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vickiebypass May 8th, 2019 12:22 PM

Trip Report: 5 Different Cruise Ports
I recently returned from 2 weeks in Japan - 6 days on my own in Kyoto & Tokyo and 9 days on the Cunard Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, round trip from Yokohama that circumnavigated Japan. I detailed my days in Kyoto in a separate post and since my visits to these ports were brief, I've created this post. Several of these ports are ones not often visited by cruise ships, so it was nice to have an opportunity to see some of the lesser-known ports. I researched all the ports using various web sites including japan-guide to identify what appealed to me and then the logistics for getting there! (I don’t do any excursions arranged by the ship since they’re very expensive, involve photo and shopping stops and I much prefer to be in control of my destiny.)

April 19 (Fri) Mid 70s and sunny. Yokohama
Since I think a number of people using this forum are looking for info about getting to the cruise ship docks, this was my experience. I took a 12:30 bullet train from Kyoto and two hours later I was in Shin-Yokohama station (which is where my luggage had been forwarded to by my Kyoto hotel). It was easy to find the tourist office in the station (via the Central exit) and the left luggage place is part of the tourist office. I was relieved to see that my suitcase was there! An extremely helpful lady asked me if I wanted to take the Cunard shuttle to the ship instead of a taxi, which I didn’t know existed but was happy to use! She told me I should take a taxi to the shuttle location and wrote the address for me; then she said “oh it’s not busy I’ll walk you to the taxi”. She gave the taxi driver the address and even asked how much the fare would be – again, I felt lucky to have encountered such pleasant and helpful people.

It turns out the ship was at a different pier than I had been told 5 days prior, so it was fortunate I didn’t do this on my own since I wouldn’t have known about the pier change. The shuttle location wasn’t immediately obvious so the taxi driver asked one of the older street guards/traffic controllers who pointed us in the right direction.

April 21 (Sun) Sunny blazing blue sky about 60° Hakodate
Today’s port is Hakodate, which is in northern Japan on the island of Honshu. It’s the Queen Elizabeth’s maiden call at this port, so there will be various welcome/sail way festivities arranged by the city.

I had such a fun day because I talked to many groups of Japanese high school students. Took the cruise shuttle bus into town to the train station and I saw about 50 girls in navy blue uniforms (pleated skirts, sailor midi tops, white neckerchiefs, black tights or knee socks and black loafers) waving at us. When I got off the bus, their teacher approached me to explain that this was a girls high school and they were very eager to practice their English and would I please talk to them? Of course! I went to different groups of them and talked. For one group, I mentioned that it was Easter and they nodded so I explained something about the Easter rabbit who gives children candy on Easter; one of the girls who had been quiet reached into her bag and gave me a really lovely origami box that she had made with a lid; she wanted me to take the lid off – and there was a hard candy inside. I exclaimed over the box and said it was my Easter gift and they all smiled. I appreciated the thought behind the gift.

I could barely make it down the sidewalk without more groups wanting to talk to me so I talked to two girls and mentioned KitKat bars and that I was looking for different flavors. They immediately said they would show me so they took me into the train station and we went to several stores but there were none to be found; I didn’t mind and was happy to follow along because this girl had made this her mission. We talked a little bit more and then I went off on my sightseeing.

My first stop was the morning market which is an indoor market of fresh food, mostly seafood but some fruit & vegs. This was unlike any market I’ve visited because they weren’t shouting their wares or being pushy; lots of dried and cured seafood; tanks of live shrimp with twitching antenna; crabs of all sizes; eels; an octopus tentacles that was probably 14 inches long and 2 inches around; sea urchins split open which I’ve never seen before except on tv. Educational and entertaining. I walked to the Red Brick Warehouse section which were a waste for me - only a few were actually old warehouses but the majority are new buildings; they contained galleries or crafty stores that are high priced and nothing that interested me.

I took a tram to the old area Motomachi area and wandered around a bit (it was Sunday morning and very quiet). I went to the former British consul building which wasn’t terribly interesting but it was a picture into the life of the British consul in the 1930s. It would have been a nice life, I think.

