29 juillet 2008

Nagasaki

. Decidedly on our bikes, we are thrilled by the interminable maze of Nagasaki’s roads. We’ve biked in all the cities so far except for Tokyo and found it incredibly pleasant, most parts of cities being flat. Until we got to the Dutch slopes. We safely parked our two wheels in the neighbourhood to admire the romantic uphill roads around the Dutch slopes. There are flowers with magic colours along the colonial mansions and colourful wooden and brick buildings. This port city used to be Japan’s gateway to the... [Lire la suite]
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20 juin 2008

Hiroshima, heavy with history and tragedy

. A southern city, small by Japanese standards, with around 1 million inhabitants, Hiroshima conveys a unique and tragic memory on the worldwide maps and history books since August 1945. Today, we forget that we are on a fantastic visit to Japan. We go back in time to revisit one of the darkest pages in the history of human kind. The peace memorial museum presents the masterminds and the historical events that lead to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and - 3 days later - Nagasaki. There are vibrating audiovisual... [Lire la suite]
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13 juin 2008

Takayama – As cold as it gets

We wake up to a white Takayama. In the room it’s hot like a sauna bath and we could hardly believe when we open the window that it has been snowing all night. It takes enormous will to get out of bed and walk to the morning market at Miya-gawa. The town is really small by Japanese standards and we walk around quietly to discover one sight after the other. The ticket for the Takayama Yatai Kaikan with festival floats is really overpriced unless you’re really interested in Matsuri (a traditional Japanese festival). The museum is quite... [Lire la suite]
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29 mai 2008

From Tokyo to Takayama, a journey through rural Japan

. Before leaving Tokyo, we check the temperatures for Takayama, which look reasonable. We don’t get to see Mount Fuji today either, but later on, as we are far from cities, the scenery is one of the most beautiful I have seen. Dramatic pine forests, narrow shallow valleys, lakes and rivers, surrounded by cloudy mountains and traditional Japanese tiled houses. We arrive pretty late to Takayama and don’t feel like wandering around under the rain. We take some time to reflect on our itinerary and plan for tomorrow. We have a... [Lire la suite]
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26 mai 2008

Edo Museum

. As usual, we keep the best for our last day. At the Edo museum we are lucky to have a nice lady as a tourist guide, in French. The permanent exhibition is very well thought and depicts historical events as well as daily life and traditions in ancient Tokyo. The love of miniatures is evident everywhere. Ms “Samedi” - as she wants us to call her - gives us great insights on lifestyle and historical significance. There is also a section about Tokyo in war times and its evolution towards modern times. A very nice museum, warmly... [Lire la suite]
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23 mai 2008

From China to Sweden (with love)

Yokohama - Tokyo’s “undermined” neighbour - is our destination today. The metropolis is so big, officials apparently are struggling to tell where Tokyo ends and Yokohama starts. Yokohama is not another big city, shadowed by its older sister’s reputation. It’s a city with its own character and interests. It boasts the largest Chinatown in Japan. Apart from enjoying the fabulous Chinese food, our objective is to find our beloved special Jasmine tea (special as there is a unique blend we are simply addicted to). Some shops seem... [Lire la suite]
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19 mai 2008

Looking for MtFuji

We may have broken the record of number of transportation means today. We leave the big city behind, looking for green scenery. Here we go to Hakone, the place where a lot of Tokyoites go to unwind during the week-end. We experience once again the fabulous Japanese timeliness and organisation when it comes to transportation means. We reach lake Ashi. We left Tokyo with a superb sunshine, meaning big chances to see Mt Fuji. Hakone boasts the best views of the famous mountain. Let me cut the suspense straight away. No Mont Fuji for... [Lire la suite]
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16 mai 2008

A taste of Tokyo's architecture

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14 mai 2008

Wandering around

. We wake up rather late today for a non-shopping-mall shopping experience at Ameyoko market, a busy street close to Ueno station. There are some nice clothing items but nothing really great, and a lot of food, dried fish, dried squids, sashimi, seaweed, miso paste, etc… We don’t find it impressive for what it is said to be: Asia’s biggest bazaar. We continue our walk to the Ueno park, home to many of Tokyo’s homeless. Today, they seem to be enjoying with everybody else the superb sunshine and the cherry trees in full bloom.... [Lire la suite]
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10 mai 2008

From Asakusa’s temples to Odaiba’s game parks

. Our ritual, the 10 min fast walk to the Okachimachi JR station will be discarded today as we will be discovering one of the nearby highlights of Tokyo: Senso-ji temple in Asakusa area. The abundance of tourists proves we are in the right direction. You can witness the ultimate prototype of Japanese tourists taking pictures (but no need to come to Japan for that). Unexpectedly here, foreign tourists are caught in the game and align to take pictures hastily.  The number of shops on the way is astounding. We stop by... [Lire la suite]
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