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China4 April 18


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Taiwan4 March 17


Japan6 October 16


Europe May 16


Japan5 November 15


Korea2 March 15

Even More Trips

HongJapWan March 2014
Sichuan March 2013
Tokyo3 October 2012
China2 August 2012
Japwan March 2012
China November 2011
Korea September 2011
Taiwan March 2011
London3 June 2010
Japan May 2010
London2 February 2010
London September 2009
SE Asia December 2005

Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Page 4

Day 10 - Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Racing the rain that never was

The weather forecast was not good. Rain all day. I originally planned to climb Hakusan, Japan's third most sacred mountain after Fuji and Tate.
However, theres no buses. In recent years, the bus schedule has become 1/4 of what it once was, due to lack of demand. There are now only weekend services for one month of the year.
I really think this is due to an overall decline in Japan, people now play Pokemon Go, and wait for death. Everywhere seems to be closing down. I believe this transition is happening much faster than anyone expected, it is noticeable between my first visit and current visit to Japan.
There have been numerous stories about how secondary cities will not survive, and will need to be mothballed, largely due to declining population, but also due to servicing the massive debt, which really is set to get worse due to the Olympics.
The Olympics is being used as an excuse to build new infrastructure, and I think there is even a new subway line being built in Tokyo, but the country already has way too much infrastructure for a declining and very rapidly ageing population, coupled with a younger generation who refuse to leave their homes, they are called Hikikomori.

As a comparison, Korea is opening new national parks on a regular basis, and building bullet train stops in the park, and you need to book in advance to get a seat on these trains to visit these mountains. Their mountains are not as good as Japan's but their people still see being outdoors as a national past time. They are probably about 10 years behind Japan in experiencing the Pokemon influenced decline.

Anyway, rant over, today I went to Tsurugi, which is the last stop on a local rail line to nowhere. From there, you can climb a small mountain range which has an abandoned cable car up it (rant back on) to an abandoned ski field, which is according to a sign Japan's premier location for hang gliding and paragliding. I saw no one flying a death trap machine, and I saw exactly ZERO other people all day.

Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The train line today starts from the middle of nowhere, about 2km from any main road in Kanazawa. So you can take a bus and experience Superlative Hap

The train line today starts from the middle of nowhere, about 2km from any main road in Kanazawa. So you can take a bus and experience Superlative Happiness, or you can walk. I walked.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Another rail line that does not accept IC cards. When you plan your trip to Japan the internet will tell you everywhere now takes Suica and Icoca, tha

Another rail line that does not accept IC cards. When you plan your trip to Japan the internet will tell you everywhere now takes Suica and Icoca, thats a lie.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Its an hours ride, so I had a coffee. I really included this picture to show off my legs.

Its an hours ride, so I had a coffee. I really included this picture to show off my legs.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Once at Tsurugi, its about an hours walk to the mountain trail, a lot further than I realised. The houses here all have nice gardens.

Once at Tsurugi, its about an hours walk to the mountain trail, a lot further than I realised. The houses here all have nice gardens.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - As you would expect, there are shrines. As you might also expect, large parts of it are under construction and or refurbishment.

As you would expect, there are shrines. As you might also expect, large parts of it are under construction and or refurbishment.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - This is the greatest hearse you will see in your life (or death).

This is the greatest hearse you will see in your life (or death).


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Nice street, but these used to be shops, now they are houses or abandoned. Except that car poking out is a BMW M6. Probably the head of the shrine vis

Nice street, but these used to be shops, now they are houses or abandoned. Except that car poking out is a BMW M6. Probably the head of the shrine visiting his mistress.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - I am going up there, its very steep!

I am going up there, its very steep!


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - This is a park, cable car station, restaurant, abandoned! Maybe it comes back to life in winter.

This is a park, cable car station, restaurant, abandoned! Maybe it comes back to life in winter.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Someone is looking after the flowers here, but I think they are supposed to be in planter pots in the car park.

Someone is looking after the flowers here, but I think they are supposed to be in planter pots in the car park.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Once on the path, it was actually excellent, about an hour and a quarter to the top, going as fast as I could. I was convinced it was going to start p

Once on the path, it was actually excellent, about an hour and a quarter to the top, going as fast as I could. I was convinced it was going to start pouring with rain.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Half way up, looking back down the river towards Kanazawa. A very grey day. You can see the ocean and some ships, across the ocean is North Korea.

