Even though I was under the weather and tied to being close to a bathroom, the show had to go on and our trip wasn’t going to just end (even though I had fleeting thoughts of telling my wife to go ahead and I’d just go back to Tokyo and hole up in a motel until our flight home). I’m glad that I pushed forward and finished off the trip.
From Kyoto we hopped on the Shinkansen again and continued our trip westward. Our destination was Itsukushima, or Miyajima Island, which is located just off the coast of Hiroshima. We initially thought we’d stop in Hiroshima first prior to heading to the island. However given the time of day when we arrived in Hiroshima, we altered our plans and decided to go to the island first and would check out Hiroshima on our way back to Tokyo the following day. To get to the island you need to take a ferry. Strangely enough there are two competing companies but they operate right next to each other at the ports. One of the ferries is operated by JR and since we had the JR pass, we could ride for free. It was a very short trip (10 minutes) to get across the channel.
As we approached the island, we sailed right near the large Torii gate that sits in the middle of the water. I managed to snag a few shots even though it was quite foggy. Continue reading “Miyajima Island, Hiroshima, and last day in Tokyo”
I lost my original post for these days. Oh well, I’ll just re-start it and not try to re-create the old one that I had made.
So it was our last day in Tokyo and at the awesome Park Hyatt. Before leaving Tokyo I wanted to try to get at least one run in while in Japan. I decided to head up to the fitness center in the Park Hyatt. This is located up on the 47th floor. If you’ve seen the movie Lost in Translation, there is a scene where the main characters are swimming in this pool. I didn’t get any pictures because you’re not supposed to take pictures in the gym area. To actually get up to the fitness center you have to go through their spa (and actually tell them you’re a guest to get up there). They have a row of treadmills that face outward towards their floor-to-ceiling windows. You have this great overlook of the city and being so high up you get a bird’s eye view. It was a nice way to wake up for the day.
After sadly leaving the wonderful confines of the Park Hyatt, we made our way back to Tokyo Station by way of Shinjuku station for the ride over to Kyoto. Prior to taking the bullet train (Shinkansen), we needed some lunch. Within the underground mall area of Tokyo Station is Ramen Street. This was our first experience with ordering from a vending machine. So you walk up to a vending machine and can choose the type of Ramen you want (as well as any extras such as extra noodle, meat, other things), put money in the machine and then it spits out a ticket. You give the ticket to the attendant and wait in the line outside the restaurant. Once there is an open seat, they take you to it and then your food shows up. This place also had a paper bib for you to wear in case of splatter from the ramen. It was very tasty.
Continue reading “Tokyo last day and Day 1 Kyoto (Japan 2017)”
It has taken me quite awhile to finally get these first two days published from our trip back at the end of March-early April. Will hopefully get the rest up in a timely manner.
Day 1 was a short day due to travel. We landed at Narita airport in the late afternoon around 4:30 pm. However, there was a crazy wait at customs/immigration. The line for Japanese citizens was crazy short and those of foreign passports had a long wait. They even had two separate customs areas and it still took somewhere around 1-1.5 hours of wait time to get through. And then we needed to exchange our vouchers for the Japan Rail Pass, which came in handy throughout the trip but it was another 1 hour wait to get this pass. As you can imagine, after an almost 11 hour flight, we were quite tired. Thankfully once we received our rail pass, they also booked us on the train that would take us into Tokyo (about a 90 minute train ride).
Initially on approach to Japan I thought we’d have time to get to our hotel, put our stuff away and then head out for some dinner. I realized after all the aforementioned wait times, we’d be lucky to find anywhere open for food. Add onto that we were just bone tired and I wasn’t sure what we were going to do about foodstuffs.
After arriving at Shinjuku station (the one closest to our hotel for the night), I looked on the map and decided that it wasn’t too far of a walk from the train station to the hotel. The wife had mentioned there was a courtesy hotel shuttle from Shinjuku station though we couldn’t be exactly sure where the pickup point was. So after about a 15 minute walk, we arrived at our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Tokyo. It has quite an impressive entrance with these very large low hanging chandeliers. We checked in and immediately headed upstairs to offload our stuff. When we first arrived, I noticed that there appeared to be some restaurants and stores in the basement level (which becomes a theme in Japan). We initially looked at some of the hotel restaurants (they have a handful of them situated in the hotel itself) but it looked like most places closed at 9 pm and we had arrived just after 9 pm.
So it was off the convenience store in the basement for food. Luckily they actually stock some food that is edible and not extremely bad for you. The wife and I both picked up a pre-made sandwich and I also got a hot dog and some snacks (chips). After eating some food and cleaning up a little, it was off to bed for us. Continue reading “Tokyo Day 1 & 2 (Japan 2017)”