Day 20-21 Travel

Back from Beppu To Narita. We has made the choice to this part also by train. It is an 8.5 hours journey but with the great Japan trains it is really nice journey. We had to change trains 3 times but it is all very confortable. Our travel schedule:

Beppu -> Okura,  OKura->Shin-Kobe, Shin-Kobe->Tokyo,Tokyo->Narita

We booked an Hotel close to Narita Airport so we did not have to hury the next day when our plane will leave at 11:00. We put our mobile wifi in a postbox and went to the hotelby a shuttle service.

The next day we went early to the Airport. Bought a lot of sweets and then the flight back with KLM was very confortable.



Now it is time to select videos and pictures. It was all amazing and do not hesitate to contact us if like to have more info for your own Japan trip.



Day 18-19: Beppu

Our last town of our vacation. Beppu is really special. A small town famous for the ‘onsen’ (natural thermal baths) and hot-springs. Our hotel has 2 onses, anprivate one for only hotel guests and a public one. After arrival we have visited the monkey park. A natural area where about 1000 macaque monkeys are living. They will be feeded every half an hour by care-takers and you can come very close. They are running around you.



Immediatly after we got back arrival we have tried the private onsen. This one is in the open air. Men and women has seperate onsen. In the onsen you first have to wash yoursel
f and then you go into the hot bath. Totally undressed, like in a sauna. The hot bath and the natural minerals are very healthy for your body and skin. This onsen also had a view over the sea.


The next day we have visited the hotsprings. 7 different ones with all their own specific color and behaviour. We have eaten eggs cooked in one of te hot-springs and have sat with our legs in the healing water of the hot-springs. In one of the places they also have crocodiles. In a too small places they hold several crododiles. This was something we did not like at all. This is not the way yuo hold animals. D\After the hots-prings we wanted to visit the sand-bath place to got a real sand-bath. The sand-bath place is closed only one day per month, the fourth wednesday of every moth. And guess, that was today!!
So, back to our hotel and tried the public onsen. It was great. Amazing how something simple as sitting in a big hot bath with mineral rich water has susch an effect on your body and mind.

Those last days of our holiday we have eaten very very special. First at a sushi restaurant runned by a family. Mother, Father, daughter and son-in-law. Only the men are allowed to make the sushi, the women do the fried fish and the administration and serving the drinks. The place was full of locals whowanted to talk to us and we had a great evening. The sushi was delicious and with kind of fishes whe have never heard of.

The diner at the very last day was amazing. When we entered the place the boy who was sitting next to us the previous day works in that place! The fish we have eaten there was the fresher than fresh! In an aquarium the fish was catched, cleaned en prepared immediatly. So, the raw!!! fish on your plate was still alive 15 minutes ago. It was delicious!



Now we have to pack and one day travel to Narita airport (1300 km) and then back to Holland (11.5 hours)

Day 16-17: Fukuoka

We decided to visited this town after a documentary on TV. We stayed in an Hotel in a area that did not look very nice during the day but in the evening with all the lights from the restaurants it was a very nice area. Our brunch was a ramen (noodle soup with meat or fish , noodles and vegetables and each region has their own way of making the “ramen”) in a local place. That was really nice, however we will never get used to the habbit of slurping the noodles. It do not sound nice when everybody around you is slurping with noise. On the other hand it is the perfect way to eat it! We have to admit.



 From there we went to a nice beautiful park and wanted to visit the Castle. There was not much left of the Castle so that was a disappoinment.




In the evening we went to discover the famous food stands next to the river. These stand have place for about 10-12 people and they all have their speciality. We were really looking forward to eat there but the waiting lines for every stand were really long. So, we decided to go into those typical narrow side-streets and jump into a nice small place with only japanese locals and no english menu. This place was specilized in meat and we really were looking forward to meat after all this fish. So, we had a great local delicious diner wit a lot of sake 😉






The sake is served in a wooden box so that any sake could be spoiled when they served it until the edge is not lost! You throw back back into your glass if there is more space.

