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  • Day41

    We slowly make our way to Onomichi, one of the Japanese biking paradise that Kun wanted to discover. So, as chief hotel booker, I have made a reservation in the Cycle Hotel, a former warehouse transformed in a beautiful modern place that is all about bikes, and will be one of the treats of that trip.
    We rent bikes and off we go, direction Ikuchi-jima, one of the islands part of the archipelago linked by impressive suspension bridges. 35km and a couple of hours later, we jump on a ferry back to Onomichi where we get to enjoy some fresh seafood.

    We also passed by the Cat’s Alley. Oo yeah, Japan loves cats, especially kawaii cats. The most famous is the Beckoning Cat that everybody knows from Chinese/Japanese restaurants. Painter Shunji painted 108 round stones as cats and placed them everywhere in this alley and now the shops here are all about cats.
    Read more

  • Day42

    The Shimanami Kaido cycling route. A 76 km long route that connects Onomichi with Imabari (on Shikoku island) via 6 smaller islands and bridges located in the Seto Inland Sea. Yesterday we already biked a part of the route as rain was predicted for today. But as we had to return because of our booking in the amazing Hotel Cycle, we took the early morning ferry to pick up where we left on. And oooo yeah 90% of the day was rain, rain, rain.... but luckily not hard, it was not windy, the temperature was pleasant, we had some nice views.... in the end really happy we did it and made it although our bums got really sore....Read more

  • Day4

    Another early start today. This was our third day of temperatures in the high 20s. First stop was the post office to use an atm. Apparently Japanese bank atms may not except foreign cards so the post office is the place to go. We stopped at the Used Camera Box which is a tiny shop down in a basement. There is barely enough room for 3 or 4 customers. I found an old camera I was interested in but unfortunately it wasn't working. Next stop was the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. We went to the 45th floor observation deck of the north tower. There was a line up for the south tower for some reason. Maybe a case of follow the leader. We spent some time looking at the view and made a few purchases including a small Lego like model of the Tokyo sky tree. We called in at the tourist information centre on our way out and were approached by a lady volunteer who asked if she could take us on a tour of the government assembly hall. We accepted and had to go through security and be issued with visitor passes. She took us to the third floor and over a glass walkway linking both towers and then to the hall where the government meet 4 times a year. After leaviing the building we had our photo taken with her. Next stop was the post office again to buy a stamp for the postcard Cathryn bought to send to Calvary. Looking for lunch was next. We ended up at Isetan department store and bought some sandwiches of all things. The way food to takeaway is presented is unbelievable. There doesn't seem to be any concern in Japan about plastic bags or excessive packaging in general. The way you are treated by staff is exceptional and makes any interactions a pleasure even with the language barriers. We took our lunch to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden which is an 50 hectare oasis in the middle of this frantic business and shopping district. We spent about 11/2 hours wandering around and tried a soft serve. After leaving we made our way to the Takashimaya Times Square to have a look at the Uniqlo clothing department. Seemed to be good quality and well priced. Next we tracked down another second hand camera store I wanted to have a look at. Didn't have any luck here either so we made our way back to the Kitamura camera shop were I managed to find a 40 year old Minolta Hi- Matic F rangefinder camera in good condition for $30. We bought dinner (which they heat for you in the microwave )and beers from the Family Mart and ate in our room. Another long and tiring day.Read more

  • Day5

    We caught the 10:30 train to Yokohama. The trip took 30 minutes. We then changed to the subway for the last part journey to Nihon-Odori. It was about a 650m walk to Osanbashi Pier and we had a short wait to board the ship. We had lunch in the Lido and then we went to a Mariner Society welcome. We sat with a couple from British Columbia who had been on lots of cruises with Holland America. They were both retired school teachers. Not long after we sat down Cathryn saw two familiar faces enter the Crows Nest. It was Sarah and Anne. We met them on our first Holland America cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong in 2015. Certainly is a small world. After catching up we finished unpacking and then got ready for dinner (at 8)and the lifeboat drill (7:30). We enjoyed dinner in the Main dining room followed by the show at 9:30. On the way back to the cabin we sat and listened to the Ocean Trio (formerly the Neptunes). The female pianist and singer were excellent.Read more

