The place in the snow was awesome, we had lots of snow and Riley got to try out skiing. Scott went off and skied the Olympic downhill slope, which was his goal for Christmas day, while the rest of us went and saw the snow monkeys! The info and planning by World Journeys was amazing. Our tickets and documents arrived with lots of detail to help us navigate the trip, and the local guides were so wonderful and flexible. Kanazawa was out first stop. We did a gold leaf workshop and ate gold leaf ice-creams. We found a samurai and ninja museum, and visited the castle and samurai district. It snowed and hailed but was all good.
We then went on to Osaka, where we found Dotonbori street with all the amazing billboards and eating places, packed with people on New Year’s eve. The only issue was there were no tourist buses running for the holiday period which was weird. We then went to Hiroshima, which was basically closed on New Year’s day, and with no restaurant at the hotel, and nothing open we had 7 Eleven sushi and curry for tea!! It was all good. Hiroshima was definitely very interesting. The A bomb museum and all the detail about what happened that day was super sad and interesting, especially for Riley. The boat trip and the Shinto temple and floating torii gate were really neat!
We then went to Kyoto. We got to the bamboo forest and the 1000 torii gates. We did our samurai lesson which was really awesome, then our traditional Japanese tea ceremony which we loved. We visited another temple, and then our guide took us shopping to some traditional Japanese craft markets at our request so we could get Riley a sword, Tilly and I some fans and beautiful things all made locally. We then went on to Mount Fuji, and then to the Ryokan. That was such an experience! Tilly and I braved the onsen, Riley didn’t want to go to the men’s on his own. The food was….interesting! It was very raw, cold and fishy, so by the time we left we were hanging out for something cooked! But we tried everything, even blowfish! Mt Fuji and the surrounding area was beautiful and we enjoyed our time there.
Then off to Tokyo, where we got to shop, and eat! We did our karate lesson which was really interesting, different from what we do here, but fun anyway. We did the busy Shibuya crossing, and Akiharbara for electronics and toys which Riley was in heaven at. Riley also found a Porsche dealer and got a whole lot of Porsche clothes and played on the Porsche driving sim which he loved! Then we went up the Sky Tree, and then had Frog for dinner. Tilly and I visited Happoen garden in Tokyo and Scott came and we visited a Bonsai garden and the Tokyo Tower as well. We made our way out of the city on our last day to JAXA Tokyo Space Centre and toured around the facility there which was interesting. Travelling the bullet trains was fun, and in Hakone on one day we went by bus, pirate ship, gondala, cable car, train and bus again! Riley was amazing at navigating the trains, buses and everything else, without him, Tilly and I would still be in the snow in Shiga Kogen. So apart from things being closed down over New Years, the trip was fabulous!