A Travellerspoint blog



We finally make use of the fold-out couch

Well, we finally had company. About a week after we got back from vacation, my friend Carolyn stopped by to visit us as part of her whirlwind tour of Asia. She had been travelling with her Mom, but decided to come stay with us for a night. We met up that morning and grabbed some coffee and caught up a bit, as it had been a very long time since we'd talked. After that, we met Andrew in Umeda for some okonomiyaki. Andrew decided to head home and take a nap, so Carolyn and I went to the Umeda Sky Building to take in the view and look around and take dorky pictures. It was good times. We then caught the train back to the apartment and chilled for the remainder of the day, which was great. Until around 9 when we ventured out to let Carolyn experience some Japanese style karaoke. We sang lots of bad songs, out of tune and poorly (well Andrew did anyways). We stayed there until around 11:00 when after we got a couple calls from the front desk, we think asking us to leave. That and our voices were worn out. I think Carolyn enjoyed her karaoke time. I don't know if she enjoyed the karaoke or was just happy it wasn't a temple. Either way, we had fun.


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The next day I walked her up to the train station and said goodbye. It was really cool having company!

Posted by agc_cwm 19:44 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Hiroshima - Day 2

One of the top three most beautiful spots in Japan

For the second day we decided to head over to Miyajima. Miyajima is a small island and it has a large temple. It also has a a large otori (orange gate). It is built out in the water when the tide is high it looks like it is floating but when the tide is out you can walk out to it. I suppose it's kind of like the Five Islands.

The O-torii Gate in Miyajima is one of the top three most photographed places in Japan. After being there we understand why. This is it.

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Also, the cynic in Courtney popped out and she decided that if Miyajima was saying they were in the top 3 it really meant they were number 3. Her theory was that if they were number 2, they would have said the top 2. I suppose it is good logic.

We had to catch a 10 minute ferry ride over to the island.


We managed to get off the ferry and slip in front of a tour group and behind this group of school kids.


We picked a path and walked towards the gate and took the required pictures. Along our way to the gate we passed the Itsukushima Shrine. This is a very large shrine that is built out into the water.

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We continued on through the town and went in to the history and folklore museum. It was a preserved family house. The family was a merchant family from the 19th century. Here are a few good shots from inside the museum.

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After the museum we made our way along to, you'll never guess it, the aquarium. When you travel with Courtney and there's an aquarium nearby it's a pretty good bet that you will go visit it. Here are some good pictures from the aquarium.

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After the aquarium we headed back towards the town. There was a ropeway we were going to go up, but first we needed to get something to eat. Once we found a restaurant we didn't have time to go up the ropeway. We figure next time we'll go up. It is oyster season right now and both Hiroshima and Miyajima are very famous for their oysters. Usually people grill them up on the side of the street and sell them. Just like this. But Courtney had hers with udon noodles.


We also wandered around the little town for a while. We found a couple crazy stores. The first one had all these crazy carvings. They were all beautiful but also obnoxiously big. They were also quite expensive. The first one is of two men playing go, a Japanese strategy game, and the second one is of some masks.

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We also went into another store that had a forest out back and sold everything and some woman had the biggest bouffant hair-do Courtney had ever witnessed.

Miyajima also has the world largest rice scoop. Rice scoops were invented here and spread throughout Japan. This scoop weighs over 1 tonne.


One of the big things in Japanese culture is buying souvenirs for other people. But, the thing they got right is that they usually buy sweets for each other. Which means you don't end up with a house full of knick knacks you can just eat all the souvenirs. Also every town or area is famous for a specific treat so you know exactly what to get. We also won't mention that most people buy these sweets at the train station or airport on their way home. We stopped, ate, bought and watched some of the famous Miyajima sweets, momiji manju, being made. The process was very cool to watch. Our pictures sort of turned out.

On Miyajima, as in Nara, there are very tame deer. People feed these deer and pet the deer all the time. We saw this deer and we didn't know if he was just eating or wanted to visit the shrine too. I think he was just eating.


There was also this poor sucker that got mobbed by a lot of deer.


After lunch and wandering around we had to make our way home. It was about a four hour drive and we had to have the car back by 8:00 (or so we thought; as it turned out, they close at 7).

We made it back home with lots of time to get the car back by 8:00 which was good. Until this happened. I was driving to take the car back and I was pulling into the right turning lane and I cut it too close and clipped another guy's mirror with my mirror. The light was red and I saw the guy get out of the car and start to walk up to my car. I rolled down the window and he started to yell at me in Japanese. I had no idea what he was saying. He couldn't speak Enlgish, but I know he said "Police" a few times. I figured it wasn't that bad and there was no way I was going to the Police station with him. The light turned green and the people behind us started honking he got in his car and I had no where to go so I started to go back to the rental agency. He followed me and eventually got in front of me and pulled over. We got out again, by this time he realized I didn't know any Japanese and yelling at me wasn't doing him any good. I took my rental sheet out and tried to explain that he should follow me there. He didn't get that. Eventually he understood that it was rental, smiled and gestured that I shouldn't tell the rental agency about it and he left. So it all worked out in the end. Thank god.

It was an exciting end to our latest adventure. Also here are a lot more pictures from our trip.

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Posted by agc_cwm 19:44 Archived in Japan Comments (1)

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