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around week To get some structure

Found at: sdf.org:70/users/mmww/phlog/20191021

This is a bit of a longer update about my Japan trip, which ended
around a week ago.

To get some structure of things, I will divide this text into some
the intro of course), to make it easier to follow how the trip went.

- Introduction
This was the second time I've been to Japan. Last time
back then, but I were traveling with a larger group of friends that
time, and I felt like we missed out on some stuff. At that time, we
from Osaka.

This time, we were a smaller group of friends, and we managed to
one Week in Tokyo and one Week in Fukuoka. We managed to squeeze in
a day-trip to Kyoto when we were staying in Osaka this time around
as well, and we also visited Nara (Nara is also very close to Osaka).

- Osaka
Osaka is quite a bit city. We landed at Kansai airport,
and from there we rode a train to Namba, which were close to where
ocotpus-filled fried balls of dough, sprinkled with some seaweed or
most of my friends in the party were displeased. It was very easy to
come by this interesting specialty in Osaka it seemed. Many street
vendors and food-carts carried it, in addition to most Izakayas (A
Japanese-style pub sort of). We also had great sushi while in Osaka.

Another great thing about our stay in Osaka were the karaoke-places
feature roughly the same formula; you rent a small room where you
and your party can sing in peace. You queue songs by using a small
touch-screen that is in the room, and there is a TV-screen that will
a phone hanging on the wall, and there are menus on the table in
the room. When you feel like having a drink, or some light food,
you just lift the receiver and someone in the reception immediately
karaoke, where you go up on stage in a bar in front of an audience
and sing in front of everyone. Regardless we had a lot of fun.

We spent most of our time on Osaka around the Naniwa ward, and
for me personally a lot of time was spent in Nipponbashi, which
s a shopping-district that is known for it's many shops carrying
Electronics, Anime, Manga and similar things. It is usually packed

- Nara
We made a day-trip to Nara, where we fed the tame deer
that resides there among other things. Nara is sort of famous for
these deer; they have learned to return a bow, and as a reward,
you are supposed to give them a special "deer cracker" that can
be conveniently purchased from vendors that are located here and
n the vicinity. This was a fun exercise, but Nara had a lot more
to offer too. There is a forest area with a lot of things to see;
temples and shrines, and a park with a small mountain that can be
climbed to see almost 360 degrees around you.  Needless to say,
t was a spectacular view, and well worth the effort of climbing. I

- Kyoto
Another day-trip we made while in Osaka was to Kyoto. Kyoto
s the old capital of Japan, and features a lot of sights for
tourists. It is also common for Japanese people to visit Kyoto for
tourism, such as during school trips. Many of the palaces, temples
and shrines that can be found there have UNESCO world heritage
of how much there actually is to see. This time around we chose to
visit the Imperial Palace, which is located in the middle of a huge

Next we visited the Kinkakuji (golden pavilion), which is a famous
take a bus to save time. This was a pretty pleasant surprise;
the bus fare in Kyoto was a flat 230 yen where ever you needed to
other sights to see in the park around the area, and many booths

We also visited Kiyomizudera Temple, which is located quite far up
the mountain in the eastern end of the city. This is quite a large
area with temples, shrines and a lot of nice old buildings with a
myriad of small souvenir shops and restaurants. The temple is also
known for it's large wooden terrass, that give a great view over
both Kyoto, and the surrounding mountain and forest area.  We were
visited though, so the temple itself were covered in scaffolding and
an awning. Nonetheless a limited portion of the terrass was open,

After that we looked for the famous "stone-crossing" along the
t was almost a kilometer downstream from where we were we decided
to call it a day and have some beers and convenience store dinners
nstead in the park around the riverbank.

- Tokyo
A few days later we took the Shinkansen from Osaka to
Tokyo. It was a very pleasant experience, and the train features
quite a lot of the surrounding areas while travelling, swishing
by outside the window. We were lucky in this regard, because the

Arriving in Tokyo, we found our apartment to be located in the
middle of Akihabara, just a short walk from the main shopping
of shops, arcades and curious little restaurants and bars. Most of
t is centered around games, video, media and entertainment. There
are also a LOT of maid-caf├ęs around the area, and they are quite
openly trying to throw you in to one.

Twin-bee, Gradius, Gunbird and many others. These games are much more
nteresting to me than newer music-themed games, and strange RPG's
that seemed to fill most other arcades now days. I was a bit chocked
that most other arcades had done away with these games.  During our
last visit, the old games were a common sight in almost all of them.

Ueno park is another nice place to visit if you are in Tokyo. It's a
large park, lined with museums, shrines, a lake, and vendors selling
both the National museum in the park, as well as the Metropolitan
Art Museum (which i actually visited twice!).

One day we also decided to visit the imperial palace. This proved
to be a bit harder than we first anticipated; the gardens around
the palace was open with free admission, but many areas seemed to
undergo repairs and renovations and were closed off. We speculated
that this was due to the 2020 Olympics. The actual palace was
toured, but you had to register beforehand, and we didn't, so we
unfortunately didn't get to see it.

being warned by the kind people by the entrance that a lot of content
lacked English translations, we entered the museum. It featured
a lot of hands-on experiments with electrical circuits, optical
llusions, recycling and energy-related exhibits and a lot more
crammed into 4 or 5 floors! We were pleasantly surprised by this,
and found that a lot of content was also translated into English,
even if some exhibits were totally devoid of translations. This
museum to be one of those places that is really popular among kids
for school trips and the like, and I sure wish that we would have got
to visit a place like this when I was in middle or even high school.