Half way up, looking back down the river towards Kanazawa. A very grey day. You can see the ocean and some ships, across the ocean is North Korea.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Cabin in the woods.

Cabin in the woods.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Gettting near the top. You can actually drive up another much longer way with your hang glider. About now it got really very windy.

Gettting near the top. You can actually drive up another much longer way with your hang glider. About now it got really very windy.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - I still have to get up here.

I still have to get up here.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Very near the top it becomes a ski field. There are some big jumps to damage your knee on. Snow sports travel insurance costs a lot extra.

Very near the top it becomes a ski field. There are some big jumps to damage your knee on. Snow sports travel insurance costs a lot extra.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Looking the other way, and it looks like rain, and I could feel rain coming sideways in the force 10 gale ever so briefly.

Looking the other way, and it looks like rain, and I could feel rain coming sideways in the force 10 gale ever so briefly.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Hang gliding departure area. So very windy, so about to rain, I dont have time to spare to eat my calorie mate.

Hang gliding departure area. So very windy, so about to rain, I dont have time to spare to eat my calorie mate.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - I do have time to ride the lion in the creepy playground.

I do have time to ride the lion in the creepy playground.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Also time for a creepy selfie. Note its so windy my camera blew off a park bench!

Also time for a creepy selfie. Note its so windy my camera blew off a park bench!


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - I quickly decided to go and frighten children camping in the huts with stories of Indian (feather not dot) burial grounds. But of course, abandoned.

I quickly decided to go and frighten children camping in the huts with stories of Indian (feather not dot) burial grounds. But of course, abandoned.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - One last view shot, now I run down the hill, hopefully without sliding on my ass. It was so windy the huge cedars were blowing into each other, they m

One last view shot, now I run down the hill, hopefully without sliding on my ass. It was so windy the huge cedars were blowing into each other, they make a terrifying sound when they hit each other.
Also two trees that were not crossing the path on my way up, were now crossing my path on the way down! That was quite concerning. More so than bear warning signs.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The storm passed with basically no rain! Hooray. The wind largely stopped. Time to look at another shrine.

The storm passed with basically no rain! Hooray. The wind largely stopped. Time to look at another shrine.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - This is the main shrine in the area, complete with tour buses in the parking lot, not sure where the people on them were though, maybe the buses stay

This is the main shrine in the area, complete with tour buses in the parking lot, not sure where the people on them were though, maybe the buses stay parked there until the weekend and belong to the shrine.
From where I am at this shrine, its possible to climb up the path I was just on, and continue along the ridge for over 100km to Hakusan. It takes at least 3 days.
There is a smaller off shoot of this shrine on the summit of Hakusan, and a priest lives in it year round, even during blizzard. I doubt it. I bet like the one on the top of Mount Tate its been abandoned.


NO PHOTO Bigot

Weather update: rain.
Also hot, 23C when I left for the evening, wish I wore shorts.
Due to big drops of rain I decided to head for the station area, which would have lots of things to see and do undercover, like look at trains. Turns out this was a good decision, there was lots to see and lots of it was undercover.
I was very impressed with the quality of the shops in, under, over, surrounding and nearby the station. Even more impressed with the numerous indoor station restaurant streets. There was no end of places I wanted to eat at.

There was also a huge number of tour groups arriving at this time, not just by train but by bus. It was interesting to see what they were all carrying. I dont understand the kind of torture some people put themselves through whilst on holiday.
In addition to multiple huge suitcases, everyone had bags and bags, big bags, of shopping. I saw lots of Tokyo Skytree bags with one group, and lots of Tokyu Hands bags with another, and the Koreans all had some kind of crab related product in bags. It was easy to tell which companies had paid which tour operators to encourage which countries tourists to part with their money in their stores.
I did not see anyone carrying bags of horse placenta face cream, but I have seen it advertised as the new latest thing, much better than crushed snail cream. Horse placenta cream must be huge in Korea by now? What happens if I blend all the various placentas into a new cream combined with filter snails for the super science wonder cream? Perhaps then I can dine at a private invitation only restaurant and sit on the floor wearing slippers.

Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - When I was climbig down Mount Tate, every Japanese person coming up the mountain was decked out in a full suite of Mont-Bell gear. It sounds like an i

When I was climbig down Mount Tate, every Japanese person coming up the mountain was decked out in a full suite of Mont-Bell gear. It sounds like an ice cream store to me, but as I was passing by a huge one that had a factory outlet section, I thought I would check it out.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - I photobombed someones photo of this bear, the mascot of Mont-Bell. Thats when the no photo! no photo! nonsense started in the distance as a Mont-Bell

I photobombed someones photo of this bear, the mascot of Mont-Bell. Thats when the no photo! no photo! nonsense started in the distance as a Mont-Bell girl came running over frantically waving.
No photo, no buy boots then! I need new boots, the soles on mine are worn smooth. But the constant no photo panic drives me insane.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The big stores around the station are all very shiny and new, much like the station.

The big stores around the station are all very shiny and new, much like the station.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - This one has probably the best and biggest food hall I have ever seen, however even though I am standing in the doorway, NO PHOTO! The little security

This one has probably the best and biggest food hall I have ever seen, however even though I am standing in the doorway, NO PHOTO! The little security guy then stood between me and the food hall. Dinner wont be from here then.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Nearby is an art gallery of sorts. I was on a no photo roll now, so took photos of their art. These balls are made of cotton or some kind of thread. I

Nearby is an art gallery of sorts. I was on a no photo roll now, so took photos of their art. These balls are made of cotton or some kind of thread. I suspect a machine makes them in about 3 minutes and they charge a fortune for them. It would be cool if they levitated and hummed and fired lasers at me whilst I am blind folded.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - This does not look appealing, but was very good. The bowl is the size of a sink, so its actually a decent serve, of gnocchi with beef stew (not curry)

This does not look appealing, but was very good. The bowl is the size of a sink, so its actually a decent serve, of gnocchi with beef stew (not curry). It came from a health food girly restaurant, and was a little more than I would usually pay, $13 Australian. Its full of mushrooms and other vegetables, including gnocchi which technically is potato.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The far side of the station is just a few hotels and bus parking, but made for a nice photo in the rain. It is strange rain, very big drops, very infr

The far side of the station is just a few hotels and bus parking, but made for a nice photo in the rain. It is strange rain, very big drops, very infrequent.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - I went back under the station through a series of bike filled tunnels. I wanted to take some photos of this tiny fold up bike with wheels no bigger th

I went back under the station through a series of bike filled tunnels.
I wanted to take some photos of this tiny fold up bike with wheels no bigger than a side plate (the plate alongside a dinner plate), but people were looking at me anxiously so I moved on.
How funny would it be if I managed to get a NO PHOTO! NO PHOTO! from just an ordinary member of the public?


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The reason for todays title. I now know how the Japanese think baugette should be spelt.

The reason for todays title. I now know how the Japanese think baugette should be spelt.


There are currently 2 comments - click to add

jenny on 2016-10-25 said:

Sounds like Kanazawa is worth a few day's visit. Last time we were just there for a day trip from Takayama. Should have done it the other way round.


adriana on 2016-10-25 said:

I see it is the shichigosan festival - last photo - children of those ages are taken to the shrine to pray for health and long life.

Did you read my email. I have suggestions for interesting excursions



Day 11 - Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Slow train to big city

Now I am in Kyoto, I will be here for 2 nights, I have been here twice before, it is the main tourist centre of Japan.
Whilst it is not a big city in terms of resident population, it is a massive city in terms of shops, restaurants, shrines, temples, castles, monkey parks, ice cream stands, kimono dress ups, overpriced hotels, leaf hysteria, blossom fever, halloween hyperventilation and christmas light armageddon.

To get from Kanazawa to here, there is no bullet train. So you have to take a regular kind of train for over 2 hours which is called the THUNDERBIRD. It is quite slow.
The highlight of that journey is a 720 degree rotation around inside and through a mountain to gain altitude to go through a tunnel through a mountain to come out the other side of some mountans near a huge lake thats surrounded by mountains. I enjoyed looking at the mountains for much of the mountainous journey today.
Unfortunately, I could not see much of the lake, because Japan has again copied China by installing pollution levels that I would describe as stay indoors and assume that because you cant see it, its not in the air inside your doors.
I also noticed that the entire surrounds of the lake, are densely populated. There is no one city, just a linear conglomeration (is that a word?) of cities around the lake. Much of it heavy manufacturing of steel and hello kitty collectibles emptying their toxic blend into the lake.