  • Day6

    Our first port of call on this cruise and a short one, all aboard was 1:30. It is the port for Shizuoka and only about 44 kilometres from Mt Fuji Unfortunately it was raining and there was a lot of low cloud so there probably lots of disappointed people. We missed the sign for the free shuttle bus and headed for the fish market instead. The Shimizu Market was about 1.2 kilometres from where the Volendam was docked. The market wasn't large but the seafood looked extremely fresh. There were stalls selling beautiful looking sushi and quite a few restaurants as well. We also saw the largest muscles ever. By the time we left the market the weather had improved. Our next stop was the S-Pulse Dream Plaza Shopping centre via the Shimazakinishimiya Shrine. We wandered the craft and food stalls for some time and then made our way back to the ship via Uni Qlo. When we arrived at the dock a large group of children were performing. They were amazing and all controlled by someone blowing a whistle. Back on board it was time for lunch accompanied by a very nice Alaskan Pale Ale. After lunch we went to our first Cruise Critic meeting. We were hoping to meet some of the people we are doing our Beijing with but that didn't happen. We sat with a couple from Philadelphia who had been on the ship since Vancouver. Would we go to another, not sure. On our way back to the cabin we met up with a couple from Bundaberg we stoodnext to at the lifeboat drill. He loved to talk and they have traveled extensively so it was easy to pass some time with them. After finally making it back to the cabin we changed and did 7 laps around the promenade deck. The Captain's toast was at 7:45 and then on to dinner. It was gala night so escargot were on the menu. After dinner we had a quick look at the shops and then to the show.Read more

  • Day7

    We walked around (in the rain ) a traditional Japanese garden at this shrine. Lunch was next at the Kyoto Hotel Okura. We went to the restaurant on the 17th floor and had a magnificent Japanese lunch with a spectacular view of Kyoto. Sarah and Anne were on the tour as well so we sat with them. After lunch we went to the Kyoto Handicraft Centre. They had lots of high quality items but we only spent 45 minutes there which was nowhere near long enough. We then set off for our last stop Kinkaku (The Golden Pavilion).Read more

  • Day9

    We left the ship at about 9am for our tour to Takachiho Gorge and shrine. It was another dull overcast day with a little drizzle. Sarah and Anne joined us again which was great. It was about an hours drive to reach the gorge. Our guide Norry was excellent. He gave us lots history and other general information about the area. We stopped for a short break on the way and we bought a Japanese sweet that a lady was cooking. It was about the diameter of a piklet and as thick as two with sweet white bean paste inside. I would describe it as interesting. Next was Takachiho Gorge. We walked down some steep steps into the gorge. Even though the weather wasn't kind it was still spectacular. We walked (slowly)through the gorge for around an hour and then a small shuttle bus took us back to the carpark. It was about a 10 minute drive to the shrine, our next stop. Although small it is very old and surrounded by cedar trees. One tree has two trunks and it is said that if you walk around it three times holding your partners hand you will have a successful relationship. Yes, we gave it a go. On the way back to the ship we stopped again at a small shop. On Norry's recommendation we bought a small bottle of Sake which we managed to sneak back on board. We also bought one of the largest apples I have ever seen for 200 yen. When we arrived back at the ship I purchased some grilled chicken which I took to the Lido for lunch. This was accompanied by the apple (very sweet). After our late lunch we went to the lower promenade to watch the sail away. There were some drummers performing on the pier. I headed back of the ship for some photos. Whilst there I was approached by a school boy to fill out a survey as part of his English studies. Not long later two school girls approached me to do the same thing. I asked if I could photograph them and you can see the result. I also got a good shot of Sarah, Ann and Cathryn watching from the lower promenade. We were waved off by quite a few people which was great. We sailing through a two metre swell at the moment and the ship is moving around quite a bitRead more