The next day we started with a typical japanese breakfast and then we did a walking tour with a local guide. The tour was short (only 3 hours) but very nice and useful. We have visited places and heard stories we should never done on our own. Visited 3 beautiful temples, a very big great buddha, really hidden in a place that is not indicated by signs or so. A small factory where silk is handmade and a tea shop where we have learned how to make the macha (japanese grean tea). A wonderful morning.


Then shopping time. Inside streets with hundreds of shops surrounded by enormous department stores. Those stores also includes several restaurants. Incredible! It was very crowded because it was a free holiday in Japan. They celebrate the start of sprimgtime with an official holiday. We should do that too!
We ended up in a coffee place where they do the coffeebean-burning themselves in the shop. That is really nice and a great concept.

In the evening we had diner in a place recommended to us by a blogger. This place is specialized in eel since 1892. We had to take our shoes off at entrance and we were served by classic japanese dressed women. What a wonderful ambiance and the eel, prepared in several ways, was delicious. Never knew you could do so much with eel.

The next day we leave to Beppu. Fukuoka was a nice city and really worth to visit but you have to know where to find the interseting things to visit, those are hidden. The ambiance of the town is really nice. It is just great to walk around and taste the athmosphere.


Day 15: Hiroshima

When you are traveling in Japan ofcourse Hiroshima is a must. The big historical impact on the world makes this place a must visit. We stayed only one night in Hiroshima so we booked a hotel close to the Memorial park. Next to our Hotel was a group of trees that has survived the A-bomb. Very unreal. It is also an weird idea to be aware of the fact that at the place we are standing and walking and sleeping now there was a bomb that has destroyed everything, building, nature and people. We have walked to the Memorial park and the monument. Thousands of people are still praying and memorizing every day here at the monument. I have to admit that it is impressive to see but on the other hand there is not much left to visit because everything has been destroyed. There is only a part of one building left. We did not visit the museum but in there you can see pictures and drawings and reconstructions of the disaster.
It was great we have seen it.

We did not discover any other places to visit in Hiroshima but a lot of people do not know that Hiroshima is the oyster capital of Japan. So we discovered a nice resaturant that was speciliazed in Oysters. In Europe we eat oysters rwas with lemon and sometimes with a soja based sauce. Here in Hiroshima they prepare Oysters on very diferent ways. Steamed, fried, cooked, marinaded etc. etc. We have eaten them in all kind of preparations and that was a delicious experience.

Next to our hotel there was a nive little temple. When we visited it we received the offical blessings from the monk and we were invited to enter the temple. In there Sandra got an offical stamp in here stamp-book with handpainted beautiful messages in Japanse classic hand-writing.

From here we go to Fukuoma.

Day 11-14: Kyoto

Kyoto is the previous main capital of Japan and full of history. This city has everything. Beautiful nature and parks, great shopping centers, delicious food, elgance, old and modern architecture, very nice characteristics neighbourhoods, Geisha’s and a lot of geisha’s for day! Ofcourse beautiful history and temples, temples and temples.

Our hotel was located in a indoor shopping street, very alive and very nice. Full with a variety of shops. Drugstores, antique book shops, boutiques, all kind of restaurants etc. We have never seen so much different shops in one street.

We have eaten the nicest meals of Japan. Shushi, tempura, yakkitori, tofu, meat, fish etc. We will put some pictures here but we will write a seperate blog about all the food because it is too much.

Most of the days we started with a japanese bruch in one of those typical japanese small restaurants.

So our days in Kyoto we concentrated on Temples, parks and food. Also a little bit of shopping.  The temples and surrounded parks are beautiful. Kyoto has some real big ones and hundreds of small temples. Intotal 1600 Temples. We have to admit that all temples are really different. So, here a selection of the temples we have visit. The Ginkaku-ji, Kennin-ji, Kunkaku-ji, Fushimi Inari, Higashi Honganji and Toji. Also a few small ones. On all temples we have prayed or we have done wishes for health, happiness, wisdom etc. for our family and friends. So, if you feel happier or better then it has worked !

Besides the emples we have visit he imperial palace and philopher’s path. The poncho chon and gion neigbourhood is fantastic. There is much more to see in Kyoto but we had to make choices. Below a mix of pictures of our days in Kyoto to show you an impression.

