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Konnichiwa ~Hakone, Kyoto, Osaka

Konnichiwa!

Day 4:

Off we go, ready to see something more of Japan, the mountain side! We take a few trains have a lunch stop hop in the next train and then at last before we arrive in Hakone we take a mountain train. This train has spectacular views as we go over bridges high above rivers, through mountains and lot’s of green nature around! I thing that this train actually makes the highest climb in the world!

We stay in a guesthouse for the night, the rooms are very Japanese style. I absolutely love it. The floor is bamboo and the beds are mats on the floor, which actually are super comfortable!! We go up with a cable car to get up to lake Fuiji where we hop on a pirate ship to try and spot the beautiful mount Fuiji! We had a lot of luck because we saw a bit of her! Once every 10 days you get to see her because she is really shy and usually hidden by the clouds.

At night we had dinner together in the guesthouse, very cozy. Some of us on the coach but most on the floor around the table. Sabu sabu, throwing everything in a hot pot. This night the planning is playing some games. We start with all one after one telling 2 truths and a lie, after which the rest of the group gets to interrogate and guess which one the lie is. There is some real good liars and funny stories and it’s a good way to get to know more about each other. The last game we play is guilty pleasure songs. We each wrote down our guilty pleasure song and Adam made a playlist of it, then he played the songs one by one and we had to guess which person the guilty pleasure song belonged too. It’s very hard I can tell you! We had a good laugh and after that I went to bed.

Day 5:

At 7:40 we take the Mountain train back down for about 40 minutes and after that we hop on to another 15 minutes train. Time for the Bullet train again!! We arrive in Nagoya an hour later (which is the 3th biggest city of Japan) and then it’s another 2,5 hour before we arrive in Takayama. After a short walk we arrive at our stay for the night. A very special stay!! One of the 4 places in the world where you can actually stay in a buddhist temple. Take your shoes of before entering and get into these super comfy flipflops. We are walked to our room, which is shared between all the girls this night, 9 of us. It’s an open space with walls we can slide open or close. We sleep on the ground but again the beds are so comfortable. Just behind our room there is the garden, which we can’t enter, but it’s beautiful. If you get this experience you really have to take it and get the most out of it as you can, which I really tried for myself. Walking there mindfull and silent does so much to you, we opened the doors to the garden and just sat there, listening, watching and meditate a bit. 

We meet out front to go to a sake tasting just down the street and we get to see some more of Takayama. I absolutely love Takayama, you go wayy back in the time as it’s all old buildings and just nice and quiet. How good to be out of the business of Tokyo for a bit and before we go further to Kyoto and Osaka again. It’s very peacefull and just beautifull, no wonder it’s an unesco listed town. The sake tasting wasn’t a succes for me really, we found it tasting a bit like vegemite. You probably won’t know what that tastes like eighter but it’s just not something you would drink for fun, atleast not me. We sip some more out of the little sake cups and try others, but not for too long. Time for dinner as we’re all a bit hungry and we have other plans for after so we better go a bit early. After searching for a while we find a place where we get to try the hida beef, that’s what Takayama is famous for. Hida beef is from very spoiled cows, they get massaged etc. And live a luxurious life. All 8 of us who went to grab dinner got a little pot above each our little stove with a candle heating up our hida beef and rice, very cute. It was quite good the hida beef. 

We then got back to the temple and got our stuff to gather all the ladies and go to the onsen at the green hotel!

Day 6:

In the morning I wake up because my alarm is ringing.  I feel rested and am ready to start the day, event tho it’s early. The temple stay was amazing and the beds very comfortable. Time for some morning yoga in the temple where I signed myself up for, some of the others are going to meditate with a monk.

After the yoga it’s time to grab our bags and head off to the morning market of Takayama where we get enough time to have a little stroll, grab breakfast and slowly head back to the temple. The morning market was beautifully located next to a river with a lot of fish in it, and such a relaxed easy going vibe!

