A Travellerspoint blog

Scoopin' up victory in Miyajima

semi-overcast 26 °C

Alison is writing this blog, but for those who are interested i've seen the worlds largest rice scoop, its huge, and the hotel we stayed at gave away free rice scoops to the guests! jealous? in other news, the o-torii is awesome, one of the best sights of japan no doubt.

Ok, i can get started now. Been to Hiroshima and seen memorial peace park and a- bomb dome, and also went in the museum but it was alot of writing so we skipped some of it and went straight to the exhibits e.g melted glass bottles and root tiles - however i found it quite upsetting so we didn't spend too long here. Then we took a day trip to Iwakuni to see a five span wooden bridge called kintai kyo, only one in world of its type. Also whilst there we sdaw the old Samuri quater, castle and treied to watch comarant fishing. - They tie the birds to the boats and collect the fish from them when they resurface. However we didn7t get to see loads of this as there was atv crew there so the started later than supposed to and we had to get back! From her we travelled to Miyajima to see a giant torri - looked great at night all lit up. However was difficult to get food as most tourists left by 6 so ther restaurants closed but we did get eel and oystars. Also climbed mountain and saw wild Monkeys which were cool, some even had cute little babbies! Hope fully got some good pics! Then went to Tswano via a long train journey - in the middle of nowhere- offered to let us camp for free in park but Joe was unsure of this due to the saftey of his transformer, so they then helped us to find a hotel, turned out to be Ryokan where we had Tea ceromony and a private japanees bath. Went to see ruined castle , a shrine with 1000 tori and then also saw a Heron festival but the weather meant that this took place in a sports hall. It was on TV, but we were just out of shot! Today have travelled along coast to Yonago and are staying in a hotel with an onsen complex. This time i can say that i got it right this time, but this one was better than the last (provided soap, towels, robes) as it had outside onsen. Now going to look for food as getting quite hungary then hopefully a nice stroll along beach.

P.S. Currently in one of these funny internet places where you can hire a booth for hours - even sleep here!

Posted by alikatd 17:24 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Typhoon Update!

or, a long day.

storm 25 °C

We didn't go to bed last night, we stayed up in the train station nestled in a cozy corner after a long, cold Hokkaido day. Our train was three am, and all we had for company was a deck of cards, a book, and a crazy guy by the name of Hiroshi, who, after confidently introducing himself, lived to regret it when our massive language barrier made conversation a series of gestures, thumbs up, and ums. but Alison took the biscuit, when her complaint of mosquito bites somehow left him thinking she thought he was yakuza mafia. he did have a lot of tatoos...

anyway, eventually we slept on a really good sleeper seat train, with snoring man, seats went to the horizontal, and somehow made it to tokyo despite all the crazy changes. we beat the typhoon by about 9 hours, but the line to hiroshima was closed!

so, to make the most of things alison bought me a transformer from akihabara - dad, i've a fixing of transformers related job for you. we also got me a battery charger slightly smaller than the camera dock and got a typhoon update at the camera shop, it was sitting on hiroshima apparantly on its way!

station advice was as good as military intelligence, what they did know, they couldn't tell us. so we went to our trusty welcome inn reservation centre, who got us a night in tokyo and a free cancellation of the night we'd missed in Hiroshima. go welcome inn! so now we're crashing out, would be riding out the storm right now except...

... it heard i was in town, turned its course seawards, and fled with its cloudy tail between its legs. missed tokyo by about a hundred miles, we got gusts and showers is all! so i faced down the hurricane, and just when it looked to have beaten me, i ended up winning.

so we're safe.

oh, and now that we've gone south its hot and humid again, still grey skys but unbelievably different climate to the north. its like if aberdeen - london was the difference between winter and tropics.

Joe and Alison

Posted by urchinjoe 19:03 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking Comments (2)


Rules for using an onsen

overcast 12 °C

What a day. First of all no one can give us any info on the typhoon and then i make an idot of myself in an onsen. From today i have learnt that whjen using an onsen you:
1. Remove shoes as you enter the door
2. buy ticket from machine
3. go into changing room, strip and cover up with a flannel (I did not do this!)
4. Go into the shower/osen area, take a stool (wash it thorughly with soap- again nont done) and a basin.
5. Fill basin with water and wash thorughly with cloths and soap ( i though this was a baths we were going to- not a comunal cleaning session, therefore i was not prepared. After rising my self down with water (i thought this would be ok) but oh no, the women next to me thrust a cloth into my hand and soap and then proceeded to scrub my back = WHAT!!! then told me to wash again, rinse and wash then rinse before going in onsen.
6. Do not jump in osen, slide in slowly - Its 45 degrees, and sit there like its not boilking your blood.
7. Exit slowly, n\making sure not to splash anyone then go for another wash and rinse.
8. Before you exit shower/pool area rinse out bowl and put stool back, keep some water in bowl to rinse feet at door.
9. Exit but stand infront of door and wipe yourself down (DO NOT DRIP EVERYWHERE) then you go to locker, empty contents into basket stand in empty space, dry and dress quickly!