There are a couple of churches on the “top sites” list which I didn’t bother going to since they were uphill and based on what I seen already, I didn’t think I was missing much. Tram back to the train station and was pleased to see the students were still there. They made a beeline for me so I talked to a few more groups. I showed one group what I had purchased and they gathered around to look as I opened the bags. They couldn’t stop laughing since they thought my purchases were hilarious - I bought a tongue scraper, eye drops and a bunch of corn Snacks from 7-Eleven. They laughed and laughed as I pulled each item out, and so did I. More girls came over to see what was so funny! I had talked about Easter again and after I showed them my purchases, another girl reached into her bag and gave me an amazing origami flower that is incredibly delicate with multiple folds and round petals (maybe it’s a lotus?) I thanked her and said “these are my Easter flowers” and someone else gave me another origami box (different paper & a different candy inside.) I got such a kick out of talking to these girls – so eager, full of personality and bright sparks.

Went back to the ship and sat on the sunny deck reading and watching the water - that’s the best part of a cruise for me. At 4:00, I decided I would go to the on board concert by a local girls high school wind ensemble. These girls were absolutely amazing! Wow! 50 of them wearing their sailor-type school uniforms. They started off with the Dusty Springfield hit “The Look of Love” and they really swung - great sound, strong horns and sections of the girls would sway (choreographed) when they weren’t playing their instruments. They played familiar contemporary songs with gusto and skill. They were like a marching band in that there was a plan for sections to sway, turn in their chairs, kick their foot forward, bring their instruments up and really incorporate movement. When the percussion section wasn’t playing, they were dancing up a storm - in unison, choreographed. All the girls were so enthusiastic and happy, it really was infectious. They were loving what they were doing and having a blast, plus playing really well. It was a true pleasure to watch them. Made me smile the entire time. They played 2 encores and the audience wouldn’t leave - we just sat there, wanting them to play more. Finally, they had to get off the ship, so they waved and we waved.

But that wasn’t the last we’d see of them! Before we sailed, there was a farewell performance on the pier by a group of women who sang & danced. The orchestra girls had loaded their instruments into a truck but a number of them were still hanging around taking pictures and having fun with each other. So when these women started dancing using the amplified music, the girls joined and it became a very long line of about 400 people in total and it was the goofiest dance. It was a Japanese song that seemed to be called “ice Cream” and they all knew the steps (similar to the YMCA hand motions but 1000 times better). A triangle over your head, put your head in your hands like you’re sleeping, walk forward three steps and kick, walk backwards, jump & kick your foot, hop, clap and repeat a zillion times. It was surreal to see this long line all doing the same steps. The best part was they were loving it - they were having such fun - they were so into it –again, infectious. The dance lasted at least 20 minutes and then the girls all started just fooling around videoing each other, jumping in the air, kicking their feet up, running down to the end of the pier, selfies galore. Talk about living life and/or loving life – it made me and all other passengers grin.


Kathie May 8th, 2019 01:46 PM

Really enjoying your report!

vickiebypass May 8th, 2019 02:04 PM

April 22 (Mon) Sunny blue skies and mid 50s Akita

This was another maiden call by the Queen Elizabeth, so there were welcome dancers on the pier when we arrvied: Namahage - demonlike creatures, portrayed by men wearing big masks, traditional straw capes and scary hair. Rather intimidating so I can see how little kids could be encouraged to obey their parents and behave, rather than be visited by the Namage. Talked to the tourist info people at the port and they told me about special dance performances happening today in the downtown area which sounded very interesting.

Took the shuttle to the Atika Castle Hotel and walked a block to the central square where they were setting up for the dance performances. Had about 20 mins to wait so stopped into the art museum I had thought about going to but the exhibition didn’t sound too exciting. So, got a babahera ice cream cone from a pushcart manned by an older lady. These babahera ladies are all over Akita, dressed in bright yellow and red aprons and wearing yellow headscarves. What makes them special is that they scoop the ice cream into the shape of a rose! There are two colors – pink & yellow – and it was tasty but mostly sweet, not much flavor. Only 200 yen.

The first 30 minute performance was two Miyako dancers. Interesting to see them up close (since the Miyako Odori performance I saw in Kyoto was in a theater) and check out their wigs, hair ornaments and make up, especially the back of their necks which were left bare in sculpted points. They did 3 dances and then posed for photos. It’s very stylized and each movement has meaning but I don’t think I get it yet. The next 30 minute performance was Nishimonai Bon Odori – the dance is native to a small town in northern Akita prefecture. The dance is a mixture of an old harvest dance and a memorial to a fallen samurai lord and the troupe of dancers is unique since some wear a black hood to represent the spirits of the deceased while the others wear a woven straw hat called a amigasa. The hats are very aerodynamic looking and structured so that you can’t see their faces which gives a surreal quality. The dance is circular with tons of slow, deliberate arm movements; similarly deliberate foot movements. It was fascinating to study and try to figure out the story.

