Konnichiwa everyone! Man versus Kit Kat round 2 is officially underway! So how do I begin? Well, you know me. No rest for the wicked. So let’s start about 24 hours ago…
About 24 hours ago I was sitting on a plane heading from Melbourne to Sydney to jet my way over to Tokyo. After an uneventful flight to Sydney, and a routine pass through immigration I was Japan-bound. That too was uneventful… just how I like my flights. I watched a movie, had some food, and got about 4 hours sleep… probably the best you can hope for really.
So pretty much smack bang on time I touched down in Tokyo. All continued to go smoothly, with an easy move through immigration and customs. Even when the customs official was trying to grill me on what I was doing and where I was going, he was just so darned polite. A warm welcome as expected.
That was when I got my first cold reception. No, not a surly airport person or a rude tourist, but the smack in the face of 1 degree. Yep… it was 1 degree at Narita. Chilly, brrrrr. Luckily I had prepared and had my thermals packed on top of my backpack and my beanie in my carry on. So on they went and off to the train to head into Tokyo proper.
The N’Ex got me to Shinagawa with the expected punctuality. Only problem with that was that meant I was in Shinagawa at about 9am, to early to check in to my hostel. Problem? Did I say problem? Nah, not at all! I did what I do… just dumped my bag and got out there to explore!
Given I have seen a lot of Tokyo already, I decided to head somewhere new, so I jumped on a train south to the small town of Kamakura. It is a small town near the coast about 40 min by train south of Tokyo, and known for its shrines, temples, and a rather large Buddha. We’ll get to him though.
It was on the train that I had another taste of what makes Japan awesome. The train seats were heated. My butt was nice and toasty. Now I wasn’t in any fancy train, rather a run of the mill suburban train. Metro, I will be writing an email when I get back. Nothing is as comforting as a warm butt.
Anyway, so after arriving in Kamakura I got walking. It was an absolutely glorious day. Chilly, but beautiful blue sky. First stop was Engaku-Ji, a nice temple just near Kita-Kamakura station. Unfortunately Kyoto has probably clouded my view of other temples, but it was still a nice way to settle back into Japan.
I then did the wander down the more impressive Kencho-Ji, the main temple complex in the town. This was a bit more like it! There was something nice about wandering around in the chilly air all rugged up… last time I was here it was hot and humid as buggery.
From there it was to the main shrine in the town, Tsurugaoka Hachiman-Gu. This was very much like Kyoto, where from the top of the complex you could see across the town, feeling as though you are not in the woods, rather smack bang in the middle of day to day life.
Given it was a nice day for wandering, and the legs needed a workout after 10 hours of plane travel, I decided to leg it to visit Daibutsu. This took me down the main shopping strip which was mainly just souveniry type stores, but was a pleasant wander down the lantern lined path.
And it turned out the Buddha was a bit further away than I thought. But no harm. Soon enough he greeted me.
This Daibutsu is apparently the second biggest in Japan, the number one being in Nara (who got a visit from me last time). This one was cool though, all out in the open. I would easily rank him up there with the big pineapple and the big banana 🙂
From there I still had plenty of time up my sleeve so thought I would take the hiking path back to the train station. I knew it was about 4km, but thought “that’s easy!”. Hhhmmm. It wasn’t hard, but holy cow my calves got a work out. There was some good trekking through the forest hills there. But again, a nice way to spend the arvo.
So back on a train to Shinagawa and that gets me to here… typing away in my hostel. Staying at Guesthouse Shinagawa again like last time… easy to find, good location, and a known quantity. Only a couple of days here though before I leg it to Nagoya.
So I thought I might crash, but a shower and typing has got me awake. Maybe a couple of hours visit to Akihabara might be in order. Hhhmmm. All will be revealed tomorrow 🙂
Thanks for reading! More to come although Internet may be more sporadic this time. But I will keep you all posted!