Day 9 An Uneventful Day
Being an introvert, it was surprisingly taxing after all my excitement being out of Australia. I initially had plans to explore Nagoya but ended up only going to Nagoya Science Museum and Nagoya Castle before calling it a day back at the capsule hotel.
I have to say that the Science Museum was alot better than Questacon back in Canberra, with the holographic images, hurricane demonstration and magnetic liquid. I spent the rest of the day inside the capsule. Despite being a rather tight space, it was surprisingly not very claustrophobic.
Nagoya Castle, another castle I decided to visit in my random quest to visit as many castles as I can, though nothing special after visiting two castles before hand.
Day 10 Takayama
With little time on my hands before having to head back towards Tokyo, I decided to head to Takayama amongst the northern borders of Japan. Having watched a travel show introducing Takayama and Hide Beef, I decided to go there. I arrived there by bullet train if I recall correctly, and wondered around Hida No Seto Village until late afternoon before heading to Hidayuno Mori Hot Spring Hotel to lodge for the night.
I have to say this was the best day of the my trip because I got to see snow, and it wasn’t man made snow! The scenery was absolutely stunning with the entire town covered in a layer of white.
Hida No Seto was a small village museum of sorts depicting lifestyle back in the 1900s I presume. I found a swan sleeping in the frozen lake which was quite amusing.
Arriving at the Hot Spring Hotel after night has fallen, I had a very nice dinner with Hide Beef which turned out to be even better than the Kobe Beef I tried. After which I had a very nice bath at the outdoor hot springs at night( I only dared go in because it was dark). I returned to my creepy hotel room( the dark wooden furniture did not give off a very good vibe, not to mention the dim lighting.
Day 11 Enjoying the Onsen
It felt like such a shame to leave the hot spring hotel without fully enjoying the hot springs so I decided to wake up early to enjoy the outdoor hot springs once again. It was truly a relaxing experience. I then went for breakfast but turns out breakfast was only served to those who booked breakfast when they checked in. So i ended up eating a tasty potato croquette at the mini canteen.
There were also two private indoor hot springs within the hotel so I went there to see the difference. It was like being boiled in a massive wooden barrel, but nonetheless, just as good as the outdoor ones.
After checking out, I decided that it was about time to head back towards tokyo so I got back to Nagoya and headed to Mount Fuji only to find out that the station I got off at ( Shin Mt. Fuji Station) was no where near Mount Fuji. It was already close to dusk so I decided to head towards Tokyo and stayed in a proper old fashioned capsule hotel in Ueno. This hotel was male only and had a tiny sauna room.
The amount of people within Tokyo and the the night life was quite a contrast to when I stayed in Osaka with the many streets filled with street stores and street food. I don’t mean to be racist, but it was quite an amusing sight to see Non-Japanese locals speak in fluent Japanese when I ordered a kebab from one of the street stores. Another interesting thing was that the kebabs were quite different to the ones I was used to in Australia where they used bread pockets instead of a wrap and had a special kebab sauce instead of barbeque sauce and hommus.
Day 12 Mount Fuji
I recall visiting a tiny udon shop before heading off for Kawaguchiko which was the closest neighbouring town to see the full glory of Mount Fuji. It was not hard to miss Mount Fuji which emanated its presence within the backdrop, donning a layer of white snow.
After admiring Mount Fuji, I travelled around Kawaguchiko and got back to Tokyo early to search for another hotel. It was actually pretty expensive getting a single room hotel in Tokyo so I stayed in another capsule hotel where the capsules were made from what appeared to be suitcase plastic which wasnt very rigid. This hotel also had single rooms which I booked for the following night.
I vaguely recalled finally finding a sushi train after my many days without sushi since Osaka. The sushi there, although wasn’t the best grade, was amazing compared to anything I tried in Australia, the Ootoro literally melted in my mouth. The Sushi Trains in Japan were different to Australia where they did not keep placing dishes on conveyor belt like they did in Australia, but where made to order.
Day 13 Hell’s Valley
Jigokudani, which literally translates to Hell’s Valley was one of the places I wanted to visit in Japan before even arriving, to see the onsen bathing monkeys. It was a fun experience asking station staff for directions to Jigokudani when they thought I was asking to go to a ridiculous place hahaha, but finally arriving there, it took about half an hour walking up hill to see the monkeys but it was a bit of a let down when most of the monkeys were out of the hot springs(Mount Arashiyama was alot better).
Last Two Days In Tokyo
I think to many people, Tokyo would be the main reason to visit Japan, afterall, it is the capital city. However, having lived the majority of my life in the suburban neighbourhoods of Sydney, it was not as much of an excitement as I thought it would have been wearing my way through this overcrowded metropolis. Sure, Sydney does not have a city dedicated electronics and Japanese pop culture, amazing nightlife, reliable and fast transportation nor do we have beautiful castles, well maintained parks, unpolluted rivers and canals establishing their presence in a futuristic cityscape, but I would conclude that Sydney still has these things, only, simply of lesser quality.
The one thing that did make Tokyo exceptional was the vast amount of sushi restaurants(which somehow I wasn’t able to encounter outside of Osaka). It was the first time I tried Ootoro and horse meat sushi( which I have not found in any sushi restaurants in Sydney).
Spending two weeks in a foreign land alone has started to wade away at my excitement of being away from Sydney, thus I spent the last two days in Sydney wondering about the neighbouring cities of Tokyo. Wondering about Asakusa,Harajuku,Shinjuku, and Shibuya, shopping within the Skytree and through the streets of Akihabara.
It was actually quite a dull experience being back in such a suburban city.
Thus concluded, my two week trip around Japan.