Kyoto part 2: crowds, a conveyor and a crab

Our second day in Kyoto started earlier, much much earlier.  We arrived on a Willer Express night bus, and this time it was running early, so it tipped us out into the bright morning sunshine well before 7.  But there was sunshine!  Today was the day to look at some of the big sites Kyoto is known for: temples and gardens (mostly temple gardens). We used three Willer Express night buses while we were in Japan.  They were ridiculously comfortable.  The seats lean way back, and the bus is fully dark at night.  You even get a blanket, and a … Continue reading Kyoto part 2: crowds, a conveyor and a crab

Tokyo part A: tuna, tea and tumult (in which our hero goes to market)

After two months of living in each others pockets, it was time to spend a day apart.  Well, perhaps not a whole day, maybe ten hours? Travelling with one person for extended periods of time is a particularly intense examination of your relationship.  After all, when else in life do you share almost every waking moment with someone, without the time apart afforded by jobs, hobbies, separate friends?  Even when you happen to be married to your travel buddy, this is highly unusual.  Indeed, at home we deliberately kept some separate interests, if nothing else just to give us something … Continue reading Tokyo part A: tuna, tea and tumult (in which our hero goes to market)

Tokyo part K: teens, tombstones and temples

Ahh, Tokyo.  It’s big, busy, and full of people.  37 million of them in fact, which is more than Canada (gosh).  The whole Tokyo area is the most populous in the world, though I’m not sure all of this is strictly part of the city.  So it’s really more like 12 cities rolled into one. In Shibuya staid business people in understated suits move en masse across acre wide pedestrian crossings, or onto rush hour subway trains, squashed into each other and the windows and walls, but remaining politely quiet.  Teenage girls in sugary sweet make-believe outfits flock to Harajuku’s … Continue reading Tokyo part K: teens, tombstones and temples

Nara (Oh deer!)

Nara is on the map for two things: temples and deer.  The Japanese are big fans of both of these, so the place is packed with day trippers. The deer were very friendly, possibly because there are stalls all over the place selling ‘deer crackers’ for the tourists to feed to them. Nara’s home to the largest bronze Buddha in the world, which was pretty impressive, but perhaps not worth the rather steep entrance fee.  It’s 15 metres high, and was cast in the 8th century, about the time Britain was being invaded by the Vikings, which makes the artistry … Continue reading Nara (Oh deer!)


After our day of touristing in Himeji we headed up to Osaka, but then promptly left again to our hostel in the suburbs, which was really more or less in a separate town (Sakai). Osaka’s a big city, and that’s pretty much all it’s got to recommend (or disrecommend) it. The other travellers we met there had spent their time shopping, going to the aquarium, and visiting the castle.  We didn’t fancy any of these, so instead we had a catch up day hanging out in the suburbs, doing laundry and eating ice cream in the sun.  Bliss. Washing our … Continue reading Osaka