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  1. #46

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Wow! Thank you for the latest update! Love the level of detail...

    * Yeah, it's not that often that Mt Fuji is out even in Hakone. I've been in Tokyo a bunch (>10), but have seen it from there only in a handful of days. (<5).
    * Too bad that they are doing the re-tiling of Higashi Hongwanji's Goeido right now. Nishi Hongwanji's Goeido is now done, but it's further (2 blocks) from the Kyoto Station.
    * Went to Kyoto and didn't try the soy bean food?!? (tofu, miso, soy sauce)....:-) That's ok. Not too many non-Japanese know that.

  2. #47

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    ^ Love their natto! Even though my family hates it.
    Sorry for grammar mistakes! I'm not really good in English!

  3. #48

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by switttdrfan View Post
    ^ Love their natto! Even though my family hates it.
    I don't care for the local (American) made natto, but I love their natto, too!

  4. #49

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by nish221 View Post
    Wow! Thank you for the latest update! Love the level of detail...
    * Went to Kyoto and didn't try the soy bean food?!? (tofu, miso, soy sauce)....:-) That's ok. Not too many non-Japanese know that.
    I didn't know about the soy bean food (natto). Guess I'll have to give that a try on the next visit. Time for a new update!

    Japan, Day 10 - 10/11/2011 Exploring Kyoto


    Today started at 8:30, with a Cup Noodle and gyoza from 7/11 the day before. We met with Ruston and Jacob at 9:10 and headed out. First we went down in the subway to one of the ticket booths and bought an all day bus pass for 500 yen. We then took the bus down to the main JR station, and then out to see the Fushimi Shrine in Kyoto.



    At the station, we all grabbed a donut from Mister Donut. I got a chewy honey flavored one, Theresa got a crystallized sugar rice donut. Very tasty.


    We arrived at the station, and it was hard to miss the giant gates right across from it. We sat down and ate our donuts and then started looking around.








    We saw two older ladies who were working to sweep up the grounds using some really old looking twig brooms. I'm sure the whole thing could have been done with a leaf blower in no time at all, but it would have totally ruined the mood.





    The main area was very crowded with people ringing the bells. We saw a cute little girl probably around 3 all dressed up in a kimono along with her parents and grandparents. It looked like there was a dedication ceremony or something like it going on in one of the temples, because they would wait their turn, then hand the monk a slip of paper with writing on it and he’d lead them to the main altar.





    Just off to the side was a section with tons of fruit and drinks. We were thinking they were some sort of offering. When we came down later, everything in this area was gone.





    We continued up the steps and were blown away by the number of gates there were. We’d seen the picture in the guidebook that got us to come to this place, but I was expecting that to be just a small section in the whole area. Boy was I wrong!











    Here's a video I made of just a small section of these Tori gates. Hopefully it'll give you an idea of how many gates there were.




    We found some of those cool stick brooms.







    All along the path were these crazy spiders. I think the bright colors means they're friendly! There's some good motivation to stay on the path!











    It was quite a hike up the mountain. Along the way we found a few tea houses. I guess they have problems with people stopping and not buying anything.





    We were getting pretty high up the mountain and starting to get tired. We passed a couple very old ladies making their way up the steps. They laughed and said what we later learned was “Go ahead, go ahead.” After seeing them making it so far, we knew we had to continue and make it to the top.


    Along the way, we saw lots of tiny Torii, just 12” or so tall. Ruston commented that you are supposed to plant them and they’ll grow into the big 10’ ones we are walking through. A short time later, we made it to the top and were presented with two loops; one that would take 40 minutes, another that would take 10. We decided on the 10 minute one and were rewarded with seeing the giant Tori gate we had seen from the bottom of the mountain.

    Too bad it was such a hazy day. I'm sure the views from here would be amazing on a clear day.


    Even seeing all the spiders, I hiked off the trail just a bit to get a photo of the other 3, then Ruston risked life and limb to do the same and get a photo of me and Theresa.








    We were satisfied with what we’d seen and we've got quite a few things to see today, so we began the hike back down to the train. Here's the two older ladies still working their way up the hill. What good exercise it must be to go up and down these every morning.





    And that's where we were a short time ago.


    We took the train back to Kyoto station and walked over to Delifrance for lunch.





    Here's a sign I can get behind.


    Since we were so close, we all decided to stop in the Kyoto Yodobashi electronics store and try out their massage section. Theresa spent most of her time again on the foot massager, and seriously considered buying one to take home.


    If anyone knows the models of these or knows where I can order the Japanese versions of these, we're definitely interested. Seriously!





