John Harvey Photo

Japan 7Go to Slide Show

A week spent in Tokyo and the Izu Peninsula



Parks in Tokyo

We had already visited Hong Kong (12)  and arranged for an 8 day stop over in Japan before we returned to Canada.  We have tried other ways of doing this - last year we visited Okinawa in the middle of a Hong Kong (11) trip.  Two years before that, we arrived first in Japan (5) and then went on to Hong Kong (9).  This trip (inside of trip to Hong Kong) actually has another trip inside - we are mostly in Tokyo, but we are taking a long weekend trip to the Izu Peninsula, close to Tokyo.

We arrived late Monday night.  We were already over out jet lag from Canada (we were actually waking up an hour late) so I figured some outside time walking would be good to orient ourseleves.  We lucked out with the timing - we arrived right in prime Cherry Blossom time.  Our first destination - Meiji Shrine - has cherry blossoms, but I went to the wrong entrance and we missed it all.

Torii To Meiji ShrineBright Spot In Forest Covered Road


From the side we entered, the signature feature is the road covered in trees like it is a tunnel.  On a sunny day you get beams of light coming through the holes in the foliage making for blotches on the road.  Walking down the road (and a turn) you come to the temple complex.  The temple is old but is always being maintained so today it actually looked quite new.

Wooden DoorNew Copper RoofCherry Blossom Over Wall

We walked out of the park into Harajuku where we looked for lunch.

After lunch we took a taxi to Shinjuku park.

Shinjuku Park

This park is a hot spot for cherry blossom viewing and the crowds were out in full force.  Many of the people here are tourists from other parts of Asia. 

Random CrowdsLarge Crowds At Park


The cherry blossoms in Vancouver are quite pink - I was surprised how white many of the trees are here.  In Vancouver, we have several varieties of trees, some boom early and some bloom late.  The park seemed to be organized so that everything is blooming at the same time.

Pink And White FlowersWhite Flowers CloseLots Of White Cherry Blossoms

We had just eaten lunch so we purchased cookies from a stand and hand a snack under the cherry blossoms.

Single Cherry BlossomsClose To Low FlowersEating Cookies Under Cherry Blossoms

Tokyo DisneySea

Entrance To Disney Sea
We took the subway to Tokyo Station and after a bit of searching (there was construction) we found the JR bus station to catch a bus to the Tokyo Disney parks.  The total trip got us there around 9:30am and I was surprised by the massive crowds that were already in the park.


Our trip to Japan happened at the end of a school semester so there was no good day to go to DisneySea.  We tried a Wednesday hoping it would be least busy, but it was the best of a bad situation.  We knew from reading online that your best strategy is to collect some fast passes early and then get in lines that are reasonable until your fast pass comes up.  The Toy Story ride we knew was going to be hot, but we really had no idea - by 9:40 when we arrived, there were no more fast passes and the line up was 220 minutes long - almost four hours.  We were seriously dejected.

We decided to go to the Mermaid Lagoon to get some tickets for the show.  We had much more luck there - fast passes available about an hour later and the rides had roughly a 30 minute line up.   The kids and Helen lined up for a ride and I went to get fast passes for the Nemo and Friends SeaRider.  By 11am, the SeaRider fast passes were for 4 hours later.
 
Climbing On Snale Sculpture
We watched the King Triton Show which mostly involved a mermaid on high wires flying around while a musical performance went on.

Waiting For Show To Start

We were a little worried about long lineups at lunch so we had lunch early and then went to the Arabian Coast part.  The rides were smaller scale, but the line ups were short.  The kids have a soft spot for carousels.

Nara Relaxed RiderClaira Ready To RideSpinning Carousel


There was a magic carpet ride, very similar to the dumbo ride in Hong Kong Disneyland.  We actually got into trouble - they have a sign asking you not to take photos but we ignored it.  They actually stopped the ride to remind us of the rule.  Our bad.

Nara On Magic CarpetClaira Riding Magic Carpet


We saw the Nemo Ride, watched a water parade and then had time for one last ride.  We picked the gondola ride in the Italy section of the park. 