After all this culture and ice cream, I crossed the street and over the moat to the entrance of Senshu Park. What a great park - now I get the whole cherry blossom thing! The tourist info lady had said today was the day that all the blossoms would be in bloom and she was right - the blooms were fluffy and trees layered in front of or next to each other looked like clouds. Just tree after tree after tree.

The park was having a cherry blossom festival so lots of food stalls and even some arcade games in the center. Almost all locals, having picnics on the grassy areas. There were side paths, panoramic areas overlooking the city, a pond & fountain, plus an attractive shrine & temple that many locals visited. I stopped by their shop and bought two little wooden carved boars on a red string w gold amulet. It’s the year of the boar in Japan and these are good luck charms. There was no one manning the stall so I rang the bell, the rice paper door slid open and a man (maybe a monk) came out. I paid and asked him if they were good fortune but he didn’t understand.

Bought a steak yakitori and sat on the grass to eat. I walked up the stairs to the upper park area which had a variety of landscapes – a stream, rocks, cherries, and two more shrines. One of them had nice wooden prayer signs with cherry blossoms which I bought since this was the place that sold me on the whole cherry blossom experience. I spent about 2 ½ hours here, wandering and people watching (at home, I’d eavesdrop on conversations but no chance of that here!) Short walk back to the town center and the shuttle back to the ship.

This was a very nice day with surprises in the two dance performances and the local feel in Senshu Park.


Marija May 8th, 2019 02:30 PM

Thanks for writing. Sounds like lots of fun!

curiousgeo May 8th, 2019 04:01 PM

Those high school students around the Hakodate station are from Iai Jogaku, a very prestigious private girls school established in the late 1800’s by Scottish missionaries. They go down on cruise ship days so they can practice their language skills. The original school building is a national historic site, currently under a 5 year renovation. An interesting note, the government subsidizes the school so tuition is a whopping $200 a month lol.

vickiebypass May 8th, 2019 04:44 PM

Curiousgeo - I knew those girls were smart cookies!! I was impressed they were at the station on a Sunday so their drive to practice English is very strong. If I’d been more organized, I would have thought of different topics to discuss with them, like movies, books or hobbies. That would have been more interesting for all of us. Next time!

shouldbewriting May 8th, 2019 07:00 PM

Great report!

annhig May 10th, 2019 06:41 AM

What an interesting and possibly unique TR!

I'm highly unlikely to follow in your foot steps as I'm a terrible sailor but you have piqued my interest nonetheless.

Thank you for posting it.

vickiebypass May 10th, 2019 10:00 AM

Annhig and others: Thank you for the kind words! I know my trip reports are lengthy but I enjoy reading about the details of other people's trips and find it helpful when planning my own trips, hence my detail level. It's interesting to me that for decades I've travelled the world but definitely had no desire to visit Japan. But, over the past year, I've been slowing down at work and had significant amounts of time to kill in the office, so, what does a traveller do? I read blogs and trip reports, even for areas that I thought I had no interest Asia. The photos and descriptions of Japan started appealing to me and gradually I began vaguely thinking about a trip "sometime" to Japan. Then in early March I got an email from Cunard about "sailing soon savings" for a 9 day Japan cruise - between the very discounted fare and the fact that it was visiting various ports & islands (so could be a reconnaissance trip), it seemed like serendipity! When my bosses approved two weeks off, I knew it was meant to be. I often use cruises as a way to see a bit of an area or country and decide if I want to return for a real, in-depth visit.

vickiebypass May 10th, 2019 01:02 PM

April 23 (Tues) Sunny and 70 Kanazawa

I got a late start this morning due to long wait at the pier for the shuttle bus but got to the Kanazawa train station & bought a one day bus pass for ¥500. The station is big but easy to navigate around; there’s an info center right outside the station exit where I bought my bus pass, got maps, asked questions, etc. The city has two buses that go in a loop around the key sites – the left loop and the right loop – which was all I needed (bus pass is accepted on these loops).