Joe however had none of the above problems, he rinsed then sat in onsen for 30 mins - buy the time this women made me wash 3 times i only had 5 mins, so much for a relax!

Forgot to say, other day in Sapporo we went to fish market for breakfast - i had whole crab and Joe had Sea urchin!

Posted by alikatd 02:54 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

The Eye of the Storm

overcast 12 °C

I don't know if its hit the UK news yet, but Japan just got hit by a typhoon. Fortunately, we're safe in Hokaido... but, after much deliberation, won't be for long.

We have been wondering for a while if its possible to visit any of the other islands, but it turns out that Japan is to big to "do" in a month, even with the shinkansen. So, having checked out some of Kansai, and Hokaido, we eventually decided to just pootle down to western honshu, so alison could see miyajima tori. then, last night, we turned on the tv news... typhoon had hit kyushu and okinowa, the south islands we'd only just decided not to visit! and its on its way to tokyo.

this morning, we talked to tourist information (drunk) and rail info (who spoke very little english), and eventually we ascertained that the typhoon would probably bypass hiroshima, the trains were not cancelled, and that the sea was the likely place for the typhoon to end up. or, don't go south, you'll end up in the sea. who knows. jp meteorological ascossiation map shows eta typhoon tokyo at 0600hours tomorrow. our train arrives at 7a.m. this tallys with our plan to hit the typhoon head on, get past it, before it messes up the infrastructure of the rail network too much, chill in hiroshima for three nights behind the typhoon, and then start again in the clear. is this the right move? no one here can venture any better than "typhoon? train? ticket?"

see you later, possibly in the sea.


ps i am now a seperate author to alison and my camera is nearly out of batteries.

Posted by urchinjoe 02:42 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Some of the things I have done in Japan

overcast 16 °C

I promised a blog about mount fuji. Firstly, know that i have long wanted to climb fuji, second, that i am stubborn as a stubborn brick. Mount fuji, rather than being visible from anywhere in japan, is in fact totally invisible even one mile from the base. so i have not actually seen fuji. but, from station five, we set off. the climb was really pretty easy, gentle winding slopes, occasional steeper rocky sections, and regular break points with overpriced drinks. we decided to climb to the final station (real 8th or 8.5, i dont know which it was, they blended in a little), and as the day wore on it got pretty cold and dark. but we wanted to sleep until as late as possible, and even then needed to rise at 2a.m. to catch sunrise. at about 3200m i started to feel a bit wobbly, breathing hard to catch, dizzy ish. as we ascened it got worse, and overnight i couldnt breathe, it felt like i was running but i was lying down. in the morning, and for (i assume) unrelated reasons i had diorrea. needed to buy oxygen but could only walk about 50m between breaks. towards the top i got cramps in legs, tasted blood (didnt tell alison), but, despite doubting it made it to the top, where i sat in a sleeping bag until 4.33 and then jumped up to photograph sunrise. descent made me better.

a couple of days spent in hokkaido now, learning about the ainu, eating a sea urchin, chatting to various nationalities in an excellent hostel - Ino`s Place, Sapporo - and taking in the world famous views of hakodate by night. tommorw we catch a train at 3a.m to go to tourist mecca of hiroshima (and i cant decide if this is sarcasm or truth. everyone seems to want to go there). Today, which alison goes into more detail about below, we also took high tea at the old british consulate, and are staying in a hotel so posh that it forbids "carrying items with a loathsome smell into the rooms", and the station opposite forbids storing dead bodies in the lockers. so i`ll just have to carry it then...


Ok, backtracking a little... Last day in Tokyo we did some last minute sight seeing - tried to visit the Imperial Palace but was closed on a Monday! Then in the afternoon had to do some quick shopping - as i had discovered when i got up that morning that the bottom of my shorts had worn through and i was being indecent - nice pair of shorts but i don't think much to them lasting a week (have taken photos so i can write and complain when i get home) so instead i ended up with a mans pair for 4 pounds.

Then we took the sleeper train to Sapporo, journey was ok, bunk beds with curtains around but there was a really wierd guy in the carriage. Got to Sapporo and planned to stay one night in Ino's but we ended up staying 3 as it was such a great atmosphere and really friendly owners. From here we took day trips to a farm at Forano - won lavender awards in France - smelled great and took loads of pics.Wednesday went to the living Ainu museum at Shiraoi which was disappointing but interesting then went back to Sapporo and visited the botanical garden and found another Ainu museum - better. Joe found the Gengis Khan had a special recipe named after him, so we visited the old Sapporo beer factory so he could try it - although it was a bit pants, didn't live up to the name! Today we have travelled to Hakodate (3hrs from Sapporo) and have visited many temples and churches and enjoyed walking through this interesting town - very different to other cities. Also found that festival of DEAD is currently in action, so streets are lined with flower stalls so give to graves. Tonight we went in a cxable car to Mt Hakodate so we could see a view, however once again the weather got the better of us and we were surrounded by mist- but it was an experience. Tomorro off to Hiroshima - hoping weather will improve.


Posted by alikatd 04:35 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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