Claira On Gondola RideClimbing Bridge In Gondola Area

Izu Peninsula

Three years ago, we went to Hakone.  Hakone is about an hour away by train from Tokyo and it feels much like Whistler does relative to Vancouver - a busy weekend spot where wealthy people play.  This trip we picked Izu - we were hoping for a bit more of the small town Japan feel.  We picked a place on AirB&B and rented a car from the closest Shinkansen station.  Weekend set!

Claira In Cube ClimberClaira Leads The Slide TrainTwo Story Slide


It took us a bit of time to find the house (the host kindly met us at the train station and showed us the last few km).  The kids wanted some quiet time so I went for a brief walk with Mark along a part of the Jogasaki Coast.

Mark On Suspension BridgeSuspension Bridge Jogasaki Coast

Homemade Dinner

One of the nice things about renting a house is that you can almost have a normal life - cook as you like, take a bath and read by the fire.  Finding alternative vegetarian protein (other than tofu) doesn't happen in a small town, but everything else could be like home.

Japanese Style TubWoodburning Stove


Mark gave us a reasonable "9am" go time but the kids and I were up earlier.  Some birds were in the trees around the home.

Brown Eared BulbulJapanese Pygmy Woodpecker

For our "all in Izu" day, we decided to go with more of that natural attractions.  Our first stop a Cherry Blossom park at the base of Mt. Omuro.  The near by parking lots were nuts (but free!) but this was by far the best cherry blossom viewing we saw outside of town proper. 

Cherry Blossoms At FullCherry Blossoms With Blue SkyCherry Blossoms Below Mt Omuro

We did some family photos.  We certainly weren't alone.

Claira With MarkFamily PortraitKids Playing Sticks

Black Kite

It was still pretty early in the day, but a few stands had already opened selling things.  Mark got a coffee, I decided to try the grilled Shiitake mushrooms.  Nice eating!  These were grilled from fresh with what I thought was a dashi sauce.  Well before lunch they were already having trouble keeping up with orders.

BBQMushroomsTake Away Mushrooms


We got back in the car and drove 5 minutes down the road to Mount Omuro.  There is a sky lift style ride to the top of the mountain.  Once you are the top you can walk the paved path around the caldera, taking in the views of the surrounding countryside and the inside of the now extinct volcano.
 
Helen And Nara Riding UpNara Riding Chairlift DownCrow In The Short Grass


The path way is on the highest part of the ridge around the volcano so everyone walking shows up as a silhouette in pictures of the volcano.  The entire landscape is covered in short grass or small shrubs so there is no limit to the views.

People Walking Around Caldera

There was a small gift shop a the top of the lift and traditional archery was offered in the bottom, but most of the experience was just going for a walk.  I really enjoyed that.

Walking Around VolcanoStatue Near TrailThree Kits Flying Over Caldera

The roads in Izu aren't large so you do want to optimize your route.   I picked
Banjo falls
because it was on the way to other falls.  The trip started promising (large road) but after a few minutes we were on a single lane twisty road going through the forest.  We came out in a small town and drove on road through farmers fields up to Banjo falls.  The parking lot was quite big with areas roped off for buses.  We were one of two cars in the lot.

Banjo FallsKids With Banjo Falls
We walked down the trail and found the falls.  All of the rocks behind the falls are cemented into place and the trail that went behind the falls has now been blocked off.

Banjo Falls And Bridge
 
There was more hiking, but we were running out of time.  Next tourist attraction!  Our next stop is Joren Falls, maybe 25 minutes down the road.  This had a larger parking lot with lots of gift shops (all closing at 4pm).  The falls are attractive, but the area has been highly developed.

Joren Waterfall


  Kids Get Their Ice CreamRoasting Fish

The next morning I got before everyone else and took a walk to see more of the Jogasaki Coast.  You can walk for kilometers along the coastal trail, but I didn't have time for that.  There was a free parking lot near the train station and a trail next to the river to take you to the coast.  A brief walk along the trail and you come to Oshima falls.  The river you walked along just drops into the ocean and there is a nice headland to take in the view.

