded when we bused and trained it this Temple. Only got on the wrong bus once! Stars! Last two days in Kyoto. Off today for a day trip somewhere, then tomorrow, before we leave for the airport (about 4 hours by fast train) we shall do the Philosopher's Path walk. We have had the best few days relax. Finally. Hope you enjoy seeing Nippon in all it's glory. The blog only allows six photos (I MUST find another blog like the last one we used for all those years! So I'll post some other photos on Facebook also.Read more

  • Day9

    Kyoto - The best city in Nippon

    November 8, 2018 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    We love it here. This is our second time and won't be the last. The people are great, it's easy to get around, there are more English speaking people and signage which is so helpful. It's a mix of the very new with the wonderful cultural 'old' Kyoto. Geisha walk around town, adolescents wear traditional Japanese garb, the food is to die for. We arrived from Osaka on the fast train in 15 mins and made our way to our hotel which proved to be an excellent choice. We can walk anywhere and the bus stop is right outside the door. We took the still washing to the laundry mat and left it to dry while we hiked up the road and bought another suitcase to make life easier. Collected the laundry and grabbed some supplies then had a rest while we went through all the information supplied by the lovely staff at reception.

    Walked up to the Gion area and found suitable restaurant for dinner, then headed home. PC kept disappearing down little lanes with his video camera - fascinated by the authentic little homes. Came back and said, you have to see this and took be down the end of the lane to a crooked little shack. Sake bar/restaurant. It holds six people. Is run by one woman, has the TV blaring and smells, I thought, of cat's piss (so glad we'd already eaten. There was a lovely older couple sitting at the bar enjoying the TV and their dinner. Another lady came in and although no one spoke English, after two very impressive glasses of saki we were having a blast. Best time ever. God know's what everyone was laughing at but it was sure worth the slight headache this morning!
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  • Day8

    Last Day in Osaka - Minoo Falls

    November 7, 2018 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    25 mins by train from our hotel is the beautiful Minoo Falls. Two trains and then a 4km walk (with hundreds of others) we discover the falls. Had a great lunch up there and then made our way back to Osaka for the best steak dinner we have ever eaten. Great chef and staff, country music, lovely Spanish wine. Beautiful day and better night. No hiccups today apart from the continuing saga of the washing. Tomorrow we leave for Kyoto for the last three nights of our trip.Read more

  • Day7

    Osaka Aquarium

    November 6, 2018 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    The sun is shining! It's a beautiful day and we have tickets for the aquarium which is said to be one of the best in the world. Being afficiandos of aquariums, we'll be the judge of that! Finding our subway feet again (each city is different) we purchase our tickets after figuring out which line we are supposed to be on (the red one) and which stop we have to get off (No.16). Easy peasy.

    We really didn't need to find anything. All we should have done is follow all the Japanese parents pushing babies and toddlers in strollers because they were all going to the same place. I said to PC it's a good thing we chose a week day, as a weekend would have been hell. Paul found a hole in wall on the way down with a lovely lady selling bits and pieces, and scored himself a new cap. Arriving at the venue, ticket in hand we are told that our tickets are invalid (bought on line) for some obscure reason. I couldn't be bothered arguing (they wouldn't understand me anyway) so bought two 'real' tickets, and ventured forward. Along with 300 or 400 four and half year olds, all in school uniform - clearly little preppies - out for a days excursion. There goes my theory of mid week vs weekends. The din was deafening. Japanese love little children. The more 'excited' they are, the happier the adult. So, each group (of about 20) had three teachers with them, all of whom were whipping up a storm of excitement for their little group (I think proving to the other 'competing' groups who was having the most fun!)

    I know who wasn't having fun. Anyone who knows PC will now be nodding their heads and thinking, I know where this is going. South. In a hurry. So, I devise a plan. We'll go the opposite way to everyone else. I read on trip adviser that this guy started at the top and worked his way down so up the elevator we went to the fourth floor, where peace reigned. So far, so good. PC is happily videoing and we fell in love with the penguins and sea lions, in glorious silence. Down to the next level, magnificent specimens not seen before, strange and unusual creatures that you wouldn't think were actually marine life, into the darkened section of the jelly fish. And dark it was. I actually though I may have to tie us together and find a couple of canes. We aren't sure why it was so dark, can only figure that many of the jellyfish live so far beneath the sea that they have an aversion to light. PC's video will be magnificent as always, so we soldiered on in the dim corridors to the next section, which was an enormous tank filled to the brim with thousands of jellyfish. Each of the side walls were actually mirrored, to give the impression of hundreds of thousands of jellyfish. Really brilliant -until PC turns to me and says, in all seriousness, hey look, that guy has the exact same T Shirt on as me! Hmmm, hun, that IS you. (Insert five 'lmao' smileys here please). Another Ho Hum moment.