I decided to start with the Nomura Samurai house in the Nagamachi (samurai) district and then go to Kenrokuen garden. It wasn’t so easy to find the samurai house from the bus stop but it was an interesting area because you walk from a major shopping district - modern skyscrapers and malls - down a few little side streets and all the sudden you’re in an old area of one story buildings. The houses had walls around their properties that look like stucco but were actually mud and straw mixed together with maybe 2 feet of big round river stones at the bottom, then the stucco and then a wooden roof that was steeply pitched so that the rain would drain away and not ruin the walls. Lots of tour groups in this area who were walking to the samurai house (because the streets were too narrow for the buses). Found a spot that I thought was a shrine but there was an official sign out front explaining that the gardens that are reproductions of ancient imperial Gardens and it turned out that the building was public toilets - got to love those Japanese toilets galore! Eventually, I just followed all of the tour groups and the taxis to the samurai house. Right across the street was shop or two and a restaurant, so I bought a soda from the vending machine and sat down to wait until a couple of the tours had gone through. My one day bus pass included a ¥100 discount on the admission (a number of Kanazawa sites offered admission discounts with a bus pass, but you have to ask!)

I don’t know if it was because the samurai house was crowded or if it just wasn’t that impressive but I thought it was meh. Petite but nice garden - as they all are – with huge colorful carp: orange, black and white spotted, plain white. To me, they’re actually a little creepy looking but the sun was striking them just right so they looked iridescent. The other interesting thing that I remember from this house is that the wooden transoms between the rooms were ornately carved wood with holes left in them as empty spaces so that the air could move between the rooms and cool or heat them; smart thinking.

I didn’t spend more than 30 minutes there and I left thinking I would walk to the main street and catch the loop bus to Kenrokuen garden. I walked and walked and along the way (this was still in the old samurai district) I found three other houses that were open to the public free of charge which I enjoyed much more than the Nomura Samurai house. One of them was the Ashigura Museum which is two separate homes of foot soldiers; each home provided really informative laminated guides (English) describing the daily lives of these foot soldiers and their relationship to the samurai. The homes actually struck me as being pretty nice for foot soldiers – several rooms, garden, porch. I also saw the Tadeka family home which was an entrance gate & wall, the room next to the gate where the servants would live, the stables and a small strolling garden. A few signs/laminated info sheets with lots of info. (I was the only visitor to Tadeka and Ashigura.) I also found what is called a “rest area” - a building that is designed as a place to rest when you’re walking around sightseeing. (I ran across these in most of the gardens too.) They have a sign that says “no charge for admission, free toilets, place to sit down, museum and English speakers” - all of which was true. Neat that the city creates these. One man was busy showing a visitor through old photos of the area so I asked the other worker for directions to the main street but he must not have been the English speaker! We both pointed and gestured, smiled and said thank you.

So I kept walking (it felt like longer than it probably was – maybe 20 minutes from the Nomura house without the stops I made) and eventually found the bus stop and waited at least 25 minutes. Somehow I got disoriented once we got to Kenrokuen Garden and walked around for 15 minutes before I crossed the street, walked up the steep to one of the entrances. Given all the tourists in town today, I wasn’t surprised that there were no English-speaking guides available at the information center but I admit I was a bit cranky at this point.

The map provided at admission is very useful. There were many tour groups and nothing was looking special to me so I veered off to the side paths because they were less crowded; turns out this was the right thing to do – I guess tour groups stick to the wider, well-trodden route! This garden is famous because it contains the six different sublime qualities to which a garden can aspire: spaciousness & seclusion; artifice & antiquity; watercourses & panoramas. I had printed some info about these qualities and how they’re put into practice at Kenrouken which helped me understand the objectives and accomplishments. And realize that not everything in these gardens has to hit you in the face or be super huge or showy. While there were people all around, there were plenty of meandering paths so I could have a path to myself for a minute or two.

Eventually I found myself at the villa that I wanted to see, Sei son Kaku, which an emperor built for his mother-in-law in 1863. The description had said it was very unusual because it has two floors - the first floor is more formal reception rooms and the second floor is family living - plus gardens and it’s the only surviving example of this kind of architecture.

