This is an overdue photo journal of our stay in Toyko Japan last December. The photo log below consisted our last few days in the beautiful city. When the weather got too cold for outside sightseeing, we wondered around shopping centers warming up before heading out to the cold again. As Tokyo became more familiar to us, coming back to the Shinagawa train station each day almost seemed natural. Even walking through what I call organized chaos around the train station doesn’t seem so overwhelming anymore.
This is a blog series about our travels to Japan in late 2013 and early 2014. To avoid a long post, we’ve decided to break this trip down to several series consist of the following.
- Riding the JR Train
- Kyoto Imperial Palace
- Day 2 Kyoto
- Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine
- Kyoto Gion District
The Quick and Dirty:
Location – Tokyo, Hirmoshima and Kyoto
Travel Duration: 2 weeks
Visa needed for US Citizens?: No
Vaccination needed for Americans: None
Japanese necessary for traveling: No, it’s not necessary to know how to speak Japanese, however, it’s important to understand most people (even in Tokyo) do not speak English. While it’s relatively easy to get around with the public transportation in Japan, you need to get creative with sign language if you need to ask directions. It’s also really important to do research to understand the Japanese culture before you visit to avoid accidentally offending someone.
Type of trip: sight seeing, historical sites, city/urban trekking and museums
Top reasons for visiting Japan: safe destination (low crime rate), convenient public transportation, fascinating culture and delicious food
We spent the last four days of Japan in Tokyo. It was the city our friend Chris spent the most time while working in Tokyo so naturally, he became our default Tokyo tour guide. For such a dense city, it covers a surprisingly large amount of area and takes a long time to navigate. We went back to the Prince Sakura Hotel since it is conveniently located next to the Shinagawa train station.
From Kyoto, we decided to take a day tour of Hiroshima via the Shinkansen train. We left from Kyoto on the Shinkansen train at 7:40 in the morning and arrived in Hiroshima a little after 8:30. For those who are familiar with WWII history, the U.S. government dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in an attempt to end the war. We wanted to pay homage to the bomb site and also tour the Mazda factory in town. From the JR station in Hiroshima, we had to make one transfer to the local train near the Mazda factory. The factory tour started at 10AM in the morning so we had time to stop by the pastry shop inside the train station for a little snack before heading to the tour. The pastries are made fresh in front of you and they are served warm. The shop we bought the pastries from had two flavors, red bean and white bean. I preferred the red bean because it is less sweet compared to the white bean.