My hotel in Kyoto is the smallest so far of this trip, but its fine. It has no view. Its right by the station. It is right on top of a much much larger shopping area connected to the station than I remember from previous visits. I am also certain that the enormous AEON mall behind the station was not here last time I visited, it was all a construction site then.

Finally the weather. Its hot. 27 degrees celsius according to a big sign on a clock I saw, but feels hotter. Dont worry though, the inside of shops are even hotter still! Soon I will go to Sapporo where its below freezing at night.
Now to work out what to do with my full day in Kyoto tomorrow, weather might determine it, the Japanese meterorological institute of advanced notice of atmospheric patterns impacting the citizens of the great land of Japan and associated warnings of typhoons and related astronomical phenommena has been forecasting rain for days now, and it is yet to eventuate.

Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - I missed visiting the curry champ in Kanazawa. I was up for a dawn stroll around the wet market to look dead fish in their dead eyes, but theres also

I missed visiting the curry champ in Kanazawa. I was up for a dawn stroll around the wet market to look dead fish in their dead eyes, but theres also lots of restaurants. The curry champ is in the basement.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Wet market. I got chased by a crab.

Wet market. I got chased by a crab.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - There are highly anatomically correct statues of western women all over Kanazawa. This one is now lit up inside a christmas tree.

There are highly anatomically correct statues of western women all over Kanazawa. This one is now lit up inside a christmas tree.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The outside of the Kanazawa station. Move on.

The outside of the Kanazawa station. Move on.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The inside of the Kanazawa station. Keep moving.

The inside of the Kanazawa station. Keep moving.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - A warning sign to advise you not to punch railway staff into the path of an oncoming train. I can translate cause most of the Japanese characters are

A warning sign to advise you not to punch railway staff into the path of an oncoming train. I can translate cause most of the Japanese characters are shared with China.
Attention traveller. Please do not punch staff if train is approaching. Once train is clear of platform, kindly resume punching.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - My slow train.

My slow train.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - My train is almost abandoned, just one other person on my carriage.

My train is almost abandoned, just one other person on my carriage.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - An actual view!

An actual view!


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Part of my spiralling journey to gain height to go in a tunnel.

Part of my spiralling journey to gain height to go in a tunnel.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Heres the lake, a tiny bit of it. The lake is enormous, looks like the ocean, except for the vast majority of the journey you cant see it due to smog!

Heres the lake, a tiny bit of it. The lake is enormous, looks like the ocean, except for the vast majority of the journey you cant see it due to smog!


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The lake. The view of the islands in the lake is one of the top views of Japan. Instead we get to see a haze of sulfur bi fluro triphoxillate.

The lake. The view of the islands in the lake is one of the top views of Japan. Instead we get to see a haze of sulfur bi fluro triphoxillate.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The urban area surrounding the lake was surprising. Looks like theres a lot of tourist spots set up along the shore. Mainly pachinko parlours.

The urban area surrounding the lake was surprising. Looks like theres a lot of tourist spots set up along the shore. Mainly pachinko parlours.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Now I have arrived in Kyoto. No need to go outside and admire the grand station. They have provided a very convenient lego model.

Now I have arrived in Kyoto. No need to go outside and admire the grand station. They have provided a very convenient lego model.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The shopping area is 10x what it was last time.

The shopping area is 10x what it was last time.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - I decided on a healthy late lunch, and was happy with my choice. 2 kinds of vegetarian soup.

I decided on a healthy late lunch, and was happy with my choice. 2 kinds of vegetarian soup.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Been here before, photographed this before, photographing it again, did not bother to go to the roof top to take photos because smog.

Been here before, photographed this before, photographing it again, did not bother to go to the roof top to take photos because smog.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Not a great photo, but I thought it was amusing that 10 women fully dressed up in kimonos are standing around taking photos of two people dressed norm

Not a great photo, but I thought it was amusing that 10 women fully dressed up in kimonos are standing around taking photos of two people dressed normally.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The above mentioned new Aeon mall out the back of the main station. It is actually multiple buildings.

The above mentioned new Aeon mall out the back of the main station. It is actually multiple buildings.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - This kitten is over $400 and is advertised as a halloween special due to its color and scary face. I had to muscle my way through the throngs of photo

This kitten is over $400 and is advertised as a halloween special due to its color and scary face.
I had to muscle my way through the throngs of photo takers to get to the glass to take this photo.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Final photo as always, my little hotel room, the APA Kyoto Ekimae.

Final photo as always, my little hotel room, the APA Kyoto Ekimae.