    Earthquakes and trembles are common here on Nippon, so we were a little daunted when we heard an increasing rumble, seemingly getting louder. No shaking though I thought, must be our imagination. Just as previously mentioned 300 preppies came hurtling down the corridors, with their ever so excited teachers urging them on. It was chaos. You couldn't move in case you trod on some (these kids are tiny.....they'd be the size of most two year olds back home). I'm trying to find a way forward to guide PC through the throngs, but he's disappeared. Literally. Now, in the land of Nippon where most people are as short as me, and some even shorter, PC is not hard to lose. But lose him I did. In the dark, in the spiraling corridors which is actually all tank on either side, giving it a surreal feeling and it becomes quite confusing. He'd done a runner and left me behind, to get away from the noise. I don't know whether to go backwards or forwards, so did both for a while. Just as I decided to make a break for the front door, there he was - and then, once again, there they were, hurtling towards us at the speed of light. Declaring three hours enough we look for the exit - no easy feat I'm afraid. When you ask the staff how to get out, they send you up, not down. You go up, and then somehow (we still can't work it out) you go down again (but a different down) and then after much todo, find the main entry. Phew. We found a seat and PC went straight to the 7Eleven and bought two Vodka spritzers.

    Heading home we found a great Katatori bar with loads of different 'sticks' and a whopping slug of sake. Train travel has never been easier we've discovered, with a shot of sake in one's system. We think this is why most passengers in Japan sleep on the trains. They've a little too much of the good stuff with their weeties. I always thought it was the lack of sleep from having to sleep on wooden slats with nothing under you but a doona, but we now think it could be a combination of both. Back to Mystays for us, to decide on the next activities, which no doubt will include more sake and food.
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  • Day7

    How not to do washing in Japan

    November 6, 2018 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    We’ve run out of ‘smalls’ so decide to make use of the laundry facilities in the hotel. Easier said than done. For some reason there is a male and female laundry??? Anyway, we just went to the male one and chose a machine which we found out washes and dries. Brilliant. If one knows how to work it that is. Shove the clothes in. Close the door. And now for the tricky bit. Nothing, except the start button is in English (or course). We press all the buttons, sometimes at once, and after some time the water starts pumping in and the clothes are swishing as they should. Wonderful! Off to dinner we go. On our return, PC goes to get the washing and comes back and says, they are still damp. So we take them down to ‘dry only’ with more change (we’ve spend about 500 yen thus far) to give them another hit in the dryer. Figure out the ‘dry only’ button and give it a whirl. Next thing, the washer kicks in and off we go again, with the swishing thing. On the bright side, they’ll be the cleanest smalls in the world at this rate. PC is becoming frustrated, so we just leave them in the machine and figure we’ll grab them in the morning. During all this, Paul has had to walk up the stairs between floors for the two days because for some reason his keycard isn’t co-operating; or, wait enormous amounts of time for one of the two lifts to be available (without being totally jammed packed with business men in black suits). Finally, he goes to get the clothes and the door won’t open. Apparently, when we pressed all those buttons, we actually set up a pin code (for security purposes, so other guests don’t pinch your undies). But because we pressed so many, we have no way of knowing what the pin number is! Paul, once again goes to reception and once again a helpful staff member comes up to help with the washing thing. Except they couldn’t get the door open either so then had to call the handyman to come and move the machine out from the wall and get in behind it to do something, which allowed the door to open. Great! Except they were as wet as wet can be. More money in, more ‘let’s go having something to eat’ and more, on our return, still wet clothes. At least this time they are not dripping wet, just really damp. Which was fine, except Paul has no T-shirts to wear on the train to Kyoto, and I have no undies at all. Which is how I ended up travelling to Kyoto by train wearing a pair of PC’s undies. And he in a long sleeve ‘granny shirt’ more suitable for bed. With a huge bag of still wet washing, unceremoniously dumped at the laundry mat around the corner for a ‘dry only’ please. Total cost of washing is now more than most of the clothes are worth. Ho. Hum.Read more