Ready with our bags waiting for our 2,5 hour train and 45 minute train after to get to Kyoto, woehoe! By the time we arrive we get some time to rest, grab some dinner, before we meet up for an evening walk through the Gion district. The tour through the Gion District in Kyoto is to try and spot Geisha’s, I’m saying Geisha’s because you might know them by that name but they are actually called Meiko’s and Geiko’s. They are professional entertainment dancers. When you want to become a Geiko you start of as a Meiko, for around 4 to 5 years you are a Meiko. During this time you learn everything to become a Geiko. When you want to become a Meiko you are around 15 and you have to move into a house with other Meiko and Geiko’s, it’s quite a hard life as a Meiko as you get two days a month off, yes really. Also your days are really long, from around 7-8 am. until midnight… Meiko’s wear very high shoes (have a look at the photo album) and there hairdo is their own hair which they have to keep for a week, so you can imagine them sleeping very uncomfortable as their head lies on a special rest so that their hair keeps intact. When you become a Geiko you get paid and are a professional, however you always keep learning more skills and are still training, Geiko’s have flat shoes and can wear a wig. To have a private Meiko and Geiko show for 2 hours it will cost you around 300.000 yen (2.500 euro). This includes dinner, playing games, them dancing, and music. You have to be quite lucky to see a Meiko or Geiko as they are always very very rushed. Ofcourse we got lucky and we got to see 9 in total, wow! The rest of the night is without a program and we decide to head to the club and almost the whole group goes with. There is one street full with bars and clubs and it’s fun to dance with everybody!

Day 7

Goodmorning from Kyoto, today we start the day of with going to the Kinkakuji temple where the Golden pavillion is! We get there not long after it opens but it’s already very very crowded, especially by school kids. The golden pavillion is stunning and the rest of the park as well, it’s only too busy for me to enjoy the peacefulness of it. Luckily the next stop is the zen gardens, where the total opposite is true. Total quietness and peacefulness, just take in the gardens, walk around, sit down and meditate. It’s so good to stop for a moment in the rush of live nowadays and have a moment for yourself and your thoughts or have no thoughts at all. The whole group enjoys it, I also love how you have to take your shoes off everywhere and just walk around barefoot or with socks on. 

We head back to the hostel to have time for a quick change and a quick lunch before it’s time to head to our Kendo class, o yeah!! We head to the sanjusangendo temple, the oldest temple of Japan. We get a kendo class off 2,5 hour and it’s a real master and Samurai who teaches us. He is amazing and how he tells the history and his own story really gets us to gain respect for the whole culture and history. He tells us how Kendo is not only a sport but a lifestyle, it’s very famous in Japan. Parents love to have their kids in kendo classes as they get thought discipline and respect and way more then kendo itself. After some history and information about Kendo we get in our Kendo outfits, pretty awesome. We get our bamboo swords up and learn some basics, where to hit somebody for example. You can hit somebody on the head and when you do you have to shout ‘men’, you can also hit your opponent on the wrist when shouting ‘kote’ and the last one is on the side whilst shouting ‘do’. There is also a third one which is the throat, but that’s only for professionals and we couldn’t practice this one. 

It’s very coordinated, you have to make a certain movement at the same time whilst hitting the opponent and shouting the right term, you also have to be confident in attacking.

Kendo is all about respect. You bow to each other before starting the competition, you bow after and if you win you can’t be excited you stay professional and take the win, this is because the opponent doesn’t need to feel humiliated twice. So kendo isn’t that easy, but it was such an unique experience, we even had to attack the Kendo instructor hahah. At the end of the lesson we got to wear the full outfit which includes gloves and a helmet and we each had a fight in duo’s. 

After a well deserved shower we met up with the whole group and went to a place for dinner. We could order skewers and other small dishes off the table and ended up having all these little bites on our table and shared, always good!! Heading back and having an early night because I want to be well rested tomorrow morning, as we get up quite early!

Day 8

I get woken up by the sun and I feel rested, I’m excited for the day, even tho it’s only 5:30 as we leave the hostel and get a bus to go to Fushimi Inari Taishi shrine. There is around 18.000 people coming here a day, yes really. And so we are very happy to be there before all the others are even awake and the place is beautiful without anybody there. The Fushimi Inari-Taishi shrine exists of over 10.000 gates in different sizes but they go up to the height of a 2 story house! One gate costs between 40.000 up to millions. Each shrine has the company and company address on them. 

