September 2017
  • Day48

    Bye bye Okinawa & again Konichiwa Tokyo

    October 19, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    It is raining again and a typhoon from the Philippines is heading to Okinawa, poor people here... Woken up early by the sound of strong winds, thoughts of the typhoon already here, planes not flying etc crossed our minds. No cancellation messages luckily so it is time for us to pack and leave for Tokyo. Sad to leave Tokiko: her warm presence and her way of hosting us made our stay here very special!!!

    What we did not understand is that the typhoon is also heading to Tokyo. So the weather is similar, grey and rainy, all weekend long (the calm before the storm)... It does not stop us from exploring Tokyo a bit more, unfortunately also the rest of Tokyo seems out in the streets despite the weather. Meeting up with Maria again in a rock/metal bar, apero with Toshi and his family and why not trying wagyu beef in a small family run teppanyaki restaurant, OMG holy cow.

    Well, our adventures in Japan have come to an end. Within Japan we almost travelled 8000 km by planes, car, trains, cable cars, bikes, boats and foot!! Sometimes it felt like we were going like a shinkansen, therefore good that the last week was all about relaxing on paradise beaches. What a country: kind people, delicious food, magnificent landscapes and amazing temples! Japan, you treated us well and we definitely come back!

    Thank you for following us and see you soon!!!
    Arigato & Sayonara!
    Kulia
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  • Day48

    Taketomi jima

    October 19, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    After the stormy weather from yesterday, given the similar weather forecasted, we take it easy and decide to go discover the small island of Taketomi. We are blessed with bright and warm sunshine on our bikes to discover this beautiful island, where time seems to stand still. Lush vegetation with beautiful trees and colorfoul flowers like bougainvilleas and nice red riled rooftopped houses. White sand beaches, with quite amazing sand stars and water colors in all shades of green and blue. We prepare for an unexpected beach day, get in the beautiful water... until the sky gets darker and darker and in less than 10 minutes we are under new tropical rains!!!

    Recommended and booked by our host, we ate at a popular seafood restaurant. What you see back home with all these all you can eat sushi places where a small piece of fish is on top of a huge block of rice is here reversed: a huge piece of fish on top of a small block of rice 😋😋 that is the way we like it!!!
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  • Day47

    Iriomote jima

    October 18, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    We booked a tour to discover Iriomote island and its beautiful beaches and coral reef. On time to pick up our tickets early in the morning, we are informed that the tour is cancelled due to the stormy weather (a typhoon now in the Philippines should arrive here later in the week...) By the time we have gone through all the options we have, the tour is actually confirmed and we get on the ferry for Iriomote! When we arrive after a long bus ride, it is simply tropical showers welcoming us...

    Luckily, we are also welcomed on the Coffee Boat by our skipper Jun (yay unlimited coffee!!! instant though ... 🤔). As we make our way to Funauki and Ida no hama beach, acknowledged as one of the most beautiful beaches in Japan, the rain stops. We are on for 4 hours of snorkelling in different places. We were extremely lucky despite the constantly changing weather, it is not cold, the water is actually warm and we are spoiled with the under water scenery. So many colourful fish, Jun shows us where to look and how to explore the water to find treasures such as Nemo and Dori and even a big turtle!!! It was simply one of those very special days...
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  • Day45

    Ishigaki - Yaeyama islands in Okinawa

    October 16, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    From the most northern island of Japan (Hokkaido), we are ending our trip 3000 km further south in the most southern island group of Japan, the Yaeyama Islands. Part of Okinawa prefecture with a subtropical climate and a different atmosphere: we noticed that during our first night’s dinner where traditional live folk music was played (Shima-uta) and the waitresses started to dance and sing along.

    For the next few days, we are being hosted by Tokiko in Ishigaki (main island) and in her apartment we noticed an interesting diploma... an Italian sommelier in olive oil. She travels often to Italy to learn about the Italian cuisine and back in Japan she gives workshops... Breakfast with an Italian twist is included!

    A true honeymoon is not complete without white-sandy beaches, sun and clear blue/turquoise waters. This is exactly the scenery in which we find ourselves. First stop is Kabira Bay: not allowed to swim here because of strong currents but holy moly what a nice vistas!! A bit further up north we stop at Yonehara beach for a fresh dive and some snorkeling.
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  • Day43

    Hiroshima

    October 14, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Our choice to go to Hiroshima was more out of convenience: on our way South, a big city so opportunity for some shopping maybe... We discovered a pleasant modern city with at its heart the peace memorial park, very sober yet so telling.

