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Page 1 of 825 Older Full Trip Report
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10 March 2019

Japan 2015 - Revisited

As threatened, here is my second retrospective of a previous trip FACILITATED by my need to re-edit, re-export and re-upload all my photos so that they are over-saturated, over-sharpened and over-nonsensical.

If you want to just go ahead and re-read that entire trip rather than read this re-cap prior to your re-read, CLICK HERE.

Now I will talk about some of the highlights (and lowlights) of my 2015 trip. It was either my 5th or 6th trip to Japan depending on how I choose to count.

On this trip I visited quite a few cities I had not been to before, in fact other than Tokyo, every place I went on this trip was new to me.
It was also probably the trip where I really stepped up the mountain hiking newly formed tradition, which is now the primary focus of nearly all my trips. I think the previous KOREA AGAIN trip also had a lot of hiking but JAPAN5 is where I first made it the actual purpose of the trip.

Before we get into it, this trip featured my trusty already old at this point Sony RX100 camera. I foolishly shot only jpeg so I could use the multi frame noise reduction feature at night. If you want to read more about my photography confusions, CLICK HERE.

I started the journey with a terrible terrible cold, that got much much worse during the flight to Japan via Brisbane. I was very very descriptive of all the symptoms and how I probably infected thousands of people. Frequent readers (who am I kidding?) will be screaming HYPOCRITE! by now, because I often go on a rant about how sick people annoy me. So I annoyed myself.

It took a few days to overcome my near death by manflu experience before the real holiday was able to commence. In the meantime, I found a really good crowded indoor activity where I was able to spread my germs to a few million unsuspecting locals.

news - While suffering a cold, I went to the Tokyo Motor Show and looked at shiny things, and drank an alcohol free beer which tasted like my socks.

While suffering a cold, I went to the Tokyo Motor Show and looked at shiny things, and drank an alcohol free beer which tasted like my socks.


I then finally decided that I was well enough to go on a relaxing all day journey to the mostly closed tourist Mecca of Nikko. It was mostly closed when I was there, and they had a particular liking for the whole NO PHOTO! routine that people like to do. Still I managed to take a few good photos, sneeze on lots of people and spend a very long time on trains to get there and back in a day.
The whole no photo thing would be a feature of this trip, and subsequent trips to Japan. Its almost a challenge now, spot the NO PHOTO opportunity to take a photo. For the Nikko lovers, TOURIST SPOT PHOTOS APLENTY BE HERE.

news - Here it is! The photo everyone takes! A bridge in Nikko.

Here it is! The photo everyone takes! A bridge in Nikko.


news - I was here for the peak color of the season. I now return to Japan at the same time every year to roll around in dying leaves.

I was here for the peak color of the season. I now return to Japan at the same time every year to roll around in dying leaves.


After a day wandering suburban shopping centres to see off the last of my terrible cold, it was finally time to climb a mountain. Mount Oyama was the target, it required a bus, it had a really nice temple and a cable car which I of course completely ignored.
After my day in the mountains I went to Akihabara at night, I realise now while reviewing this, that I have taken the same photo in the same spot numerous times, at night. The next day it rained, a lot, so I ate a delicious tomato soup, did my washing and then headed to a new city, Nagoya.

news - The Shibuya crossing. Here to act as clickbait and hopefully get someone to look at my site.

The Shibuya crossing. Here to act as clickbait and hopefully get someone to look at my site.


news - A very colorful temple on Mount Oyama. It was a busy mountain.

A very colorful temple on Mount Oyama. It was a busy mountain.


news - Akihabara at night. I could substitute about 10 photos from other trips in this spot.

Akihabara at night. I could substitute about 10 photos from other trips in this spot.


news - My favourite tomato ramen. I think this was the first time I had it. It has chorizo and gorgonzola in it. A splendifirouos cornucopia of fat, salt and

My favourite tomato ramen. I think this was the first time I had it. It has chorizo and gorgonzola in it. A splendifirouos cornucopia of fat, salt and artificial coloring.


Who goes to Nagoya? Not many people. I went there, I liked it. It is not known for its hiking, but I found two really great mountains in the Suzuka range, probably my two favourite hikes of the entire trip. If I went to Nagoya again, I would happily do both of them again.
I did find it to be a little quiet at night, I think, the station is very busy and where I found most of my food, including a great thing which basically combines every kind of Japanese train station food speciality into one giant sloppy delicious mess.

