Hello, nice that you've found your way to my second trip report. I would now like to talk about my first real vacation here in Japan.
2006, with my first and only business trip me a lovely interpreter and tour guide was put aside in Japan. Her name is Kay Kobayashi and we became friends quickly. Her German is as perfect as her Japanese and it was always nice to talk with her. Because of this friendship with her, which continues to this day, I decided in early 2007 again to travel to Japan. This country makes simply addictive. So together we planned a trip. I organized my flight and Kay took care of my accommodation and excursions. In the summer, then it went off ...
On 18.7.2007 I then flew off ... Stuttgart -> Frankfurt -> Tokyo. In Tokyo arrived, I had to go to a meeting point described by Kay. Although Japan has a knotless rail system, so you have to really plan some time to get to its destination. Therefore, I had to drive from Narita Airport to Yokohama for now. Upon arrival in Narita, I had to take the Friendly Airport Limousine . This is a bus company that travels from the airport to various bus stations. The ticket is dissolved at a counter, which have same color as the bus ... white and orange. The trip from Narita to YCAT (Yokohama City Air Terminal) varies between 85-110 minutes depending on traffic conditions. When I arrived there I had a few more minutes to wait for Kay, but then she finally came. I was very happy to see her again. Immediately we went to her car and Kay showed me Yokohama (2006, I had no opportunity to do it).
A Guest in Yokohama
The first goal was also at the same time the largest of Japan ... the Landmark Tower. The largest at this time detached building in Japan. The tower is 295m high and the inner transport 79 cable-operated lifts visitors up ..
The view from up there is breathtaking. Herewith a small tip. Visit the Tower on a beautiful day between 9.00 clock and 10.30 clock. Then you can see with a good camera to Mount Fuji. Later it becomes hazy and it quickly builds up a wall of fog on the horizon. Here is a short clip.
Then we went into the Sankeien Garden (pdf), far to the south of Yokohama. Why it is worth visiting the garden? Well, firstly, the garden is over 100 years old and was previously in private ownership. After opening in 1906, visitors could marvel at what the silk merchant Sankei Hara has created there. Characteristic for this garden are the buildings. Sankai Hara, has rebuilt on his many travels through Japan Buildings and structures that have pleased him very well in his garden again.
Here, too, now a short clip.
Then Kay showed me the beautiful port of Yokohama and some beautiful statues that adorn the harbor promenade.
Then we went to Chinatown, a small pure Chinese quarter. Chinatown is also surrounded by Torii, however, in the Chinese style. In the center of Chinatown is a large shrine, which is richly decorated with gold.
Also at the Pairo, the entrance gates, you see many golden ornaments. These are structured according to zodiac sign.
Following Kay drove me to Tokyo, where I checked into a small one-room apartment in Ueno.
Kamakura and Ofuna
For today Kay has planned a trip to Kamakura and after then to Ofuna. Both towns are located approximately 50km south-west of central Tokyo.
At the time of shoguns Kamakura was a strategically important city. If you have conquered Kamakura first, it was not far to Tokyo. Therefore, the Shogun of Kamakura, come up with something great when building his shrine.
From the beach to the Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine, it is 2km straight cord. The beach road begins with a width of 20 meters. When you walk now the route to the shrine, the road falls on a slow as piece by piece tighter and tighter until it eventually is directly at the shrine only 10 meters wide. Now imagine this with a huge army before, the farther it penetrates more and more needs to move closer together and thus is getting longer and longer. Directly at the shrine then you did not need a lot of fighters to strike the army. The bottleneck principle. That worked even in Sparta. :-)
Arriving at the shrine we went on our way into the forest, until we reached along a small river, about various stone stairs ultimately in a tea house, which was surrounded by meter-tall bamboo trees.
There I was invited by Kay to take a real Japanese tea ceremony. Too bad that I was at that time to young and inexperienced to understand the true meaning of such a ceremony. Today I would be wiser and would have given the whole thing more Importance. Here are a few pictures.
After the tea ceremony we went back to the main road, at the shrine over to the other side of Kamakura, where me another highlight expected .... the great Amida Buddah built in 1252 , also called Daibutsu.
Occupied the site of today's figure in Kōtoku-in originally a carved wooden Buddha statue in a wooden shrine. The first plans to erect a bronze Buddha statue can be traced back to the year 1236 to the priest Toe no Joko, in the time of the Kamakura shogunate under the rule of Hojo Yasutoki.
In 1252 the artist Ōno-Gorōemon and Tanji-Hisatomo began with the establishment of a bronze sculpture paid by donations of Shaka Nyorai-Buddha.
Originally today's figure was covered with gold leaf and was located inside of a wooden temple building, which had a floor area of 44 x 42.5 meters. It fell, however, at first 1334 and then 1369 and 1498 swept away by a tsunami up to the foundation walls. Thereafter gave up a reconstruction, the statue has since been outdoors.
1879 started with the collection of donations for the rebuilding of the temple building. The plan was abandoned in 1889 and used the donated money for the embellishment and enlargement of the terrain.