    The chief hotel booker realized though that there had been a mistake: the guesthouse booked is not in Hiroshima city itself but on Miyajima island... A blessing in disguise! We took the ferry in the evening and were blessed to discover the island at night, almost to ourselves with a magnificent view on Itsukushima-jinja, most commonly known as the floating torii. When you think that the construction dates back to the late 6th century and that for centuries commoners were not allowed to set foot on the island but had to approach by boat through the torii, I feel even more grateful for having seen it in these circumstances.
    We stayed in a fantastic guesthouse, with a tatami style room overlooking the Japanese style garden and the bay further away. As I said, a blessing in disguise!
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  • Day42

    Ikuchi-jima

    October 13, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    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

  • Day41

    Onomichi

    October 12, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    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.
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  • Day40

    Kyoto - Kaiseki

    October 11, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Haute cuisine in Kyoto is named Kaiseki. Of course the Tiki team wants to experience Kaiseki but we did not plan this ahead. So we gave Ito, our hotel manager, 3 options for one of the 2 days that we still had in Kyoto, lunch or dinner whatever.... Around lunch time we made sure we were in the 7eleven to check our email and ooo yeah, Kaiseki dinner the next day at our preferred option!!

    A small place managed by 2 chefs, 1 waitress and 1 assistant with 1 private room for 4 persons, taken by 2 old businessmen with 2 young beautiful Japanese ladies and 10 bar seats right in front of all the action. The 8 courses, including sake, were all so tasty and different and that in combination with seeing the chefs extremely smoothly (without any stress) in action... Fantastic experience!! Even when one of us dropped the tofu ball (that was as hot as a bitterball) and splashed the bar (and not to mention clothing parts) with some sauce....
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  • Day38

    Kyoto

    October 9, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    We are in Kyoto for 3 days and we already know we won’t be able to see a tenth of what there is to see. So we made a plan to get to discover what will enchant us the most. First stop: Nishiki market! We had a feast tasting different seafood delicacies.
    What we did not plan on is that the first day is like a summer day (close to 30 degrees, full sun) and is a public holiday, i.e. the national celebration of health and sports which translates into the national sport of visiting Kyoto’s must see dressed as a geisha. We think strategically and head to Fushimi Inari-Taisha because it’s less central. Yes that is the site with the vermillon temples and alleys of toris. Except today it is packed with waves of fake geisha’s and (inter)national tourists. We find some peacefulness at Tofuku-ji before meeting again all the fellow tourists at Kiyomezu-Dera, the iconic site, under renovation for some part. That’s not exactly what we had foreseen... but the Tiki team is in for a blast and notices that cycling around Kyoto seems easy.

    So, here we are on our second day, on our bikes heading West to visit Arashiyama bamboo grove and Tenryu-ji. The sites are still quite busy but the road is all ours youpiii! We smoothly make our way to the zen garden of Ryoan-ji and end the visit program of the day at Kinkaku-ji, the famous golden temple, a real beauty!!

    We start our last day early in the Eastern part of town, first at quiet Nanzen-ji, then cycling along the canal of the Philosopher’s path that leads us to Ginkaku-ji and its beautiful garden. We take it easy in the afternoon, cycling around Ponto Cho and getting ready for THE dinner of the trip!!... To be continued...
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  • Day37

    Koya-san: Part II

    October 8, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Shubuko... We are staying in temple Daien-in that also provides accommodation. According to Buddhism no killing is allowed, so the menu is vegetarian, Shojin-ryori. But holy moly... this is veggie taken to a new level... Goma-dofu, tofu made out of sesame, and Koya-dofu, freeze-dried tofu back from the old days (I like to call it Spongebob-tofu ;-) a tray with so many different dishes, tastes and experiences, a true veggie feast!! Early bedtime because at 5.50 am sharp, the ceremony will start and is led by the MM, Managing Monk of the temple. Interesting to witness but unfortunately only in Japanese. After breakfast, it is time to hike in this beautiful mountain area and we were treated with sunny weather!! As we knew we would like it so much, we booked 2 nights and the second dinner surprised us another time, also in a fantastic way!Read more