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Last day in Japan

We spent our last couple of days in Tokyo with a fair bit of free time so we wondered around Odaiba, went and saw the hustle of Shinjuku at night and walked through some lovely gardens oh and let’s not forget getting to the Rugby to watch Australia play Wales (result was disappointing but we won’t go into that 😁).

First stop was up to the Fuji TV Observation Deck where you get close to 360 degrees of uninterrupted views of Tokyo, weather was great so got nice shots.

After that it was back to our hotel and get ready for the rugby, share a few beers with some fellow supporters and off to the game!

After a big night from the game, lots of drinking and saying goodbye to our tour mates we had a little sleep in and a late check out (Grand Nikko Odaiba 👍🏼 great hotel). Then a light walk around the Hama-Rikyu Gardens which is near the Shiodome train station before we head off to the airport for our 10 hour flight home!

Well it was a jam packed rugby tour, saw some great games, amazing sights of Japan and shared it with a great bunch of people.

We will definitely come back to Japan and see some more sights sometime in the near future and use Gullivers Sport Travel for our next sport trip…rugby World Cup in France anyone?? 😁😁

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Miyajima Island

Yesterday was a big travel day, first we managed to spend a few hours wondering around Miyajima island which is a small island in Hiroshima Bay and is most famous for its floating Torii gate. Unfortunately the gate was under maintenance so we didn’t get to see it, however there was plenty of other things to see!

There are plenty of deer just roaming the streets and get very demanding if you don’t have any food for them, but fairly docile.

Next stop on the island was a walk through the Itsukushima Shrine, which was first built in the 12th century.

Some great photo opportunities but I would recommend getting their on one of the earlier ferries like we did so you get in front of the cronies 👍🏼

After and easy stroll through the shrine it was time to go for a walk through the forest and catch the cable car to the top which has amazing views of Hiroshima bay, it was very hot and humid so plenty of water was required…..luckily they love their vending machines over here and you can find them everywhere!!

Once we road back down it was back to travelling an hour on the bus, jumping on a short flight back to Tokyo and checking into our hotel to get some rest before the big game on Sunday night 🇦🇺 v 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿….but not without celebrating the great win Japan got over Island, upset of the tournament so far!

Kyoto to Kobe to Hiroshima

Very big and late night for the 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 v 🇺🇸 rugby game on Thursday night so we have a couple of days wrapped into this post.

We started Thursday exploring Kyoto for a few more hours before heading out to Kobe for the game, so Pip and I decided to find 2 things, 1. Hedgehog cafe and 2. Dumplings or Gyoza for lunch and I have happy to report we found both!!

After about an hour long walk in close to 30 degree heat and 70% humidity (Brisbane weather coming in handy) we found Tom’s Mr Hedgie and spend 20 mins playing with a hedgehog…something very strange and super cool and cute!

I would recommend getting the gloves as their spines are very sharp and they have a tendency to bite (just as Pip how sharp their teeth are 😂) also like any animal you will have to be careful not to pissed on…luckily our little hedgie did that when we put him back in the box otherwise I would of had a very wet shirt!!

After we finished at Mr Hedgie’s we had a great experience at a tea house and tasted multiple blends of green tea (jasmine infused, roasted, non roasted, cinnamon etc.) and after purchasing a few blends hunted downs some great gyoza’s for lunch.

Which was an experience in itself as we were ushered up 2 flights of stairs after lots of yelling over microphones, managed to order by pointing at pictures on the menu (no English option) and a few minutes later some great gyoza’s arrived up the stairs via a dumb waiter.

After lunch and another hour walk back to the hotel it was time to get ready and jump on the bus (for 1.5 hrs 😳😳) to get to Kobe Misaki Stadium and watch England destroy the USA!!

Now one thing that is a must on these type of trips is people from other rugby nations to create great atmosphere, friendly banter and entertainment on long bus trips….luckily we have Aussies, Kiwi’s, Safa’s, Irish and some Poms. Plenty of alcohol always helps too😂😜

Friday morning we needed to start the big bus ride from Kyoto to Hiroshima (5 hours) the first couple of hours were very quiet with everyone still recovering from the night before. But the time passed nice and quickly as our tour leader (Damien Fitzpatrick) organised a game of trivia on the bus and before we knew it we had arrived in Hiroshima.