I got a ¥100 discount on admission (one day bus pass, so the bus pass paid for itself at this point). I really enjoyed this place. They were having had an exhibit of 200 Goshi dolls that had been collected by member of the family. Goshi dolls look like little fat Japanese men with bald heads and a fringe of black hair; made of white bisque china; various sizes; and presumably they’re good luck charms. This house was very different from any other houses that I’ve seen so far; rooms are much bigger and ceilings are higher (on the first floor) so it was a very spacious feeling. The mother-in-law‘s area was at the back of the house and she had a big sitting room plus a smaller room which was probably her bedroom, both facing a wonderful garden that was the length of the house and her apartment. As always, there was a wooden porch all around the perimeter and it was built with nightingale floors that kind of sound like little birdies - they squeak when you walk on them, but it’s not just a squeak like old wooden floors often squeak; these were built & calibrated so that the squeaks sound more bird like. There were other rooms on the first floor: an unusually large reception room where the samurai would receive visitors (and his bodyguard stood) plus various other rooms. There was big wooden staircase to the second floor which looked very British – dark wood, thick, swooping bannister, curved steps. There were six or seven rooms and these were a world of difference from the first floor or anything else I’ve seen in Japan! The smaller rooms were painted in very dramatic colors ultra marine, red, purple, and black; they each had different types of ceilings - wicker work, lacquer etc. and again there was a wooden deck all the way around the 2nd floor so that you could walk around the entire floor on the wooden walkway (in the back, the walkway looked over the garden). There were other people in the house but no tours and I was usually alone in each room. I’m glad that I stumbled across this villa because it made me feel better about the day from that point on.

I kept walking along the less travelled paths of the garden; was interested to see how the branches of the large, older trees are propped up with very thick, strong & official looking wooden posts. I got to a point where there was an exit and I was ready to leave. Walked about 10 minutes to the bus stop (got on the right one this time) and went back to the train station. Before taking the shuttle back to the ship, I went to a fancy French boulangerie and bought a sandwich and some really good pastries. In general, I never had lunch any of these days while touring around; I had packed protein bars and peanut butter cracker packs and ate them during the day.

But the best is yet to come!! So I’m walking back through the small port information building to board the ship and there are a couple of vendors in there and lo and behold, I see one that has secondhand kimonos. And his price said ¥1000-¥3000 ($10-$30) and they looked pretty nice. There was a rack of the shorter jackets (thigh length) like the ones I had tried on in Kyoto. The one that appealed to me most was a purple and periwinkle textured silk and unlike the ones in Kyoto, this one fit and looked good! I was so excited that I tried the rest of them but either they didn’t fit or the colors didn’t appeal to me. I ended up buying the purple jacket for ¥1000 ($10!!). I’m quite pleased about this because I liked it so much, it was certainly inexpensive and once again, serendipity!

For sail away, there were several local performances. First, a high school brass band who were wearing satin bowling jackets with black cowboy hats and black pants. They started off with “All that Jazz”, did a couple of other slower songs and finished with a dirge like song. The next troupe of dancers came out with clacky instruments and they did several numbers - one of their schticks is that their costumes kept revealing different colored fronts. Then a number of guys came out with huge flags on long poles and furled and unfurled them; twirled and dipped them - they were very dramatic. More people came out to dance with the flags and the other dancers joined in and it was a whole choreographed production number. Seeing these local performing groups is definitely interesting for the ship passengers and I think it must be nice for the performers to show their skills to people who have never seen them before.


curiousgeo May 10th, 2019 02:19 PM

I’m simply amazed at your detailed descriptions and impressions. Waiting for more!

Supie May 11th, 2019 04:40 AM

vickiebypass, Thank you for your very interesting trip report. It is especially relevant as we are going to Japan late May on a land/cruise trip. We will be on a Diamond Princess cruise at the end of June which includes the ports of Hakodate, Kanazawa and Sakaiminato. Hence I am getting ideas from your report for things of interest to visit including Kanazawa's Sei son kaku villa which an emperor built for his mother-in-law. I am looking forward to reading your report on Sakaiminato, especially re whether you managed to get to nearby Matsue which sounds very interesting to explore.

Kathie May 11th, 2019 09:07 AM

Vickie, I'm not a cruise person. But we will be going on our first ocean cruise in September. It hasn't been clear to me how to use cruises to visit Asia, my favorite part of the world. So your report is so helpful to me.

vickiebypass May 11th, 2019 10:36 AM

I’m so glad my report is interesting and possibly useful for your own planning! I got so much helpful advice from Fodorites that I’m pleased to be contributing in a smaller way.

I ll post more on Monday (sorry to say that I couldn’t make the logistics work to visit Matsue, since I really wanted to see Adachi Museum and garden, but I found a great spot in Sakaiminato instead. Details to come!)

Guenmai May 11th, 2019 07:10 PM

I just finished reading your report which is very interesting. I'm not a cruise person, but who knows, maybe I'll try out the one that you did, but in 2020 as the Summer 2019 trip, on land, is already planned. :) Was the water smooth or rough sailing as I get seasick?