  • Day3

    Die Nacht war länger als erwartet. Jetlag scheint mir in dieser Richtung nicht so viel auszumachen. Sven schläft ja eh immer wie ein Stein :)
    In der Nähe gab es ein schönes Café zum Frühstücken, dann ging es mt dem Auto in die Nähe des Hard Rock Cafés in den Stadtteil Roppongi. Parken ist hier mit 20-30€/Tag ordentlich teuer.
    Zu Fuß gingen wir von da aus nach Shibuya. Wir schauten unseren ersten Schrein an und folgten artig den Regeln auf den Schildern. Sven hatte ein bisschen Sorge, dass uns sonst böse Dämonen folgen :D

    Direkt am Bahnhof befindet sich die Hachiko Statue von dem treuen Akita Hund der sein Herrchen jeden Tag dort vom Bahnhof abgeholt hat. Als dieser eines Tages nicht mehr wieder kam weil er bei der Arbeit starb wartete der Hund bis zu seinem eigenen Tod treu am Bahnhof auf sein Herrchen.

    Dreht man sich bei der Statue nach rechts erblickt man die berühmte Kreuzung Shibuyas. Werden die Fußgängerampeln grün gehen alle Wartenden an allen Seiten los und überqueren gerade und diagonal die Straße. Das ist ein ganz schönes Gewusel auf der Straße, aber es funktioniert :)

    Weiter ging es Sushi-Essen.
    In diesem Restaurant sitzt man nebeneinander und wählt auf einem Tablet immer maximal 3 Portionen aus. Diese kommen anschließend auf einem von 3 Laufbändern angefahren, halten vor einem, man nimmt sein Essen herunter und drückt auf dem Tablet eine Taste und der Teller fährt wieder in die Küche. Super lustig. Es gab neben normalem Sushi auch Cheeseburger Sushi ( mit einem kleinen Hamburger Patty mit Käse auf Reis), Sushi mit Mais und Pommes und Chicken Fingers für Sven gab es auch.

    Frisch gestärkt ging es in einen Einkaufsladen mit 6 Etagen. Hier sind alle total auf Halloween eingestellt und so gut wie jeder Markt und jedes Restaurant hat Deko oder irgendwelche Specials.
    Neben jeder Menge abgedrehtem japanischen Essen gab es auch Alkohol und Süßes aus der ganzen Welt. zB Katjes Katzenpfötchen :D

    Achja fast hätte ich es im warmen Hotelbett vergessen, das Wetter ist nicht so wirklich auf unserer Seite, es regnet und regnet und regnet.

    Zu Fuß erkundeten wir die Straßen Shibuyas. Leider war der Meiji Schrein nicht zugänglich dort fand gerade ein Japanisch-Italienisches Oldtimerfreundschaftsrennen statt.

    Gegen 19Uhr machten wir und zu Fuß wieder auf zum Hard Rock Café und genossen dort erwartungsgemäß sehr leckeres Essen. Der warme Apfelkuchen mit Vanilleeis war der Hammer :)

    Satt und k.o. fuhren wir zurück ins Hotel.
    Morgen geht es dann zu Fuß durch Asakusa.
    Read more

  • Day1

    Auf nach Japan:)
    Beim Online Check-In bemerkten wir, dass wir zwar Alitalia gebucht hatten, der erste Flug aber mit Airberlin durchgeführt wird. Wenn das auf dem Rückweg auch der Fall sein sollte müssen wir wohl mal schauen, ob wir in Mailand bleiben :D
    Naja ich habe schon einen Flixbus als Notersatz herausgesucht.
    Die Nacht von Freitag auf Samstag hatte nur 2 Stunden, dann ging es auf nach Berlin.
    Von Berlin aus nach Mailand und in Mailand mussten wir den Flughafen wechseln. Lief alles besser als erwartet und auch die knapp 12 Stunden bis nach Tokio vergingen recht zügig, kurz hinter Finnland waren ein paar Nordlichter sichtbar, das war toll!