The weather was good apart from my last day, and I also took a day trip, as you shall see to a monkey research facility and castle town surrounded by fighter jets.
If you would rather just read about Nagoya in detail, HERE IS A LINK.

news - Here is a shot from half way up magnificent Mount Gozaisho. It was colorful, exciting and very very windy as you shall see. I took a lot of great phot

Here is a shot from half way up magnificent Mount Gozaisho. It was colorful, exciting and very very windy as you shall see. I took a lot of great photos on this day, and as ever, did not take the ropeway. When I got to the summit the ropeway was not running due to high winds, and thousands of people were crammed into the summit restaurant wondering how they would get down again. I walked.


news - Here I am, looking very windblown and old. In great news, I now look older than this photo, all the time, even after my daily moisturizing ritual and

Here I am, looking very windblown and old. In great news, I now look older than this photo, all the time, even after my daily moisturizing ritual and sheep placenta treatments.


news - Nagoya has a great fake castle. Another day with excellent very overly colorful fake looking photos. The flower show in the castle grounds was excelle

Nagoya has a great fake castle. Another day with excellent very overly colorful fake looking photos. The flower show in the castle grounds was excellent. I love flowers.


news - Next up in the region of Nagoya was a day trip to Inuyama, near Gifu. I actually spent a few days in Gifu on a more recent trip to Japan. Inuyama is a

Next up in the region of Nagoya was a day trip to Inuyama, near Gifu. I actually spent a few days in Gifu on a more recent trip to Japan. Inuyama is a castle town with an actual real castle that was not destroyed in any kind of natural or man made disaster. It also has a theme park where they breed monkeys for medical experiments and an air force base. What a winning combination!


news - My second great mountain in the Nagoya region was FUJIYAMA, no not that Fujiyama, but another Fujiyama. This one is located on the very quiet Sangi li

My second great mountain in the Nagoya region was FUJIYAMA, no not that Fujiyama, but another Fujiyama. This one is located on the very quiet Sangi line. I had the entire train to myself, my vivid memory is of the driver getting off every few stops to do 'heads and shoulders knees and toes' to keep himself awake.. The mountain was quiet too, but also fascinating, after a steep climb it arrived at a bald plateau with strange colored plants, and a prominent public toilet?


news - My final day in Nagoya was rainy, so I went to the Toyota museum and looked at loots of looms and cars. An exciting experience for sure!

My final day in Nagoya was rainy, so I went to the Toyota museum and looked at loots of looms and cars. An exciting experience for sure!


Hiroshima was my next 'new to me' city on this trip. I did the tourist things. Well that and then some other stuff too. I think many people on a standard week long Japan itinerary got to Hiroshima for a day, go to Miyajima for a day, then flee back to Kyoto after they have seen bombs and the island full of deer with a floating toriiiiiiiiii gate. I did those things and splashed in some puddles while doing it, but also managed to go to Iwakuni in the pouring rain to injure myself climbing up a hill to a castle, and best of all I found a great 'mountain' with an excellent view of the bay of islands near Kure.

I liked Hiroshima, the shopping areas were nice and interesting, although quite far from the main station. You can ride a tram that survived the bomb blast between the city proper and the Shinkansen station if you wish, make sure you lick everything on it for the authentic gamma-ray experience.
Of course, I also went to the smokers paradise Okonomiyaki temple restaurant fire trap, which is lots of floors of identical places showing baseball on the tv while people smoke and burn themselves trying to eat their Okonomiyaki.
Because I am considerate, here is a DIRECT LINK to the part of the trip where I was in Hiroshima. It opens in a new window to chew up a bit more bandwidth.

news - Here is a view of Hiroshima bay from Mount Noro which is accessed via Aki-Kawajiri station near Kure. This wasnt a tough climb but I made it very long

Here is a view of Hiroshima bay from Mount Noro which is accessed via Aki-Kawajiri station near Kure. This wasnt a tough climb but I made it very long by walking back down a high quality abandoned twisting road. The view was amazing the whole way.


news - Here is a little more of the view from near the top of Mount Noro. You can cycle over all those islands which are all connected via a series of bridge

Here is a little more of the view from near the top of Mount Noro. You can cycle over all those islands which are all connected via a series of bridges. The weather was superb. I am old and talk about the weather. Superb weather would not last.


news - I visited all the a-bomb historical monuments on a very rainy day and got saturated. Yet not as saturated as I would get the next day. I was actually

I visited all the a-bomb historical monuments on a very rainy day and got saturated. Yet not as saturated as I would get the next day. I was actually a little disappointed with the memorial museum, but I note that it is now being re-modelled. It felt very dated, and not as impressive as the Nagasaki one which I visited recently in 2018.


news - Here is the famous Iwakuni bridge. I got very very wet walking here from the station which is a few km away. I dont know why I was stubborn and insist

Here is the famous Iwakuni bridge. I got very very wet walking here from the station which is a few km away. I dont know why I was stubborn and insisted on walking.


news - And here is the castle. The cable car was not running, so I had the whole place to myself. But there was an issue, I slipped over walking up a wooden

And here is the castle. The cable car was not running, so I had the whole place to myself. But there was an issue, I slipped over walking up a wooden ramp and smashed my knee on something. I remember being in great pain and having an actual bruise (I dont bruise). Walk it off.


news - Onwards to Miyajima, and the sun had returned. Heres a red pagoda thingy.

Onwards to Miyajima, and the sun had returned. Heres a red pagoda thingy.


news - More of the view of the wonderful bay. There was one deer up here with antlers, on the summit stone. Clearly he was the head deer. There was also an i

More of the view of the wonderful bay. There was one deer up here with antlers, on the summit stone. Clearly he was the head deer. There was also an impressive new public toilet facility carved out of rare timbers.


news - And for the tourists, heres the floating torii gate thing. I was more impressed that this pigeon was successfully fighting off all the deer.

