The Beginning

Hello, nice that you've found your way to my third trip report. I want to tell about my last Japan trip here. It was also the longest and it start in the far north of Sapporo, on the island of Hokkaido till to deep in the south of the island of Okinawa.

A few months after my last return from Japan, it attracted me somehow back in the country of Smile. Who, like me, embarking on the country and people, which it just will not let go and the Japan virus will infect one. A "disease" from which you definitely do not need a healing. :-)

As at the end of the Japan travelogue reported in 2007, I found while browsing the internet, the Japan Travel website of Thomas Heinlein. At first I was skeptical if this really works, if a private person organizes long-distance travel, but upon further rummage through his Gallery and Forum and by the fact that Thomas is married to a Japanese woman, let fade all doubt.

By signing in his forum and through email I took on first contact with him. Thus, I have also learned that we only live 20km apart. Better it can run at all. I registered myself on for the trip spring 2008.

The Arriving

On 14.3.2008 the Travel starts. Meeting point for all passengers from southern Germany was Stuttgart Airport. From there we flew to Frankfurt, where we met the rest of the trip participants from the other parts of the German Republic. A first sniff was not necessary, as Thomas has already organized a preliminary meeting during the travel arrangements to know each other. The flight with ANA was used without problems and I was really looking forward to the Japanese food on the plane.



Saturday, 15.03.2008

After about 11 hours we landed in Narita. As the group gathered again, we first had to a JR Office, because there we got our JR Rail Pass. With that you can use, each operated by JR vehicle in Japan, for a period of 7, 14 or 21 days ... with only very minor limitations. Then we took the Keisei Sky Liner directly to Ueno. There were our hotels. Hotels? Yes, the group was able to choose between two different hotels, the Toyoko Inn Uguisudani, a short walk from Ueno away or the Oak Hotel directly in Ueno. Toyoko Inn is a western style with king size beds and the Oak was Japanese style with tatami mats and futon bed (which is pure japanese ).


Here's the travel plan in detail. Due to the high number of participants and the different interests of Sightseeing, Thomas has divided the journey in two times two weeks. Therefore, there were participants who were the first 2 weeks and the identity of who were the second two weeks there. A few remained to the first two weeks or the extension week, only I, Thomas and his family remained the complete month. :-P


The first Impression

After checking in, I had decided for Toyoko Inn, I had to eat something first. The journey was exhausting and it was already evening, it is usually advisable to go to bed at a normal time as possible to get into the Japanese daily rhythm. Thomas helped only for check-in, then the Oak group and at last he went with his family to his in-laws.


On the next morning I wanted to try the free breakfast from Toyoko-Inn first. To drink there was fresh coffee, which was really good, but the food shaped into rice triangles was served in a non-defined flavors and different colors. I ate one ... but that's not my thing ... now I understood why no one wanted to eat them (not even Japanese). With a few passengers who lived in the same hotel we went to Ueno. There in the station, there is a great Austrian bakery called Andersen.

Well, that does that look incredibly delicious? How important is breakfast, you realize, if you're frantically looking for a bakery as Europeans in a foreign country. In Tokyo and other major Japanese cities and larger since there are no problem, but one should not take for obvious there.

I still have experienced in my travels very different things, but more on that later. After breakfast, the group gathered at a daily meeting place, as long as we stayed in Tokyo. So, turn on camera and let´s go..

Now the vacation can begin! From Ueno we walked first to Akihabara, where you can get all kinds of electronics products. With the Yamanote Line it continued to Harajuku . In Harajuku we first visited which the Meiji Shrine after that we went to the "Street of music". The music Street is a street about 500m long. On every Sunday doing all kinds of musical. We start with a few mostly Japanese Rockabilly's in blue jeans, black leather jacket, sunglasses and Elvis quiff. For Rock'n'Roll music they dance then. In the further course of the road, there are numerous food stalls, flea market vendors, and especially live music at its best. What is celebrated here on the open road, are mostly music students and what the play is really worth listening to. Have fun with the video.