    I headed over to the massage chairs that were just fantastic. Poor Ruston and Jake. Too tall for the chairs for them to work right.


    We took the train over to Nijo castle and gardens.








    The castle was different than what we’d normally think of as a castle. It was just a big house with wide open areas. It had paper walls, sliding wooden doors, and wood floors, and little to no furniture. The only real decoration was the paintings on the sliding paper doors. Much different from a European castle where it’s all paintings, carvings, tapestries, etc. Unfortunately no photos were allowed inside. One interesting thing here are the nightingale floors that “chirp” like birds when you walk on them, supposedly to help detect intruders by making noise. Ruston got an audio recording on his phone of the floors. As soon as he emails it to me, I'll try to add it here.

    We walked back outside into the gardens and saw some beautiful trees with their leaves changing colors, some ponds, and rock decorations.








    Who's that in the background?


    Ha!


    Oh how I wish I had clear blue skies today.














    We continued walking and even found what Ruston called “Poodle Trees”.


    We each paid an extra 100 yen each to see some additional paintings that came from the original temple that weren’t normally on display. The building this was in was huge. As soon as we walked in and paid though, it was just a small room with the artwork (no photos allowed). We later learned the rest of the building was off limits and for storing other artwork. We didn’t find anything all that special about the artwork and would probably skip it if we had to do it again. From there, we exited the temple and caught the bus back to the hotel. Ruston got a photo of a sign we saw in the Niji grounds and showed it to the hotel staff to get a translation. Apparently it said “No Fireworks”. People really light fireworks inside the palace grounds?

    We took a 45 minute break at the hotel and then headed out for dinner. We'd seen this place a few times as we'd walked by and it was very busy. Might as well eat dinner at a place that looked really popular with the locals. We had the option of eating at a traditional Japanese table, but decided the one time in Hakone was enough.


    We got a lot of food for only 800 yen each. And we saw them making the gyoza right there and it was really tasty.











    You'd think we'd be done for the night by now, but no, we've got more planned.
    We caught a bus over to Pontocho alley where the nightlife was supposed to be old school Kyoto.


    It was a narrow alleyway too small for a car or moped to ride down, with lots of restaurants and lit up signs. It was cool to see, but we wondered how all these places stay in business with so much competition.


    We were finished walking there and going back to the bus stop, when we saw what looked like an outdoor mall that just stretched on for blocks and blocks. We went down and stopped in a few interesting stores.


    We really like finding different candies.


    Umm, I'll have....


    Finally found a few different Kit Kat flavors. We saw a Tea flavor, cinnamon cookie, and green tea. We wound up getting a Mont Blanc flavor, and one we couldn’t read but it looks like a pumpkin flan on it.


    We even ran into the Colonel.


    At exactly 8pm, all the shops started closing up and turning lights off, so we knew it was time to get going. We hopped back on the bus and we were back at the hotel shortly afterward. Tomorrow we’ll be doing more of Kyoto. Maybe not so much hiking.

  5. #50

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Sakura and Matcha Kit Kat is absolutely delicious. :9

    ( Did you try melon-pan? Lovin' it! )
    Last edited by switttdrfan; 01-25-2012 at 02:07 AM.
    Sorry for grammar mistakes! I'm not really good in English!

  6. #51

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    I think I may have already said thanks for this trip report, but thanks again! I'm heading to Japan in a week and doing a very similar trip and you are getting me so excited and giving me a bunch of ideas!

  7. #52

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by switttdrfan View Post
    Sakura and Matcha Kit Kat is absolutely delicious. :9

    ( Did you try melon-pan? Lovin' it! )
    Just the Mike Wazowski Melon bread at Disneyland. Not the same as outside the parks, I'm sure, but out of all the ones we tried it was my favorite.

    Quote Originally Posted by mister_peterman View Post
    I think I may have already said thanks for this trip report, but thanks again! I'm heading to Japan in a week and doing a very similar trip and you are getting me so excited and giving me a bunch of ideas!
    You're very welcome! I'm sure you'll have a great time! We are trying to figure out when our next trip back with be.

  8. #53

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Ditto again on a great trip report. I don't leave for my first trip to Japan till May and I simply cannot wait. I am so excited and like mister_peterman said your reports just builds the excitement.

    Maybe you can plan your next trip back after we have all returned so we can all follow you and take pictures of you taking pictures. :-)

  9. #54

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    That's a Pumpkin Cheesecake Kit Kat bar.... :-)

  10. #55

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by nish221 View Post
    That's a Pumpkin Cheesecake Kit Kat bar.... :-)


    PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE?! OMG WANT!!!