Happy Travels!

vickiebypass May 14th, 2019 02:23 PM

April 24 (Wed) Cloudy and about 68°. Sakaiminato

When I researched the ports, I was excited to visit the Matsue, the town next to Sakaiminato, to see the Adachi Museum and Gardens, plus Matsue Castle and some craft galleries. I thought I’d be able to get to Matsue but the timing of the trains with the buses didn’t work; I considered renting a car but driving on the different side for just one day seemed a bit risky; even the tourist info people at the pier couldn’t figure out how I could do Matsue or even just Adachi…. so I decided to stay in Sakaiminato.

I took the ship’s shuttle bus to the Sakaiminato train station (which is very small) and then the small (28 people) green shuttle van to Yushien garden. The drive took about 20 minutes and I thought the scenery was interesting – fairly flat; a lot of flooded gardens; fields of flowers; and some houses. The garden was described as “10 acre Japanese garden of peonies and ginseng” but it was really so much more than that. Before you enter the garden, various vendors have stalls where they’re selling peonies, then you go through a nursery selling peonies and then you get to the actual garden via a large visitor center (with shops, café, tea room and toilets).

I thought this was really great! At the beginning, there’s a raked gravel garden with a lake, lots of those rounded shrubs, sculpted pine trees and in the background, a noisy waterfall. The whole place is a circuit garden with a path but there are lots of opportunities to take side paths through moss gardens, pine trees, azaleas, little bubbling brooks and garden rooms full of peonies.

Peonies – these certainly aren’t like the ones I used to see at home! There were so many heights, colors, shades, sizes and varieties like ruffled, striped, double, triple and some the size of a dinner plate or others that were grapefruit sized. At one point, the path led through a display area of various peonies with labels which I think was an area to vote for your favorite peony. It was a breezy, possibly blustery, day and I liked hearing the wind blowing through the trees. A different perspective was provided by an inside hangar/showroom for various displays of peonies which were set up in different scenes - with a temple lantern placed next to a mossy arch and in a dark grotto made of woven twigs with crystals hanging as rain drops. Once through that building, it was back onto the circuit path. Several nice rest areas w benches for resting and absorbing. I followed the paths up to the source of the waterfall (not terribly high but landscaped in a slightly untamed way.)

Another nice raked garden, with abutting circles and gnarled pines. Near this last raked garden, there were some nice shops where I bought a flowery scarf. I don’t think there were tour buses here, or if there were, they were spread out in the garden. There were a lot of people there but it was quiet and given the overall size and number of side paths, it didn’t feel crowded. I spent about 90 mins there and took their shuttle back to the town.

It was greyer and cooler now but I decided to walk along the main drag. It turns out that Sakaiminato is the home town of manga artist Shigeru Mizuki. He’s a household name in Japan and the town makes the most of their famous son. There are statues of his characters all over town, each store has merchandise featuring the characters and most have a stamp and pad out front so you can collect stamps of all his characters; and there’s a Mizuki Shigeru Museum. I don’t have a particular interest in manga, but it was interesting to see people taking photos with the statues. I walked a fair way down the main street and off some side streets and this part of town seemed to be mostly souvenir or craft shops, plus some restaurants. Fishing is a major industry and I liked seeing the working boats moored and all their gear from the shuttle bus to/from ship.

Tomorrow….Yatsushiro (for Kumamoto)

Kathie May 14th, 2019 06:17 PM

That garden sounds lovely.

vickiebypass May 14th, 2019 06:32 PM

Kathie - it was lovely and even more so since it was unexpected. There are lists of the top Japanese gardens from various magazines, garden web sites, tourist sites, etc but this isn’t mentioned anywhere so I felt like a discovered a gem!

Mara May 14th, 2019 06:44 PM

As far as I'm concerned you were better off visiting Yushien as that is a garden you can walk in whereas Adachi you just view....just my opinion after being to both a few years ago......
Enjoying your detailed report!

kalihiwai2 May 15th, 2019 08:32 AM

Thank you for the detailed trip report.
Your report shows the benefits of researching an area and familiarizing oneself with its geography and history to make for a much more interesting time.
My wife and I also visited Yushien and thought it was a highlight of our Matsue stay , those peonies are incredible, some a big as a dinner plate.
I’ve looked into Japan based ocean cruises as a way to see Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Korea without having to worry about trains and hotels, so your post is interesting.
Thanks again for taking the time to post your travel experience in Japan.

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