  • Day6

    Mount Aso to Osaka

    November 5, 2018 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Today we expect to meet our driver, kindly organised by previously mentioned restaurant owner. As usual, I'm up before the rest of the world and excitedly slide open the door to the onsen to check out the morning. Pea soup fog surrounds the hotel (and I'm assuming the rest of Aso). Check my best friend Mr Google - it's currently 2 degrees (aiming for 19) with fog expected to lift mid morning. Could throw our plans of an early start out the window me thinks. At the appointed time we head to reception, bags repacked (ready for room transfer for the next two nights). Ask reception where restaurant is. ????? is the look on her face. She takes us over to a hot water dispenser with tiny paper cups and green tea bags. This is it we sign? Yes she signs back. Now being one who likes food, as most of our friends would be aware, it would be highly unlikely that I would choose a hotel in the middle of friggin nowheresville which did not have the option of providing sustenance. Maybe I read it wrong I say to PC. And so we wait for driver to turn up and finally after much tooing and froing a 'barely' English speaking bloke turns up ready to drive us. To the Station. No, says PC, we want someone to take us to Mt Aso and the gorge and Fountainhead for the day. Nope say bloke. I only drive to train station. PC says to bloke, so there is no way for us to get to Mt Aso? Nope says bloke. I'm on the computer with Wifi that a) can only be connected by sitting in the 'lounge room' of the hotel and b) has the capacity of dial-up trying to come up with alternate solution. Surely, if this is the case, someone in Aso would have thought "well, here's a money making exercise - day trips to Mt Aso and other places" and purchased himself a little bus and now be looking at a fine retirement? Clearly not. PC's wandered of for parts unknown, clearly stressing. I find him in one of the free massage chairs, now slightly more relax and wanting to know if, when we get home, can we purchase one. Sure love I say. When we have a lazy $6000 to dispose of. God help me.

    A quick discussion about current circumstances and we decide that the universe is telling us that Mount Aso and the other sights we broke out necks and backs to get here to see are not meant to happen. Back to Mr Google I book another night in Osaka and we kindly accept the blokes offer to take us to the train station (after negotiating a non-cancellation fee for the next two night - which seemed a little too easy if you ask me, I think after all the tooing and froing they were happy to see the back of us). Get to station, fog has cleared and the sun is shining.

    We've had a little chat on the way to the station and come up with plan B and feel ok about everything. Thanked bloke for assistance and transport, waved him farewell and turned to see a rather large bus parked outside the station. Going to Mt Aso. On a loop. Every hour. Are you friggin kidding me I say to PC? Why did one of the ten people we spoke to about transport to Mt Aso tell us about the bus?? And then it occurs to me. They did. We just didn't understand them. They all kept saying, in different ways, 'go to station'. We just kept saying 'no, we don't want the train, we want to see Mt Aso' (Paul has by this stage given up in trying to use pigeon Japanese - which he did with flare when doing the same in Europe) - it just doesn't translate as successfully in Nippon. He has resorted to 'drawing pictures' of what we are trying to achieve. Remarkably, this system proved extremely effective.

    So we park our luggage in the office, hop on bus. See Mt Aso and return. Hop on another bus to Kumamoto (2 hours) to catch train to Osaka (4 hours). Arrive at Shin Osaka to check in to our hotel and delight in the fact it has enough room for both suitcases and our persons and a bath! It's now around 10pm and we venture out to find food, discovering a teppinaki place with wine and food and a lovely Japanese business man who was travelling alone. Long day. Worth every minute.

    Footnote: on leaving Aso establishment we are shown by the driver the very extensive restaurant where we could have had breakfast. Ho Hum.
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  • Day5

    Wanna see a grown man cry?