Sunrise Near Oshima Falls

Further down the coast is Oyodo Reef - an outcropping of Columnar Basalt that was once cooling lava in a volcano but is now ocean front.  A steep set of stairs takes you to shore and you can see the ocean pouring over the hexagonal rock.

Steps Down To The Beach
The rock isn't perfectly regular hexagonal columns, but it's still pretty to look at it.

Oyodo Reef With Waterfall BehindRocky Coastline


Suspension BridgeBlue Rock Thrush

Back home, we packed up and left our AirB&B.  Today our plan was to drive down the eastern side of the peninsula, see some sights and then return to Atami to drop off the car and get on the Shinkansen back to Tokyo.  Our first destination of the day was a small farmers market in Inatori.

Human Power Fish Sculpture
Googling a "Farmers Market" in Japan doesn't really work - you usually find stores selling produce from Japan.    If you are looking for a market with lots of vendors that are local, you need to search for "Market" and then sort out everything else.  Helen found what we would call a farmers market - lots of local vendors selling locally produced produce, food and items.

Citrus At Market

I must admit, I am a sucker for anything steaming.  Mark found a vendor that had a sweet desert style bun so we picked one up.  Helen found locally harvested seaweed which the kids really liked.

 
Table Of Small Soup PotsBuns In SteamerSteamed Buns At Market

Shirahama Beach

  Nara Jumping Over Wave

Claira Has Small BoatHelen At The BeachClaira On The Beach

Lunch at 万宝商店

BBQAt Restaurant
Helen's guide book from Hong Kong came through for us for lunch.  This small restaurant looks like a converted carport and illegal add on to someone's house.  They have a grill on one of the tables and a large display fridge showing locally caught and marinated fish and other seafood.  You pick your items (all meat), they BBQ them and if you ask nice they will give you white rice as well.  The fish was so nice, the kids ate it even though they didn't recognize it. 


Claira And Nara Playing Kids UnoFresh Wasabi Grater

Back in Tokyo

The kids had been traveling for about three weeks at this point and they were quite reluctant to try new things.  We thought we would try conveyor belt sushi and Mark suggested a Genki Sushi in Shibuya.  Genki Sushi is a multi-national chain (it's quite popular in Hong Kong - we actually had lunch in one earlier in the trip).  This Genki sushi is a bit special.  Instead of a conveyor belt, it has a point to point, multi-level rail system that delivers your orders to your table.
 
California RollClaira With Kappa MakiSushi Arrives By Rail

Four Story Restaurant In ShibuyaInvader Tiles In Shibuya

 
It had been a few days since the kids had been to a playground we saw on the map there was one in Shinjuku Chuo Park near the Metropolitan building complex.  We walked over from Mark's place and found lots of kids using it.  The kids had a good time.

Nara Hot From ClimbingClaira Climbing WallCement WhaleGiant Wide Slide In Shinjuku Chuo Park
 
  Ladybug Racing StatuesLooking Over Shinjuku Chuo ParkTokyo Metropolitan Government Building
 
 
 
Harajuku Jammed UpBlue Lips On ClairaRainbow Ice Cream Cone
 
 
 

  Sunfish
We had one last day in Tokyo and were looking for a kid friendly thing to do.  We picked a small aquarium in Tokyo called Sumida Aquarium, which I was quite surprised to find on the roof of a 6 story building.  They have traditional huge tanks (which must take some pretty crazy structure to support 6 stories up in an earth quake zone).


  Big Window With Big RayBright Colours In TankLooking In Big Tank

They also have penguins in a novel tank that makes it appear as if they flying.  Seeing Penguins swim above you was quite an interesting experience.  The penguins can get out of their tank an into a land/burrow area.  You can get surprisingly close to the penguins which don't seem to mind people being so close by.

