April 2017
  • Day9

    Day 9 - Yokohama, Japan

    April 12, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    After a night of a bed hopping 3yr old, hubby woke me at 5:15am to see the sunrise over Yokohama harbour. He then woke us all up at 6:30am for our last day.

    We walked along the promenade where the Yokohama flower festoval had the most spectacular displays and the weather was fantastic.

    We continued to walk to the Red Brick Warehouse, around it and past the Cosmo world park. It was 9am and we were hungry so we found food. We realised we were close to the landmark tower, and it had just opened. So up we went. The views were spectacular and it was pretty quiet bar a school group. The day was clear and gorgeous (but still no sighting of Fuji, just every other landmark).

    After that we jumped on a train one stop to Yokohama station and let the kids loose again in the toy section of Yodabashi. Loaded up we headed back to the hotel to collect our bags and walk back to Kannai station. At 3:29 we jumped on a Nex for the airport. Very glad to rest our weary legs.

    So at the airport we had anothet 'us' moment. We checked the bags and went to oversize baggage when we realised the wifi accessories and return envelope were in the side pocket. I raced back to the counter to see the bag heading away. The nice a check in attendant grabbed it for me. Envelope retrieved, lesson learned. Return the wi-fi at terminal 2. At least it was far less stressful than last years alcohol in carry on fiasco.

    After sitting in the airport eating much loved udon, we weee ushered through a different security line (where the children were made to remove their shoes). So we used the last of our yen on some ghibli toys for the kids. See you on the other side.
    Read more

  • Explore, what other travelers do in:
  • Day8

    Day 8 - Hiroshima to Yokohama (via Tokyo

    April 11, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    We left a rainy Nagoya after a sleep in and caught the 9:26am shinkansen to Tokyo.

    Once in Tokyo we stashed the bags in a locker and the pram at baggage storage (too tall for a locker). Then we headed out into the rain and cold to Tsukiji fish market so hubby could get a knife.

    Just before 3pm we had all our possessions back and were on a train to Kannai (the closest station to our Yokohama hotel). A stop beforehand we spontaneously made the decision to jump off the train at Yokohama so hubby could get his "duty free" allowance of alcohol.

    By 5pm we were at Kannai and set off again (this time fully loaded) to trek through the constant rain to our hotel for the night - Hotel Monterey Yokohama. Where we arrived like drowned rats (even with umbrellas). Its a nice place and we have a triple with harbour views.

    After a hot shower we looked on maps for the closest place to eat. We were dreading treking through the rain again. Google maps delivered a soba noodle restaurant about 4 buildings away. So off we set. Once there they had an english menu and an unusual offering - all noodle sizes were the same price. Your choice was medium, large or Mt fuji size. Of course hubby had a go at Mt fuji, while the kids devoured a whole bowl of udon.

    This is our last night in Japan in a hotel. Its supposed to be sunny tomorrow. Fingers crossed as it was bloody freezing and miserable today being so wet.
    Read more

  • Day7

    Day 7 - Hiroshima - Nagoya, Japan

    April 10, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    After a nice night in our hotel in Hiroshima we woke up repacked. We taqbined our bags to Yokohama while we backpack it for a night in Nagoya.

    First stop for today was the Mazda museum. We headed to Hiroshima station and stopped at a cafe for a pancake breakfast. Then we rode the local train 2 stops to Mukainada and walked the block to Mazda. This tour is free and was booked in January. We were on the English tour and really enjoyed it. Our 7yr old girl loved it. It wasn't slow paced or boring and you actually spent a fair bit of time viewing the amazing assembly line. I'd definitely recommend this tour.

    Next on the agenda was a 2 shinkasen ride to Nagoya via Shin-osaka. At Nagoya we checked into our hostel Glocal cafe and backpackers. We have a private 4 bed room, but shared bathroom. After a walk around the neighborhood and a small deviation to let the kids loose in the toy department of Bic camera, we arrived at a tonkatsu place for dinner.

    The tonkatsu was awesome and so cheap 680¥. The kids meal was also amazing. For 380¥ they got rice, corn, salad, wedges, karaage, prawn, jelly, a popper and also got to select a toy.