They actually finished one

Kyoto has been completed.
There is nothing under construction. Last time I was here everything was, including the big temple near the station, the station itself, the shops in under and behind the station and various other things were in a state of 'grand renew coming soon'.
Now everything is ready for Tokyo 2020! Except Kyoto is not in Tokyo.
I think Kyoto might be the best city for a middle aged solo non drinking traveller who enjoys walking around but not buying things and eating cheap meals anywhere in the world.
It rained a little bit this evening, but it was timed for my arrival to the main street that goes up to Gion which has coverings for rain / snow / sun above the footpath. It was very busy here during the rainy period and I saw lots and lots of older tourists, and as a result, ambulances!

I really do think some old people on tours attempted running across the road and either had heart attacks or fell over and broke hips. Ambulances were scooping them up and applying oxygen face masks left right and centre.
Then I saw someone tumble down the stairs into a subway and spring back to their feet without breaking stride, I thought they would have been badly injured, perhaps they were, but 'face' is more important than a broken leg. Walk it off.
There are of course pros and cons to a city that exists to make tourists happy. Tour groups, school groups, and slow walkers. Slow walkers holding hands 3 and even 4 abreast are the worst. Its the height of all rudeness. I walked straight through one group of 3 doing this and they were angered by my antics. My other option was to go on the road and get hit by a bus.

Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The completed station with ominous clouds approaching.

The completed station with ominous clouds approaching.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The completed temple with gold highlights and no scaffolding.

The completed temple with gold highlights and no scaffolding.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The completed Kyoto tower that has always been completed and is useless because the roof observation area on the Isetan store above the station over t

The completed Kyoto tower that has always been completed and is useless because the roof observation area on the Isetan store above the station over the road is now higher than the tower, and free.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - You know you have hit peak tourist when there are shops selling fans and only fans.

You know you have hit peak tourist when there are shops selling fans and only fans.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - I was relieved to get to here during the heaviest of the brief rain. I ran, it was scary due to umbrellas and short people.

I was relieved to get to here during the heaviest of the brief rain. I ran, it was scary due to umbrellas and short people.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Male / female / other? I thought it was Justin Bieber. Its a glasses shop. I still dont know the answer to my own question.

Male / female / other? I thought it was Justin Bieber. Its a glasses shop. I still dont know the answer to my own question.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The most terrifying combo of all is someone riding a bike holding an umbrella.

The most terrifying combo of all is someone riding a bike holding an umbrella.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The complex of covered shopping areas called Teramichi or similar and the other one or two whos names I forget are still long, bright and busy.

The complex of covered shopping areas called Teramichi or similar and the other one or two whos names I forget are still long, bright and busy.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - This is how you do a tea shop.

This is how you do a tea shop.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Now I did not eat here, but I have a story. When I was last in Kyoto, 2 trips to Japan ago, I ate curry at a place run by an old hunch back woman. The

Now I did not eat here, but I have a story. When I was last in Kyoto, 2 trips to Japan ago, I ate curry at a place run by an old hunch back woman. The menu explained she was old, had all she needed, and so was running the restaurant to collect for charity.
I thought it was in Osaka, not Kyoto. Anyway, I was looking for a bathroom, and decided to head down the stairs to the subway. Down there was a very big, dated looking mall, it looked familiar. And then I spotted the curry shop and realised it was in Kyoto not Osaka.
I thought the old woman must be dead by now, when I was last here she was doing everything herself, cooking, greeting, cleaning, taking orders, bowing as you leave, all with her notre dame hunch. Anyway, shes still there and going strong.
Probably should have eaten there but didnt, have had enough curry lately.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - One of many school groups, practicing the colored hat game. Getting through or past one of these groups can be very challenging.

One of many school groups, practicing the colored hat game. Getting through or past one of these groups can be very challenging.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Obviously you need to pray for low low prices.

Obviously you need to pray for low low prices.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - BIGBOSS is still here, and still making me weep for Australian guitar stores and their pathetic range of 'Gibson AND Fender...we are proud to offer bo

BIGBOSS is still here, and still making me weep for Australian guitar stores and their pathetic range of 'Gibson AND Fender...we are proud to offer both brands!'


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Halloween is a far bigger deal to Japanese than makes sense.

