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Japan

Nagoya 2019 - Japan

one stop

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light show

We didn't spend much time in Nagoya. Got in late one night and left early the next morning, but there was one reason we went. South of town, there's Nabana No Sato. For a couple months each year, this is a cherry blossom and festival Christmas lights extravaganza. We saw, by far, the most and biggest showing of cherry blossoms in the gardens of the site. There was also so many lights. It included sections of long tunnels of lights, tree covered lights, water shows, and a whole set of lights that was set to music and had moving images covering historic parts of Japan. It had a big section shaped like Mt Fuji. Very entertaining.

Japan Trip
Tokyo
Kyoto and Hakone
Nagoya
Osaka

Light Show Videos

Nabana No Sato Mt Fuji
Nabana No Sato Light Walk Tunnel

Trip Map

Pictures

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Murk Travels - Japan album
see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 03:07 Archived in Japan Tagged japan asia murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

Osaka 2019 - Japan

sumo-tastic

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party town

One immediate difference from Kyoto, is that Osaka is a party town. It's a gritty town (in terms of overall spotlessly clean Japan), where bars and lounges and shopping is open late, there's sketchy alleyways, and a buzzing energy to the city alive with people looking for their version of a great night.

not so classic Japan

We stayed in the Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori neighborhood where nearly every building had one if not all five floors containing a small bar (4-12 person), mostly with people singling karaoke and drinking heavily. We checked out the Amerikana area with shops selling vintage american style 80's wear, with some local Japanese stores mixed in. There was also a modern zoo and entertainment center near the developing Tennoji metro stop. We wandered some local markets that looked like a permanent garage sale spot, and saw the worlds largest ferris wheel ride. There was a lot in Osaka that was nothing like the sites we can to accept as normal Japan in Tokyo and Kyoto.

still classic Japan

We did also see some more typical Japanese items. There was the Shitennoji temple and pagoda, the Osaka park with it's blooming cherry trees, the Osaka castle, and delicious fresh fish and noodle restaurants (and one where we tried Kobe beef). And perhaps the most traditional Japanese event, was the national sumo tournament we got to witness.

There were 30+ match-ups that we saw throughout the full day tournament. It was one out of 15 days that the tournament lasts to determine the best of the best. There are several levels of skill that the wrestlers progress through and the talent got better and better later into the day. Each match up lasted about 5 minutes. Most of that was a warm up ceremony. It consisted of an official yelling out some commands that instructed the wrestlers of the stages of stretching, throwing lucky salt powder, going into several trial stances, and then the final actual battle. It was a furious and brutal flash of pushing, slapping, throwing, grunting. And yet it was balanced with such nimbleness and agility. There was also incredible sportsmanship with no anger at losing and no gloating at winning. Each match started and ended with bows and the contestants peacefully walking into and out of the platform. Quite an experience.

Recommend:

  • sumo tournament
  • Dotonbori nightlife and river walk
  • America village
  • Shitennoji

Japan Trip
Tokyo
Kyoto and Hakone
Nagoya
Osaka

Trip Map

Sumo Videos

Ceremony
Entrance of wrestlers
Warmup practices
Big Battle
Long Battle

Pictures

Osaka castle
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Ferris Wheel
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Sumo tournament
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Murk Travels - Japan album
see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 01:10 Archived in Japan Tagged parties trains japan castle asia 2019 Comments (0)

Kyoto and Hakone 2019 - Japan

history in real life

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classic spa

After leaving Tokyo, we headed to the area of Odawara and Hakone, to spend the night at a ryokan. It's a traditional Japanese inn, involving shoes off, straw mat floors, mattress on floor for bedding, tea ceremony, traditional meals, with kimono-like robes ... all very authentic. There was also public and private onsens (hot springs water spa) available. It was very relaxing. The one we chose was also close to the Japanese museum for the Little Prince book, including a replica French town and information about the author's life. Sharon is a big fan, so we checked that out before hopping another bullet train (Shinkansen) to the former capital of Kyoto.

classic Japan

Kyoto, the very historic and ancient Japanese city. It's well known for all the shrines, temples, and religious sites. Here we saw a lot of locals and families dressed in traditional kimonos and clothes. First up was a smaller Buddhist temple that we randomly stumbled upon taking a back way (a less crowded way) to a more famous site. I don't even remember the name of it (Otani?), but it was very peaceful. Then onto a large packed site of Kiyomizu-dera. It has a very instagram infamous temple balcony as well as several pagodas. It's part of the UNESCO world heritage site within Kyoto made up of several temple grounds. We then wandered around the historic area of Gion and found the Hokanji temple pagoda (which was a famous picture we used as the background photo of our trip plan).