Monday, 17.3.2008

The next day we went on the artificial island of Odaiba. The island is basically a pure pleasure island for the Tokyo People who do not want to drive far away on the weekend. One finds abundant shopping for women, game rooms for kids and the Toyota showroom and a huge Car Accessories Shop for Men (Super Autobacs). Odaiba also has a Ferris wheel and a small Beach.

Tuesday, 18.3.2008

Today, the green lung of Tokyo was on the agenda. The imperial garden. There, just north of the city, the Tenno resides with his family. Except for a small area of ​​the garden is fully accessible. At morning you see there usually older people in Tai Chi exercises. From time to time the imperial cavalry riding through.

The last station of the day, which was built from 1988-1991 the 243m high Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building was on the plan. Here is actually simply just around the Town Hall, but for Tokyo adequately large.

I have mixed in my video a few aerial shots with , so that one sometimes sees how massive the complex is.

This is the end of our stay in Tokyo . Now for the next 3 days we went north to the island of Hokkaido.


Let´s go to Hokkaido

Wednesday, 19.3.2008

So today it goes north. With the Shinkansen, the Japanese bullet train, we went just way to Shin-Aomori. From there we went on to the Super Hakucho Limited Express. This train connects the two islands of Honshu and Hokkaido. The route from Aomori along a picturesque coast has continued to the north. If you reach then the city Imabetsu the track disappears in the second longest undersea tunnel in the world . The Seikan Tunnel.

The Seikan Tunnel (Japanese 青函 トンネル Seikan tonneru), with a length of 53.94 kilometers, the longest tunnel in operation in the world, after the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the second longest tunnel in the world. With a share of 23.3 km tunnel under the sea, it has, according to the Euro Tunnel, the second longest undersea tunnel portion.

The railway tunnel was opened on 13 March in 1988 and connects the two Japanese islands Hokkaido and Honshu. Thus, all four main Japanese islands were among themselves made ​​accessible by train. For the connection of the tunnel to the high-speed network new lines were built with a total length of 200 km on Honshu. Up to 100 m below the seabed and 240 m lying (at the level of the sole) below the ocean tunnel consists of driving a tunnel and two supply tubes. The main tunnel is up to 11.90 m wide and 9 m high. The maximum gradient is 20 per thousand.

His name has the Seikan Tunnel of the character of the cities in the vicinity of the two tunnel entrances, the first of Aomori (青森) on Honshu and the second from Hakodate (函馆) on Hokkaido.

[Source: Wikipedia]

After about 2 hours we reached Hakodate.


This trip was pretty exhausting, but also very beautiful. It was already late afternoon, so we had to go to Toya. Toya and Toya lake should be relatively known fact since the G8 summit in 2008. We checked in into a hotel as it already we went to Sapporo on the next day.



Welcome in Sapporo

Thursday, 20.3.2008

From Toya we drove to the capital of Hokkaido, Sapporo. What the most think of when they about Sapporo? Right, beer ... and there are plenty there and in many varieties. But also other great points of interest Sapporo has to offer.

Just check yourself.



In the evening we went back to Toya.


From Toya to Tokyo

Friday, 21.3.2011

On this day, we watched Toya and environment and I take the opportunity yet to take a few pictures.

In the late afternoon we were then on the long journey home to Tokyo. Pretty tired, I reached my hotel and slept finally out. For the next day no sightseeing points were planned, so I went with some of travel people with whom I have now befriended to Yokohama. There we found a great electronics store. Interested I ran through the aisles to find in the hope something great and was in fact successful. I've bought then an internal BluRay Double Layer Recorder for my PC . Now I also can fill 50GB blanks with my films. :-)


For Visit in Kyoto

Sunday, 23.3.2011

Now the second part of the trip we went to the south. Early in the morning we boarded the Shinkansen to Hiroshima. The trip took a couple of times including transfer approximately 3 1/2 hours. But we made a stopover in Kyoto.

From JR Kyoto Station, we boarded after a long wait, a shuttle bus that brought hundreds of tourists to various sightseeing points. We first visited the Buddhist temple Kiyomizu-dera.