  11. #56

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Oh wow seriously reading this trip report is just getting me so pumped up for my own Japan trip in October! Absolutely cannot wait to see how TDR does Halloween and judging from your pictures, I am not going to be disappointed

    Haha and the sheer variety of Kit-Kat flavors in this country is amazing as well? I mean Pumpkin Cheesecake flavor Kit-Kat? I am not too sure about you guys, but Japan is my favorite place in the world LOL!
    Nader Puner Manjeen Pee

  12. #57

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Mosaic513 View Post
    Ditto again on a great trip report. I don't leave for my first trip to Japan till May and I simply cannot wait. I am so excited and like mister_peterman said your reports just builds the excitement.

    Maybe you can plan your next trip back after we have all returned so we can all follow you and take pictures of you taking pictures. :-)
    I got lucky on this trip! Having friends who were also taking photos means I was able to end up in some of them. I'm expecting some awesome trip reports from everyone else when they get back too!

    Quote Originally Posted by nish221 View Post
    That's a Pumpkin Cheesecake Kit Kat bar.... :-)
    Nice. I knew they were tasty for a reason. Now if they only had them back home.

    Ready for the next update?

    Japan, Day 11 - 10/12/2011 Even More Kyoto

    The day started off around 7:45am. We didn't grab breakfast from anywhere the night before, so we decided to go to McDonalds just down the street. We called Jacob and Ruston and they hadn’t eaten yet either, so we all went together at 8:30am. On the breakfast menu we found the usual sausage mcmuffin, something called a mega muffin which had 2 pieces of sausage, bacon, cheese, egg and ketchup, and of course McDogs. Yes, hot dogs are on the breakfast menu. Oh, and more of those fried apple pies because they’re so tasty. We ordered and ate upstairs.



    We grabbed another 1 day bus pass from the subway station and took a bus over to the Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion.





    We got to our stop and hopped off the bus, then took a short walk over to Kinkakuji.


    The skies were beautiful, the water was calm and the scenery was beautiful. It was a little crowded though. We grabbed a couple shots and continued further. I think this is one of my favorite photos of the trip.


    The leaves are just starting to change.


    A nice little waterfall.


    Everyone tried their luck tossing money into the bowls.














    Another pretty view.





    This group of boys was happy to take our photo.


    Unfortunately they didn't understand really what we were hoping to get in our photo.


    So just a little bit of improvisation, marking an X in the rocks and pointing with the camera, and then we understood each other.


    Ta-da! Much better!


    They asked if they could take a photo with us and asked us all sorts of questions. We learned they were from a school a few hours away. They seemed really interested in Ruston, asking where he was from, and trying to figure out how tall he was. We had to do some quick math to figure out what 6'4" is in centimeters. 193 by the way. One of the boys said something like “You, tall”. Ruston replied “Yes, I am very tall”. The boy then said “Me, tall?” and Ruston replied “You are very not tall”. That made his group of friends laugh. Ruston eventually figured out they were trying to find out his secrets for being so tall. He told them to eat their vegetables.



    "It takes a rest with the dumpling and soft ice cream." Right after it rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.


    We walked all the way around the area and wanted to go back to see the golden pavilion again since it was busy the first time. .








    The Golden Pavilion is the first thing you see when you walk in, probably only 100 yards or so past the gates. We were hoping to turn around and leave after we were done, but no, there was a guard who wasn’t letting anyone go back. One more quick loop and it was time to leave.


    We got onto the bus to Mishi-t
    i Market.





    It was right by the area we were at the night before, but now all the food was out. Being a non-seafood eater it was mostly the food I had no interest in trying.








    There were tiny octopus on a stick which resembled popsicles that I can’t remember if we decided to call them octopops or octipiples.


    An interesting plant.


    We took a bus to Sanjusangen-do Temple to see all the carved Buddha.








    There were warnings all over the place inside saying that photography was forbidden and they’d take your camera if they saw you doing it. So, please enjoy these next few pictures from a google image search.

    The sight of the 1000 Buddhas was impressive.


    They just stretch on and on.


    In the center is a giant Buddha.






    And now back to my photos.

    Another bus ride and we were at the bottom of a hill with a 500 meter climb up to Kiyomizu-dera temple. Us and what seemed to be a thousand other people and lots of school kids.
    On the hike up, we found a peach Fanta. Pretty tasty!


    This greeted us at the top of the hill.


    Theresa's batteries are getting worn down.


    Ruston showing us how to properly use the stairs.

