Our second day in Kyoto involved a quick train ride a little south of town center. That took us to Fushimi Inari. It's a mountain (really a small hill, compared to Colorado living) that is covered in orange torii gates as memorials to relatives that have passed away. Some are huge enough to walk through (they go over the pathways), while others are small hand held versions just laying around. There's miles of trails and tens of thousands of the gates. We walked to the top of the mountain and had some great views of the city. We ended our time in the city at Nishiki market. It had all authentic local food and crafts, and not so tourist based souvenir junk seen at a lot of popular markets in Japan.

Recommend:

  • a stay at a ryoken w/ an onsen
  • Kiyomizu-dera
  • Fushimi Inari
  • timing - if you're really into temples and history you could spend a week here. we only had a couple partial days to see some of the famous sites that were relatively close to the train station. but there's a ton more that was on our list that we could have done if there was more time: silver pagoda, bamboo forest, golden temple, parks, philosophers walk

Japan Trip
Tokyo
Kyoto and Hakone
Nagoya
Osaka

Trip Map

Pictures

View of Kyoto and Kiyomizu-dera
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the Gion pagoda
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orange torii gates at Fushimi Inari
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Murk Travels - Japan album
see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 02:12 Archived in Japan Tagged churches skylines trains nature japan temple travel castle asia 2019 Comments (0)

Ramen and Sushi tour : Tokyo 2019 - Japan

Shibuya and Shinjuku

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Our trip to Japan involved packing in as much as we could. So in 10 days, we checked out multiple areas of Tokyo, Kyoto, Odawara, Hakone, Nagoya and Osaka. We experienced authentic and historic Japanese culture as well as their more modern advantages.

just a bit of Tokyo

We started and ended our trip in Tokyo, since that's where we flew into and out of. So there were a couple days right after we landed where we checked out the most popular neighborhoods ... out of the 30+ that we got recommendations on or heard about. There's plenty to see and do in this mega-city for several trips.

The first night was the arrival around 8pm. I had to find a bus from the Narita airport (a little farther away from the city center than the Haneda Tokyo airport) into the main Tokyo station. We stayed in the Hanzomon area. There's not a lot going on there, but it's close to a lot of where we wanted to go. It's very convenient to get a local suica metro card to ride all the trains between neighborhoods. Also, get a local sim card (with unlimited data) from stores in the airport, or most metro stations. It helped a ton with directions, websites, translations, and train schedules.

The first full day we spent checking out Shibuya and Shinjuku neighborhoods just a little west of central Tokyo. They are both large areas with huge metro stations. We walked through the Shinjuku Gyoen national park and botanical gardens to see the start of the cherry blossom season. Close to that is Yoyoji park with the Meiji shrine. While there we saw a traditional Japanese wedding, followed the local customs with fountains to cleanse the evil spirits, and made wishes into the great unknown. We finished off the day with some crazy entertainment at the Robot Restaurant.

Robot Restaurant is a type of story told with humans, robots, lasers, and a number of other secrets. Yep, it's specifically over the top touristy, but it's worth it for a unique take on the culture.

The second day involved getting our breakfast extra fresh at the Tsukiji fish market and visiting the shopping mecca in Ginza, before catching a ride on a bullet train to our next destination (check out the Osaka, Kyoto, and rural Japan posts).

A week later we came back to Tokyo and had a few more partial days. That included a trip out to the Odaiba man made island of entertainment where we saw a statue of liberty replica, the amazing Team Labs Borderless exhibit, and plenty of shopping. I had an extra day after Sharon left and checked out Asakusa for the temple, markets, and river walk.

Borderless labs is a huge warehouse of multiple rooms of a diverse range of interactive art. Some you physically crawl and jump on, others you draw and visually interact, and others are nature based moving images. I don't want to spoil it for anyone that goes, but it is a MUST DO.

Of course the city is famous for it's ramen, sushi, and a ton of Michelin rated restaurants. We tried a lot of local food places and they were all delicious. Other sites and activities we saw included: the Shibuya scramble/crossing which is said to be the busiest pedestrian intersection, the observation floor at the Tokyo Government center, an izakaya (bar) alley for locals, walking through Yanaka (old school Tokyo), Ueno park, Akihabara electronics nirvana, shopping in Omote-sando and Harajuku, and catching more cherry blossoms by the Meguro river walk.

Recommend:

  • Team Labs borderless
  • Robot Restaurant
  • any of the green spaces in the city : Yoyogi park, Gyeon gardens, imperial gardens
  • eating at the fish markets, or any of the local noodles and sushi places
  • Asakusa sites

Japan Trip
Tokyo
Kyoto and Hakone
Nagoya
Osaka

Videos

Robot Restaurant neon dance
Robot Restaurant dance
Borderless Labs crystals
Boderless Labs lamps

Trip Map

Pictures

Gyeon national gardens
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endless city skyline
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liberty replica
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Robot Restaurant
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Borderless labs
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Murk Travels - Japan album
see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 18:54 Archived in Japan Tagged art trains tokyo japan travel asia murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

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