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Matt_01

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There have been a few trip reports to Japan and I will just add another. It won’t be detailed but will provide a few photos as we travel about, we have been to Japan a few times and for this trip we will head back to some of the places we have been to before and others we have not. Mrs&MissM are along for the trip as it is family school holiday adventure and there will be a few tourist spots that they have not been to. The locations on the plan are Hiroshima, Himeji, Kanazawa, Nagano, Tokyo, Okinawa and finally Seoul.

So the journey started in ADL-exSYD-xHND-HIJ.
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Arrived in SYD and straight to the F lounge. Grabbed a drink and the big aircraft started to arrive.
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Time to head to HND, I don’t think any off us ate on the flight as the F lounge had served us well.
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This is what was on offer.
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Crossing over the mainland.
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Went through all the arrivals routine, it was a bit busy but efficient taking around 1 hour. Dropped of the luggage, through security and onto the transfer bus.
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Next stop the JL domestic F lounge, it is nice enough, pretty basic similar to other Japanese lounges.
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Not our aircraft, we were on the 767 and on what is know as Class J, the seating is similar to an AU domestic seat may be a little narrower and the inflight service is limited to a beverage option. We have flown this product before so we knew what to expect.
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Arrived at HIJ, boarded the limo bus and headed towards Hiroshima station which was around 45 minutes. We were all pretty tired so dropped off the luggage and headed towards the memorial parks and the Atomic Bomb Dome.
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We are a bit late for the best of the cherry blossoms, however I was expecting it would be well past.
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We also wandered up to the castle area, the castle is a rebuild as the original was destroyed by the bomb.
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As for accomodation, this is new one for us in the past we have stayed in the major chains and our daughter got older we moved from standard hotel room to suits as she got a bit older and now she is 17 I look for 2 bedroom 2 bathroom hotel rooms. That was proving a little difficult in Japan and those I did find were at a cost I could not justify as it is just a place to sleep. Our current plan is to book 2 rooms in standard Japanese hotels. One of the criteria when booking it had to be close to the Shinkansen stations. This is the first one - Tokyo Inn, Hiroshima, MrsandMissM are next door in a twin room.
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@RooFlyer they are western style rooms and in this hotel the mattress is quite firm. This type of hotel can also be referred as a businessman hotel, they do is said on the box, Japanese night gowns are available from the sterilising unit (see photo), a trouser press is normally provided on each floor. On some but not all floors there are service rooms that have vending and an ice machine, as well as a microwave (can vary between properties). The bathrooms are small and designed in a way that you can wash with the hand shower (not in the tub) and then get in the tub for the soak. Depending on the property the hand shower may be adjustable in height so it can be used as a normal shower (western) or there will be one from the ceiling. Breakfast is normally provided in the price or at least the ones I have stayed in, there is normally no restaurant for evening meals. I have stayed in this type of hotel so knew what to expect, it is basic accomodation, clean and cheap (normally 100-200 per night). There are of course other Japanese hotels that are similar to the major international brands and are on par with their pricing.

I will up date on Himeji after we have been there. The only 2 places on the plan are Mount Shosha and the castle. I have been to the castle before, Mrs&MissM have not, I suspect nothing has changed and is an easy walk or you could take the bus or taxi. Also Himeji just happens to be the sister city to Adelaide.

Edit/ update. I thought I would add in this hotel there are now check in machines and am not sure how wide spread they are used in Japan, I had not come across them pre Covid. When talking to the staff I was informed they were introduced around 6 months back. The process is you put in your details, scan your passport, details are checked and if you have not yet paid you need to make payment. Once this is done you get a print out of your room details and the machine cuts your swipe card and spits it out. Without the swipe card the lifts will not unlock. Over the past 2 days I have noticed many Japanese guests getting stuck at the lifts as they did not realise they needed to swipe to unlock the lifts.

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Am heading there in June; any extra detail on getting about / around (The Castle, I assume) will be appreciated.

Are those 'western' rooms? How firm/soft are the beds?
Himeji's an awesome castle, just went there earlier this year. You can train and back in a day no problem. We were staying in Osaka so pretty quick. From the train station you can taxi, bus or simply walk to the castle it's not that far.
 