We walk through all the gates and it’s like it never ends, there are so many and it’s really impressing. 

When we come out of the shrine again the tour guides have a little breakfast buffet ready for us so we can grab some croissants, bananas, chocolate bread etc. and drinks before we head to the second place, a temple. A little while in the metro and then a walk uphill before we arrive at the cemetery. This cemetery is quite impressing. I have never seen anything like it, it is enormous and not only that, each stone is not for one person, they all are family graves. Just a bit ahead from the cemetery you can find the Kiyomizudera temple, the next beautiful thing we get to visit. We enter the temple and there are a lot of different buildings. We bow before we enter the gate, then wash our hands and mouths before we enter the temple, we are quite used to it allready. Up the stairs there are these 2 stones which are 18 m apart from each other, walk blindfolded from one stone to the other and you’ll find luck and love. I tried it and it’s quite scary because there also are a lot of people walking around, but I managed to find the other stone. Then almost at the end of the temple there are three waterfalls coming from the Ottawa waterfall. Choose to drink the water from one of the 3 streams and you’ll eighter get waterfall one: academic succes; two: long life; and three: love making.

The good thing about getting up so early is that it’s 10:30, we’re almost back at the accommodation and have the day to ourselves for once! Which means I’m getting a rest while watching some netflix and then explore Kyoto city and do some shopping! When it’s dinner time I find myself a sushi place with a sushi train. I am sitting on the bar and every time a sushi comes by that I like I just take it off and eat it hahaha, ideal and delicious!

Day 9

Our last day of the tour! I had a good night of sleep and I am ready for this last day, which is going to be a long day! I am excited to go to the Arashiyama bamboo grove and whilst it’s not very long, only 500 m, it’s super pretty. We take some photo’s and have a stroll around before we head over to the other side of the river, not to long of a walk before we find ourselves below Monkey Mountain! Who is up for a good morning hike? Count me in! The view is going to be amazing and there’s going to be monkeys! And not to long after Steph and I we find ourselves the first ones to reach the top, a bit more energetic and excited then the rest. And at the top nothing more is true, babyyy monkeysss!! Heaps of baby monkeys aahhh look! Oh and the view is also fantastic, hahah, but the monkeys!!

We hop in a boat with te whole group to do a little cruise on the Katsura river, how beautiful is the nature! On the river bank is a lady sitting playing the fluit, which makes the whole even more idyllic. 

We head back for lunch and to grab our bags once again.

The train to Osaka isn’t that far, only 50 minutes and some walking to and from the stations before we arrive in our hostel for the last tour night!! 

We have two hours to ourselves and everybody says goodbye to go to their rooms for nap time. I don’t really do naps haha, but I am tired and have a shower and lay down just to rest. At 6 we meet everybody again downstairs in the common area where we have some drinks and play our guilty pleasure music and have a chat. When everybody is downstairs the cake comes out and we all sing Happy Birthday to Giulia who is turning 29 today!! 

When we all start to feel hungry Adam says all righty lets go for the food tour! His favourite part of the tour if we have to believe him. We walk into the city of Osaka, all these lights and billboards disappear, I love it! It’s quite crowded but not as crowded as Tokyo. There is a camera on the street which projects on one off the billboards so we try to fit the whole group in and it works, we are famous now guys! hahaha. The first thing we try is Takoyaki, octopus balls, delicious! I loved the kushi katsu - deep fried skewers, hmmm!! The third thing we try is Taiyaki - dough in the form of a fish with as a filling red bean or potato, not my thing for sure! But the last one was great, the okonomiyaki - Japanese pancake, not sweet. 

Our bellies are full so it is finalllyyy time for our one hour private karaoke + unlimited drinks. Our group is very good prepared and so in to it! We get the whole group to sing and dance and the hour goes by wayyy to quick! It’s raining men, YMCA, mama, high school musical, etc. etc. We are by far not done yet so we get the whole group to go to another karaoke bar. We sing untill our throats are very sore and untill the first couple almost has to leave to catch their flight. We have to say goodbye one by one, some people are staying a night longer but most are allready leaving. The group was amazing and all the individuals are so sweet! I was sad to say goodbye and I have got friends all over the world now who I can go and stay with, as well as they are welcome at my place, it would be so cool if some would come and visit! Thankyou guys for making this tour amazing!! As well as the tour guys Adam, Joe and of course my bestie Simen! I hope to do a onelife tour again on another destiny!