    We dropped the train museum off of today's agenda to slow down a bit (plus we have been on so many trains already). Time for an early night as we are deviating to Tokyo tomorrow before heading back to Yokohama so hubby can get a knife from a store at the fish markets.
    Read more

  • Day6

    Day 6 - Hiroshima & Miyajima

    April 9, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    We left Namba at 6am!! Caught the subway to Shin -osaka and then rode the shinkasen to Hiroshima. Arriving at 9am we dropped the bags at our hotel - Hotel new hiroden. Nice place close to the station.

    A change of plans saw us head to the peace park first and Miyajima second. We caught the tram there. Sakura are definitely in bloom. We walked all the monuments and went into the nearby street to see the ground zero marker.

    We then rode the hop on/off bus (free with jr pass) back to the station, rode the train and ferry to Miyajima arriving around 1:30pm. No rain today, just overcast. The kids loved the deer and hubby loved the food. The deer also loved the food and we had to fend them off while the kids ate. We walked out to the giant Tori gate at low tide.

    We then walked to the ropeway and did a quick trip up to the top station and back. It was 5pm when we returned, so we did Itsukushima shrine and a final walk back through the streets as most shops were shutting. If there you must visit the back garden of one of the cake shops. It had a waterfall, huge koi and anazing bonsai.

    After arriving back in Hiroshima we headed to the station restaurant floor for some Okonomiyaki, along with a huge post baseball crowd. We finally checked in at 7pm!
    Read more

  • Day5

    Day 5 - Osaka

    April 8, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Today we set out in the morning and arrived back at night. It was a long day with no pram! We left our air bnb place for the tourist office in shinsaibashi, and found that Google maps was not our friend for the first of many times today. The tourist office was on the 8th floor ( not so obvious or easy to find on the ground).

    We purchased the Osaka amazing pass (2,500¥) for us and got an all day subway pass for Dale (300¥). We were able to use any transport freely for the day. Our passes allowed us free entry to all of our intended sights, but paying for any child ticket was way cheaper than buying the pass for Dale. Oscar was free on everything.

    Even though it was rainy/misty we only had today, so we set off for Umeda and went to the Sky garden observatory. It was fun, but would have been amazing on a clear day. Next we made our way to Hep 5 to ride the ferris wheel on top of the building. Its crazy that you can see your destination, but can't go directly there due to over/ under passes, malls multi levels etc. It really is a maze at times.

    Next was the museum of housing and living. Again this was on an 8th floor of a building. We really need to look up more. It had a cool recreation of edo period Osaka. It was interesting to see. But like our travel sttle we breezed through it pretty quickly.

    From there we headed to a nearby pier for the sakura river cruise. There we plenty in full bloom lining the river. From there we headed down near tennoji as hubby wanted to visit a knife shop. The kids had fun getting some vending machine toys. At 5pm we headed to Dotonbori.

    With so many choices deciding what to eat was hard. We ended up at a tempura place off the main streets. It was nice, and not expensive at all. After dinner we used our pass for the last time and did the tombori river cruise to see the lights of dotonbori from the water. It was actually really enjoyable. The lady commentator was very lively - though we did not understand a word of it.

    Our day ended with a walk back to the apartment and packing ready for a 6am departure on the morning.
    Read more

  • Day4

    Day 4 - Osaka (via Arashiyama, Kyoto)

    April 7, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    We left our ryokan in gora at 7:30 in misty rain and headed back down the scenic railway to motohakone and onto Odawara. We were on the 10am shinkasen to kyoto. Arriving at 12 we stashed our bags in a locker (had a freak out as hubby didn't remember where he put the passports - found them where they were in the baby carrier pocket) We then headed to the 10th floor for a lunch in the ramen restaurants. So much to choose from, and it was great.

    We then jumped on a train to Arashiyama where the misty rain contined a bit. Our destination was the bamboo forest and we joined the crowds of people heading through it (a taxi even made its way through the sea of people - hate to have seen the meter). We found the forest walk off the main path and enjoyed this much less crowded time in the forest. It was practically empty.

    Next we headed to the bridge. The main street of town was exceptionally pretty and sakura were out in bloom everywhere. We walked both sides of the bridge, returned through town and headed back to the train station.

