Saturday, July 3rd
I am leaving Aarhus by train at 8.30 am. Then I’m at Kastrup Airport at noon. As usual – I am way ahead of the time of my flight. The flight for Tokyo is at 3.45 pm.
But finally – at 4 pm – its take-off with SAS to Tokyo, and 11 hours of flight is ahead.
Sunday, July 4th
I try to sleep a little, watch some of the movies, read a little – but with no success. Nevertheless I arrive at the airport of Narita outside Tokyo at 9.25 am local time – just as scheduled.
Then there’s the usual formality when arriving in another country. All the people you meet during the formalities are very polite. When this is done I head for the railway-office to get hold on my Japan Rail Pass. I also fix a number of reservations for the whole trip. Then I head for the Narita Express that will take me to Tokyo Station. From here I take the local Yamanote-Line to Hamamatsucho. Then there’s a short walk to Sheba Park otel. It’s hot – and with high humidity – so I do tend to sweat a lot. But then it’s nice to arrive to the hotel, where they hand me a freezing cold cloth, to help me out.
I check-in to room 1925 – a shower, some clean clothes and a 2 hour nap – and I’m on again. I take a short walk through the local neighbourhood. I visit the temple of Zojoji, and climb the Tokyo Tower with great views across Tokyo. On the way back to the hotel it starts to rain, and for the second time I arrive at Sheba Park soaking wet.
Monday, July 5th
Tokyo is a “one-night-stand” right now. I needed the break after the long flight – and it was cheaper to take the first night in Tokyo, than just buying the plane ticket.
Therefore I check out from Sheba Park, and head to the local train to Tokyo Station. From there I take the Shinkansen train to Kyoto. That is fast – it takes 2½ hour to take me there.
Kyoto is the cultural capital of Japan. There are more than 1.600 temples and 2.400 shrines. It used to the capital of Japan. That was from 794 to 1868, where Edo – now known as Tokyo – took over.
So after a check-in at Toyoko Inn Gojo-Karasuma, the emperor is a good way to start. The old palace Kyoto Gosho is located in a huge park. You can get inside, but it’s complicated, so I just take a look from the outside and take a stroll around the park, with trees, lawns and Japanese people taking a nap in the afternoon heat. From there I take the Metro back to my hotel.
It’s time for a shower and a little nap before my evening walk. That takes me to narrow streets in my local neighbourhood to Downtown Kyoto. This is Shopping-Kyoto. But there is also the old street of Pontocho, full of old wooden-houses. Lanterns and blinds made by rice paper are in front of the old houses, which now mainly are used for restaurants.
Finally I head for the shopping-streets back to my hotel.
Tuesday, July 6th
I won’t be able to cover all 1.600 temples, but a sample will be ok. Tour no. 1 of the day is taken from my Lonely Planet guide. It takes me to the southern park of Kyoto, known as Higashiyama. I start by walking the steep hills to the huge Kiyomizudera temple. It’s one of the highlights in Kyoto, and there are lots of tourists. Originally it was from 798, but the version standing today was built in 1633. As most temples around here it is placed in beautiful surroundings.
Then I head down Chawanzaka – full of souvenir-shops and tourist. I get away from the hassle and follow some nice streets to the temples of Kodaiji and Shorenin. I also pass the park of Maryamakoen, before I reach the Higashiyama station, where I can take the Metro back to the hotel.
The Late Walk is for the shopping street of Sanjodori. There I visit a local Pachinko place. It’s a gambling hall – something between a pinball-machine and a slot-machine. It’s very noisy within, and in minutes I loose 3.000 Yen. I can’t afford to stay here much longer, so I’m off again.
From here I walk to the old neighbourhood of Gion. More old Kyoto-houses made of wood and with rice paper-blinds – most of them are restaurants here as well.
I head back to the hotel via dark streets. There’s nothing to worry about when walking these streets in Japan. They are perfectly safe.
Wednesday, July 7th
I have slept badly this night. First off all Japanese mattresses are like rock – secondly I had to wake up in the middle of the night to watch the World Cup football.
