March 24 (Tue) Kansai Airport – Kyoto
After 10 hours of long flight, we were held back for another 100 minutes at the immigration!! It is the beginning of spring break and cherry blossom season, there were so many Asian visitors. We checked in New Miyako Hotel in Kyoto about 10:30pm.
March 25 (Wed) Kyoto
Our English speeking guide, Ms. Toshie Mimura, met us at the hotel and we started a day with hands-on experience. Making Sakura Mochi, steamed rice cake wrapped by cherry leaf, was our first activity in Kyoto. It was fun!
Then next stop was world famous Golden Pavilion. It was amazing to see such a luxurious temple surrounded by a beautiful pond and garden. It stated raining a little toward the end of our visit and was chilly!
We took a short visit to Nishijin Textile Center to see the Kimono Show. Furisode, ｔhe long sleeve Kimonoｓ, were most popular among several designs. The weather has got better in the afternoon.
Our visit to Kiyomizu Temple was turned to be in the great weather condition. Aren’t we surprised to see so many people there? Gojo street which is a slope leading to the temple was covered by tourists from all over the worlds. Some of us enjoyed drinking natural water from the 3 fountains which promise longevity, wealth and good relationship. And some enjoyed walking down the narrow street called Ninen Zaka. There were many cute small Japanese shops on this wounded street.
After nice dinner buffet at our hotel, we took off again to visit Kodaiji Temple. It was beautifully lit up and we could enjoy the beauty of it in the mystic atmosphere. We even walked through exotic bamboo forests during the tour. It was simply breath taking.
March 26 (Thu) Kyoto – Nara – Kyoto
Todaiji Temple and Deer Park in Nara was our first stop today. It was not too busy yet so we all enjoyed serenity of the temple. Young and skinny ones even tried to go through the hole of the huge wooden pillar and everyone succeeded. Yay! Deer was cute yet eager to be fed. It was fun feeding them Senbei!!
After having lunch near Nara Station, we visited Fushimi Sake Factory. Tasting Sake. Uhhhhh!! I’m sure some of you, I won’t say who, were awaiting for this visit. After Sake, here comes green tea. We had 1 hour tour at Koyama-En which produces nation’s highest quality green tea.
March 27 (Fri) Kyoto – Hakone
Today’s highlight was a Bullet Train ride to Mishima. It is so speedy, not only its running speed of 250 km/hr but also its short stop at each station. Only 2 minutes at Kyoto Station. We carefully lined up at doors and walked straight into the train. Some of us enjoyed purchasing Bento, beer, ice cream etc. from the wagon. Yammy!
The new guide, Ms. Haruko Hiratsuka, met us at Mishima Station. She squeezed a visit to Mishima Shrine since it is at full bloom of cherry blossom. Thanks for Haruko, cherry blossom was so beautiful. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery.
Strawberry picking was the high light of the afternoon. Sweet vine ripe strawberries are all you can eat in 30 minutes. It was delicious.
After sight seeing Hakone Sekisho, we checked in at the Prince Hakone. What a beautiful hotel it was. We all enjoyed the Japanese dinner at Nadaman Garden which each dish was delicately prepared. Some of us tried Onsen after dinner.
March 28 (Sat) Hakone – Tokyo
How lucky we are! We saw beautiful Mt. Fuji at the visitor center. It is hard to see the Mt. Fuji clearly in spring but we were blessed to view its vigorous figure.
We hit the heavy traffic on the high way to Tokyo but were able to take a tour around at Edo-Tokyo Museum, Asakusa Kannnon Temple & Nakamise Arcade.
March 29 (Sun) Tokyo
It was a free day to explore Tokyo. Majority of us enjoyed Ueno Park to see the fully bloomed cherry blossom and then visited Akihabara, Shibuya and Harajuku. Every place we visited was so busy, especially Harajuku. It was just packed with people from the station to the famous Takeshita Street. We somehow managed to stick together to go back to the hotel.
March 30 (Mon) Tokyo – Haneda International Airport – Honolulu
Some of us squeezed a visit to Tsukiji Fish Market in the morning. Nori, Seaweed, Dried scallops, Bonito flakes…..nnnn…there were everything from the sea there. We all enjoyed Sushi lunch.
We met again with our guide, Haruko, and took off to Yokohama. Yokohama is much spacious and blousing thruogh Minato Mirai and China Town were quite enjoyable. The final stop was the Tokyo Tower. Beautiful lights that we saw from the observatory deck was something special that we will never forget. Farewell to Tokyo! It has been a wonderful trip.
Posted by Kat
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