Day 10

Justin and Steph are still here and together we are visiting Osaka castle. It’s located in a big park with water around it. The weather is nice and warm and we are sweating once we reach the top but it’s absolutely worth it! 

The rest of the day I rest which is needed after this awesome but full on tour! I do my washing, rearrange my suitcase and start making the aftermovie to share with the group! 

Dinner with the last remaining. Justin, Steph, both from Melbourne, Adam the tourguide and Giulia and Camilla from Italy. Adam, Giulia and Camilla are trying blowfish. A delicacy popular in Japan, Adam has it Fried and the girls raw in their sushi. This fish has to be properly prepared otherwise it could be deadly. They survived hahahha. I just had sushi and fried chicken, delicious and nice to have dinner together one last time.

Day 11 

Steph Justin and I travel to Shin-Osaka together, a trainstation not to far away from where we are staying. That is where the bullettrains depart from and so it’s time to say goodbye to Steph as she is going to Hiroshima and me and Justin are going back to Tokyo. I’m going to miss you girl, always happy times and so enthusiastic, love your energy! 

By the time I arrive in my hostel in Japan it’s allready late afternoon and I settle in have a shower change and go out for my souvenir shopping near Shibuya! When I’m sure I have everything I meet up with the boys, Justin and Joël to grab dinner in Shibuya. We find a nice place and have some fish and chips and actually get to use a knife and fork!! I didn’t know I could still use those hahaha. Good company and then it’s time to say goodby to them to and with that I’m on my own. Bye guys have a safe flight back to Aussie, I wish I could come with again! I head back to Asakusa where my hostel is.

Day 12

No alarm set and that feels good! So when I wake up at 10:30 I get ready to go to Teamlab Bordeless! I’ve heard and seen such good things and I am so keen! It’s an interactive art gallery, for this one you should just watch the video as soon as my vlog of Japan is up! It’s stunning!! Like you’re floating into space, surrounded by butterflies, flowers, waterfalls, lights. Drink tea with flowers growing out of it, a happy place where you wonder around for hours still finding new unexplored parts of the exhibition. You get lost in this world of darkness, it’s incredible! The trip there is beautiful too, I got to see the side of Tokyo by the water, boulevards, shopping and the little statue of liberty they have! Hahaha.

That’s it, I’m heading back grabbing some dinner back in the hostel and start to pack my bag. Goodnight Tokyo.

Day 13

My absolutely last day… 8 months are coming to an end and I’m feeling very confused. I would love to see everybody at home, but it’s a totally different world then the world I’ve been living in these months. I am so so happy I did this all, proud of myself and I am so unbelievably grateful for everybody who made this journey! I made new friends for a lifetime and met people I maybe won’t ever see again but I’ve always had good times with everybody. The next time I’ll travel the world with friends all over to come and say hi to! Wow I can’t believe what I’ve done, so much. Back to reality and summer again hahah! 

See you soon guys!! “Now Boarding for Amsterdam!”

Arigatou gozaimasu!

Reacties

Reacties

Oma Lydia

Geweldig...... maar nu lekker weer thuis komen😀✈️

Mama

I can believe you are confused... what an amazing experience this has been for you...take your time to settle in to your houses in the small Netherlands... take time to process everything... and when you’re ready, tell me aaaalll about it... although i realise you can’t really explain all the feelings you experienced these last 8 months... I missed you but were also enjoying your stories so much!! I’ll miss them too😊. But a lot of new good things are coming up for you and you have lots of people here as well who love you and will enjoy your company again!! Just be proud and happy that you did this. I am!!
O and also keep on speaking English if you will sometimes hate the “farmer’s Dutch” in the beginning, I will learn from it and like it!😀
See you in a few houts my beautiful daughter!! Heading for Schiphol now!😀😀😀😀😀🎉🎉

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