So I’m pretty tired as I head for this days tour. It’s by train to Nara, which was the first capitol of Japan. In the outskirts of Nara there’s a forest, with old temples. The first one – and the most famous – is called Todaiji. It houses some giant Buddha-Statues and plenty of tourists. There are fewer tourists at the other temples. Maybe it’s because they are harder to reach on the tour-bus. But the temples are just as nice. Nigatsudo and Shangatsudo are almost build together.
Further inside the forest you will find Kasuga Taisha. It’s orange-coloured and monks are hanging out. While I visit this one the weather gets bad and it starts to rain. There is thunder and lightning. But you can stay inside, as long as you remember to leave your shoes at the doorstep.
When the rain stops I leave the forest of Narakoen. The forest is also full of totally tame reindeers, begging for foods from the tourists. They also go shopping on their own.
The train to Kyoto is cancelled due to an accident, so the trip back is a little adventurous. 1 bus and 3 different local trains are involved.
The evening is quiet. Dinner is at a local Tenkadori. They serve chicken. They are very understanding and you can get a fork instead of the chopsticks. And they are so polite. 2 chefs and one waitress is bowing me all the way out of the restaurant, having spent as much as 10 $ for my dinner at the place.
Thursday, July 8th
It’s temple-hopping today. It’s all done by local busses, since the Metro is not to well developed here. The first one is a no. 12 to Kinkakuji – also knows at “The Golden Temple”. Originally it was build in 1398, but back in 1950 a monk set fire to the thing. The temple you see now is therefore a full reconstruction.
At the exit a group of kids have gathered, interviewing some of the tourist in English. You have to answer 3 different questions. This reminds me of a Monty Python movie. Luckily the questions are easy. Where do you come from? What is your favourite food? and What do you like best about Japan?. I pass the test – and as a reward gets some homemade thing, that is meant to be used for lying my nonexistent chopsticks at.
From there I take a no 12 to the temple of Nijojo. It was built in 1603 for the first Tokugawa Shogun. You can walk around inside the big temple – remember – no shoes. The floor cracks as you do so – it’s called a nightingale-floor. In this way Ninja’s would not be able to sneak around. Behind the temple there’s a nice park.
Next no is 204 for Ginkakuji. This one was built by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa in 1482. This is another fine temple with another fine park surrounding it.
I’ve had enough of temples for today. I head back to the hotel on a no. 5.
My evening stroll is in my local neighbourhood. I take a cheap dinner in one of the numerous good and cheap restaurants, coffee at Starbucks and a trip to the Pachinko-hall before my final cup of tea at the hotel.
Friday, July 9th
I start the day with a walk to Nishika Market. That’s a food-market. Some of the stuff looks weird. Japanese food contains ingredients that are very unusual for someone like me.
From there I take a no. 11 to Arishiyama in the western outskirts of Kyoto. Here is another fine temple called Tenryuji. It’s dated back to 1339. The building that is here now was built in around 1900, but the fine Japanese garden is back from the 14th Century.
Outside there is a nice bamboo-forest. The trees raise high into the air, and the almost close at the top, so it’s kind of walking in a cave. The area around Arashiyama is very nice. There are good possibilities for a nice walk, so you can skip to tourist-things at the main street. The main street is full of souvenir-shops, as it tends to be around all sights in this country.
I head back to Kyoto by tram. That’s way faster than the bus. It has started to rain, so this will be my final temple in Kyoto. I head home for the hotel instead.
The evening walk is around the Kyoto Station. First I take the elevator to the top op Kyoto Tower. There’s a nice view around sunset. Kyoto Station is also impressive. I take the escalators to the 11th floor, where there’s a skywalk with a view of the whole thing. Accidently the trip down takes me through a huge shopping-centre. At the exit there are 4 shopping-assistants bowing respectfully to me. They should have known – I didn’t buy a thing – I just got lost.
Saturday, July 10th
I’m leaving Kyoto today. It’s a short walk to Kyoto Station, and then Shinkansen to Osaka. It only take 15 minutes. Then I change train, for another Shinkansen heading for Hiroshima.
