It was an adventurous August trip to Japan. We stayed 10 days. Booked Air, Train, and Hotel stay through the travel agency. Then, arranged all our daily tours on our own. We were very lucky to have missed all the major rainstorm that hit southern Japan during our stay. We had 8 days of Sunny, Hot, Humid days of August. We survived the daily walk to the train stations. Up and down the train terminal stairways and through the mesmerizingly busy underground train station walkways that led us to connected exit to all directions and to major 'department' stores/retails/shopping centers, including food courts and grocery stores and gift shops and of course the BENTO shops.
I specifically selected early August to make sure that we could enjoy the festivals around the prefectures. August 1 through 10th is still early, but at least we managed to hit the famous TANABATA Matsuri in SENDAI, Japan on August 6-8.
One mistake not to repeat on next trip to Japan is to arrive late afternoon. Try to arrive as early as possible so there is enough time to exchange the Japan Rail Pass voucher at the airport terminal's JR Pass Travel Service Station. Seeing there was a Long looong line when we arrived, I thought I could exchange the voucher at the train station's Green Window (MIDORI NO MADO). Well, I was wrong. The voucher has to be exchanged at the JR Pass travel service station and the Green Window would not do that service. And they don't open until 8 or 9 am in some of the stations. And providing that you are at a major train station with JR Pass travel service station. And almost all amusement parks and attraction centers' operation hours are 9:30 am till 5 pm. I mean 'almost' and on seasonal schedule, too. Regardless, once I learned my lesson, and had obtained the train pass, we were set to go everywhere by SHINKANSEN - fast express train/bullet train or any other JR rail line trains. It's also good to remember to obtain SUICA train debit card. To purchase the card, the machine is located outer part of the train station. Only the 'recharge' card machine is inside or next to the train ticketing machine. I am not exactly sure why it is so at the Tokyo station, until I managed to find one in some other city's station. When you add enough money to the card, you can purchase train tickets, food, and drinks from the vending machine that accepts it or from a store where it is accepted, etc., including some bus. Otherwise, be sure to carry small changes at all times.
At Dallas Ft. Worth, Texas airport. We found interesting pickles being served at a burger joint.
We couldn't believe how much food the American Airline served on this flight out from Dallas to Narita, Japan. Not the size of the food, but the numbers of times they served us - drinks, snack, then, breakfast, then, lunch, and dinner and dessert. I recall flying from Japan to Los Angeles on PANAM with only peanuts and some drinks. No food the entire flight. That was the strangest international flight I ever made.
Arrived at NARITA airport, Japan. The first destination in Tokyo - SHIBUYA cross walk.
There were so many people just waiting to watch the people cross as many as those actually crossing to get to the other side. Once all the traffic lights turn RED, people by hundreds criss-cross the entire intersections.
The first destination the next morning - EDOMURA WONDERLAND (NIKKO city) - JAPANESE EDO Era's village attraction center. We went to total of three EDO era style villages - NIKKO, KYOTO, and NORIBETSU, HOKKAIDO. By far, out of three, EDOMURA Wonderland has the best actors and actress filled the village to give us the best entertaining experience and swordsmanship program. However, each one has great entertaining stage NINJA action show.
Appreciating the cool breeze from the mountain and ringing echoes of FURIN bells gave us 'some' relief from the humid heat.
Went to watch the show.
Going through the NINJA MAZE
Crooked house with gravitational pull like California's Mystery Spot.
Signed up for the SAMUARI Swordsmanship.
Time to leave.
Parking lot surrounded by lush green forest.
This woman bus driver had been driving for 30 years.
Time to go to next destination. A coupled SHINKANSEN.
We finally found trash cans!! Hurry - drop off the trash into the bins.
Time for the reward - at the train station's food court. This is Korean flavor.
The train station. Looking for our way back to the hotel - walked 2.5 miles back... passing through the Imperial Garden...
We remembered to look up to catch the wonderful structure of the train station.
Time for the next adventure. Heading to SHIN-YOKOHAMA for the RAMEN NOODLE Museum.
Waaa!! the bullet train pass by will give you a full body massage as it pass by at the full speed.
Here we are at the RAMEN MUSEUM in SHIN-YOKOHAMA
They even thought about providing hair rubber band.
I ordered cold noodle.
Inside the RAMEN Museum. It's like being in a SHOWA era neighborhood.
You buy/pay for the RAMEN of your choice before you enter the shop. Then, you hand the ticket to the server.
RAMEN Museum on the first floor. Ingredients for RAMEN STOCK.
On the 3rd day - HOP-ON-HOP OFF Bus. Can't remember why we had the late start that morning, but we managed to get the SKY Tree.
Don't know why Schultz's Charlie Brown and Snoopy gangs are Sky Tree's mascots!!
And I found out that Snoopy is in contract to work with NASA. Well, in a few words. And I now have a full set of Snoopy Space Exploration toys from - yep, you guessed it. From the McDonald's Happy Meal.
It was a hazy day, unfortunately. Could not see out very clearly. Nor able to spot FUJI SAN.
Looking down, standing on the see through glass floor.
Hey, Colonel! when did you get here?
Next stop - KANANRIMON GATE, shrine and tons of food and souvenirs.
Next, Zipline Adventure in KYOTO, Hiking up Mount TAKAOSAN; TANABATA MATSURI in SENDAI, then, our final destination to SAPPORO, HOKKAIDO.
To be continued to Japan Trip Part 2.