A Travellerspoint blog

June 2018

Tokyo to Kyoto-The Blind Bus Ride

Last night, I checked out of the hostel, and took the 1 hour metro ride, of which I had to change trains, to the expressway bus station in Tokyo.

After about a 40 minute away, the bus came for the approximately 9 hour ride to Kyoto. I, along with several others, got on the bus, which had nice seats that reclined almost all the way back, pillows, and blankets. There we're video screens with headphones. It was made for overnight travel.

What was most noteworthy is a heavy duty curtain lining the inside of the bus was closing off the windows (including separating the passengers from the driver's compartment), so once the bus started moving, it felt like I was in a long, black tube. i thought about getting off the bus-I sort of iike looking out the window, and it felt sort of claustrophobic. But I hung on and went on my phone-there was wifi on the bus-and it actually was quite fast.

IMG_5698.JPG bus.jpg

After 1/2 an hour or so in the tube the bus made another stop. The compartment curtain was raised between us and the driver, and I could see we we're still in a city. I asked someone getting on the bus where we we're-he said we we're in Tokyo-so we haven't left the city.

The curtain then went back up, and the bus went on the highway. I dozed on the off. MY camera bag was on the seat in front of me. After a while, the battery ran out on my phone-so there went the wifi. (my laptop was in my baggage under the bus). I did check out the video screen and tried a few movies. One was a French film with Japanese subtitles, another was a German film with Japanese subtitles. Finally, I found a British film called "Baby Brother"-it looked like it was about an orphaned teen watching his infant brother. I fell asleep and started it over again-and also feel asleep.

Twice, the long back tube stopped at rest stops, where I could stretch my legs. Upon getting off the bus, the driver people getting off tags with the license plate #, so I could return to the right bus (there we're many many busses at each stop).

I generally just fell asleep. it was actually quite comfortable, In the morning, the bus stopped in sunny Kyoto. (at 6:30 am). I got off the bus. I had no idea where I was. But I saw a railroad bridge. and hoped they led to the train station, which they did. Directions to the hostel we're from the train station-so that was a good start. While it was too early to go to the hostel. One Mcplace was open where I could have breakfast and recharge my phone and charge my computer-so I went there.

Posted by DavidPearlman 16:31 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Final Day Tokyo with Lady Liberty

Yesterday was my final day in Tokyo.

i did a few things on my last day.

- I went to an area of Toyko called Rappongi Hills, which I read about-but was just a area with lots of office buildings. There was an observation deck on a tall building, of which I went to, and had a nice sunny view of Tokyo. I walked downstairs and looked for the garden, which was supposed to have all of the different trees of Japan. I found it, but it was a lot smaller then I expected.


- I then took the metro to another metro, where I transferred to a monorail. The monorail took me to an island in Tokyo bay. where I got off the train near a promenade. The island had a replica of the Statue of Liberty which was constructed in 1998, as a tribute to Japan's ties to France. It was right on the promenade, overlooking a bridge called The Rainbow Bridge. It looked nice on a sunny day.


- Next I went to the shopping mall next door, who's main attraction was a robot that gave answers to tourism questions when you asked. The mall was average with usual stores, and the robot was out of order.


I took the monorail back, and took a metro back to Akihabra, the area of town for freaks and geeks which I visited the first day. i went to the area where the camera shops we're, and looked at camera equipment. Then I had a final plates of sushi at the conveyor belt sushi place. i was going to have a sundae at the Maiddreamin cafe, where girls dressed as maids in short skirts serve food and put on a shoe, but I went up to the cafe, and there we're so few folks there it was depressing. Plus I didn't want to pay the $5.00 cover charge.


i then went back to the hostel. It was sad to check out. I enjoyed my time here, and meeting others. Sure I am the old man out-twice as old as many others, and sometimes I act like an idiot while drinking (and sober as well), but I met lots of great people. After a few hours of relaxing and talking to some of the others, i got back on the metro to the bus station, for the bus to Kyoto.


Posted by DavidPearlman 15:48 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Tokyo-The Imperial Palaceless Palace

Yesterday, I woke up early, which after getting to bed at 3 am from karaoke was troublesome, but I still made it up to do the tour at the imperial Palace in Tokyo. Once again, I got lost on the metro system-but eventually I found the Imperial Palace.