Kyoto is fantastic. We should stay here longer if we could.







Day 8-10 Osaka

After the nice relaxed calm Kanazawa we arrived in the busy, crowded, noisy Osaka. Also Japan but totally different. Osaka is a harbour city with a violent past. The city is very alive, big buildings, lots of people. Our Hotel was located in a big and high building and we had a room on the 34th floor! You can imagine that this was a super room with a view.

We have eaten Udon at Mimyu, a very nice restaurant. In the middle of the table there is is a heater in where they put a bowl with soup and in that soup you will cook your meal and the Udon (thick noodles). It is a great experience. The ingredients are all type of fish, meat and vegetables. It is delicious and presented very nice. One ingredient was very special: Alive shrimps!!! The waitress brought them alive in a box and cooked them in your soup. It was delicious but a little bit strange. 😉

We did not know exactly in what order and how to handle all this so our japanese neighbour helped us and introduced us to a special type of sake: Tohtu shu. This is a sake that is served half frozen. Our favourite sake until now!!!

We have visited Osaka Castle and the Castle Park on a Sunday. A day at the park for many japanese families. The castle is impressive and the stories about the Castle even more. It has been the centre of many wars during the time of the shoguns.

Another great place to visit was the Kuromon Market. Very crowded, messy, noisy but a paradise for streetfood lovers. Hundreds of meters of stands who sale and cook all kinds of foods you have never seen or eaten in your life. You eat it standing or sitting at small tables.

Friends of us, Jacintha and Wendy were also in Osaka. We met them one evening and went to the center to have diner and eat okonomyaki. A sort of pancake with all kind of ingredients you can choose yourself will be prepared at your table by a chef. After that ofcourse we had to go to a Karaoke center! Very popular in Japan. I will not include the video’s because it sounds awful but we have had a lot of fun!

When you are in Osaka as a couple you really have to visit the Ohatsu Tenjin Shrine. A temple for lovers. The story about this temple is Japan’s very own ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Ohatsu, and the owner of a soy sauce store, Tokubei. Just like in Shakespeare’s play, the romance comes to a tragic end, with the lovers committing suicide at the forests of Tsuyuno Tenjinsha.

A very special day was the day we have visited the sumo wrestling competition. That was overwelming great. What an event. See for video and pictures.

That was Osaka. A great city to visit and we loved the things we have seen and done but we were missing a bit the beauty and elegance of the japanese culture in the day-to-day live of Osaka.

This was Osaka, now to Kyoto.


Day 6-7 Kanazawa

We have stayed two days in Kanasawa. I nice sympatic town with a long history. In this town the Shogun has lived and there are still famous geisha schools. A lot of history to see and we had a great time.


Besides the beautiful town we had great overwelming experiences. The first one when we arrive at our Hotel. One guy helped us out of the taxi. Another guy got our suitcases from the car and put them at a trolley. A geisha women took the trolley and walked with us to the entrance where a bowing porter welcomes us. Inside at the end of the electric stairs a hostess was waiting, deep bowing ofcourse, and walked with us to the reception and introduces us to the receptionist. Another hostess brought nice warm wet refreshing handtowels and the receptionist did all the administration. The geisha woman arrived with our suitcases and handed them over to again another hostess who joined us to the hotel room and walked with us into the room and explained how everything works. So, 8 people were working with welcoming us and threated us as we where moviestars. What a service.

The second day we stayed in a Ryokan outside of Kanazawa. When we arrived a bowing men and women both dressed in traditional japanese outfits where standing in front of the Ryokan to welcome us, took our suitcases and inside the entrance we had to take of our shoes and they provide us with slippers they even had my size! The women (she took care of us all the time) gave us a tour through the beautiful ryokan and explain how everything works with the onsen (A japanes health spa). Ofcourse we have done an onsen session and joined the natural thermal source.


They gave us an jukata and this time big enough for me. All the time in the ryokan we had to wear the slippers and jukata. It was again a great experience how the japanese threats us as if we were the most important persons on earth.

