Japan 2015 – A few final words

Having previously traveled as a family to the USA and Europe, we wanted to take the kids a bit further out of their comfort zone. We bounced all sorts of ideas around but so many places just didn't feel right. Some countries that appealed came with high risks of sickness, and we knew that sick kids equals no fun. Japan had always been on our bucket list, but its reputation as…

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Heading Home

The day to return to NZ came around all too fast. We never understand people who say they are ready to go home at the end of a trip. Maybe we are the weird ones, but we never feel ready. After three weeks in Japan we are really getting into the culture and the swing of how things work. We are used to the crowds, the rain and not understanding much…

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Nagashima Spa Land

When we first mentioned the possibility of a trip to Japan, one of the first things the kids googled was Japanese theme parks. What they found convinced them we were on to a winner. We had agreed to dedicate two days of this trip to theme parks, thanks to the Sasakis they lucked in with three. Today our destination was Nagashima Spa Land - a theme park with some impressive rides…

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Shopping, Shrines and Sasaki’s

It was back to duck weather today, our first rain in Kyoto. We wondered if a wet Monday would lessen the crowds, but there were still hoardes of people in every direction. This place is incredibly popular with the Japanese, who still well and truly outnumber foreign tourists. Sachiyo, Nao and the kids were due to arrive in Kyoto mid-morning by Shinkansen. Sachiyo had kindly offered to bring the kids to…

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Japanese monkeys and the bamboo forest

Today was a slower start, the kids needed a little down time. It was also a chance to give them some favourite breakfast foods as we have a kitchen here - pasta for Matt and cheese on toast for Anna. We headed off mid-morning in the pouring rain, our second duck day in a row. Apparently a tropical cyclone has headed up from the Philippines to drench us. But like good…

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We were woken early by the sounds of Kyoto (crows and mopeds!) and the light in our room. Traditional Japanese shoji screens weren't designed to block the sunshine. We were surprised how well we had slept on our very firm bed. It's the first queen bed of the trip with a tatami base and a thin futon mattress. When you sit on it it feels like a board, but less so…

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