Another great museum I visited in Tokyo was the Photographic Art
Museum. It was a whim that made me go there, and I don't regret
t! The museum has at least three floors with Exhibitions, and I
as well.  I really enjoyed the exhibit "The Time of Photography".

While we were in Tokyo, I also visited both the Tokyo Tower, and the
Tokyo Sky-tree. These are outlook towers with a great view around
Tokyo, but can unfortunately be a bit pricey to go up. I think
the two. The Sky-tree featured a combination-ticket with a similar

- Fukuoka
Our next stop on our nomadic adventure took us to
Fukuoka. Fukuoka is a popular city for tourists from other Asian
countries, most likely because it is located along the western coast
of Japan, and has ferry-lines from Korea and possibly other countries
along the mainland. Since it is just by the sea, there were beaches,
and a lot of nice sights among the coastal line. People in Fukuoka
also seemed a lot more outgoing and friendly than in other parts of
Japan we had visited up until then. We were approached by people in
the "Canal City" mall in Hakata. Actually in between Hakata station
and Canal City in fact. Canal City itself was very interesting. It's
a huge mall with lots of shops, but it features a very unusual
architecture. It also has a fountain in the middle, where they

Another famous part of Fukuoka were the park-district by the river,
eat Oden, Ramen or an assortment of Skewers, at the same time
as you downed a few beers with the locals. These stands were
cramped sometimes, but the food was great, and we also engaged in
conversation with the locals a lot here!

We also spent a lot of time in Ohori Park. It's a park, surrounding
a large lake in the middle of the city.  There is also a very nice
forest paths on the islands. On the north end of these islands were
also a classical red gazebo, that seemed to be a popular place for
tourists to gather and take pictures. On the south-west side of
the lake were the Fukuoka Art Museum. Coincidentally, this museum
looked very similar to the one in Ueno park, Tokyo. This turned out
to be no coincidence of course, since they were designed by the same
architect, Mayekawa Kunio. Apparently, Mayekawa were apparently
nspired by the famous French architect Le Corbusier. Despite my
thoughts of Le Corbusier, this museum was actually very pleasant
to go through, and I loved especially the upper floor (apparently
called the "esplanade"). I tried photograping as much of the museum
as possible, but constraints in the exhibits regarding photography

Nearby, you can also visit the ruins of Fukuoka Castle. There is a
large park, no admission fee, and it was a pleasant little outing
to go there and wander around. You can visit the site where the
main keep stood and look at the great view. There is also a "newly"

Going back to Ohori-park, and North, we finally came to some
mountainous shrines and parks with a nice view of the harbor
and the beach-area around there.  The Fukuoka tower wasn't far from
there either, so we decided to go up and look at the view. The
tower also featured it's own mascot (like most things in Japan
apparently), Fu-Ta.

Another highlight of or stay in Fukuoka was the Uminonakamichi
Seaside Park. Located on a headland north of the city, this giant
areas and petting zoo. We rented bicycles to ease our transportation
around the park. We had great weather, and walking or biking around
this park was truly a nice experience! There were so much to see,
and needless to say, we spent the entire day there.

- Osaka (again)
We traveled back to Osaka on the Shinkansen to spend
our last two days there before travelling home (or so we though,
more on that later). We had an apartment that were pretty close to
our old place, and we did some last-minute shopping and prepared for
our return flight in the coming days. As a last outing, we visited
Osaka castle and the surrounding park. I've been there once before,
on our previous trip, but this time the castle was open for visitors,
and the view from the rooftop balcony.

This was also the time that we unfortunately learned that our flight
time. It took some time to re-book the tickets, but after that was
quickly, and after that we started thinking about what we were
out the craft-beer festival that was held north of the castle, and
that turned out to be a really good idea! There were lots and lots
of beer to sample, and we obviously sampled too much! We also got
on them (unfortunately, most of these glasses didn't make it home
and were broken during our flight home in the baggage, but oh well).

During the last day, I visited a few camera-shops that I had wanted
to visit during our first trip to Osaka. Naniwa Camera was by far the
best of these two. An entire floor with used vintage gear of many
everything out. Sadly, the prices were a bit steep, and you can
expecting. But to see that much old gear collected in the same room
(A Nikon FM) and spent the rest of the afternoon walking around
Osaka and taking pictures.

- Final notes
So there you have it! I didn't expect to write over
our trip. We really had a great time in Japan, and I definitely
of stuff you want to buy dictates that that will have to wait,
at least for a while.

Japan is such a interesting country. They are very technically
advance in some areas, for example, it's very common to see
machine to order ramen and similar foods, but at the same time, cash
s definitely still king, and you will have an easier time if you
use it instead of your card, be it debit or credit actually. Public
transport for example is usually paid for with change, and while
t is possible to buy a IC-card, we found that it is simple enough
to get by with change anyway, since you'll almost always have some
on you because of how common it is to pay with cash.

only scratched the surface in that regard.

Until next time!

/M


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