Waiting at the station we had time to visit a beautiful store. When you enter a big warehouse at opening time all employees are welcoming you with a deep bow when you are passing their stand as if you are a king or queen. We were to late to make a video of us but it is so weird to see everybody bowing for you when you pass.





In kanasawa we have visited the Castle, the Kenroku-en garden (1 of the top 3 gardens in Japan), the market and the geisha district. All was impressive.

Day5: Hakone Mount Fuji

We left our big suitcases in a locker at Tokyo Station and only took our backpacks for a trip to Hakone. From a crowded energetic Tokyo to a famous natural environment. The nice thing here is you can do a roundtrip with five different means of transport. We started with the train, then a cablecar followed by a ropeway. By boat on the lake and then back to Hakone-Yumoto by bus. The whole trip will take about 5 hours. It is really nice to do with great views and a pleasant athmosphere. So good to recover from hectic Tokyo.


At Owakudani they slow cook eggs in thermal water. The eggs (called Kuro tamago) turn into black because of the combination of the geothermal heat and volcanic gases. Eating the eggs will expand your life by seven years. You have to eat only 2.5 eggs because three would be bad luck. So, we did and now we will leave 7 years longer! The weather was much cloder then we expected. It snows and it was stormy. That was quite an adventure in he ropeway.

The city where we stayed, Hakone-Yomuto is full of nice shops and restaurant but almost all are clsoing between 17:00 and 19:00. So for diner we ended up in a sort of bar in a cellar where they also served food. We were the only customers and we did not know what to expect. However it was far beyond our expectations, the food was surprisingly great!

Then back to our hotel with a room in traditional japanese style with for both of us an authentic japanese yukata which is an informal version of a kimono. Perfect for Sandra’s length. Far too short for me!!!

Tomorrow we will go yo Kanazawa where we will stay for 2 days.

Day 4: Last day in Tokyo

Tsukiji market

Already the last day in Tokyo. What a wonderful city. We decided to visit the Tsukiji market, the biggest fish market of the world. It was on walking distance from our hotel. We also wanted to have breakfast there and to see some activity you have to be early. So at 09:00 we were walking around. The fishmarket is an enormous place with thousands of marketstands selling fish, souvenirs and food related stuff. Earlier in the morning is the daily fish auction but that is unfortunately not accesible for all tourists. A great thing to do is to have breakgast at the fishmarket and ofcource it is a beakfast with fish. We entered one of those very smalle little places and had a delicous breakfast with sushi, soup and fish.

Ueno Park

After the fishmarket we left to Ueno-park. Famous for the cherry blossom, temples and museums. We love to visit museums but in a country where is so much to see and to do we have to make choices so we skipped museums. Maybe further in the trip. Unfortunately the cherryblossom season has not yet started in Tokyo but there where already a few. The park itself is really beautiful and great to walk around, watching people and relax. However also here there is a lot of people.

Then we went to Kappabashi street. Famous for all kind of professional cooking tools and stuff but the most amazing is all the plastic food they make there. It is used by restaurants to show their menu’s in their windows. Really weird to see. Then a late lunch at a lunchroom, coffee and a sandwich. Almost like a european lunch.

The last area we wanted to visit is Akihabara, also called the electric town. This is the craziest we ever seen. A paradise for gamers and manga addicts. Enormous neon advertisements all with noise and screaming people. It is an unreal world. Impossible to describe. We even saw a group mario-karts passing by. I think when you are into gaming you will have the time of your life. We as spectators too by the way!

Then back to our Hotel and looking for a place to have our last dinner in Tokyo. We found a nice restaurant around the corner where they serve great meat. In a nice seperated romantic area with a fire in the middle in where we could grill our own wayu meat and vegetables. A bell on our table to call the waitress or waiter. When you ring they came running to your table! Sometimes the waitress just jumped in front of our table with a samourai sword and scream. So nice at a romantic dinner, haha. The japanese call this entertainment. The food was delicious, a great atmosphere and the people where very nice. We had a great evening.

Next morning we will leave to Hakone. A great natural area around mount Fuji. Bye, bye Tokyo. You cannot compare Tokyo with any other city. Everything is different and full of contradictions. The people, the architecture, the food and the culture amazed us every second of the day.