In the years 1960 and 1961 a restoration of the statue took place, which amplifies the neck of the figure and improved measures have been taken to earthquake safety. [Source: Wikipedia]
Then we went by train further into the inner country, according to Ofuna. It was only a short visit, as we were both pretty hungry by now, but Kay said, I should not let miss this. In Ofuna, directly opposite the railway station looked a white giant statue of the forest, almost looked like the statue of a Madonna. This is the Ofuna Kannon statue. Her story I do not know, but it is really nice to look at.
After dinner at a good Italian restaurant we went back.
Kay left me in Yokohama and I drove up to Ueno.
On the way in Tokyo
On the weekend of 21 and 22.7.2007 Kay had no time for me, so I had to deal myself. Still a bit unsure in the megacity Tokyo, I decided to explore the city on foot. Armed with a map I was on my way. From Ueno I went to Asakusa. There, the Pier is for a boat ride on the Sumida River.
I took the tour to Hinode Pier. From there it is only a few minutes walk to the Hamarikyu Garden, which lies exactly opposite the Tsukiji fish market. I filmed a bit in the garden, then I went on to Tokyo Tower, and I promptly got lost. That made but nothing, after all, I was in Japan, and thus as a tourist with the most helpful people I have ever met. Spontaneous so I asked a couple of my oncoming young people for directions. They knew the way but not 100%, but they accompanied me for a while until came to meet us more young people. They knew the way and in the meantime six young Japanese brought safely to my destination. I want to experience as a stranger in a German city. People who have time for a tourist. I thanked them politely in Japanese and then each went his way.
At the Tokyo Tower was very busy, after all it was Saturday, so I went straight on to Roppongi. I am a big fan of tall buildings and failed than my scheduled recordings from Tokyo Tower, there was only one goal for me: the Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills. The price on the Skydeck is 1500 yen pretty steep, but if you save money on vacation,will save on the wrong way. Therefore, from enjoying the lift and a magnificent view over the city. As a conclusion for the Saturday, I took the train to Shibuya and there I got out in Harajuku.
Now enjoy the movie, I made on that day.
On Sunday morning I woke up pretty haphazard. So I decided to go for breakfast first. On the way back to my apartment, I saw a poster with a Mickey Mouse on it. It was clear what I am today. I went to the Tokyo Disney Resort. TDR is located at the southern end of the city, in Urayasu. The ride from Ueno takes about half an hour. The park consists of two parts, the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea. For each park has to solve its own one-day ticket. Here are a few pictures.
Over to Odaiba
Kay was waiting for me in a cafe and we had breakfast together. For today she had the southern part of Tokyo planned with the artificial island of Odaiba. On the way south we made a stop on a building. From an elevated floor we had a great view of the fish market and the Hamarikyu Garden.
Then we went to Shimbashi station. From there we took the Yurikamome Line. The Yurikamome is Tokyo's first fully automated transport system, which is completely controlled by computers without getting on board a train driver. However, it is not the first line of its kind in Japan, only 14 years earlier, was in Kobe the port liner opened in 1981. The distance is about 14.7 km.
The Yurikamome incorrectly sometimes referred to as monorail. However, the trains run with rubber tires on a concrete path led through the side walls. For this reason, the seats by the window in the direction of travel are also very popular.
In Odaiba, we have made stops at various stations just to make sightseeing. Here are a few video clips.
Fuji TV, Beach, Statue of Liberty
Fuji TV, Palette Town, Habour, Fair Tokyo
CongressCenter Big Sight and the Fair
Let´s go to Nikko
Unfortunately, Kay did not have more time for the rest of my stay. As an interpreter, she must always be on call. So I booked a couple of bus trips at Hamamatsucho Station. There is on the street level, a large bus station specifically for excursions. The bus company is called Hato bus. I booked 3 excursions. The first led me travel to Nikko and Hakone National Park and the Kegon waterfall. Start was the next day.
Fairly early in the morning I had to go back to Ueno after Hamamatsucho. Once there, after a short wait, the bus travel began. Target was the city of Nikko, 140km north of Tokyo. Nikko is famous for its beautiful shrines and temples.
On this day the program was quite thick. From Hamamatsucho I went westwards to Mount Fuji. But first, made the bus stop on Chuzenji lake. This lake is part of Nikko National Park. The lake drains through the Kegon waterfall. Then I took the bus up to the 5.Station of Mount Fuji. Unfortunately it was very foggy. In the afternoon I continued north to Lake Ashi. After a small ship cruise on the lake, I went to the other side of the cable car high on a mountsain.
Lake Chuzenji, Nikko National Park, Kegon Falls, Mount Fuji, Lake Ashi, Komagatake Ropeway
Matsuri in Odawara
The summer months are in Japan the month of many festivals. Such hard I also wanted to see one. For this I had to go one last time to Hamamatsucho because there met all passengers. From there we took the Yamanote Line to Tokyo Station and from there by Shinkansen to Odawara.
Matsuri in Odawara
Even the most beautiful holiday goes sometime over. On Monday my flight went back via Frankfurt to Stuttgart.
A few months later I was again ready for the island and I started planning for my next vacation to Japan. Unfortunately, Kay had no time, so I rummaged through the internet for a possibility time to fly back to Japan and to make the trip individually. In my research I found the the website of Thomas Heinlein. With him I made my third and so far last trip to Japan. So ... you go further in the travelogue of 2008. Until then ...