I just returned from my trip to Japan with a few of my family members and friends. This was what I would call my first true vacation in a very long time. I have blogged about other trips: Florida, Vegas and New York but this was one without working following me.
Full review of the trip
Day 1 – April 3rd
Packed everything up and stayed in a Boston hotel to minimize the travel for a 6 AM flight to California.
Day 2 – April 4th
Went to the airport at 4 AM, stood in security where I baffled them with all my camera lenses. Got a first hand look at some of the bomb sniffing tools they use and had a good laugh with the agent. Finally boarded the plane for a 6 hour flight to San Francisco. Once we arrived at SFO I got on another plane for a 11 hour flight to Tokyo.
Day 3 – April 5th
After landing in Tokyo (the next day) we quickly went through Passport and Security to hop on a bus and go to the first hotel. Once the hotel was all set, we adventured into downtown Tokyo where there was tons of shops and things to do. I also got to see a pretty large selection of cell phones and camera lenses.
Day 4 – April 6th
The first tour day included a full day of sightseeing at Tokyo Tower, Meiji Shrine, Omote Sando Street, Sumida River Cruise, Asakusa Kannon Temple and Nakamise Shopping Arcade.
This was the first time I was in Japan so the city scape and overall theme amazed me, but the tour allowed you to find things you probably wouldn’t have in the first place.
Day 5 – April 7th
Our second day in Tokyo was a free day, so we decided to head over to Akihabara “Akiba” which is the largest electronics district I have ever seen, so many shops and so little time. After going through Akiba we continued to Ginza which is Tokyo’s premier upscale shopping district, but for us the Sony building was the focus. This place has all sorts of Sony electronics, some of which will be seen in the states, while most probably won’t.
To round out day 2 we went to Tokyo Disney which it turns out the best time to attend Disney is right after a school vacation because the park basically had no one in it. Which of course meant all the rides were open and it was probably the first time I had been in a Disney wondering what to see next.
Day 6 – April 8th
The third day was suppose to be a trip to Mt. Fuji, but unfortunately the weather wouldn’t have any of that. So we saw the museum and some other locations close by, not what I had hoped for, but the guide made it work in the end.
Day 7 – April 9th
On the fourth day we took a bus to the Odawara station to catch the bullet train. This isn’t the “bullet” train like the Acela claims to be, this is the real deal. It goes about 180mph on average and only stops at each station for 1 minute. Once in Kyoto we checked out some more temples and the Heian Shrine.
Day 8 – April 10th
For the first full day in Kyoto we went to the Kinkakuji Temple, Hirano Shrine and Nijo castle. While in the Hirano shrine we had a traditional Japanese lunch (Bento box) and got to speak with 2 women that are Japanese residents.
Day 9 – April 11th
This day was going to be a free day, but we decided to plan a trip to Hiroshima to see the A-bomb dome, museum and story surrounding that day as well as the years to follow. In a sense it was a propaganda film for why Nuclear bombs are not the answer, but overall it was very interesting.
We also got to Miyajima which is home of the Torri gate as well as a very beautiful island. The low point of this leg of the trip was the dropping of my 70-200 telephoto lens, but luckily it seems like only the Sky filter is damaged (i hope).
Day 10 – April 12th
This was the last day in Japan which basically consisted of a trip to the airport and a very long flight (2 actual). I did get to encounter a day that starts on Saturday (in Japan) and ends at 11:30 pm (in Boston) with a 22 hour flight in the middle.
Summary for the busy
As I know people are too busy to read this whole post, I figured I would summarize the trip. I got to see many great shrines, temples, castles and shops while meeting great people and taking lots of photos.
For the full review, read above
In all it was an awesome time and hopefully this week I will be able to post the photos, if work doesn’t get in the way.