Backpackers Hostel "J-Hoppers" & "Hana Hostel"

A 2 days surprise trip

Few weeks ago was my birthday. With my girlfriend we have some kind of "traditional" birthday present : a surprise trip. The one who offers prepare everything in secret and even the day of the trip try to keep the final destination undiscovered as long as she/I can. That's very fun !



This time she did very well... We started by boarding the Shinkasen toward Tokyo. I then expected Tokyo, Nagoya, Mount Fuji, maybe Kamakura ... We got off at Ueno, but she then informs me that we were still far away from the destination. Then we walked to Kitasenju station to catch the Tobu line. Probably I could guess from there where we were heading, but as I wasn't very impatient to guess, I preferred to keep concentrate on my photos. The next train led us across the Tokyo plain at slow pace, with the Tokyo Sky Tree fading even more slowly on the horizon. It's still under construction, but already the biggest building I've ever seen !



Then the local train slowly got off from Tokyo prefecture to enter Saitama prefecture. Then got off from Saitama prefecture to enter Gunma prefecture. Then got off from Gunma prefecture to enter Tochigi Prefecture. It was endless !! Moreover the suburb spreads extensively all over the plain and you feel like never getting out of Tokyo.
But finally rice paddy replaced houses, soon followed by the first curves of the mountain.



We were killing time telling stupid jokes, while the few other passengers, mainly other tourists, were sleeping or waiting with bored faces. She was enjoying being so far without I've guessed. Then, when the train approaches the terminus, the driver announced the bus timetable for the Kinugawa Onsen ! "What a nice idea, for me who still haven't been to a onsen" I thought. "Eh, I guessed !" - "Oh oh, do you love ?" - "Yes ! Onsen is great..." - "What ??" - "We're going to Kinugawa no ?" - "Ah ... not at all ! Eh eh !". And finally when we stopped to change of line a last time I got the answer : Nikko !



Departure time : 7:30, it was already 14:00, we were starving ... When, two stops before the arrival, a old men shout through the opened door "BENTO !!!". We couldn't wait longer, and it was a chance to save some time for the visit, so we rushed to the door. The old men, "come on, it's good, you'd better buy it !" looking at the driver waiting to close the door. Our stomach decided instead of us and we accepted. However, we remind then there was only two stops left. After 2 hours of slow pace traveling, the rush on the food woke us all of a sudden !


Don't hesitate, just press a button !!!

And finally there we are, Nikko, mausoleum of shogun Tokugawa, filled with gorgeous temples and shrines... Architecturally it's definitely worth seeing it. But as my girlfriend said, it looks like it was a big spot for tourist but it's now running slow. Hordes of teenagers on school trip were quite a pain though.



After completing the recommended course, we head back toward Tokyo and arrived there quite late. We stayed in Asakusa district, at Aizuya inn, a small and convenient guesthouse. For dinner, a yakitori in front of Asakusa station ended to be a good surprise : they completely mistook our order and we ate twice and paid half ! On the way back to the guesthouse, Sensouji Temple by night has been a real pleasure too.



The next morning we woke up early to enjoy the city as much as possible. We first went once again to Asakusa to see the temple by day, and its famous giant lantern. The street between the lantern and the temple is also very funny. There are a lot of stands selling colorful souvenirs...







The next step was the Tokyo Tower. We used the one day pass for subway all along the day, very convenient, but with a little criticism : the tiny magnet closing the pocket were my girlfriend held the pass was enough to get it wrong. We had to complain to the staffed gate any time we went in and out, until we find what was the reason ... at the end of the day of course ! The Tokyo tower is very enjoyable. The upper floor is worth the price, and the view very impressive. We hadn't a chance to see Mount Fuji due to air humidity, which is quite frequent as tell us the staff. The tower is said to be the sister of the Tour Effeil, but there is something she missed : open air. That's much more fun feeling the emptiness than being behind a window...





Then we felt like going to the fish market. I had in head the images of the famous hall where the frozen fishes are sold, and which is now only visitable on reservation, so I got surprised by the district just behind it, somehow similar to a bigger and dirtier Nishiki market of Kyoto. We felt hungry and started with a omelet. How comes we ate this in a fish market, I don't know, but it was still good and refreshing. Then we had a more suitable raw fish dish, delicious !





The next destination was the Imperial Palace. And first a little rest on the grass in front of it. It was a bright sunny day and it's been hard to wake up ! Passed the greenery, the approach to the entrance is a looong walk in emptiness. And the famous bridge in front of the entrance, the only thing you will see from the palace, hasn't really impressed me. Anyway that was a "have to go" place I guess. Then we quickly head toward the public gardens of the palace. Once again it took an endless walk, and finally it's been so disappointing : nothing more than a very standard park.





The day was almost over but we still had some time for a quick walk in Shinjuku. Anyway it couldn't have been a slow walk in this bustling district where people as well as building are eccentrics. It's really impressive and I could have spent hours just looking around. But the last Shinkansen back to Kyoto wasn't waiting for us, and that's in a rush that we bought our last souvenirs and only just catched the train !



It's been a very wonderful two days ...

1 Comment ::

Tokyo is the main capital of Japan and this is the great country with all the technological advancements and best sightseeing attractions for the visitors as well.

This is a great place and very beautiful and attractive destination for traveling in the world. All the places are very much alluring and enchanting and totally indulging as well.