    On the train back had our major stress of the day. I received an email from our last accommodation that they forgot to write the unit number of the apartment on the taqbin form, I needed to advise them of this or our luggage would be returned to them. Oh and the 3yr old said he needed to pee whilst we were jam packed on the train a stop before Kyoto. So we raced off the train to a loo and he didn't need to go!!! Back to our first stress we went to tourist info - no help, we then went to the building info and a lovely lady called our last accommodation and they confirmed they had contacted taqbin with the apartment number. Relief!!! Off to Osaka.

    At 6pm we arrived at Namba jr station and wow what a maze of underground networks, supermarkets and shops. A helpful young man saw us looking how to get from A1 to 26D exit and pointed us in the right direction. We made it to our air bnb apartment in near Dotonbori. Our bags also showed up right when they were supposed to!!
    Read more

  • Day3

    Day 3 - Hakone

    April 6, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    We left Asakusa this morning at about 7 and headed to tokyo to get the shinkansen to Odawara (non reserved was very easy thankfully as the reserved carriage was already fully booked) 35mins later we were in Odawara. We waited a few minutes for the free pass ticket office to open and got the tickets for 4000yen adults and 1000yen child, plus we each got gifter chopsticks - very glad i didn't use the ticket machine. Weather was cloudy, no fuji, and possible rain...our accommodation was waiting...so off we went. We rode the local train to Hakone-yumoto, then the scenic train that does a number of switchbacks climbing the mountain until reaching Gora. Then we took the funicular cable car train to near our hotel - Kanon, where we dropped our backpacks (having taqbin our bags to namba already). We then continued our journey up the cable car to sounzan. The ropeway was out of action for the first part and replaced by bus to the next station where we saw the black eggs, volcanic gases and evem some snow piled. It was very windy. We then caught the ropeway to Lake Ashi and got on the pirate ship (much to the children's delight). We stayed on until Moto-hakone where we got off, had some lunch, then walked the cedar forest to the shrine and down to the tori in the water for a photo op. The walking back to moto-hakone we decided to re-use the ship and ropeway, rarher than ride a bus back to Gora. So we did. It then started to lightly rain once we were back in Gora. We decided on an early dinner and went searchimg for somewhere at 5pm. This was difficult and we stumble upon the most interesting (read weird) place. The food was terrible, the decore was like a clutterbig granny's lounge room, even the loo was full of stuffed toys, i mean full!! The kids loved it and the man who ran it was so fum with the kids it kind of made up for the bad food. After that we headed to our hotel where we had our first onsen (private family one) and tonight is our first time sleeping on futons im our japanese room. Bit this place has free ice creams!!.Read more

  • Day2

    Day 2 - Asakusa Tokyo

    April 5, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Woke up insanely early 4:30am, no such luck having a great sleep after our late night. Ueno wss our destinatiob for today. So after a 7-11 breakfast (love the pancakes and choc chip breadsticks) we headed on the subway. In 10mins we were at Ueno station. It was very much decked out in sakura. We were there for 9am opening of JR and exchanged passes and booked some trains. (Tomorrow's journey to odawara – for Hakone is full so we will try non-reserved) we then went to Ueno park with everybody else! Cherry blossums are out and hanami is in. We then visited the zoo. The panda were sleeping, but the kids really loved the place. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be given some reports. It was large and open, though some enclosures were small. My kids loved it there – and reading the map to find the animals (thanks Dora). After that we ventured down ameyoko streets. Bit markets/chinatown, not really my kind of place, but it was packed. The we came back to Asakusa for a power nap. Repacked and taqbin our bags to Osaka, as we go light for our next night in gora. After they were sent away at the 7-11. We were off to meet my friend who stayed with me 26yrs ago for 3 weeks as an exchange student. We met up last year for the first time, this year we had a wonderful with her family again in Asakusa. After that we strolled to sumida park where the sakura were illuminated and hanami was happening. Tomorrow we head to Hakone.Read more

  • Day1

    The journey - Australia - Narita

    April 4, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    After waking at 5am, our 10:45am flight left the gold coast on time. We arrived in narita 20mins early, only to be held off til the occupied gate cleared. Baggage took a fair while. There was no way we were going to make the 8pm train. We got on the 8:35 train to Asakusa arriving tired and hungry. It was 10pm at check in. This time we're staying at khaosan tokyo kabuki very close to the Kiminarimon gate in Asakusa. Bed time midnight our time.Read more