Penguin Over ClairaPenguins Flying OverPenguins Walking By

 
 
 

 


Blue Lips On Claira
Person: Claira
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: ice cream, Japan, Tokyo
Claira On The Beach
Penguin Over Claira
Person: Claira
Tags: aquarium, Japan, Tokyo
Banjo Falls And Bridge
Altitude: 308m (1010 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Japan, waterfall
Penguins Walking By
Altitude: 76m (249 feet)
Location: Go To...
Sunrise Near Oshima Falls
Altitude: 8m (26 feet)
Location: Go To...
Take Away Mushrooms
Altitude: 351m (1151 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: food porn, Japan, mushroom
Ladybug Racing Statues
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 132m (433 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Japan, Tokyo
Bright Colours In Tank
Tags: aquarium, Japan, Tokyo
Joren Waterfall
Altitude: 340m (1115 feet)
Location: Go To...
Cherry Blossoms With Blue Sky
Altitude: 343m (1125 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cherry blossoms, Japan
Harajuku Jammed Up
Looking In Big Tank
Person: Helen
Tags: aquarium, Japan, Tokyo
Lots Of White Cherry Blossoms
Altitude: 27m (88 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cherry blossoms, Japan, Tokyo
Claira In Cube Climber
Location: Go To...
Tags: climbing, Japan, playground
Banjo Falls
Claira On Gondola Ride
Person: Claira
Altitude: 44m (144 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat, Japan, theme park
BBQMushrooms
Altitude: 351m (1151 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cooking, Japan, mushroom
Cement Whale
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 41m (134 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Japan, playground, Tokyo
Family Portrait
Person: Claira, Helen, John, Nara
Altitude: 347m (1138 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cherry blossoms, Japan
Walking Around Volcano
Altitude: 552m (1811 feet)
Location: Go To...
Looking Over Shinjuku Chuo Park
Altitude: 238m (780 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara Relaxed Rider
Person: Nara
Location: Go To...
Tags: carousel, Japan, theme park
Three Kits Flying Over Caldera
Roasting Fish
Altitude: 295m (967 feet)
Location: Go To...
Mark On Suspension Bridge
Person: Mark
Altitude: 37m (121 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bridge, Japan
Citrus At Market
Location: Go To...
Tags: Japan, market, produce
Japanese Style Tub
Person: Claira, Nara
Tags: bathing, Japan
Woodburning Stove
Person: Mark
Claira With Mark
Person: Claira, Mark
Altitude: 355m (1164 feet)
Location: Go To...
Penguins Flying Over
Tags: aquarium, cloud, Japan, Tokyo
Claira And Nara Playing Kids Uno
Person: Claira
Tags: game, restaurant
Human Power Fish Sculpture
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: art, fish, Japan
Nara Hot From Climbing
Person: Nara
Altitude: 44m (144 feet)
Location: Go To...
Suspension Bridge Jogasaki Coast
Altitude: 21m (68 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bridge, coast, Japan
Climbing Bridge In Gondola Area
Person: Nara
Altitude: 44m (144 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Japan, theme park
Big Window With Big Ray
Tags: aquarium, Japan, Tokyo
Blue Rock Thrush
Species: Monticola solitarius (Blue Rock Thrush)
Tags: bird, Japan
Brown Eared Bulbul
Species: Hypsipetes amaurotis (Brown-eared bulbul)
Tags: bird, Japan
Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker
Species: Dendrocopos Koch (Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker)
Altitude: 156m (511 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, Japan
Bright Spot In Forest Covered Road
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 50m (164 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: dappled light, forest, Japan, road
Invader Tiles In Shibuya
Altitude: 53m (173 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: graffiti, Japan
Claira Riding Magic Carpet
Person: Claira
Altitude: 7m (22 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Japan, riding, theme park
Helen And Nara Riding Up
Altitude: 401m (1315 feet)
Location: Go To...
Crow In The Short Grass
Altitude: 526m (1725 feet)
Location: Go To...
Eating Cookies Under Cherry Blossoms
Altitude: 27m (88 feet)
Location: Go To...
People Walking Around Caldera
Altitude: 474m (1555 feet)
Location: Go To...
Spinning Carousel
Altitude: 9m (29 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: carousel, Japan, long exposure, theme park
