Holiday, Photography, Travel

Japan Day 8: Tokyo, Imperial Palace (03/04/2015)

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Our last full day in Tokyo before heading off to Hiroshima tomorrow. We made our first visit to Tokyo station and stopped at the JR ticket office to book seats on the Shinkansen to Hiroshima tomorrow. Booking seats was easy and the clerk spoke very good English. I was surprised to find that we can’t get a direct train with our JR passes (JR only allows you to travel on certain Shinkansen services with a JR pass reserving the newer and faster services for customers paying full price). Continue reading

Holiday, Photography, Travel

Japan Day 7: Tokyo, Fuji (02/04/2015)

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One of my main reasons for visiting Japan was a desire to see Fuji. I was disappointed when I found out that it wouldn’t be possible to actually climb Fujisan while we were visiting, there is too much snow as average temperatures at altitude don’t get above freezing until June. In a way I’m glad that we couldn’t climb though as we got beautiful views of the mountain from Chureito Pagoda instead. Continue reading

DIY, Houses

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I’ve been taking a break from blogging about our trip to Japan to demolish and rebuild part of our bathroom. This has been quite a bit trickier than expected, you never know what you are going to find under old tiles and floorboards! Hopefully I’ll get back to more or less daily Japan updates soon but as you can see from the pictures below, there is still quite a bit of bathroom work to be done!

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Holiday, Photography, Travel

Japan Day 6 Part 2: Tokyo, Shibuya Crossing (01/04/2015)

This is the outside of the shop. We recommend it if you are nearby.
This is the outside of the shop. We recommend it if you are nearby.

After spending the day at Ghibli museum and Inkoashira Park, we decided to stop off at Shibuya on the way back to Shinjuku to take a look at the famous crossing and see the crowds.

We were not disappointed. Shibuya is very busy with lots of people seemingly hanging around in the square outside the station with no real purpose. Most of the crowds centred around the Hachiko statue, a monument to a faithful dog which supposedly came to wait for its owner by the train station long after his owner had died. We crossed the famous crossing with thousands of other people but, being outside in a large open space it actually felt less busy than many other places we travelled. Continue reading

Holiday, Photography, Travel

Japan Day 6 Part 1: Tokyo, Ghibli Museum (01/04/2015)

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Today is the only day of our trip that we are locked into a particular activity. Ghibli museum tickets are not sold to foreigners inside Japan, you have to buy them in advance from a reseller*. The museum is a little way out from Tokyo proper and will be our longest train trip so far. Somehow we managed to go the wrong way on a train, I think because it wasn’t obvious that we should have changed trains, and then got on a train that was physically present but logically cancelled. It was OK though, several other people got on and a nice conductor came down the train and informed us all politely that we were on the wrong train. After these two missteps we managed to get to our destination. Continue reading

Holiday, Photography, Travel

Japan Day 5: Tokyo, Ueno (31/03/2015)

After a few days of walking ten miles or more a day we wanted a short, easy day today. We settled on heading to Ueno Park with its famous cherry blossoms. Ueno is very popular for hanami and the station was very busy. It took us a while to just cross the road to get to the park. The park was packed with people promenading under the avenues of cherry trees as well as setting up tarps and blankets to picnic under the trees. The park has been set up to allow these two activities to coexist with roped off areas for sitting and paths for walking. Continue reading

Holiday, Photography, Travel

Japan Day 4: Tokyo, Tokyo Tower (30/03/2015)

Today we took a trip to meet a friend of ours for lunch. We took our first trip on the underground, using our shiny Suica cards for the first time to get to Kamiyacho station. Using the card with the cute little penguin is a much more efficient process than using the JR Pass, which involves having to show your pass to a man in a booth before being allowed into the station, and will be familiar to anyone who has used an Oyster card on the London underground. The only difference from London is that the gates are always open until you try to go through without a valid card or ticket when they slam shut on you! We got our first taste of packed Tokyo commuter trains which wasn’t as bad as expected. We were just outside peak times but were still pressed uncomfortably up against strangers. Continue reading