Monday, April 21, 2008

Big in Japan

Well it has to be said that was a GREAT holiday. As dear old Mark Tapley would say "There's no credit in being jolly". A 3am start and a 15 hour trip was pretty daunting but ultimately the exhaustion after a journey that long effectively dealt with any potential jet-lag (how's that for looking on the bright side). We arrived in Tokyo at 7:30am the next day and were met by my old university mate Dave...he should us round and basically kept us awake for the first day nosing round Tokyo so that by the time we slipped into a blissful coma our body clocks were totally adjusted (Apparently we slept through a big earthquake on the first night).

Loved Tokyo to bits...neon, beer, ramen, sashimi, cherry blossom, karaoke, Tokyoites picnicing or strutting their stuff in the park. Really can't say a bad word about the place. So grateful to Dave & Elly for looking after us.

From there we went up to Nikko...that was ace, have done a lot of templing over the curse of my travels and that was definitely up there with those real "Oh wow" moments...also me and Anne and a random Japanese girl got our sone-to-be legendary three wise monkeys picture there so it can't be bad.

From there we did a mad transit over to Kyoto....the Shinkansen bullet trains are every bit as impressive as you imagine they are going to be (and thanks to the JR Pass you can basically just jump onboard with impunity). Kyoto's main problem is that there's just so much to fit in there. Think we got a good feel for the place in the time we were there though. Saw the famous Zen garden and the beautiful golden pagoda (in between conveyor belt sushi & beer sessions). After a quick visit to the impressive Himeji Castle we went to Nara for some tramping round in the woods and some sunbathing (and to see the awesome Todai-Ji temple with it's stonkingly big Buddha) and then a rain soaked Ise before heading back to Tokyo for more food, beer and karaoke with Dave & Elly. Brilliant trip all round.

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