I check in to another ok Toyoko-Inn Hotel. I can save a little bit by getting a member, so I do.
Hiroshima is known for one thing in the history-books. The first A-bomb. There’s a memorial park down by the river. I take the tram down there. The first thing I see is Grebaku Domemae – or A-bomb Dome. That’s the only building left from the bomb. The old industrial building was about 100 meter from the place the bomb hit, and the only one surviving. About 140.000 people in Hiroshima didn’t.
Then I head for the peace-park with numerous monuments. The central monument for the victims is surprisingly small.
Finally I head for the Peace-Museum. They tell you the story, and it’s an interesting museum. There are quite a lot of people inside. Down in the basement there's a special exhibition. I'm almost alone down there watching an exhibition made out of pictures from a local who has followed different places in Hiroshima – from the bomb fell to everything was fixed, several years later.
Then I retrace my steps through the pretty modern city of Hiroshima, back to my hotel, close to the station.
There’s a short break at the hotel, before heading for dinner in the local neighbourhood. As usual it’s pretty easy to find a good place. I have never before been anywhere where getting good food is so easy.
Sunday, July 11th
I have planned a daytrip to Miyajima south of Hiroshima. But there are very dark clouds around – and I’m also a bit concerned that it’s a tourist-trap.
Instead I spend the day seeing some semi-sights in Hiroshima. This is done in rainy conditions, and I have to buy myself a new see-through plastic umbrella, instead of the cheap one that has followed me for many years. But this is too much for the old one – I have to leave it at a wastebasket.
The first semi-sight is Shukkeien. That’s an old Japanese garden from 1620. Next semi-sight is Hiroshima Castle. Only the tower is left, and it was rebuilt in 1958. Inside there’s a museum and lots of Samurai-swords. From the top there’s a nice view.
These 2 sights and a walk through Hiroshima will make up for the sightseeing today.
In the evening I visit a local pachinko-parlour. The noise is enormous. You have to get some small metal-balls through a small hole in the middle of the machine. Then you get a feature-game. Some wheels will be turning then, and maybe you win – maybe you don’t. I don’t know how. But suddenly I win. My machine goes crazy. I win a lot of new metal-balls. I fill up 2 red plastic-boxes with all the metal-balls. Call for help. Someone come to get my boxes. Take me to another machine. I get a receipt. Go to the cashier – and gets…..2 boxes of small chocolate, and some plastic things. But the plastic things is the trick. I’m followed out of the hall, through a dark alley to a place where there is another cashier hidden in the wall. I stick my plastic things through the hole – and get 8.200 Yen back. This is how they handle the ban against gambling.
Monday, July 12th
I’m leaving Hiroshima at 8.15 on a Shinkansen-train to Osaka. From there it’s another Shinkansen to Nagoya. This is where there should be a train for Takayama, but it is cancelled due to bad weather on the line. But the next one – an hour later – runs almost on time.
Takayama is an old historic city in the Japanese Alps. The train-ride is nice. Most of it runs along a river that is going crazy because of the rain the last few days.
I check into Super Hotel. It’s ok – but not exactly super. The rooms are very small. But it’s dead-cheap. I start by taking a nap, because I had to wake up in the middle of the night in Hiroshima, to watch the world cup final.
Later I take a stroll around Takayama. Some of the streets and houses are very old. The old houses are made out of dark wood. Just what you would expect from an old Kurosawa-movie – or from Shogun. Dinner is at a local noodle-shop. Dead-cheap as well.
Tuesday, July 13th
It is massive rain today in Takayama, so my new umbrella has to do the job. I start the day at Takayamajinja close to my hotel. That’s the old home of the Kanamori-clan, from where the local Shogun controlled the area. It’s a nice place, with a huge barn built for all the rice the guy could get as taxes.
From there I walk to Sanmachisuji – an area with old timber-houses. Then I head for a small museum-area in the north-eastern part of Takayama.
