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Japan: Fall colors Kyushu, Matsue, Naoshima, Nakasendo, Kyoto, Tokyo

Japan: Fall colors Kyushu, Matsue, Naoshima, Nakasendo, Kyoto, Tokyo

Old Nov 12th, 2020, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by progol View Post
Iím speechless. These photos are just stunning, capturing not just the beautiful colors but the serenity as well. Thank you!
Thanks so much! There were crowds, which can definitely make it less serene, but weíve learned to mix in some less popular places with the must see sights, and they are often our favorite locations of the trip.
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Old Nov 14th, 2020, 09:05 AM
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Tokyo Day 1 and 2: Studio Ghibli, Edo-Tokyo and Sumida Hokusai Museums

We headed out of Kyoto the next day on the super-fast and modern Shinkansen train, bound for Tokyo. The trip, which would take about 5-1/2 hours by car, takes just over 2 hours on the most direct train. We intentionally sat on the left side because we knew that, if we were lucky, we would be treated to a fleeting view of Mt. Fuji, and we werenít disappointed.

We stashed our luggage in lockers in Tokyo Station, in order to make a pre-arranged stop, before heading to our hotel. A few months before our trip, I had booked a couple tickets for the Studio Ghibli Museum. This is the film studio particularly known for the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki, such as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. Itís a small but charming museum, and only takes about 90 minutes to see everything, including a short film which has not been released to the general public.

The next day, the temperature dropped dramatically and it rained all day, so we decided to focus on indoor time at the Edo-Tokyo Museum (which I describe in great detail in my first Japan trip report from 2014) and the Sumida Hokusai Museum, which focuses on the landscape prints of Katsushika Hokusai, the most famous of which is probably The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. In both museums it is interesting to see the traditional arts and historical artifacts displayed in a hyper-modern setting.

That evening we had another bizarre LA connection experience. Four years ago, when visiting Japan for the second time, Sam heard someone call his name from the crowd in Kamakura. It turned out to be Shawn, a former colleague from his work, who was visiting with his wife, Susan. What are the chances? Well, four years later, here we are back in Japan, when we get a text from Shawn who saw the pics we had posted on Facebook, saying that they would be in Tokyo again, at exactly the same time as us. My mind boggles at the unlikeliness of this happening again, so on our second evening we found ourselves attending the opening of the 19th International Art Exchange exhibition in Tokyo, where Susan had a painting being displayed. So strange, and yet itís the second time on this same trip that weíve unexpectedly met someone from home.


My Neighbor Totoro stain glass window at Studio Ghibli Museum

Fleeting view of Mt. Fuji from Shinkansen train

Edo-Tokyo Museum exterior, looking like something out of the old Space Invaders arcade game

Sumida Hokusai Museum exterior

Sumida Hokusai Museum

Tokyo Skytree Tower from the Sumida Hokusai Museum

19th International Art Exchange exhibition in Tokyo

Tokyo night view from our hotel room
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Old Nov 15th, 2020, 03:52 PM
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Tokyo Day 3, 4 and 5 - TeamLab and final fall leaves at Koishikawa-Kōrakuen

The next day, we attended a digital art exhibition, called teamLab Borderless, which was one of the coolest things we have ever seen. In this total immersive audio-visual experience, one of the most photographed rooms allows you to wander among hundreds of lamps hanging from the ceiling. The entire room, ceiling, walls and floors, are covered with mirrors, making it look like an infinite number of lights going out into distance. A couple other highlights were the room where kids can draw pictures, which are then scanned and immediately incorporated into the animated images being projected on the wall. Another is the tea room, where a digitally projected flower seems to grow in your tea cup, and if you move the cup, the flower bursts into dozens of petals, and a new flower starts to grow in your cup. I took more videos than photos, but neither do it justice.

We had such fun at teamLab Borderless that we decided to visit their other installation, teamLab Planets the following day. Our favorite two rooms were the one with thousands of LED strips hanging from the ceiling, which created mesmerizing geometric patterns of light, and the room where we were told to roll up our pants and wade out into the warm, knee-high water, to follow the schools of fish projected onto the surface. Magical!