    Durch den Reisepass Check sind wir gefühlt geflogen, nach Amerika und Marokko hatte ich mich da auf einige Stunden warten eingestellt :)
    Mietwagen einsammeln und rein ins Getummel.
    Hm so viel ist auf den Straßen gar nicht los.
    Abgesehen davon, dass das der Verkehr recht ruhig ist macht Sven das sowieso immer super und nach Marokko kann er vermutlich sowieso überall fahren :D.

    Svens Wunsch war einmal eine Parkgarage wie bei Tokio Drift zu sehen. Man fährt mit dem Auto rein, steigt aus und das Auto wird wie in einem Karussell weggebracht. Das haben wir gleich bei der Ankunft erledigt. Nebenan war ein Restaurant und bevor ich 15Uhr schon vor Müdigkeit ins Koma Falle stärken wir uns mit Ramen (einer japanischen Nudelsuppe. In meinem Fall mit Ei, Schweinefleisch, geraspelten Pilzen und Lauch.), Reis und japanischen Maultaschen. Super lecker.

    Ab ins Hotel.
    Nachdem wir dreimal im Kreis durch die Fußgängerzone gefahren sind haben wir es dann doch noch ins Hotel Parkhaus geschafft :D
    Der Ausblick vom Hotel ist toll, direkt auf den Tokyo Tower.
    Gleich stromern wir noch zu Fuß durchs Viertel und dann ab ins Bett:)

    Achja, an die japanischen Toiletten muss man sich erstmal gewöhnen.
    Read more

  • Day409

    Do, 12.10. Tokio
    - Niombashi:
    ->Tsukiji Fischmarkt & Namiyoke Inari Schrein
    Morgens Bewegung knapp 45m entlang an Tokio
    Börse zum Markt
    Dann Geruch folgend, gibt alles, sehr groß, beeindru
    - Shiodome-Shiba-Takeshiba:
    ->Hama-rikyu Gärten: jap Gärten der Edo-Zeit
    ->Takeshiba Pier
    mit Aussicht auf Tokio Bucht, Turm, Regenbogenb
    - Zweites Frühstück typ Reisdreieck
    (weiß Seetang, braun Thunfisch, rosa Oktopus)
    ->Shiba Park. Zojoji Tempel & Tokyo Tower
    - Odaiba
    ->Bucht & Strand
    - Ginza & Marounachi
    ->Tokio Station
    Einfach nur größte Station ganze Stadt mega busy
    ->Hibiya Koen Park
    Sehr schön mit Konzertsaal etc
    ->Niyobashi Brücke zu Kaiserpalast
    Rießen Park und Grünflächen für dann Minipalast
    Auch geschlossen, total überbewertet
    - Roppongi-Akasaka
    ->Akasaka Sacas
    ->Tokyo Midtown & Roppongi Hills
    Großer Einkaufsbereich mit Garten und Park
    Schön erhobene Einkaufsfassade mit Blick auf
    Tokio und Tokyo Tower
    ->Shoppen Nachtleben
    - Shibuya-Harajuku
    ->Yoyogi Park
    So schön, groß, ruhig mein Lieblingsort in Tokio
    Toller Wald mit Bambus
    Bäume der Hammer, so magisch, viele Vögel
    ->Meji Jingu Schrein
    Erstes Mal nicht orange rot sondern braun
    Gärten, Park, Wälder rießen Anlage
    Total naturbelassen, Holz, braun, weiß
    Großer Platz, immer auf, kostenlos
    Sake & Weinfässer
    ->Otorii - Das große Schrein-Tor
    Größter Holztori des Myojin Stils in Japan
    Hinoki, jap Cypressholz
    12m hoch, 17m, 1.2m Säulen
    So ganz anders als alle bisher gesehenen, mein
    letzter und guter Abschluss
    - Shinjuku
    ->Shoppen, Elektrische

    Fr, 13.10. Tokio
    Ausruhen, Orga, Rückflug :P
    Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

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