Our return to Japan after nearly a decade! On arrival in Tokyo (Haneda Airport), we took the train to Asakusa and checked into our hotel.
On the first day, we landed in Haneda Airport and took the train to Asakusa to check into the hotel. We then headed to Mitaka for the Studio Ghibli museum.
Today we are visiting DisneySea, a unique nautically oriented theme park, unlike the other Disney theme parks around the world.
We took a day trip to Kurashiki. The old merchant quarter (Bikan) contains wooden warehouses along a canal.
Okayama Castle (岡山城), located in Okayama Japan, was completed in 1597, destroyed during World War II, and reconstructed in 1966.
We decided to visit the Korakuen garden in Okayama next to the castle. It is It is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan.
After visiting the castle and the garden, we wandered around the commercial heart of Okayama, primarily for dinner but also some shopping.
We boarded the Shinkansen from Okayama to Hiroshima at 8:25am and to my surprise it's the N700 - the fastest train in the fleet.
Today we visited Miyajima (Shrine Island), an island famous for the O-Torii gate seemingly surrounded by water.
The peak of Mount Misen, at 535m, is the highest point on Miyajima Island. We got there via Miyajima Ropeway.
Hiroshima is infamous as the first city targeted by an atomic bomb. Largely rebuilt post war, the city is once again a significant city.
Hiroshima Castle is yet another reconstructed castle because the original was destroyed along with most of Hiroshima by the Atomic Bomb.
The Genbaku Dome (aka Hiroshima Peace Memorial, or the Atomic Bomb Dome) is a former exhibition hall that somehow still stands as a ruin.
The Hiroshima Peace Park is dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack.
They say the Hiroshima Peace Museum is quite confronting - we found it terribly crowded and quite hard to see some of the exhibits.
We walked around Hiroshima in the evening and finished up with a dinner of the Hiroshima variant of okonomiyaki.
Tomonoura is a small fishing village famous as the location for several films: notably Miyazaki's Ponyo and Wolverine.
On the way back to Fukuyama station, I saw a rose trellis in honour of Hugh Jackman - I took a picture there.
We travelled from Hiroshima to Osaka and arrived around 3pm. We checked into the Ritz Carlton and spent the afternoon exploring the area.
Today we visited Universal Studios Japan (or USJ as its more popularly known as). We are excited to see the new Harry Potter attractions!
Today we traveled from Osaka to Kyoto and arrived in the morning. Along the way we passed through some interesting sculpture street art.
Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺), or Temple of the Silver Pavilion, is officially named Jishō-ji (慈照寺) and built for a Shogun who became a Buddhist monk.
Honen-in ((法然院)) is a nice quiet reflective temple on Kyoto's Philosopher's Path. There is an amazing statue of Buddha here.
Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社), once called Gion Shrine (祇園神社), is a Shinto shrine in the Gion District of Kyoto, with bright red gates.
Otani Sobyo Mausoleum is the grave of Shinran, the founder of the Shinshu sect Otani school (Higashi Hongan-ji Temple).
Chion-in is a Pure Land Buddhism temple consisting of a colossal main gate (Sanmon), a huge temple building and Japan’s largest temple bell.
We walked along the stone-paved roads in Higashiyama (Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka) that lead up to the Kiyomizu Temple.
Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera (音羽山清水寺), is a Buddhist temple and part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage site.
We walked back to Kyoto station as buses were full, crossed the bridge at Shichijo and saw a lovely sunset.
The Imperial Palace East Gardens encompasses the former Honmaru and Ninomaru areas of Edo Castle and the Imperial Tokagakudo Music Hall.
Character Street is a row of shops selling toys based on various character themes, located underground in Tokyo Station.
Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) is a large park and garden. It was originally a residence of the Naitō family, then became an Imperial Park.
Shinjuku (新宿区) has been a major secondary center of Tokyo and a commercial hub full of skyscrapers and retail shops.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (東京都庁舎) is the tallest city hall in the world, with observation decks proving amazing views.
We spend the rest of evening walking back from the Tokyo Metropolitan Goverment building along the subways and streets of Shinjuku.
We arrived at Haneda airport, and wandered around the airport shopping area. There were lots of fake cherry blossom trees.