So today we only went to 2 places the first is a Hiroshima given (up there with the Atomic Bomb Dome) Miyajima for the Shrine and the Torii gate, I knew it would be busy and I was not disappointed. Anyhow I can now say been there done that. We used the electric train (tram/ light rail to get there and JR local to get back.
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Second place was Mitaki-dera shrine. This is only 3 stops from Hiroshima Station and is not on the major attractions list. Once getting off the train it is an uphill walk which is not that difficult and takes around 20 minutes to walk to the start of the complex. This is the type of place I like to go to as it is a bit off the beaten track. As it turns out Mrs&MissM also thought this was better than Miyajima. It has small water falls and flowing water all through it and was just a calm and peaceful place to visit. The good thing about walking uphill at the start is that the return walk was all down hill. I may post a few extra photos.IMG_3893.jpegIMG_3894.jpegIMG_3896.jpegIMG_3900.jpegIMG_3902.jpegIMG_3905.jpegIMG_3907.jpegIMG_3908.jpegIMG_3910.jpeg
 
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A trip report would not be complete without the obligatory food shots, I forgot to post last nights but it was chicken rice. One thing that we have learned from our travel in Japan are that some of the ready made meals from local grocery shops taste good and are cheap and easy. I know we will eat out (it is normally what we do on family trips) however this is tonights offering, which will be washed down with a De Bortoli Semillon from 7/11 which cost around $7. ;) :)
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@RooFlyer
Toyoko Inn is probably the largest chain business hotel in Japan? I think there are several hundreds of them.
It's called business hotelビジネス ホテル because originally the target clientele are businessmen.

Other similar ones are Super Hotel, APA Hotel, Route Inn, Comfort Hotel, etc.
Daiwa Roynet, Dormy Inn, Mitsui Garden Hotels are a bit nicer but more expensive.
 
If you are planning go to Himeji and if it takes your fancy the Engyoji Temple at Mt Shosha is will worth a visit. It is a 30 bus ride from the bus terminal at the main exit north end of Himeji station. Then a cable car ride up the mountain and another 20 minute walk up hill. The complex is over a 1000 years old and was used in the filming of the last samurai.
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@RooFlyer I did not go to the castle today but on the back of your request and I the memory kicked in on the way to Mt Shosha . Bus routes 6-10 will drop you off at the castle and this is is based on catching the bus at the main bus terminal which is just outside of the main exit (north side) at Himeji station, there is also a loop shuttle that stops at stop 6. Depending on your hotel location it could just be easier to walk, from the station it is around 10 minutes (all flat) from the bus pick up area it is stop 2 so will be around JPY190. Also for the stairs in the castle the tread is shallow, the pitch is steep and in some places you need to watch out for bumping your head on the overhead beams.
 
After a train trip a couple of bus rides and a lot of walking I needed food and came across this place. It meet all my requirements for picking a place to eat in Japan at short notice being ‘is it full of locals’ or ‘is there a line to get in’ these 2 criteria have in the past resulted in finding places that are not expensive and the food is good. The obligatory food photo.
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@RooFlyer I did not go to the castle today but on the back of your request and I the memory kicked in on the way to Mt Shosha . Bus routes 6-10 will drop you off at the castle and this is is based on catching the bus at the main bus terminal which is just outside of the main exit (north side) at Himeji station, there is also a loop shuttle that stops at stop 6. Depending on your hotel location it could just be easier to walk, from the station it is around 10 minutes (all flat) from the bus pick up area it is stop 2 so will be around JPY190. Also for the stairs in the castle the tread is shallow, the pitch is steep and in some places you need to watch out for bumping your head on the overhead beams.

Thanks. I'm catching the shinkansen down from Osaka, so will follow your instructions exiting the station.

In general, how do you pay for busses? Cash, I assume and I assume small-ish notes? Or are there fancy machines that can spit out change for most bills? Trains and taxis in Japan I've done - never a bus :rolleyes:

Don't suppose buses will take a suica?
 
Thanks. I'm catching the shinkansen down from Osaka, so will follow your instructions exiting the station.

In general, how do you pay for busses? Cash, I assume and I assume small-ish notes? Or are there fancy machines that can spit out change for most bills? Trains and taxis in Japan I've done - never a bus :rolleyes:

Don't suppose buses will take a suica?
Travelling from Osaka the Castle will be on the right hand side on the direction of travel. You will know if you are at the central exit as the castle can be seen and the bus stops will be on the left. To get to the bus pick up area you walk North and cross at the light's. As for paying on the bus you pay when you get off, you enter the bus in the middle door and leave at the front. The busses have a display at the front that details how much you will have to pay to get off and changes as you move through the different price zones. If you do not have coins most busses have a notes exchange system and the maximum note accepted is 1000 yen. IC cards e.g. suica are accepted. OT by the end of our first day I became annoyed that MrsM had forgotten her card and ended getting her and my daughter icoca cards which are essentially the same as suica but are from JR west. I never worry about getting a refund for the unused balance and I will use them to run the balance down to a few yen using it as a debit card at places like 7/11 and just top it up when I come back.
 
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Not all busses in Japan accept Suica etc. I caught a local bus in Kanazawa and it had prominent signs about not accepting any cards. Cash only. And you had to pay the exact fare. No change given. They did have a machine where you got coins for notes.

Also I remember catching the Loop bus in Sendai which was cash only.
 
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