    November 4, 2018 in Japan ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    Bidding farewell to our octogenarian taxi driver (and hoping he made it home in one piece) we head towards what we think is our hotel only to find ourselves in the middle of a children's 'festival'. Hundreds of them, all between one and six, belting around the place with all manner of bells and whistles, music, parents, siblings and a lot of racket. The noise level is deafening. I'm searching around for what looks like a hotel lobby when a lovely guy comes up and I say Yumeoi-so, ??? And he's smiling and nodding and directing us through the throngs of children and parents to, oh no, this can't be happening: a reception desk. PC says, did Trip Advisor say anything about 'good for children'? Did three nights of heaven just became three nights of hell? We are so pooped we have no choice but to hand over the credit card and get to our room, and hot tub. Open the wine and slid straight in, with a perfect view of Mt Aso, rumbling in the distance and saying hello to us with puffs of white smoke (also know as highly deadly sulphur type shit that would kill you instantly, but for the story we're going with the romantic theme).

    Now pleasantly lulled by the vino and hot spring water we make out way to a little restaurant around the corner where, to our delight, we discovered goyza and Japanese fried chicken (nothing like carbs to improve one's temperament). We also are introduced to the owner who speaks great English, and owns a Lamborghini which is parked inside said restaurant (obviously his pride and joy). He's as proud as punch and insists we hop in for a photo shoot. Chatting away we tell him of the lost license and lack of car and immediately he is on the phone organising a driver for the next day. Wonderful we think. Not all lost. Back we go to the hotel feeling excited about the next day and to top it off, have been advised by the staff that the children's festival is over for another year. They've all gone home. Winners! Things are looking up.
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  • Day5

    Onward to Aso

    November 4, 2018 in Japan ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    We've a long trip today from Hiroshima to Aso. We are heading down to one of the most southern islands of Japan, to see Mt Aso and do a gorge walk among other things. We head to the station to JR office to reserve seats for this trip and the next ports of call. Finally on train for the 4 to 5 hour journey. Stopping at Kumamoto to change to a regional train, we should be there around 3pm. Aso is the middle of nowhere so we've booked a car to get us to all the sites we wish to experience. Our accommodation, described as one of the better hotels in Aso, has it's own private onsen, a restaurant and positioned close to heaps of restaurants and convenient stores etc. Two hours into the train ride, PC says 'where's the folder? In your backpack says me. Nope, he says. Look in mine: look in my suitcase; drag large suitcase from hiding place at back of train, open (visualise exploding suitcase with smalls and other personals now all over floor and seats); stuff everything back in and........try not to panic.

    The 'folder' has all our documents in it; itinerary, flights, hotel contact details, maps, pre-bought tickets to things such as the aquarium in Osaka, all the receipts thus far into the trip but MOST importantly, my international driver's licence. Without it, the hire car is not happening, meaning the entire effort to get to Aso just went out the window. You can hire a driver at $400 per day - but apart from that, we're pretty screwed. PC is now in a total state. Give Valium with small slug of scotch (our go to travel tip when things start to go awry) and pop him back in his seat while I phone the hotel to see if said folder is on the bed. Nope they advise, not there. We have no idea what happened to it and can only assume it is sitting on some train station seat somewhere. Ho Hum. Again.

    Meanwhile, we arrive at our change over point, lug all the luggage out of the carriage (you now know why it's actually called 'luggage) and down to the regional line where we hop on to a little local puffing billy arrangement for an hour or so. Hop off. We then are told to exit the building and find the bus. The what? The bus she says again. What happened to the train to Aso says PC? Earthquake. What earthquake? We inquire. Arrrr, earthquake from 2017....no fix yet. Right oh, what time bus. Arrrr, 1 hour 40 mins. To get there we say? No, till bus comes.
    You can go shopping over there she says. Right. Because we both love shopping and that's the first thing we'd think to do when stranded in the middle of nowhere with all this luggage. So we did as instructed and went straight to supermarket and bought a large bottle of scotch and two bottles of wine (for later at hotel, or for later where ever we ended up). Finally arrive by bus to Aso Station. So relieved. Grab a taxi, give directions, and find hotel is like 30 ks away. Driver was 90. No, I'm actually serious. He was 90. Everyone has a job in Japan. They work until they literally drop (and I'm soooo hoping his time is not up while transporting us to the hotel). He can't find it so rings his wife who offers suggestions. On arrival into the car park the meter says 20,000 Yen. By the time he actually parked the car (Ten 3 point turns) the meter says 25,000 Yen. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. We wouldn't let him help with the bags in case he broke something or carked it. So, here we are finally at our 'onsen' hotel.
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