And for the tourists, heres the floating torii gate thing. I was more impressed that this pigeon was successfully fighting off all the deer.


The mystery destination on this trip was Shimonoseki. It is right on the bottom tip of Honshu. I had to find a spot that was not Fukuoka to stop for a couple of nights as there was no accommodation in Fukuoka due to the sumo. It was a quiet sleepy fishing town, where everything shuts early, but the geography was very interesting. Both sides of the strait between the islands had mountains to enjoy the view of oil tankers going by, and then there was the tunnel. I walked under the ocean, twice. On the far side of the under ocean tunnel was a nazi hangout where Einstein used to come to pontificate. The signage focused more on the Einstein and less on the nazi's. To top it all off, after walking for what seemed forever, I found an old Samurai town at Chofu.
I remember being concerned when I was forced into booking accommodation in a previously unheard of town that there would be nothing for me to do. I was wrong.

To read about the sleepy town of Shimonoseki directly rather than viewing the highlights reel below, CLICK THIS BOLD ALL CAPS TEXT.

news - This is probably the best cat photo of this entire trip, so here it is! I take more cat photos lately.

This is probably the best cat photo of this entire trip, so here it is! I take more cat photos lately.


news - Early one morning on the start of my epic adventure under the sea I walked past an amusement park in an excellent twilight.

Early one morning on the start of my epic adventure under the sea I walked past an amusement park in an excellent twilight.


news - One of the best night views of Japan according to an official list. I think its second to Hakodate, which I did actually experience at night. The isla

One of the best night views of Japan according to an official list. I think its second to Hakodate, which I did actually experience at night. The island of Kyushu is to the left, joined on by a tunnel.


news - Here is one of the many shrines in the old Samurai town of Chofu. The name is confusing, because lots of places are called Chofu, but I think its beca

Here is one of the many shrines in the old Samurai town of Chofu. The name is confusing, because lots of places are called Chofu, but I think its because the Chofu clan retreated to here.


news - On my last night, I took the slow train over the strait to Kyushu for a look at Kokura in Kita-Kyushu. Thats a lot of K's. I found Kita-Kyushu to be a

On my last night, I took the slow train over the strait to Kyushu for a look at Kokura in Kita-Kyushu. Thats a lot of K's. I found Kita-Kyushu to be a much more vibrant city than Shimonoseki, I would return to Kita-Kyushu in 2018 to climb the excellent mountain overlooking the city.


My final destination on this trip was the southern city of Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu. A city I very much enjoyed. It is a large city with 2 very busy city centres. I am probably mentally confusing two visits while typing this right now as I recently went to Fukuoka again in November 2018. The highlight was definitely Dazaifu and the nearby Mount Homan, I enjoyed that so much I went again recently and continued onto the mountain behind it.
The other highlights were the ramen. There was an outdoor ramen festival and the top floor of one of the huge malls is known as ramen stadium. Most of the famous ramen shops in Australia proclaim they started somewhere in Fukuoka. I will do some more explaining with the pics in the highlight reel below, or if you prefer a lot more pics of the sites of Fukuoka, HERE IS YOUR THING.

news - Here is the outdoor ramen festival. I think this was the last night. This one seemed more popular with the locals compared to the ramen stadium in the

Here is the outdoor ramen festival. I think this was the last night. This one seemed more popular with the locals compared to the ramen stadium in the mall which was more popular with tourists. Eating ramen standing up without a spoon is quite the challenge.


news - The view from Mount Homan. This was my last hike of this holiday, and a great one. Actually it was probably only the third best hike of this trip but

The view from Mount Homan. This was my last hike of this holiday, and a great one. Actually it was probably only the third best hike of this trip but since they were all good, it was still good.


news - The shopping street leading to Dazaifu is very popular and picturesque. I ate some local treats here, had regrets.

The shopping street leading to Dazaifu is very popular and picturesque. I ate some local treats here, had regrets.


news - Fukuoka has no castle. It has castle ruins. No one goes to look at them. I did. It made for this nice desaturated photo of a wooden gardening shed.

Fukuoka has no castle. It has castle ruins. No one goes to look at them. I did. It made for this nice desaturated photo of a wooden gardening shed.


news - On a rest day, I went for an epic walk in a random direction and found this lake. It is a re-creation of the West Lake of Hangzhou in China, somewhere

On a rest day, I went for an epic walk in a random direction and found this lake. It is a re-creation of the West Lake of Hangzhou in China, somewhere so awesome I have been there twice. The mini version in Fukuoka was also quite good to walk around, and I think this is a good photo in great light.


news - One thing I definitely remember from Fukuoka is the tunnels linking the subway stations that go for miles. My hotel was at the very end of one of thes

One thing I definitely remember from Fukuoka is the tunnels linking the subway stations that go for miles. My hotel was at the very end of one of these. You never have to go outside if you dont want to.


So thats the end of that, another retrospective exercise completed. It took a long time! I hope I have done this in a format so that when I inevitably need to change my website again in 10 years time to cater for whatever replaces the current technology then that it is a lot easier and less time consuming!
....I still have about 15 more of these retrospective things to do!

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