Among others I visit the Shishi Kaikan, where they demonstrate Karakuri, which is an old mechanical puppet-theatre. It’s pretty fun. We are only 3 in the audience. I also visit Yatai Keikan, which houses some of the fleets that are used annually for a huge parade through the city. Finally there’s the Sakurayama Hachimangu – an old shrine. From there I walk through the rainy streets of Takayama back to my hotel with a lunch-stop on the way.
Later I visit Hida Kukubinji. That’s the oldest temple in Takayama. It’s closed when I get there, so I can only watch from the outside. Dinner is a local Izakaya, where they serve traditional Japanese food. Finally a stroll through Sanmachisuji in the evening, to see if I can get any good pictures by dark.
Wednesday, July 14th
Another day of rain in Takayama. Not as much as yesterday – but anyway.
First stop today is Hida Kulubinji, hoping the temple is open. It is not. Then down to the Miyagawa River. There’s a market where the country people are selling radishes, cucumbers etc. Then on to Kusakabe Mingaikan. That’s an old home for a local business-man – now turned into a museum. Here you see how the semi-rich lived 100 years ago.
Then out into the forest at the outskirts of Takayama. Out here in the area between city and mountains – called Higashiyama – there are small temples dotted all over. There’s a nice walk with a new temple around each corner. You also cross Buddhist cemeteries and places with nice views of Takayama and the mountains. There are very few tourists out here. I think I only meet a handful on my walk. Finally I head back into city, and stroll around more tourist-free areas, before heading to Sanmachisuji, where all the tourists seem to have gathered.
This is the tourist-activity of today. The rest of the day is relaxation. Dinner is at a BBQ down at the railway-station. On the TV they have a rerun of Japan vs. Denmark. That’s not what I need.
Thursday, July 15th
There are still problems on the train-line between Nagoya and Toyama due to the huge amount of rain the last few days. My 11 o’clock train arrives at noon, and is even more delayed on my way to Toyama. When you see the river that the rail tracks follow on most of the route you will understand why. It’s even top story in the news on TV.
In Toyama I board a train for Kanazawa. Im there at about 2 pm. Then there’s the short walk to my Toyoko Inn, where I will stay for 2 nights in room 318.
Kanazawa has about 500.000 inhabitants. There’s a famous garden and some old neighbourhoods. After a late lunch I head for one of them. It’s called Higashi Chayagai. There are some small streets with houses made of dark wood. The Geishas used to entertain here back in the 19th century. There’s a small museum in one of the houses, showing the life of a Geisha. You can visit if you take off your shoes. I take a bus back to the hotel. As a special tonight there is free dinner at the hotel – curry and rice. On the telly there is golf from St. Andrews.
Friday, July 16th
The rain has disappeared – and temperatures have risen to 33 degrees Celsius.
So the first walk is a hot one. First it’s 3 different neighbourhoods. The first one is Nagamachi. It’s an old Samurai-area, with old Samurai-houses and of course a Samurai-Museum.
The next one is Katamachi. That’s the “red light district”. On a Friday morning there’s not much red light around.
The last one is on the other side of the river Saigawa. It’s called Teramachi. There are a few more temples here.
Then I head on for the big sight in Kanazawa. That’s the huge park or garden called Kenkuroen. I'm not an expert into Japanese gardens, but I think this one is nice. There seems to be a spot in the park that is especially famous. All people gather here to have a photo taken.
Finally I head back home. I pass the Omicho-market on the way with exotic fruits and strange fish.
The evening walk will be at my local area and finishes with a great dinner at a local restaurant I have found. Back at the hotel I sit at the window and watch a huge thunderstorm passing Kanazawa.
Saturday, July 17th
I’m leaving Kanazawa at 9 am on an express-train. I change to a local train in Naoetsu. So I arrive in Nagano at 1.30. Another short walk to my Toyoko Inn here. Nagano was host to the Winter-Olympics in 1998. There are not many sights, but a good place for a few daytrips.
