Japan Journals

First Half of Our Dream Vacation

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An October 2003 trip to Japan by getawayguy

Chuo-ohashi Bridge on Sumida River & Tokyo skyline Photo, Japan, Asia More Photos
Quote: Tokyo / Hakone was the first half of a dream vacation we waited half of our lives for. We found so much to do and see here that was far above our expectations that we are already planning to return in the future. My wife started preparing for this trip a year in advance, including learning a lot of the Japanese language. We arrived with a list of "must see and must do" items. We were able to see and do everything on the list, but we discovered so much more we couldn't possibly fit in on this trip. We will have to return.

First Half of Our Dream Vacation

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Overview

Chuo-ohashi Bridge on Sumida River & Tokyo skyline Photo, Japan, Asia
Quote:
One morning, after taking three trains from Nakagohra to Tokyo, and while visiting the modern Ginza district, we discovered Farm Grill, a “California Buffet” style restaurant, with very good prices, in the Ginza 9 Building. (We returned three more times that week.) After lunch, we walked to the beautiful Hamarikyu Gardens, where we later boarded a tour boat (with several classes of school children) to float through Tokyo, passing under twelve differently styled bridges and departing in the Asakusa district. It was like traveling backward in time, as we walked through the Kaminarimon Gate (protected by statues of the gods of wind and thunder), along the Nakamise Dori (inside shops) dating ba...Read More
Hotel Resorpia Hakone Photo, Japan, Asia
Quote:
Best Things Nearby:It is located near Mount Fuji in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. It is situated next to, and serviced by, a cable car line between Gora and Sounzan. The Hakone Open-Air Museum and the Hakone Art Museum are nearby and are both easily accessable by rail. From Sounzan you can transfer to a ropeway with gondolas to go over the mountain past an active volcano to Lake Ashi. We were able to see Mount Fuji from our gondola on our early morning trip. Clouds spoiled the view in the afternoon. Pirate ships carry passengers across the lake and back all day long. The whole area is beautiful with many historical sights. The hot springs and baths in the area are very popular, also....Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 17, 2003

Farm Grill

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Restaurant

Choices, choices, choices. Photo, Japan, Asia
Quote:
Farm Grill offers a "California buffet" for lunch starting at 11am. If not for the view, overlooking the fashionable Ginza district from the second floor, you'd think you were eating at a buffet in California. The restaurant is spacious and has a non-smoking area, a rare find in Tokyo. The food is good and appetizing, starting with a large salad bar with fresh mixed greens, fresh tomatoes, kernels of corn, broccoli, carrots and fresh fruits including kiwi, grapes, bananas, apples, strawberries, cantaloupes, honeydews, and pineapple (the sweetest ever). Entrées included spaghetti, pasta alfredo, ground beef patties, sausages, three styles of chicken, two types of fish, assorted cooked veggies and w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 17, 2003

Imperial Palace

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Attraction | "The Imperial Palace"

Imperial Palace Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
Although our guidebook said we would probably not be able to visit the actual grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, we always feel it never hurts to ask. We were not part of a tour. Instead, we went to the gate nearest the Imperial Palace house administration building where the staff that handles all arrangements for tours of the palace grounds are headquartered. There we received written permission to tour two Imperial Palaces, one in Tokyo and one in Kyoto. Both tours were free. It was raining when we returned two days later to tour the Tokyo palace grounds. We joined approximately two hundred Japanese citizens for a walking tour of the Japanese equivalent of the White House. Being th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 17, 2003

Imperial Palace
Kokyo Gaien
Tokyo, Japan 100-0002
+81 (3) 3213 1111

Hakone Open Air Museum

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Attraction | "The Hakone Open-Air Museum"

Hakone Open Air Museum Photo, Hakone, Japan
Quote:
This museum was created for people of all ages. Open to the public since 1969, the permanent outdoor exhibit consists of roughly 100 masterpieces by internationally renowned contempory and modern sculptors of the post-Rodin period. There are 700 sculptures displayed both outdoors and in several buildings scattered across the property. Included are works by Carl Milles, Emilio Greco, Manzu Giacomo, Jean Dubuffet, Willem de Kooning, Barbara Hepworth, and more than twenty pieces by Henry Moore. With some three hundred works in total, the Picasso Pavillion houses one of the largest collections of Pablo Picasso anywhere in the world. The permanent exhibit centers on the playful forms of the ceramic...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 18, 2003

Hakone Open Air Museum
1121 Ninotaira Hakone-machi
Hakone, Japan
+81 (0)460 2 1161

Fuji Hakone Izu National Park

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Attraction | "Mount Fuji and Lake Ashi"

Fuji Hakone Izu National Park Photo, Mt. Fuji, Japan
Quote:
We spent a wonderful day traveling from the resort to Lake Ashi and back. After an early breakfast, we rode the cable car from Nakagohra to Sounzan. From there, along with many young school children, we boarded a ropeway with gondolas for the ride to Owakudani, the highest point, where we saw sulphur clouds escaping from the underground volcanic activity. Then we switched to a second set of gondolas to travel over the mountain to Togendai, which lies beside Lake Ashi. While in the gondolas, we were treated to a rare and facinating sight. The top of Mt. Fuji was sticking out high above the clouds that obscured its base. Next, at Togendai we boarded an ornate pirate ship that took us across the lake ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 18, 2003

Fuji Hakone Izu National Park

Fuji, Chubu

Tokyo National Museum

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Attraction | "The Tokyo National Museum"

Tokyo National Museum Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
The National Museum not only is the largest and oldest museum in Japan, it also boasts the largest collection of Japanese art in the world. This is where you go to see antiques from Japan's past -- old kimono, samurai armor, priceless swords, lacquerware, pottery, scrolls, screens, ukiyo-e (woodblock prints), calligraphy, ceramics, archaeological finds and more. Items are shown on a rotating basis with about 4,000 on display at any one time -- so no matter how many times you visit the museum, you'll always see something new. The museum comprises four buildings. The Main Gallery (Honkan), straight ahead as you enter the main gate, is the most important one, devoted to Japanese art. Here you'll vi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 19, 2003

Tokyo National Museum
13-9 Ueno Koen
Tokyo, Japan
+81 (0)3 3822 1111