Halloween is a far bigger deal to Japanese than makes sense.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Kyoto has hundreds of these alleyways full of little restaurants, only in Kyoto they welcome tourists including westerners. It was still hot so I was

Kyoto has hundreds of these alleyways full of little restaurants, only in Kyoto they welcome tourists including westerners. It was still hot so I was wearing shorts, I need to find somewhere a little more informal.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - I wanted to go here. It is a special Kyoto variant of Okonomyaki. Folded over like a calzone, completed product pictured on the right. I wanted to go

I wanted to go here. It is a special Kyoto variant of Okonomyaki. Folded over like a calzone, completed product pictured on the right. I wanted to go here last time I was in Kyoto, but then like now, the line is huge and I dont have an umbrella to wait in the rain because I dont enjoy poking out the eyes of strangers.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Despite not getting octopus and fish flake with noodles calzone, I was very happy with my dinner of Mapo Tofu. Quite authentic (I am qualified to say

Despite not getting octopus and fish flake with noodles calzone, I was very happy with my dinner of Mapo Tofu. Quite authentic (I am qualified to say that, I have been to the restaurant in Chengdu where it was invented!). I spoke Chinese to the Chinese guy running the place, he was amused by this.


There are currently 2 comments - click to add

adriana on 2016-10-26 said:

Never seen folded okonomiyaki before - will be trying that in a few weeks too.


Mother on 2016-10-26 said:

the lake is Lake Biwa and you can ride your bike there from Kyoto. should do this one day. The water is supposed to be clean these days with lots of fishies back in it. don't know about the air though. The Aeon Mall sounds good. Will have to check it out in a few weeks time.



Day 12 - Thursday, 27 October 2016

Canyon mountain

After spending some time researching I had selected my Kyoto mountain. There are not huge mountains near Kyoto but there are mountains, I chose what is supposed to be the most challenging mountain near a train, Mount Hiei. I like to say mountain a lot.
This is to the north east of Kyoto, and you have to walk to the train, then change train lines, then walk an hour to the start of the trail. Sounds good to me.

I am not sure what else goes on along this train line, but the station has a series of small decorated single carriages, and school kids were lined up to board. There were also school kids on my train as you will see below.
The good news is Kyoto has embraced the IC cards, and my ICOCA worked fine on these small railways, preventing further embarassing incidents where my pants full down due the weight of change needed to purchase tickets, drinks, calorie mate bars, pokemon trading cards etc.

Once on the trail, I was surprised to find myself scrambling up deep canyons. Water will find a way. Hopefully it does not find its way down these canyons today. This unique ascent was not too challenging, just over 2 hours to the summit (no resting!), but because of the canyon there is not a lot to see on your way up.
I did however see monkeys, lots of them, but they would not stop for a photo. One particularly dense area of monkey activity smelt like a zoo. So there you go, I know that monkeys are the main form of stench in a zoo.

The summit area is the usual conglomeration of tv towers, mobile phone towers but also bus parking! You can take the bus up, or 2 different cable cars. This mountain is exactly in between Kyoto and Lake Biwa, and there is an extortionate mountain garden museum outdoor arboretum with additional indoor seating for appreciation of the seasons with special focus on view area. Extortionate due to the $15 entry fee!
Having explained to the ticket lady that the reason she has no customers is because of the fee, I went to the summit proper, which has no view, then appreciated the view of Lake Biwa through smog, then had to decide which way to go back down.
I was not going to take the cable car, I was going to walk. After some extended consideration, I decided to go back the way I had come rather than down the Lake Biwa side, I could not identify there was a definite path and it seemed a long way. Now looking at google maps it does not look anywhere near as far as the path I took from the station.
On the way up, I met no one until I met a tour group of old folks very near the top. They had taken the cable car and were hiking around the summit. On the way down I passed maybe 5 people coming up. This is still very surprising to me, where are all these huge crowds I keep reading about?

Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - It was about a 20 minute walk from the hotel to my first train, which is on a line that does not go through the main Kyoto station. I had to cross a r

It was about a 20 minute walk from the hotel to my first train, which is on a line that does not go through the main Kyoto station. I had to cross a raging open sewer river to get to the train.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Changing from train 1 to 2, it seems theres a few different lines that shoot off from here with single carriage trains of school kids. It was very con

Changing from train 1 to 2, it seems theres a few different lines that shoot off from here with single carriage trains of school kids. It was very confusing and there was no English, but they take IC cards.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - I took a photo of school kids. This is the pink hat gang. There was also a yellow hat gang. Along with their hats they all have a drink bottle slung o

I took a photo of school kids. This is the pink hat gang. There was also a yellow hat gang. Along with their hats they all have a drink bottle slung over their shoulders.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The walk from the train station to the start of the trail was quite far, and up hill, nice views started to appear.

