Japan 2010

In July 2010 I made a vacation round trip in Japan. It was my graduation present! On this page you will find pictures of my trip and short texts about what all that I have seen and done.

Amsterdam – Tokyo – Fukuoka Day 1-3

I traveled together with my aunt to Japan. On Amsterdam airport my parents waved us goodbye en then we walked around for 2 hours. We traveled with Japanese Airlines (I think it was afternoon) and after a 12 hour journey we arrived at Tokyo Narita airport. We had a stopover because we traveled further to Fukuoka where our trip actually began. We already met some people of our travel group. It wasn’t easy to find our gate but finally we managed to get there. We had a little delay and arrived late in Fukuoka.

Our host, Mikio-san, welcomed us and brought us to the hotel. The hotel was SMALL! Real Japanese size, but it was ok ;). Because we traveled a long time we only had 1 day left in Fukuoka. We went for some sightseeing and shopping. As foreigner we felt like an attraction, everyone stared at us. At 6 o’clock we went back to the hotel because I had an appointment with my pen pal Kana! a Japanese girl I met via a website. She came with her friend Hanna at we went for dinner to ‘the famous Ramen of Fukuoka’. I ordered something with meat but really everything smelled like fish d: After dinner we walked down town. We saw some high school girls that yelled something like: ‘this foreigner’ . Kana translated that and it was funny ;P I believe Kana never met a foreigner before or had never seen one closely so it was very special and funny. Finally we took PURIKURA in a very busy street. Purikura is some kind of small photo box where can take and edit all kinds of funny pictures. It is very noisy in such a hall where every photo box has a different music and lights but its so funny 😛 After that we went back to the hotel for sleep because next day we planned to go to Miyajima, also called the holy island.

Miyajima – Sandankyo – Hiroshima Day 4-5

Today we went to the Holy Island Miyajima. We traveled by boat. When we arrived we where free to discover the island and walked to the well known red Shintogate. Along the way we saw a lot deer. You could touch them and get very close. Deers on the island are like pigeons in Amsterdam! 😛 We made a lot pictures and bought some souvenirs but furthermore we didn’t do anything since it was very hot. Afterwards we went with the bus to our next hotel. Bus travel seem very dull but is the ideal moment to get some sleep. Around noon we arrived in Sandankyo, a very small town near Hiroshima where we got our room keys. We stayed in a Ryokan. A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese hotel with Tatami mats, eat while sitting on the floor and sleeping on a Futon. First we had traditional Japanese lunch (the picture shows our breakfast 😉 and after lunch we went for a walk in a ravine with lots of water. We choose the easy route but still it was heavy. Sometimes the path wasn’t really safe but we had a good time. The temperature was much better than in Miyajima. When we came back to the hotel there was some time to rest and then we went for dinner. In the evening its dark early since they have no summertime. We went to the bridge with the hostess of the hotel to spot fireflies, there were so many! I gave the hostess a pair of magnetic clumps that she really really liked. She kept saying arigatou arigatou. So sweet! The next morning we had traditional Japanese breakfast (see photo). After breakfast we went with the bus to Hiroshima. We arrived at  the ‘Peace Memorial Park’  in Hiroshima where we walked around and visited several monuments. We also had some drinks on a terrace, yes a real terrace these are very rare in Japan but it was nice  in the sun. we also went shopping and I bought a pair of nice shoes. At the end of the day we went for dinner with the group. Our travel hostess was with us, he did that very often, and it was very cozy. We ate okonomiyaki. A kind of wrap with lots of vegetables? and other stuff.. flat with some kind of weird sauce.. but it was awesome! 😀 That same night we traveled to our hotel in Kurashiki.

Kurashiki – Kibi – Naoshima Day 5-7

Late at night we arrived in Kurashiki. It was the least hotel of all but it was convenient. We watched some tv and then went to bed. The next day we went by train/metro to Kibi. We have been cycling through rice fields and attended a Japanese ceremony. Our host wasn’t very sportive and said we walked way to fast, do everything quickly and that we are to active and last but not least we lost him during cycling in a village where NOBODY speaks English and that was a little nasty. Finally we reached a temple. We made some pictures and attended the ceremony and went back on the bicycle. We came out on a different place from where we started and the train ride back was disastrous. our host didn’t really knew where we had to get of the train, but finally we managed to get back home 😛 That night we went to a traditional restaurant where we had dinner while sitting on the floor. I had some kind of tempura menu, it was VERY VERY good! After dinner we went to the city center and had a drink in a bar. Super cozy!