There is one famous sight though. I check that out this afternoon. It’s called Zenkuji. It’s a temple that was established in the 7th century. It has burned to the ground a few times. The one standing now is form the 17th century. There are 2 impressive gates before you actually reach the temple. For once it’s not only tourists here – there are worshippers as well. It’s a place you have to visit if you are a true Buddhist.
This completes today's sightseeing. The rest of the day is spent on relaxing and dinner at Pronto’s.
Sunday, July 18th
Daytrip to Matsumoto. Because of the high temperatures I start up early in the morning. First I take a slow train. It takes about 70 minutes to reach Matsumoto. Matsumoto is a very orderly city, where the main attraction is Matsumotojo – or Matsumoto Castle. The castle is built like a temple with 6 floors – all made out of heave wood. It was built back in 1595 and looks very majestic. It is located with water surrounding on all sides and just one bridge to cross. The castle has small holes used for defence as well. You could shoot arrows after intruders – or simply throw huge stones down from the 4th floor at anyone trying to get in.
These days it’s easier to get inside. You just have to queue up and leave 600 Yen at the entrance. But then trouble starts. Inside its all one long line of people on the steep stairs and it is very slow. But it’s also very impressive – one of the most impressive sights on this trip.
After this I spend a couple of hours in downtown Matsumoto, before I head back home to Nagano on an express-train.
In Nagano it’s time to do my laundry at the hotel. This gives me the time to finish the book I have brought for this trip as well.
Monday, July 19th
Another daytrip today. This time with a Nagodan-train to Obuse. That’s a small village north-east of Nagano. This place is chosen to get a little out into the countryside – and there are a few attractions as well.
One of them is Hakusaikan. That’s a museum with an exhibition of art by Hakusai. He lived from 1760 to 1849 and according to information at the museum he was very famous. And that’s probably right.
After visiting the museum I head for a walk to the mountains. There are apple orchards and vineyards on the way out there. I didn’t know they made wine in Japan – except for Sake – Rice wine. But on the other hand – they also make Whiskey. Just where the mountains start, there’s a neatly little temple. My guide book doesn’t know what it is – and all signs are in Japanese – but nevertheless it’s very nice.
After a few hours out here I head back to Nagano by train.
Later I have the time for a short walk around Nagano. The city centre is full of hotels and shops. That’s nothing for me. Dinner is at a local place. Something exiting with rice, beans, rice, bean sprouts, rice, some meat and a little more rice.
Tuesday, July 20th
Finally – the travelling around Japan has finished. The rest of the trip is Tokyo.
Shinkansen takes me from Nagano to Tokyo at 10.08 and reaches Tokyo 1½ hour later. From Tokyo Station it takes less then 20 minutes to get to Shiba Park Hotel. I know the way by now.
One hour of relaxation and then we are off into hot hot Tokyo. I take the Yamanote-Line to Shinjuko. On one side of the station there are huge office-buildings. Among them is Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices. I get there through long tunnels from the statian, and head for the top by elevator. There are great views on offer. Huge buildings all over.
On the other side of the station you will find the area called Kakukicho. That’s the major entertainment in Tokyo. There are bars, Pachinko-halls, restaurants – and anything else you would need for your entertainment. It’s supposed to be the Red Light District as well. There’s also plenty of shopping. And billboards – all over – one bigger than the other. And not to mention people. They are here – and there are many of them. They are all over the place. After having studied this area, I head back on the train.
Dinner is a Napoletanean pizza at a local place. Pretty expensive, but nice. Then I head back for my final cup of coffee at room 1121.
Wednesday, July 21st
Daytrip to Hakone. That’s a nice area south of Tokyo. This trip is something for a public transport freak. There’s a number of different means of public transport involved.
I start out by walking to Hamamatsucho. My hotel is located in a office-area, so most people is in the other direction. There are so many people that moving in the “wrong” direction is actually difficult.
From my local station I take Yamanote-Line to the big train-station at Shinagawa.