The walk from the train station to the start of the trail was quite far, and up hill, nice views started to appear.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Now I am in a canyon, thinking about flash flooding. Unlikely during blue sky.

Now I am in a canyon, thinking about flash flooding. Unlikely during blue sky.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The canyon got deeper and rocky. Made for slow going but was fun. Monkeys were watching me.

The canyon got deeper and rocky. Made for slow going but was fun. Monkeys were watching me.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - One of the few opportunities for a view on the way up. Still quite hazey. Nice powerlines.

One of the few opportunities for a view on the way up. Still quite hazey. Nice powerlines.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The canyon eventually became a path with the tall cedars. No terrifying wind today.

The canyon eventually became a path with the tall cedars. No terrifying wind today.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - This is not the actual top, but it might have the best view. It is where you change from one cable car to another. Or if you are me, continue walking

This is not the actual top, but it might have the best view. It is where you change from one cable car to another. Or if you are me, continue walking because thats what I do and I do not pay for expensive cable cars if I can walk instead.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Time for one of these. Not good light for it.

Time for one of these. Not good light for it.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - More view, this is Kyoto.

More view, this is Kyoto.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - A different kind of selfie. Cant see my awesome stance.

A different kind of selfie. Cant see my awesome stance.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Looking further up the valley.

Looking further up the valley.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Very near the top, I ran into this group of old folks who had taken the cable car up. Despite having only half a kilometre of hiking to complete, they

Very near the top, I ran into this group of old folks who had taken the cable car up. Despite having only half a kilometre of hiking to complete, they have come ready to traverse the alps.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Lake Biwa, and pollution.

Lake Biwa, and pollution.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The top has a bus stop, and some vending machines, and lots of parking with no cars.

The top has a bus stop, and some vending machines, and lots of parking with no cars.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - And a little bit more view before I head to the real summit with no view.

And a little bit more view before I head to the real summit with no view.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - This is the $15 garden. I think the top cable car station is up there as well. No thanks.

This is the $15 garden. I think the top cable car station is up there as well. No thanks.


Repeat visits

Sorry to my loyal viewer, but there are not many photos this evening.
Main reason for this is, I went back to the same place as last night cause I like it so much.
On the way there, I was attacked by a small dog! I did nothing to this dog, but he did not like me at all. My shoe has been chewed. I believe at one point the dog had all 4 paws off the ground and was supporting his entire body weight by his jaw clamped to my foot whilst I tried to shake him off. The rubber toe thing on my shoes is very handy.
Crazy dogs owner did not seem apologetic enough, she did not even offer an apology bow. I considered bighting the dog back. Man bites dog.

Later on, inside a Loft store, which is a bit like Tokyu Hands but more fashion focused, I witnessed a child attempt to eat fake candy stationery. He did not swallow it, but even after spitting out one piece, he decided to try a second piece of moulded colorful plastic. If you are unable to learn from your mistakes then you are a form of life lower than monkey. Be gone with you lesser monkey child.

My journey home involved avoiding the surface as much as possible, I decided to explore the subway tunnels under the road. To see how far they go, I walked as far as I could away from the city to get to the end, before walking back towards the city. About 2.8km I think.
These tunnels have no shops, they are just a very convenient under used fast way to avoid the crush of tourists at the surface. The highlight for me was when a serious looking jogger went past. He jogs for kilometres indoors without having to stop for traffic lights or trip over other humans. Smart.

Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Peak tourist back alley restaurant street. They have alleys running off the alleys here. Tour groups all stop to take photos from the same spot, for 5

Peak tourist back alley restaurant street. They have alleys running off the alleys here. Tour groups all stop to take photos from the same spot, for 5 minutes at a time, whilst a traffic jam forms behind them.
Your mobile phone cameras are useless to take such photos, the flash will not help, please move on.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - I had an excellent dinner which claimed to be authentic original championship winning ancient meiji restoration era samurai approved Kyoto style ramen

I had an excellent dinner which claimed to be authentic original championship winning ancient meiji restoration era samurai approved Kyoto style ramen.
It had 9 chefs hats on the menu to recommend it. I do not know what the green stuff is, but its all that differentiates it from all the other ramen. The noodles were the ones I prefer though, the ones that are whiter and stronger than the yellower ones.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Now I just had to choose my dessert. I like mochi, green tea and kidney beans blended with sugar. Basically the main dessert flavour of Japan.

