Japan Adventure Day 7

Day 7 was another travel day. We were leaving the countryside from our 3 day retreat of relaxing at the ryokan and enjoying the onsen and heading back to Tokyo. I had such a great time at the coastline that I decided that I was going to wake up and catch the first train back to the coastline and was going to meet up with the group at a train station outside of Tokyo. I wanted to explore and hike more for a few hours since there was such a large area and we were only there for a couple hours. I fell in love with that countryside over the course of 3 days.

The first train of the day started at around 5AM in the morning so I got up early and snuck out of the ryokan ninja style and made my way to the train station. The trains had a brief stop at another station where I was suppose to get off but failed to. So I had to take the train again and only lost a little bit of time before I made it down to the coast.

I was able to hike around the area for a few hours, it was very calm with almost no other travelers or hikers around. I did see a lot of fast and small bugs on a trail but I didn’t get a chance to take a picture to find out what they were.  That morning was a little wet and rainy, one of the few days it rained while we were there.

After I got my hiking in, I made my way back to the train station and met up with the group several stops down the line. Some of them were pretty surprised I woke up so early to go out hiking. As the train made its way closer to Tokyo, the rain started to subside and the sun started to peek through the clouds and shine.

Our first destination was to head to Odaiba. Odaiba was having a giant fireworks display that night, but Comiket was also going on. Comiket is a super huge comic convention. So needless to say there were thousands and thousands of people in the area and everywhere was extremely packed with people. We worked our way through the crowds at a mall and went shopping at the Shonen Jump store. I was hoping to score some Dragonball Z stuff, but it was mostly relegated to just some manga. The store was packed with One Piece and Naruto stuff.

Post-Shonen Jump store, a couple of us made our way to the Gundam Plaza to see the RX-78 gundam. Who doesn’t like giant robots? The Gundam activated and did its thing, after that it was on to an arcade. I played a few crane games and won myself some Pokemon from the machine. I am a sucker for toys that look cool, such as an Axew. Unfortunately, I ran out of 100 Yen coins and someone won 2 toys that I got close to winning from the machine. It’s all good though, they went to 2 little kids that were pretty stoked to get a toy that day. i think my favorite aspect of the arcades is that the crane games are completely winnable, lots of us won toys from machines. When you win at a machine people working at the arcades will announce it over the speakers in the arcade so others know that people are winning and on what machine.

After the arcade we grabbed some eats and headed to our tarp for fireworks. The fireworks display was solid and lasted well over an hour. The trains were packed leaving Odaiba.

As we approached our hotel again, some of us decided to sing some karaoke. We went to a karaoke bar and got a room that fit all 14 of us in and we proceeded to drink, sing and have a great time. Next weeks Japan adventure day is one of the sole reasons I went to Japan, stay tuned 😀

*(first image is of the sunrise outside of the ryokan, second is an image of the rainy day from my seat on the train, the third is a cool building I saw on the way to the coastline, the fourth is the Shonen Jump store and how packed it was that day, fifth is the Gundam Front, finally is the crowd that was there for fireworks that night).

Japan Adventure Day 5

Day 5 in Japan started off with a giant 2 platter breakfast for everyone brought on by ryokan staff. Easily the biggest breakfast I had ever seen. After breakfast we had some time to relax in the onsen. An onsen is a natural hot spring that is heated by the Earth/volcanoes. It was super relaxing after walking around Tokyo for the previous few days. There were 3 onsens, one for males, one for females, and a private one for couples.

After getting ready for the day, our first stop was Atami castle. The best story of the trip was when we got into taxis to go to the ropeway and the head lady at the ryokan walked into the road to stop traffic so our taxis could stay together on the way to the ropeway. Now thats customer service!

The ropeway provided us with an amazing view of the seaside city and we were able to see all over in every direction. Atami castle had all sorts of content in it for us to check out. My favorite floors were the top floor, which had a balcony for us to take pictures looking out to the ocean and the floor that had models of other castles in Japan. I can only image the amount of work and patience needed for that process.

After the castle we headed to another restaurant that featured a drink bar (all you can drink coffee, lattes, juice, soda etc. over 40 kinds). It was pretty hot out so the iced lattes and air conditioning were well worth the walk. After lunch some of us headed to the beach for some more time in the ocean, I was one of them.

We splashed around in the ocean for a few hours. We took some pictures with some of the other beach goers. We posed for a few pictures and had a brief conversation with some English and hand signs. Before we left the beach more people wanted a picture. We had a lot of fun at the beach, everyone in the city was very nice.

We headed back to the ryokan to get ready for the night’s events. Some onsen time was in order and then came the time to wear the yukata again. Tonight we headed to a stage by the shore to watch a taiko drum show. There were several performing groups that took the stage and played a wide variety of songs. It was the first time I had heard a taiko drum performance at length, it was very relaxing. We sat in the grass and watched as the sun set. People were free to come and go as they wished, allowing them to go to food stands and get things to eat during the performances.

One of the highlights on the trip in terms of food, was the grilled squid I had. The cook grilled it at his station and the meat was very good. I wanted to try the grilled octopus as well but I was full from the squid, it gives me a reason to go back right?

We grabbed a few more things and headed back to the ryokan and played some board games until the early hours of the morning. It was nice playing games and getting to know some of the other travelers a little bit more. We headed back to our room and got some sleep for tomorrow, our final full day in the seaside city.

*(The first photo is a picture of the ocean outside of our ryokan, second is a photo looking back at the city from the ropeway car, the third photo is the beach we went too and finally the taiko drum performances. That picture was taken of one of the first performances which is why it is still early in the night).