The next day we had to get up early.  We went to Naoshima, the island of art.
We arrived by boat and our host told us that it was a good idea to see the island by bicycle. So me my aunt and the Fierstra family went on the bike to see the art! And the Japanese sea. It was nice though by bike. But the others, very smart did not listen, and took some kind of bus. At the art gallery we have seen the art…. Karel Appel (Dutch artist)? Mmmmm, ok. When we went further we found a nice place with a view over the sea. We sat there for quite a while because we were rather tired 😛 And we mentally prepared for the ride back. I also wanted to take a dive in the sea but when I saw these huge fish and felt seaweed on my feet I decided not to go deeper than my knees.

Himeji – Kyoto – Nara Day 7-11

Today we went from Naoshime by bus to Himeji (if I am correct…). We have seen the Himeji Castle. Unfortunately it was under (re-)construction and the rain poured down on us.
In Japan, it rains a lot in the summer. Fortunately we did not have a lot of rain but when it rained it was annoying. Then we went by bus to Kyoto where we arrived at our hotel. A super nice hotel! We changed our cloths quickly because I went to see another penpal Saori. She lives not near Kyoto but still came to visit us for only 2-3 hours! Her father was with her, but he did not speak English at all so it was rather difficult, but Saori spoke English very well 😀 We went to see a huge shopping mall (which she said it was only small … D 🙂 We first went for Purikura. I now know better how it works so I can use my creativity. Then we went to a restaurant. It is veeery different here. When there is no place free you have to wait outside, kind of take-away Chinese restaurant idea. Fortunately we had a place quickly and we have had very good food!
After dinner we went shopping again, well it was more looking around and talking. We have bought super cute pajamas! Yeah pajamas: P

Then back to hotel, farewell and sleep.
The next day we have done a lot and visited many traditional sites. Amongst them the Golden Temple (Kinkaku-ji) and we went to Nara were we saw a lot of small deer. We visited the largest wooden building, Tōdai-ji, and a gigantic Buda. (Not the one outside)
After Nara we went to don’t-know-the-name-anymore, a place with many lined up red torii gates. (Like in memoirs of a Geisha) We have been to Zen gardens and went for lunch together. The next day was a day off. Because I heard that you could have dressed yourself into a Geisha I decided to ask our host if he know a place where we could do that.
We thought we could go by food but that was not a good idea. Finally we took a taxi.
We first selected a Kimono and then they put on makeup like a Geisha. Because getting into a kimono the helped us to get dressed. This was not easy because they pulled the ropes pretty hard to hold everything on place.
Then we had a photo shoot and changed into our own cloths again. The whole change over took about 3.5 hours. 😛
Back on our way to Gion we found a shop where they sell yukata, a simple kind of kimono that both boys and girls wear on festivals. Sometimes you see them on street in Kyoto too, cool! I bought a yukata with shoes, and everything, so funny!!! Then we went to Gion and I told the hosts wife I bought a yukata and she ask me to put it on and she helped and explained me how to wear it. We went for dinner and we saw a ‘show’ from a real geisha. We took a photo of the geisha and me wearing my yukata!
The next day we went up early and headed for the shinakansen! The super fast train to Tokyo ;D
Oh, I also visited Kyoto tower but I do not remember what say that was! And we had delicious food somewhere together with Remy, looking very charming 😛

Kyoto – Tokyo – Amsterdam Dag 12-15

We went to Tokyo with the shinkansen to Tokyo, in only 3 hours? It was more like an airplane! Luxury and beautiful. The train was very fast 😀 In the afternoon we arrived in Tokyo and we went to Akihabara with another host because Mikio-san went with the others that took the bus.
My aunt and I visited a sushi bar! You probably think that we only had sushi in Japan but we only had sushi twice. We walked through Akihabara and were surprised what a diversity the sell out there. (Golf clubs, lady suits etc…) We went back to the hotel. The hotel was situated in a quiet area in Tokyo.
Next day we went to Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku and ….. we have seen so much!! Busy, big, lots of people… It was great 😀 and lots of fun :D. The final day I went with two other girls from our group to THE restaurant of Tokyo! We first could not find it because the Japanese pointed us into the wrong direction (That’s allowed in Japan ?) Finally a Japanese came to help us because we looked desperate. He called the restaurant were a hostess waited outside and waved and smiled to us, so sweet! The food was really great. I don’t remember the name of the dishes but they were GREAT!
At night I packed my stuff and early in the morning we went to Narita airport for our flight back to Amsterdam.

This was a log of my Japanese journey in 2010 😀 Because I planned to go living in Japan with a family I am not sure if I will travel a lot in Japan. Therefore I am very glad and happy that I could see such a lot of the beautiful country of Japan and met so many nice and friendly people

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