Now I just had to choose my dessert. I like mochi, green tea and kidney beans blended with sugar. Basically the main dessert flavour of Japan.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - One of the long sections of under road jogging tunnel.

One of the long sections of under road jogging tunnel.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Nearer my hotel, I was going down dark back streets, really dark. I came around a corner and a motion sensor light turned on and lit these guys up dir

Nearer my hotel, I was going down dark back streets, really dark. I came around a corner and a motion sensor light turned on and lit these guys up directly in front of me. I leapt about 3 feet in the air.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - The Kyoto branch of the Yodabashi camera, fashion, alcohol and umbrella shop is impressive in size. Inside there was a russian family, with a very ang

The Kyoto branch of the Yodabashi camera, fashion, alcohol and umbrella shop is impressive in size. Inside there was a russian family, with a very angry, very tall father. I could not work out what he was so angry about.
At one stage he pressed the button for the lift and when the doors did not open immediately he decided to bash on the doors and yell at them until they opened.


Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - I wanted to record the Russians unexplainable (inexplicable?) antics with this retro stereo pinhole camera, but no one alive knows how to use such a t

I wanted to record the Russians unexplainable (inexplicable?) antics with this retro stereo pinhole camera, but no one alive knows how to use such a thing.
Yodabashi has about 20 pinhole cameras to choose from, including some in wooden boxes and cake tins. When did this become a thing?


There are currently 2 comments - click to add

jenny on 2016-10-27 said:

Yes the underground tunnel is very convenient to get half way back to kyoto station. Don't know why pinhole cameras would be popular either.


mother on 2016-10-27 said:

What a cheapskate, the garden looks very exciting.



Now there is a page 5, where I will be in Sapporo.

Contents

Day 1 - Sunday, 16 October 2016
  Magpie attack!
  Landing gets you half way there
Day 2 - Monday, 17 October 2016
  Splashing about in tunnels
  Green motorbike birth place
Day 3 - Tuesday, 18 October 2016
  I saw it!
  Used and Organic
Day 4 - Wednesday, 19 October 2016
  Naga-no-yes
  Public convenience
Day 5 - Thursday, 20 October 2016
  Not too early for color
  Still just a station
Day 6 - Friday, 21 October 2016
  It happened again
  City in decline
Day 7 - Saturday, 22 October 2016
  Huge hotel room
  Places to eat
Day 8 - Sunday, 23 October 2016
  Volcanic gas panic
  Famous food and plenty of parking
Day 9 - Monday, 24 October 2016
  Castles gardens and tourists
  Its a real city
Day 10 - Tuesday, 25 October 2016
  Racing the rain that never was
  NO PHOTO Bigot
Day 11 - Wednesday, 26 October 2016
  Slow train to big city
  They actually finished one
Day 12 - Thursday, 27 October 2016
  Canyon mountain
  Repeat visits
Day 13 - Friday, 28 October 2016
  New airport day
  Wheely good time
Day 14 - Saturday, 29 October 2016
  No smog yes people
  So happy to give information please sit
Day 15 - Sunday, 30 October 2016
  Terrible sign failure
  Pre halloween
Day 16 - Monday, 31 October 2016
  Captives
  Baseball legend
Day 17 - Tuesday, 1 November 2016
  Dam it
  Flipping my own food
Day 18 - Wednesday, 2 November 2016
  Fight for your right for a view
  Running with the buses
Day 19 - Thursday, 3 November 2016
  Dull hysteria
  The final freeze
Day 20 - Friday, 4 November 2016
  Under the sea
  Nights of the warming lights
Day 21 - Saturday, 5 November 2016
  White flag
  Cheesey
Day 22 - Sunday, 6 November 2016
  Lets try that again
  Damp pants
Day 23 - Monday, 7 November 2016
  Last stop
  Tourists outnumber locals
Day 24 - Tuesday, 8 November 2016
  Glay
  So shiny
Day 25 - Wednesday, 9 November 2016
  Now they are rubbish
  Button security
Day 26 - Thursday, 10 November 2016
  For the sake of completeness
  The end