Here I change for a Shinkansen, which takes me to Odeware. There I change for another local train, which will take me to Hakone-Yumoto. Another transfer here, to at mountain-railway zigzagging up the mountain to the small village of Gora. Now things are getting to steep for normal railway-transport. So it’s time for a mountain-railway, which is pulled up to Sounzan. Here all tracks stop, and it’s now time for a trip on a cable car. The first one brings me to Owakudani. We are at high latitude now, and there is seismic activity around. That means Onsen-baths and strange smells. Then I head for another cable car crossing a few mountains, before going down to Togendai. On a good day you would be able to see Mount Fuji from here, but this is not a good day – it’s way to cloudy.
Togendai is located at Lake Ashi, so now it’s time for a boat trip. Not an ordinary one – because the boat is transferred into a pirate ship. Seems to be very popular among the crowds, even though it’s all kitsch and plastic. This ship will take me across the lake to Hakone-Machi.
At Hakone-Machi I take something as ordinary as a bus to Hakone-Yamoto. Then the local train, Shinkansen and Yamanote before I reach my hotel again late afternoon.
Finally a nap at the hotel, dinner in the hotel restaurant and an Asahi beer from the machine in the hallway.
Thursday, July 22nd
Huh – I never think I have experience anything as hot as today. But a tourist has to to what a tourist has to do, so I take the Yamanote-train to Shinagawa, and from there a local train to Kamakura. Kamakura is known for a number of temples. I get off the train on the station just before we reach Kamakura. Then you can walk along the road for into city – and see all the temples on the way.
The first one is Engukiji. It’s original from 1282, and was built to celebrate soldiers fighting against Kublai Khan. Nothing is left of the original – it’s probably all burnt down to the ground.
Next one is Tokaiji. It’s more of a cosy place. There’s a nice garden with plenty of shadow. Feels good in the heat. This was a place where women who wanted a divorce, should spend 3 years as a nun, before they were allowed to leave their husband.
Then it’s Kenchoji. This is huge. It is original from 1253. There are 10 sub-temples, and many fine buildings.
The last one I visit – there are many more that I don’t visit – is Tsurugaoka Hachimongo. It’s just in the outskirts of Kamakura, and therefore the one with most visitors. This is a shrine for the Shiinto religion. It was built by a guy called Minamoto Yoriyoshi. It’s very colourful, with great appeal for tourists. As in most of these kind of places you can have your fortunes told – if you want to. But it’s not as peaceful as the other temples.
Then I’m in Kamakura. The city itself is very touristic.
I had planned to see a Buddha-statue on the other side of town, but it’s simply to hot. I take the train back to Tokyo instead.
My evening-walk in Tokyo is hot as well. I take the Tokyo Metro to the shopping-street of Ginza. Expensive “boutiques” and huge billboards all around. This is for the rich people – so what am I doing here? I grab some dinner – and head back.
Friday, July 23rd
I wake up at 6.06. Everything is shaking. A lot – I think. Earthquake. It takes about 20 seconds. I don’t know what to do – so I do nothing. The strength is 5.3 on the Richter scale. Nothing serious – but it is mentioned in the news, and one railway line is closed. I am a little disturbed, but nothing more than I can get back to sleep.
Later I’m out into Tokyo once again. Today I visit 3 places. The first one is Asakusa. That’s a nice area. The sight is the temple of Sensoji. It’s all packed in to a scaffold, so you can only see the temple from the inside. But it’s nice anyway.
Then I continue to Akihabara – also known as Electric City. This is the nerd’s paradise. Electric shops all over. You can buy Manga, Video-games, DVD, Nikon, Canon, 3D-TV, HD-TV, IPads and IPhone – everything is here. There is also the maid-café’s. Young girls dressed as maids are entertaining the guest at these places.
The final stop is Shibuya. Where Akihabara is for the nerd’s – this is for the fashion conscious. There are so many people shopping. The pedestrian crossing at Shibuya is supposed to be the biggest in the world. I don’t know if it’s true – but I do cross it a few times – just in case.
Back to the hotel, to hang up my t-shirt to dry. Dinner is at the hotel tonight, and then a short walk to a local Pachinko Hall. Nothing in it for me tonight.
Saturday, July 24th
Another hot day in Tokyo. I have bought one of these fans the local use, for getting air circulation for your face. That’s pretty useful.