Cherry Blossoms Below Mt Omuro
Altitude: 355m (1164 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cherry blossoms, Japan
California Roll
Tags: Japan, restaurant, sushi
Cherry Blossoms At Full
Altitude: 355m (1164 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cherry blossoms, Japan
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Altitude: 181m (593 feet)
Location: Go To...
Pink And White Flowers
Altitude: 39m (127 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cherry blossoms, Japan, Tokyo
Kids Get Their Ice Cream
Altitude: 330m (1082 feet)
Location: Go To...
Table Of Small Soup Pots
Close To Low Flowers
Altitude: 45m (147 feet)
Location: Go To...
Cherry Blossom Over Wall
Altitude: 36m (118 feet)
Location: Go To...
Waiting For Show To Start
Kids Playing Sticks
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 344m (1128 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cherry blossoms, Japan
Climbing On Snale Sculpture
Person: Claira, Nara
Tags: Japan, theme park
Nara On Magic Carpet
Person: Nara
Altitude: 7m (22 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Japan, riding, theme park
Two Story Slide
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 8m (26 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Japan, playground
Black Kite
Species: Milvus migrans lineatus (black-eared kite)
Altitude: 348m (1141 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, Japan
Statue Near Trail
Altitude: 542m (1778 feet)
Location: Go To...
Claira Climbing Wall
Person: Claira
Altitude: 44m (144 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: climbing, Japan, playground, Tokyo
New Copper Roof
Altitude: 44m (144 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Japan, roof
Oyodo Reef With Waterfall Behind
Tags: coast, columnar basalt, Japan, waterfall
Giant Wide Slide In Shinjuku Chuo Park
Tags: Japan, playground, slide, Tokyo
Large Crowds At Park
Altitude: 39m (127 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cherry blossoms, crowd, Japan, Tokyo
Steps Down To The Beach
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Single Cherry Blossoms
Altitude: 27m (88 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cherry blossoms, Japan
White Flowers Close
Altitude: 39m (127 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cherry blossoms, Japan, Tokyo
Fresh Wasabi Grater
Tags: restaurant
Helen At The Beach
Location: Go To...
Torii To Meiji Shrine
Altitude: 93m (305 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Japan, torii
Claira Leads The Slide Train
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Japan, playground, slide
BBQAt Restaurant
Wooden Door
Altitude: 38m (124 feet)
Location: Go To...
Kids With Banjo Falls
Altitude: 320m (1049 feet)
Location: Go To...
Rocky Coastline
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Sushi Arrives By Rail
Tags: Japan, restaurant, sushi
Claira Has Small Boat
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Buns In Steamer
Tags: Japan, steam
Rainbow Ice Cream Cone
Person: Claira
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: ice cream, Japan, Tokyo
Suspension Bridge
Altitude: 10m (32 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bridge, Japan
Homemade Dinner
Tags: food porn, Japan
Four Story Restaurant In Shibuya
Altitude: 31m (101 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Japan, restaurant, Tokyo
Random Crowds
Altitude: 27m (88 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cherry blossoms, crowd, Japan, Tokyo
Entrance To Disney Sea
Altitude: 209m (685 feet)
Location: Go To...
Claira Ready To Ride
Person: Claira
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: carousel, Japan, theme park, Tokyo
Steamed Buns At Market
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara Riding Chairlift Down
Altitude: 535m (1755 feet)
Location: Go To...
Sunfish
Tags: aquarium, diver, Japan, Tokyo
Claira With Kappa Maki
Person: Claira
Tags: Japan, restaurant, sushi
Nara Jumping Over Wave
Person: Nara
Tags: beach, Japan, wave
Tags: Japan(59), Tokyo(19), cherry blossoms(11), theme park(8), aquarium(6), restaurant(6)
People: Claira(19), Nara(14), Mark(3), Helen(2), John(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Japan 7
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > Japan 7

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Last Modified Saturday, May 26th, 2018 at 16:28:58 Edit
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