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David's Trip Report--Japan- November 2013

David's Trip Report--Japan- November 2013

Old Mar 10th, 2014, 04:21 AM
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David, we were at Iwaso ryokan on Nov 14 and the koyo was gorgeous even at that time. You were there almost a week later...it must have been close to or at peak colors. Wow!

Kavey, I not only gasped but also totally forgot all I had just read of David's trip report! I have my fingers crossed the disaster was fixable.
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Old Mar 12th, 2014, 03:34 AM
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David, I'm currently planning my first Japan trip and this is so helpful. Thanks for sharing. I've already added Kappabashi to my Tokyo plans as I love cooking and everything there is to go with it. Maybe it's a good job I'm going solo after all as I'm sure my usual travel companions would just roll their eyes after 3 hours in kitchen equipment stores! Looking forward to the rest of your report.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 04:16 PM
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Thank you everyone. I will try to finish up the trip report this weekend. kja-yes Miyajima was absolutely lovely. To sylvie and others planning their Japan trips, I would strongly encourage you to arrive in the morning to give you a full day of exploring and then stay overnight on the island to enjoy it when the day trippers leave and it becomes much more tranquil.
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Old Mar 18th, 2014, 12:42 AM
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MinnBeef, that might be tricky as I would like to visit the Peace Park in Hiroshima first, but I'm hoping to get there in the afternoon and to stay the night. I think I need to become an early riser on this trip! Or maybe I should head straight to Miyajima and then 'do' Hiroshima the following morning before heading for Kyoto. Too many variables and decisions to make.
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 12:32 PM
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Finally finishing up my trip report on a gorgeous spring day in Minneapolis. Thank you to everyone who has "traveled" along with me on this report. I appreciate your interest and encouragement in getting me to finish this report. Getting this all documented has given me a lasting record of this wonderful trip that will help me retain the memories of the wonderful things I saw and people I met!


November 21 and 22:

I awoke at 4:15 a.m. that morning, showered, dressed and was out the door by 4:40 and on my way to Sushidai for one more outstanding sushi breakfast. I had chosed the Mitsui Garden Ginza partly due to its proximity to the Tsukiji fish market and by 4:55, I was in line at Sushidai. This time, I was # 15 in line, so that meant I would be in the second wave of diners after the restaurant opened at 5:00 a.m. I was in by 6:25 and enjoyed another outstanding sushi breakfast. Seriously, for those sushi fans visiting Tokyo, this is the most outstanding sushi around and will be totally worth your while to get up early to experience it.

At about 8:00 a.m., I made it back to Mitsui Garden Ginza. It was a beautiful, clear sunny day and from the lobby on the 16th floor, gorgeous Mt. Fuji loomed above the skyscrapers of Tokyo. I probably snapped 10 photos from the lobby. Looking them over, I really wasn’t satisfied with any of them, primarily because even with the zoom, Fuji looked too far away compared to the Tokyo skyline. Being the type A personality I am, I decided to delete those photos to not take up unnecessary storage space. Before I deleted them, I was careful to look at my delete options. The option that seemed to make the most sense was “Delete all photos on this day”. I thought and thought about it and decided yes, delete all photos on this day. Unfortunately, I did not stop to think that the time stamp on the camera DID NOT adjust to Tokyo time and had remained on U.S. Central/Minneapolis time—15 hours earlier. Sooooooo…when I pressed delete, not only did it delete those 10 photos of Fuji above the skyline, it deleted all of the photos taken on that day…that day November 20th!!!!! Suddenly, all of my wonderful photos of Fuji-san from the bullet train were gone! A chill and a sense of dread went up my spine as I realized what I had done. At this point, my fate was sealed and my open day in Tokyo was now set. There was NO OTHER OPTION then to quickly head off to Tokyo station to buy transportation to Hakone, from where I would backtrack the entire route I had traveled 10 days earlier, knowing that at least the weather was sunny and crystal clear and Mt. Fuji would be enthusiastically awaiting my return in about 3 hours.

I arrived at Tokyo Station and bought a ticket to Odawara, along with a Hakone Day pass. The train to Odawara turned out to be a local train, stopping at every friggin’ station. It took an hour just to get from Tokyo to Odawara. From there, I boarded the incredibly scenic yet incredibly slow switchback train and after about 45 minutes, the cable car. Finally, I boarded the gondola which I knew would take me to Owakudani Boiling Valley and my ultimate destination. As the cable car approached a hill top, I knew from my earlier trip what would be waiting for me once the gondola cleared the top of the hill. There, on a crystalline late morning that just 10 days earlier had been shrouded in clouds, stood Fuji-san. It was if I could reach out and touch it…it was THAT CLOSE! My camera worked overtime for the next hour as I just gazed in awe and shot photos of Fuji from every possible angle. If I didn’t have a job, family and friends back home, I COULD HAVE STAYED THERE FOREVER, it was THAT SPECTACULAR! I spent the next hour after that taking the gondola down to Togendai and from there, the boat cruise around Lake Ashi. This gave me several more great perspectives of Fuji-san, peaking above the beautiful lake. By mid-afternoon, I boarded the Hakone bus that ultimately took me back to Tokyo Station. Along the way, the bus stopped to pick up passengers in Gotemba where Fuji looked as if it was sitting in this hotel’s backyard. Once back at the hotel, I had a light dinner at a place that now escapes my memory. I spent that evening packing up and preparing for my flight home the next morning.

That next morning, Friday, I boarded my reserved seat on the Friendly Airport Limousine bus back to Narita. I caught the Delta 3:00 flight home to Minneapolis. The flight was blissfully uneventful. We landed at around 10:30 a.m. that same Friday morning. The line through customs was efficient. From there, I picked up my wheelie bag from bag check (I had to check it as it contained my Santoku from Kappabashi), caught a Blue Line train home and walked in my front door around 12:30. I spent the next 5 days getting over my jet lag, which was worth every moment of difficult sleep for all the wonderful things I had seen and people I had meant.

My top lasting memories of Japan:

• The absolutely wonderful and kind people. My favorites of any country that my travels have taken me to.
• The stunning beauty of Mt. Fuji.
• The breathtaking koyo in Matsumoto, Kyoto and Miyajima
• Matsumoto Castle
• The incredible sushi at Sushidai
• Kappabashi
• The ¾ view of the veranda of Kiyomizu-dera
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 12:34 PM
  #66  
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Great trip report, David - thanks for sharing your wonderful memories!
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 03:24 PM
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Thanks for the great trip report!
Kudos for the early rising ability
Always upload to the cloud and delete later
Hope you get back to Japan soon
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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 02:43 AM
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Thanks for a wonderful trip down memory lane.

Fujisan pics....whew
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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 05:56 PM
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Thanks for a great trip report. I'm glad it all worked out well.

Just FYI, it's pretty straightforward to recover photos accidentally deleted from a memory card *provided you haven't done anything since*

There are several pay-for services and software. This one is free, though a bit geeky: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec
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Old May 1st, 2014, 08:59 AM
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Just read your report for the third time. Fantastic! Every bit as engaging as the first two reads. Leaving for first time trip in 12 days. Thanks for all the great info!!
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Old May 3rd, 2014, 08:07 PM
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You're welcome Russ. Hope you have as great a time as I did. And don't forget to post your own trip report when you get back!
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Old May 6th, 2014, 10:18 PM
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I will absolutely post a trip report. Reliving it is half the fun. Thanks!
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