Kiyomizu-dera (Japanese 清水寺) refers to several Buddhist temples, but most of it the Otowasan Kiyomizu-dera (音 羽山 清水寺) in Eastern Kyoto (Higashiyama district town) meant one of the most famous sights of the city. The temple was founded in 1994 along with other sites appointed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities).

The history of the temple dates back to the year 798, the present building, however, were built in 1633. The temple got its name from the waterfall within the temple complex, which comes down from the nearby hills - kiyoi mizu (清い 水) literally means pure water.


The main hall of Kiyomizu-dera is known for its wide terrace, which was built along with the main hall on a wooden beam construction on a steep mountain slope. The terrace offers a stunning view of the city. The temple has bought up the surrounding land, so as to prevent the construction of skyscrapers.

The Japanese phrase "jump off the terrace of Kiyomizu" (清水 の 舞台 から 飛び降りる kiyomizu no butai kara tobioriru) means "to struggle through to a decision." This is reminiscent of a tradition dating from the Edo period, after a man who made ​​the jump from the terrace, all wishes were fulfilled. This appears to be credible, as the lush vegetation dampens the impact under the terrace. 234 jumps were recorded in the Edo period, and it survived 85.4% of the jump Springer (nowadays but it is prohibited to jump from the terrace). The distance from the terrace to the ground is only 13 m, but this is an impressive amount of such wood construction.

A wide staircase leads off the main hall at the foot of the slope. Here is the waterfall of the Otowa-no-taki, where three individual water channels plunge into a pool. Temple visitors catch the water in metal bowls and drink it because it is said that it has healing powers and health, brings a long life and success.

The temple complex also houses several Shinto shrines, notably Jishu-jinja, dedicated to the Okuninushino-Mikoto, a god of love. On the a pair of "love stones" that are 18 m apart terrain Located. It is said that people who see with their eyes closed the way from one stone to another, will soon fall in love. Especially like this is tried by Japanese students. If the walking person is helped, it means that an intermediary brings together the lovers.

At the main entrance road of the temple, which is one of the most visited attractions of the city, you find many souvenir shops: retailers offer different charms on sale, Incense and o-mikuji (future interpretive up "great misfortune" carry lots, the inscriptions of "lucky" ) there are in abundance.

[Source: Wikipedia]

have now fun with my short movie.

In the evening we continued our trip to Hiroshima. We checked in into our hotel and then we met for a joint dinner. That was the end of the day.


Let´s go to Miyajima

Monday, 24.3.2011

In Hiroshima, we name the tram in the direction of the pier. With a ship we visited the island of Miyajima.

Back in Hiroshima were devoted to a sad topic. The atomic bomb and the ruins they left behind. We visited the Peace Memorial Museum, then was the mood on the ground. I have only filmed in Hiroshima itself. In the museum not, although it was allowed, but was also my mood down.

In the evening we went out to eat together in a restaurant. We ordered a specialty of Hiroshima: Okonomiyaki.

Okonomiyaki (Japaneseお好み焼き) is a Japanese dish . okonomi means " taste ", " will" in the sense of "what you want" ; yaki means " fried " or " roasted " . Traditionally Okonomiyaki is cooked at the table on a hot iron plate (Japanese Teppan ) . The basic ingredients are water, carbon , flour , egg and dashi , other ingredients can be ordered at will and added ; they vary depending on the region of Japan. For all meat and fish , vegetables, mochi , cheese and much more suitable . Mix the ingredients in a bowl and emptied it on the hot, greased Teppan where the pancake is cooked through . Okonomiyaki have approximately the form of a sponge cake . Then the sheet of dough is divided and distributed among the guests. The soup is seasoned with a special okonomiyaki sauce and katsuobushi (dried and grated tuna) . Due to the method of preparation and the variable ingredients , the court is also called Japanese pizza , but the court has otherwise no resemblance to pizza.


Okonomiyaki is a specialty in the Kansai region, especially in Osaka and Hiroshima. In Tokyo, there is a similar dish with Monjayaki.


Saturated and tired I then went into my cozy hotel bed.


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