Because I had mostly taken videos, here are some links to what I had previously posted. Hopefully they work.







Our last morning in Japan broke bright, sunny and very cold, so a made a final outing for fall leaves at the Koishikawa-Korakuen park.Tokyo is the last major city to see the leaves change, so we were about a week early for peak color there, but we are even more grateful to have seen the magnificent displays in Kyoto.

So that concludes trip three to Japan, but I have no doubt there will be another one at some point in our future.


TeamLab

TeamLab

TeamLab

Slow motion lawnmower race on the building next door to our hotel

Koishikawa-Kōrakuen

Koishikawa-Kōrakuen

Koishikawa-Kōrakuen

Koishikawa-Kōrakuen

Koishikawa-Kōrakuen
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Old Nov 15th, 2020, 04:18 PM
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Just found this fabulous report. What fantastic photos. We’re going to Japan in fall 2021. Spending most of the time in Kyushu and returning to Kyoto and Tokyo. What timeframe were you in Kyoto? Thanks!
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Old Nov 15th, 2020, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
Just found this fabulous report. What fantastic photos. Weíre going to Japan in fall 2021. Spending most of the time in Kyushu and returning to Kyoto and Tokyo. What timeframe were you in Kyoto? Thanks!
We were in Kyoto Nov 20-25.
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Old Nov 21st, 2020, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by russ_in_LA View Post
We were in Kyoto Nov 20-25.
Thanks! I could work with that time frame for our trip. I didnt really care that much about the colors, but after looking at your photos I think its worth trying to time it for some of the places.
In Kyushu did you have a favorite place? I looked at the ryokan you stayed -- gorgeous, but as you say a bit of a splurge.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2020, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
Thanks! I could work with that time frame for our trip. I didnt really care that much about the colors, but after looking at your photos I think its worth trying to time it for some of the places.
In Kyushu did you have a favorite place? I looked at the ryokan you stayed -- gorgeous, but as you say a bit of a splurge.
We were only in Kyushu for 4 days so didn’t visit very many places. Our main reason for being there was Takefue, so we focused on that area. We really enjoyed Futagogi temple (on the Kunisaki Peninsula) but it’s rather out of the way. I’d suggest checking out some other Kyushu trip reports to get opinions of a wider range of possible places. Japan-guide.com also has a section dedicated to fall colors that is worth reviewing. Happy planning!

Last edited by russ_in_LA; Nov 22nd, 2020 at 07:13 AM.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2020, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
Thanks! I could work with that time frame for our trip. I didnt really care that much about the colors, but after looking at your photos I think its worth trying to time it for some of the places.
In Kyushu did you have a favorite place? I looked at the ryokan you stayed -- gorgeous, but as you say a bit of a splurge.
Consider Kirishima Onsen and Takachiho.

I stayed at a tourist hotel in KO with a very nice rotenburo and a view of Sakurajima. There is a bus from the station and a local tourist bus that goes to the shrine.

In Takachiho you will visit the gorge. I highly recommend the kagura performance at the shrine. It was a special Japanese experience for me. But, you sit on a hard wood floor, so I recommend taking a pillow or something to sit on. The minshuku where I stayed had a van to take guests to the shrine.