First sight is a “must-see”. That’s the emperor’s palace – or more precisely – the park surrounding it. It’s smack in Tokyo centre – very close to Tokyo Station. Here they use a big area for this kind of stuff, surrounded on all sides by huge office buildings. You can not get inside to see the actual palace. But there a huge number of Japanese tourists – all taking pictures of them self in front of the gate.
From there I head by Yamanote Line to Shimbashi, where I board a driverless metro-train to Odaiba. Odaiba is a new development area on an island in Tokyo Bay. It’s mainly shopping-malls, entertainment-things and futuristic buildings. Toyota has a big showroom, where you can see what they have to offer.
Finally I head back to the city by Metro. This finished the tourist-program for today.
Dinner is at a local pizza-place. And then there’s J-League on the TV.
Sunday, july 25th
As it is the case with many other big cities, Tokyo has not got one city centre. There is more than one – mainly located at the stations around the Yamanote Line. This is practical when you’re a tourist. You can take the Yamanote and visit them all. And Yamanote runs above ground, so you can actually see where you’re going.
I start this day by taking Yamanote to Harajuku. Here are a couple of funny things. In the street named Takeshita-dori (love that name in English) there are a lot of young people. They are buying strange clothes here. Many young Japanese like to perform in weird clothes during the weekend. They are dressed like Lolita's, punkers, Goths – you name it.
Things are more proper in the Shiinto-Shrine Meijujingu on the other side of the street. Well – a few people are dressed up here as well – but that’s because they are getting married. The bride is really shined up – while the groom looks like he is still wearing his bathrobe. And in the park called Yoyogikoen there’s a lot of people as well. A guy is playing the Shamisen – a Japanese string-instrument. Others are playing plain guitars. There are groups gathered to practice theatre-acts as well – and a lot of people just hanging out. On the National Stadium on the other side, there a big pop-concert tonight. A number of screaming girls go crazy as the star arrives in a big car with dark windows.
From the funny area around Harajuka I take the Yamanote to Ikebukoro. This is shopping-country, and the main focus point is Sunshine City. Everyone the sellers are shouting out their very special offers for today. I start to believe that the Japanese like noise. I don’t buy anything – except for my lunch and a cup of coffee at a very nice café.
This finishes my tourist-activities for today. I take Yamanote back to the hotel. Here I get my dinner and spend the evening watching the local favourite of Baseball on TV – and reading in a book.
Monday, July 26th
This is the final day of this trip. It doesn’t matter – my travel-batteries are on low anyway.
Actually I should get up very early to watch the tuna-auction on the Tokyo fish market at Tsukiji. But no – getting up early – is not what I call vacation. Instead I just go there later in the morning, to watch some of the hassle and dazzle at the market. You have to be a little careful there, or you will be run over by a truck.
Then I walk to Shimbashi, where I take the Yamanote to Ueno. Here’s another street-market, where you can buy anything. I don’t – but instead I head for the Ueno Park. According to my guidebook the park is pretty much run down. I disagree. It’s a very nice park, with local people – and no tourist. Probably because the tourists believe in the guide book. There’s a nice pond full of flowers, which grow in water. I don’t know what they are called. On an island in the middle of the pond there’s a small tempel. You go there on a small bridge.
Ueno Park finished today's tourist-activities – yes in fact – this tours tourist-activities. Back to the hotel by Yamanote, relaxing, pizza at my local favourite place – and then all the coins into the machine in the hallway at the hotel, to get a huge Asahi Super Dry before going to bed.
Tuesday, July 27th
I get up at 5.30. The Airport-bus leaves the hotel at 6.40. I’m at the airport at 8.40. Check-in, some shopping and some waiting. SAS depart at 11.40. It takes 11 hours, 2 movies, 20 pages in my book, an IPod with no power and some disgusting food.
Arrival in Copenhagen at 3.50 pm local time. I get my luggage and a train ticket. Then the train to Aarhus. I arrive at 8.40 – back home to unpack – and go to bed. This was it.