Getting our Japan legs back.
The flight to Kumamoto just isn't going
to be easy. From Vancouver we get on a 10 hour flight to Nariata
airport in Tokyo, change airports (Haneda in Tokyo handles much of the
domestic traffic) and then local flight for about an hour and half to
Kumamoto. We left Vancouver at around noon and arrived in
Kumamoto at 9:30pm - 5:30 am in Vancouver local time. With the
time change it's quite challenging to sleep in the next morning - I was
up by 7am. Thankfully Suizenji-koen Garden is open really early
and I could walk there without needing directions.
On my previous trips to Japan, I brought a hip bag, a camera and two
lenses - my favorite (the 105mm macro) and my most versitle (28-70mm
f2.8 AFS). The night before I was trying to figure out what to
bring and decided to not use the hip bag - bring a full sized backpack
instead - this was a car trip after all. My backpack is safer
(much more padding), and it gave me the space to bring my monster lens
- a 80-200 f2.8 AFS). This morning in Suizenji-koen, I took about
three pictures before I switched to the big lens, and boy was I glad I
Blossom season varieties by up to week each year and seeing the cherry
blossoms coming out in Vancouver, I was worried that cherry blossom
season would be over in the south of Japan. The gardens put those
fears to rest.
the other trips I've completed, the shopping was done throughout the
trip with much of it done in Tokyo at the end. We didn't quite
that luxury on this trip. Japan continues to change as time goes
on. Two surprising this trip - "Kiddyland" with playboy posters
outside and fruit. Fruit has historically been of the gift
variety - $40 and up. On this trip, we saw fruit costing as
little as 100 yen a piece - very affordable for Japan.
There was also the usual difficult to
get, want to have's. The big department stores had Studio Ghibli
displays with stuffed animals (the big totoro would be about a thousand
dollars Canadian) and the electronics stores had pretty much given up
CRT's as if they cause cancer (perhaps Japan knows something we don't).
After a day of shopping Eric took us on
a trolley ride out to a temple complex in the North Eastern part of
town. I looked it up in my guide books and this area is just off
the map but it is called "Honmyoji" in English. The
complex has a nightly lantern festival and associated cultural
events on the weekends in the month of March. The first thing we
got roped into (they were presavive
beckoners, but we weren't complaining) was a traditional tea
ceremony. After we disposed of our 300 yen, we were seated to
watch the woman undertake the traditional steps.
First cold fresh water is put in the
stove heated pot on her left. Once the water is boiled, the hot
water is put into a tea bowl. Green tea is added and then the
mixture is whisked. Finally, after a bowl cleaning, it was
served. Then bowls came out for the rest of us and we enjoyed.
Tags: Japan(26), lantern(10), garden(5), costume(4), temple(3), performance(3)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > A Third Trip to Japan > Kumamoto
Hi John, I look through your blog and wow! I was amazed at all the places you visited. Absolutely gorgeous. My friend and I are planning a trip through Kyushu and have been doing some research on where to visit. That's how I stumbled upon your site and I'm so glad I did. We'd love to see of the places you've been to but we don't plan to drive. Maybe you don't have the answer to this question since you drove around but these places be reached via bus and/or train?
Loved, loved, loved your site!
Monday, March 5th, 2012 at 21:07:24
Trains run over much of Kyushu, but not everywhere we went. You can sometimes find tours with hostels or even a private mini-bus with driver rental. Having a car isn't as intimidating as you might think - I'm from Canada (steering wheel on the left side of the car) and Japan is right hand drive but it didn't take long to figure it out.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Thanks to your posts, my husband and I will be traveling to Japan in March next year and visiting most of the locations posted on your blog. We are soooooo excited!
Monday, August 27th, 2012 at 18:09:26
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