    The view from the top was pretty impressive. See that tiny little tower off in the distance. That's the 430 foot tall Kyoto Sky Tower. It's just a couple blocks from our hotel.


    We marveled at the distance and Ruston joked about how crazy we were to have walked all the way from there to here on our first day in Kyoto. We certainly had climbed a lot of steps and walked up a few hills on this our “easy day” in Kyoto.





    We grabbed tickets to head over to see the temple.


    Just a couple photos above the valley.





    When/if you do ever go here, don't do what this crazy girl was doing. Climbing over the railing while someone was taking her photo. Good thing it's not that far down.


    Scratch that... It's quite a drop.


    The Otowa waterfall where people catch and drink the water for it's wish granting powers.


    Ruston found a few girls dressed in beautiful kimonos and asked to get their picture.


    How about a picture of someone taking a picture.








    It was 3:30 and we figured we’d seen enough temples for the day. The last one we were planning on going to was closing at 4:30 so we wouldn’t have much time there anyhow. As we were walking back down the hill 3 school girls coming up the hill saw Ruston and started talking to him in English. “Hi, where are you from?” “What’s your name?” “Can we get a picture with you?” “Where are you going now?” It was cute and they were laughing and giggling as we were walking away. We were almost all the way down the hill when Ruston saw another group of school girls just at the outside of a store, and as we walked by he said “Hello.” Well this got the girls excited and they wanted to talk more to him. “What’s your name? Where are you from? Can we take a picture with you? Arigato, Arigato.” They must all be getting the same lessons from school. Again, very cute. Ruston is sure getting a lot of attention today.

    He found this photo of a samurai and it really reminded him of Darth Vader's helmet.


    We had a little trouble with the buses. The buses themselves were everywhere, but trying to figure out which corner they pick up from wasn't clear. In our wandering, we actually passed the Sanjusangen-do (the 1000 Buddha temple) and eventually decided just to walk back towards the Kyoto Station. Right about the time we crossed the river, Ruston reminded us how funny we thought it was not 30 minutes ago that the very first day we had walked from the station to the pagoda, and here we were doing it again. He can be pretty funny sometimes.

    If you ever have any questions about signs, the hotel staff always seems happy to help. We saw lots of these signs. Apparently it's some delivery company.


    We kept trying to find a place to eat lunch, and eventually decided on the place we had eaten at dinner the night before. For only 750 yen you got fried rice, 6 giyoza, soup, and 2 small pieces of white meat fried chicken. Not a bad deal. Theresa got a big plate of bean sprouts and vegetables because she was tired of all this fried food.

    Then because it was so close, we went back to the Kyoto Yodobashi electronics store and visited the massage chairs again. That place is favorite of ours here in Kyoto. I think this time we spent around 30 minutes there, and Theresa didn’t get off the foot massager until it automatically turned off. Have to love some of these products.




    I think these are from a different day, but you get the idea.


    There was a Baskin Robbins right next door to the electronic store. Being Halloween, they had some interesting flavors. Pumpkin Pudding, Pumpkin bits, Scary Cola, Tea and Apple, and a weird Red Bean flavor. I ended up getting Shower Pops (a lime/vanilla ice cream with pop rock pieces) and love potion #9 (a vanilla/raspberry with chocolate pieces). Both were tasty. The sign out front though... Green ice cream, green spongy cubes, and red bean...


    After being out all day, we decided to head to the bus stop and go back to the hotel. A quick stop by Lawsons to look for more kit kat flavors (no luck) and then we were in for the night. Tomorrow we’re splitting with Jacob and Ruston. We're going back to Disneyland, while they are headed to downtown Tokyo.

  13. #58

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Thanks for yet another great, awesome update. I wish I could fit in Kyoto during my trip in May but time does not allow. Can't wait to see more.

    Question: Did Ruston buy his Mickey Tokyo shirt in Japan?

  14. #59

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Mosaic513 View Post
    Question: Did Ruston buy his Mickey Tokyo shirt in Japan?
    Ruston - That red one? No, I bought it in Burbank of all places. I tried to find a cool disney t-shirt while in Japan and had no luck. There were plenty of t-shirts with Mickey on them, but nothing really that said Tokyo Disneyland on them.

  15. #60

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    Re: Joe's Tokyo Disney trip report - October 1st to 16th, 2011 - Lots of pictures

    Thanks Ruston. Maybe I can hit Burbank when we layover in LA before our flight via Singapore Air in May.

    I so cannot wait and like I said, your trip reports make the anticipation even greater.

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