Posted by: biebes | December 21, 2009

24.11.09 Osaka – Faro

Early in the morning, we took the airport bus from Central Osaka to the Airport.
First flight: Osaka – Tokyo
then:
Tokyo – Rom
Rom – Lisbon
As the TAP flight from Rom to Lisbon was delayed, we missed our connecting flight in Lisbon and had to stay overnight. In the morning we took the first flight to Faro.

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Posted by: biebes | December 21, 2009

23.11.09 Osaka

Tour of Osaka today. Visit to America-mura, where many shops show an American Theme, like a statue of liberty etc. We continued to the Namba area with many crazy shop fronts. After Sushi for lunch we walked to the Shitennoji-Tempel. After the visit we arrived, by train, the main monument of Osaka, the Osaka Castle. In front of this castle a Drum Bank was performing. Enclosed see a video (not the actual performance we saw, but very similar)

In the evening we walked from our Hotel to the Umeda Sky Building. At 170 m altitude there is a outside viewing platform where we took a look at the skyline of Osaka during the Sunset. On the open square before the building, a true german “Weihnachtsmarkt” was selling all the normal “German” stuff like Gluehwein, Bratwurst …

Posted by: biebes | December 21, 2009

22.11.09 Hiroshima – Osaka

From Hiroshima we were, with the Shinkhansen, in Osaka very fast. Our Hotel is located direcly at the train station. Actually the hotel is between the 20-25th floor. Below us is a department store. Perfect conditions for shopping.

With hundreds of restaurants just around our hotel (there are around 8 on the 19th floor, another 6 on the 25th floor, and around 30 in the basement of just our building) it is very difficult to make a choice. We spent the day just around our hotel – as there is already so much activity going on.

Posted by: biebes | December 21, 2009

21.11.2009 Hiroshima

With Train and Ferry we visit the Island Miyajima. This is a “holy” Island with animals and apes not afraid of people. Also famous for its Oysters. Even before arriving, the red Torii  of the Temple area is eye catching. After walking around the small town and temple area, we hike up to the Mt. Misen, with an elevation of 520 m. On the way back we take the cable car – actually two cable cars – to get back to sea level. After a late lunch – mainly of Oysters – we head back to Hiroshima.

Posted by: biebes | December 13, 2009

20.11.2009 Koba-San – Hiroshima

In the Morning, after special breakfast in the hotel / tempel we took the cable car into the valley and with the train back to Osaka. After three times changing the train, with the last one a Shinkansen Speed Train, we arrived in early afternoon in Hiroshima. Visit of the Freedom Park with the only visible building today, the Dom. As this area is nearly in the Centre, we walked into the Centre of Town, had Dinner and were very surprised to see one of the major roads closed. After Sunset, a big open market began with the sale of all kinds of food items. A big group of Drummers performed directly on the street.

Posted by: biebes | December 13, 2009

19.11.2009 Kyoto – Koya-san (Mount Koya)

Shingon Buddhism
Again this morning our luggage was divided and the bulkiest part sent to Osaka. A lady met us at 8:10 to take us as far as where the train left to Koya-san. Cable car up to Mount Koya and bus to our “temple hotel” Fukuchin, called a shukubo (temple stay). It was very cold but we walked through the Okunoin forest cemetery to the Mausoleum of Kobo Daishi. Kobo Daishi (Kukai) was a renowned monk who established Shingon Buddhism during the Heian era. In 835, he entered into eternal meditation and in the year of 921 he was given the posthumous name of Kobo Daishi by Emperor Daigo. We still visited two other temple areas but eventually found somewhere to drink a hot tea with some sweets. Our vegetarian dinner in our temple hotel was delicious and served as room service. We took advantage of the Onsen (hot springs) in the temple and went to bed this time with 2 futons which was much more comfortable.

Posted by: biebes | December 13, 2009

18.11.2009 Kyoto

Bus and walk to Kiyomizu temple. Walk on the cobblestone streets and then to Teramachi Street, a covered shopping and market area.

Posted by: biebes | December 13, 2009

17.11.2009 Kyoto

Kyoto was the capital of Japan and the residence of the Emperor from 794 until the Meiji Restoration of 1868, when the capital was moved to Tokyo. During its millennium at the center of Japanese power, culture, tradition, and religion, it accumulated an unparalleled collection of palaces, temples and shrines, built for emperors, shoguns, and monks. Kyoto was among the few Japanese cities that escaped the allied bombings of World War II and as a result, Kyoto still has an abundance of prewar buildings. Sightseeing tour in the rain: Nishi Hongan-ji temple, Nijō Castle where the last Shogun lived, and afraid of being assassinated he had the floor built in a way that it squeaks when somebody walks on it; and the famous Rokyon-ji temple or the Golden Pavilion that was built in 1394. Amazing is the new train station, a project by Hiroshi Hara that was built 1997. There are escalators going outside up to the 11th floor! Dinner at a Sushi carousel restaurant.

Posted by: biebes | December 13, 2009

16.11.2009 Kanazawa -Kyoto

During the morning we strolled through the old Geisha and Samurai quarters. We were able to visit a Geisha and a Samurai house, both very beautiful. Lunch at the “Trattoria Tamaya”, a Japanese/Itarian Restaurant. At 14:58 we took the train Ltd Express to Kyoto where we arrived at 17:15 and checked-in at the Hotel New Miyako South (room 1348) and our luggage coming from Tokyo was already waiting for us. In the evening we went to the district of Gion where there are still Geishas and Maikos (Geishas apprentice). Dinner in the 6th floor of a building where we had delicious noodles, sashimi, skewers etc. Back to hotel with taxi.

Posted by: biebes | December 13, 2009

15.11.2009 Shirakawa-go – Kanazawa

Of course we got Japanese breakfast with rice and some things we couldn’t define what they were. We went for a stroll through the historic village of Shirakawa-gō that is one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is knows for its houses constructed in architectural style known as “gasshō-zukuri”. The Gassho-zukuri, “prayer-hands construction” style is characterized by a thatched and steeply slanting roof resembling two hands joined in prayer. The design is exceptionally strong and, in combination with the unique properties of the thatching, allows the houses to withstand and shed the weight of the region’s heavy snowfalls in winter. Our bus for Kanazawa left at sharp 10:20. After the cold and rain in Shirakawa-gō, it was rainy and stormy in Kanazawa where we check-in at the Hotel Ana Crowne Plaza (room 1114). It was great to be in this nice hotel after the night in the guesthouse. In the afternoon we visited the Kanazawa-jō castle and the Kenrokuen Garden. Back with taxi.

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