After Takachiho I headed to Aso. This inolved a bus, walk, and then a sweet little train to get to the JR line.
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Old Nov 24th, 2020, 07:26 AM
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Thank you for your detailed TR. I'm planning a trip back to Kyushu to visit some of the places I missed in 2016 due to earthquake damage and compressed schedule. I'll definitely be referring back to your report as I build my itinerary.
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Old Nov 25th, 2020, 09:11 PM
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They are finally getting a grip on all the damage the last earthquake did. The JR Hohi Line near Aso was finally re-opened in August. Still, there are so many great places in Kyushu to see, but you really need a rental car.
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Old Dec 17th, 2020, 05:36 AM
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What did you think of Fukuoka? You spent 2 nights there? thanks!
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Old Dec 17th, 2020, 05:37 AM
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What did you think of Fukuoka? You spent 2 nights there? thanks!
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Old Dec 17th, 2020, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
What did you think of Fukuoka? You spent 2 nights there? thanks!
We were there for two nights but spent our one full day there 30 minutes away in Dazaifu, where we enjoyed the Temnagu Shrine, Komyozenji Temple and the National Museum. Our hotel was near the Yatai food stalls in Fukuoka, but they were crowded and it was cold so we didnít want to wait for an opening. We enjoyed what we did see, but I would not go out of my way to go back.
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Old Dec 17th, 2020, 02:08 PM
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I like Fukuoka. Been there at least three times. I want to go back and maybe see Dazaifu this time and visit Saga, and Shimabara - that was one plan for Nov last year.
Of all the places I have visited in Japan, Fukuoka is where I would like to live.
Kyushu Bassho (sumo) is in November.
The airport has quite a few nonstop and domestic flights and good connections.
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Old Dec 17th, 2020, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mrwunrfl View Post
I like Fukuoka. Been there at least three times. I want to go back and maybe see Dazaifu this time and visit Saga, and Shimabara - that was one plan for Nov last year.
Of all the places I have visited in Japan, Fukuoka is where I would like to live.
Kyushu Bassho (sumo) is in November.
The airport has quite a few nonstop and domestic flights and good connections.
Thanks for your info. Are there places or sites within the city of Fuk that you recommend?

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Old Dec 18th, 2020, 11:27 AM
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I agree with mrwunrfl although I have only been to Fukuoka once - in late March 2012 for two nights. It just seemed very pleasant there and easy to get around. I did go to Dazaifu to see the famous shrine, temple and national museum. I get an English language newsletter from the city of Fukuoka every couple of weeks which, I guess, is what keeps me interested in returning.
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Old Dec 18th, 2020, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Mara View Post
I agree with mrwunrfl although I have only been to Fukuoka once - in late March 2012 for two nights. It just seemed very pleasant there and easy to get around. I did go to Dazaifu to see the famous shrine, temple and national museum. I get an English language newsletter from the city of Fukuoka every couple of weeks which, I guess, is what keeps me interested in returning.
Thanks, Mara. Would you mind sharing a link or email to get the English language newsletter from the city of Fukuoka.
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Old Dec 18th, 2020, 04:05 PM
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Chikae Restaurant in Fukuoka for fresh seafood:

Fukuoka is famous for ramen, esp tonkotsu ramen.
Also for mentaiko (pollock roe) which I thought was kinda nasty.

And Hakata ningyo (beautiful and not expensive):
https://en.japantravel.com/fukuoka/f...ta-dolls/59639
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Old Dec 18th, 2020, 04:55 PM
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Good timing, mrwunrfl, I just got one today - they are weekly. Here's a site where you can subscribe:
https://www.fukuoka-now.com/en/mailmagazine/
Enjoy!!

I remember eating ramen in the Ramen Stadium in Canal City back then.

Thinking positive that I can visit Japan next fall....I was there from the end of January to the end of March this year when the US State Dept. said US citizens should go home....home to the lockdown in NYC...oy....
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Old Dec 18th, 2020, 08:03 PM
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Beautiful photos as always, Russ. I envy your third trip back to Japan. I envision my own third trip back within the next 5 years. I think I would concentrate on either Kyushu or Hokkaido as I feel like Iíve visited most of the places on Honshu that Iíd like to see. Japan has just always held a special place in my heart since a 6th grade social studies project. In a dead heat with Spain, itís my absolute favorite of favorites of places Iíve traveled to.

I donít recall seeing anything about where you stayed in Kyoto. Did you have a chance to stay once again at Hotel Mume? I definitely plan to include Kyoto for a 3rd time in my next trip and canít imagine staying anywhere else...
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