Most of the Imperial Palace was destroyed in World War II, so not much of it remained. Really, just a few defense towers remained, a large stone wall, and few other structures. There was a small museum showing pictures of Emperor Meiji, who was the emperor when the capital of Japan was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. It was more like a large park, with the addition of flower groves. It was a beautiful sunny day, so I laid down on a bench and took a nice nap.


I woke up about an hour later-it seems, and took the metro back to where the hostel was-actually a station further away, where supposedly there was a place with 100 yen (about $1.00 sushi), according to someone at the hostel. I didn't find any 100 yen sushi, everything was 200 yen, or $2.00-which was still pretty cheap, and then I walked around where the hostel was and took a nap.

I woke up around 6:00 pm, did some computer work, and then went to the normal meet and greet with new guests, and residents from around who like to learn English. We dressed up in different Japanese outfits. I left my phone and camera in the room so I couldn't take any photos. I then went out for drinks and was out until 2:00 am.


Posted by DavidPearlman 16:59 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Tokyo-No Memories of a Giesha

Yesterday, i awoke early and had breakfast at the fish market, which is called the Tsukiji fish market. i went the other day but the market was closed, but it was open yesterday.

I arrived about 9:00 am, an hour before it opens to the public. I walked around the public area which includes many vendors. I also found a small shrine.

At 10:00 am, i entered the wholesale market, which it was like a wholesale fish market is expected to be. Lots of people zipping around on small fork lifts and hand trucks. Lots of crates with different types of fish we're spread around at all sorts of vendors. it was fine for about 10 minutes. But I guess I saw it. Photos weren't permitted.

Then I returned on the metro to the big shrine in Tokyo-which is called Senso-Ji-A giant Buddhist temple, with a pagoda and big time crowds, and lots of shops. I walked around, and took a boring walking tour. Then a free Giesha show came up at the tourist information center-so I watched that. I feel asleep during the show.

After the show, I went to the district to buy a new cord for the computer, as the electrical cord didn't work. It is a two part cord-and not having it with me, I didn't know which part failed, so I figured the store would have one part. The giant store had everything, including the largest camera department I had ever seen and a food court with a good sushi restaurant, but no cord. I bought a lower part, hoping it would work.

I was pissed-but went back to the hostel, and it worked. The meet up was going on with locals and residents of the hostel. We had a beer, then went out for karaoke, and got back late.

Posted by DavidPearlman 16:46 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Tokyo-Mount Fuji and The Phone

Yesterday, I left the hostel early to catch the bus to Lake Kawaguchi. I had to take the metro over an hour from the hostel, which involved a change of lines, to the bus station.

The ride on the bus, which I made reservations for, was uneventful. It took about an hour to reach the tourist center at the Lake, which was really really busy. When I got off the bus, though I discovered I didn't have my phone. I looked through everything, and I started to panic. I went to the ticket office, which had a lost and found, and reported the phone lost on the bus, but didn't have much hope.

First I went to the tourist information office, where I was told the best way to see different spots was to take the hop-on hop-off bus (actually three different busses), for $15.00. I bought a ticket (after standing on line behind 20 different people), and then I got in line for the green line bus-(after waiting in line for 30 people). To enhance my bad mood, there was a picture of a beautiful pagoda with Mt Fuji behind it-but I learned I bought the wrong bus ticket for Mt Fuji. I should have bought a heritage bus ticket as opposed to the sightseeing bus. I wasn't happy. And buying that new ticket would require waiting on a long long line.

I got on the bus-which drove through about 20 stops like a bat out of hell-people we're waiting at the stops and he just drove on by. Finally, I got to the first stop, which provided a commanding view of Mt Fuji, beyond an old-fashioned looking town, with old-time buildings and shops. I learned the town went through a mudslide years back, and there was a museum highlighthing this, all in Japanese.

i got back on the bus, went back to where i could change cars,l, and returned to the visitors center, where I got on another bus. This time I got off at a ropewalk, which is a cable car going to the top of a mountain, with an even better view of Mount Fuji.

i then took the bus to the end of the line-where I had to get off. I got on another bus, returned to the visitors center around 4:30, and they had my phone. I was relieved. I walked around a little, looked at new cars at a Suzuki dealer, including my favorite, called a Hustler. I then saw some nice views of the mountains, and got on the 6:25 pm bus back to town, (the one I had a ticket for).


Posted by DavidPearlman 15:27 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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