Today’s lunch was a great visual and taste experience as we had Okonomiyaki 👇🏼👇🏼

It consisted of a thin pancake, cabbage, noodles, bacon, egg, vegetable sauce and other spices and I must say it was great!!

After lunch we had time to visit the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum before checking into our hotel. The detail and imagery of that event really has to be seen or experienced to explain and I would recommend a couple couple of hours at least for the museum alone!

Off to explore a little of the Hiroshima town tonight before more sightseeing and getting ready to head back to Tokyo for the match I am looking forward to… 🇦🇺 v 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Today we started off with a tour around the Imperial Palace in Kyoto and I learnt that Kyoto was Japan’s capital for over 1000 years and it only moved to Tokyo in 1868.

We also got their nice and early and pretty much had the whole grounds to ourselves so perfect for having a good look at all the different structures and getting close to unobstructed pictures….so go early and mid week 👍🏼👍🏼

After our palace visit we jumped back on the bus for a short ride (about 1 hour – which seems to be the standard travel time for anything around Japan 😁) to the Suntory Yamazaki Factory – where Japanese whiskey was born. If you like whiskey, definitely a place you should visit however you will be limited to 3 tastings only and they don’t have a lot of stock you can buy.

Last stop for the day was a walk around the Gion area which is a famous geisha district and I was able to find a couple….mind you I had to run down the street to get in front of them as they don’t stop or talk to you and by the looks on their face I might of scared them a little 😂😂

Tomorrow might be a quieter day before heading to another Rugby match!!

Seeing Kyoto

Today we headed west of Kyoto to a place called Arishiyama, via the Torokko Train. First stop was the Bamboo grove which was pretty cool….except for the 15 tour buses that arrived the same time our train did 🙄🙄 but nonetheless we managed to navigate the grove and get a couple of decent pics (helps being taller than most of the locals)

After a traditional Japanese lunch we got to explore the main drag of Arishiyama and found a lot of cool little shops, an owl cafe of all things 👇🏼👇🏼

Then as we wonder down a little alleyway with an Asahi in hand (can get beers and whiskey in vending machines!!!) we find a cute little kimono forest.

The last stop for the day was the Kinkakuji Temple which was originally a residence for a retired shogun and then later converted into a Zen temple and yes what you see is real gold!!

Tomorrow will be another full day of sightseeing but will have time to tour the Suntory whiskey factory 👍🏼😁

Bullet Train to Kyoto!

Post is a bit late….that’s what happens when a few too many beers are consumed and you don’t get home till late 😁

We started off by checking out of our Tokyo hotel and jumping on a bullet train to Kyoto….we traveled just over 450 kms in 1hr and 50mins, the speed of the train was crazy and hardly any movement inside.

Once in Kyoto we explored the Fushimi Inari Shrime – which is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates.

Then is was back on the bus to find the Kiyomizudera Temple (Pure water temple) which was founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall. Absolutely beautiful….

Great views overlooking Kyoto!

Once we finished our sight seeing for the day it was time to check into our hotel have a quick shower and then off to find the nearest ‘Hub English Pub’ for beers and rugby….which ended up in a few too many beers and a slower start than usual, but hey if you can’t do it on holiday when can you??

Odaiba….and more rugby!

We only had a few spare hours today before heading back out to Yokohama International Stadium to watch Ireland v Scotland so decided we would explore Odaiba on foot.

As we started to walk through Symbol Promenade Park we came across some great sites and photo opportunities:

Flame of Liberty – is a symbol of French trust in Japan’s future.

Great shot of our hotel 👍🏼

The Unicorn Gundam statue, from a very popular Japanese science fiction anime series. Apparently lights up at night and some body parts transform, didn’t hang around to see that but looks pretty cool either way.

But the highlight was getting to visit the border less world of art from ‘TeamLab Borderless’

Now the photos and videos don’t do it justice but was suck a cool place to wonder around and a tick off the list of attractions in Tokyo.

Then came the main event 😁, packed stadium, beers, food and lots of Irish and Scottish!!

Tomorrow we are off on a bullet train down to Kyoto for some sight seeing before the next game 👍🏼😁