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Topic: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2011-09-20 17:44:56 and read 10130 times.

PREVIEW - Disclaimer

Some of you may be already familiar with this TR; it was initially posted about 2.5 years ago but in a very preliminary form. It was written in a hasty manner with only a minimal number of photos and commentary. I am now revisiting this trip, with a whole lot more photos and details. Feel free to skip it but if you are interested in Japan you may find some of the info interesting.


BACKGROUND

My friend Panos, whom I've known since before college and who now lives and works in Edinburgh, had been nagging me for the longest time to plan a trip to Japan. Japan was certainly on my list of places to visit but I always seemed to have a bunch of other trips already planned ahead of it so I could never find the necessary time. All this changed one cold January night, when while talking to Panos on the phone, we decided to plan a 10-day exploration of Japan. At the beginning it was hard to co-ordinate our travel arrangements (since we were to depart from different continents) but at the end we arrived at a workable plan which had as follows:


.
My route.Red represents flights, green is trains and yellow is ferries


I was to fly out of ORD to NRT via ICN with OZ, while he would fly out of EDI to AMS and then to NRT with KL. After spending some days at Tokyo, we planned to go to Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima, using Japan Railways' Shinkansen "bullet train" rides. While at Hiroshima we intended to also visit the holy island of Itsukushima using a Japan Railways ferry-boat service. Finally I was to fly out of HIJ to ICN and back to ORD with OZ, while my friend would fly back to NRT with FW and then to AMS and EDI with KL.



HEADING OUT TO ASIA


.


OZ 235
ORD-ICN
B777-200ER (HL7775)
Seat: 17A

The flight to ICN was scheduled to depart from ORD at 1am. Jens, a friend of mine was flying out of ORD that evening too (ORD-CPH on SK) so a common friend of ours drove us to T5 of ORD. After Jens checked in, we grabbed some food at the food court and then I waived him goodbye. By that time, a line was already forming in front of OZ's check-in desks so I decided to join it. While waiting in line, we were distributed name/address tags to attach to our luggage. After having checked-in and having secured a much desired window seat, I made my way through security and into the departures' area. It was already getting late so naturally there wasn't much movement on the runway but I did manage a few shots of Jens' SK bird and a TK Airbus.

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Our 777 at the gate

After boarding the plane I was met with an ugly surprise. For the second consecutive time on a long haul flight (the previous one was on an AF A340 from CDG to ATL) I got a window seat with no actual window. According to seat guru, on Asiana's 777-200ER the seats to be missing a window are on row 15 (A + K). However, in reality it was row 17 (A + K) that was missing them. I was very disappointed by this but there was nothing I could do as the flight was almost full. Leg room was satisfactory but I did not get the chance to enjoy it, given that the passenger in front of me had her seat fully reclined for the entire 14hours of the trip (I think she had drugged herself to sleep).

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I had never been over Alaska before...

I slept for a good chunk of the flight and spent the rest of the time watching movies on the IFE system which provided over 36 different options. We took a very northerly route, passing through Canada, Northern Alaska, Chukotka, Kamchatka and then we avoided North Korean airspace to enter South Korea directly from the east.

Two meals were served, one immediately after take off and another about 2 hours prior to landing. The first one consisted of beef with steamed vegetables, a shrimp salad, a Greek salad and an apple pie. The pre-landing snack consisted of a couple of tasty soft rolls filled with a goat-cheesy substance, a potato waffle, fruit salad and a fruit yogurt. It was delicious and very filling.

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The rather tasty meal. Notice the metal cutlery!

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...and the exquisite breakfast

Landing was smooth and we were soon in a largely empty ICN (it was about 5am local time). ICN needs no introduction. Build on reclaimed land that connects two natural islands (now jointly known as Yeongjong Island) it is linked to the mainland through the Yeongjong and Incheon Bridges. Built to replace GMP as the main airport of Seoul, it opened in 2001 and has won numerous awards since.

Upon exiting the aircraft we were met with a quarantine team which took each passenger's temperature with a fancy type of ear thermometer and collected the health questionnaires that we were given on the plane. Only after this screening were we allowed to enter the main building. This was around the time of the swine flu outbreak in North America so they were trying to stop the spread to Asia. The fact that I was wearing a "Mexico" hoodie made me a prime target for the inspectors. Once I got the clearance to enter the terminal, I made my way to the security check for my second flight. I wandered about for some time and then I exchanged some British Pounds (leftovers from my recent trip to the UK for my sister's college graduation) for some Won, so I could buy some food and a phonecard to call home.


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Asiana's old livery on a 747

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The still very empty departures area

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Lots of skyblue everywhere you looked at

For food I chose one of the food courts on the upper level of the departures area. Some of you may have heard about the kimchi shortage in Korea recently. Well, it was me. I went on a rampage and ordered pretty much every dish that contained kimchi. It was delicious. It was way spicier then the one I get in Korean Town in Chicago but really enjoyable nonetheless. It turned my eyes and face red and I had to sneeze a couple of times which I bet made people around me uneasy (swine flu alert). I was soon to find out that everyone in both Korea and Japan was very concerned about the swine flu outbreak and most people were wearing facemasks in an attempt to protect themselves.

I had a total of 5 hours to spend at ICN and for a moment I considered exiting the airport. However I decided against it, just in case I got delayed somewhere and missed my next flight. I decided therefore to spend some time spotting. I looked outside the windows and saw a sky-blue colored area past one of the runways and in my jet lagged confusion I thought it was the sea. I thought, wow, I didn't know that the waters around Incheon had such a Caribbean color and quality to them. Later on I realized of course that it was not the sea but an area covered by a teal-colored tarp. No idea what its purpose is though. With this and that my 5 hour layover was over, having spent most of my time eating and spotting. Regarding the latter, all I could see was OZ and KE which, albeit monotonous, was a nice change from the usual traffic I see in the US.

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Kimchi bowl, rice and other pickled goodies


SAYONARA NIPPON!




OZ 102
ICN-NRT
B777-200ER (HL7775)
Seat: 10A

When it was time to board our flight to NRT, I realized that the 777-200 we were about to enter was the same that brought us there from ORD. No new registration for me. Argh!

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Hmm, you look awfully familiar...

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Boarding

This time I had seat 10A on the bulkhead which despite being a window seat it lacked a window as well. Someone have mercy on me! However being the first row of economy I could bend forward and see through the window in front. Next to me sat an American gentleman, who initiated a conversation with me, and we soon found out that for a brief period of time we lived a block away from each other in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. It is a small world after all...

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I love this kind of legspace

We were served a nice meal of beef, rice and cold noodles and by the time I was done with it I could already see the Japanese coast appearing under us. What a wonderful sight! I was very eager to get a glimpse of Mount Fuji, but as we started to approach the Tokyo Metropolitan area, a thick layer of clouds showed up so it was not easy to see it. I did try desperately to shoot some photos but the result was pretty bad.

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Our projected route

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Somewhere over the middle of the Korean peninsula

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Soba noodles, rice, mushrooms, beef and red pepper paste. I could eat that everyday.

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Flying over Lake Biwa, near Kyoto

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A glimpse of Mount Fuji's peak




ARRIVING IN JAPAN




We eventually approached NRT from the northwest and landed on time. Before entering immigration we had to go through another health check. I had to fill in two separate health questionnaires and also a form with my detailed itinerary that included the cities I intended to visit, the names of the hotels I was going to stay, etc. Given that I had a fairly busy itinerary I spent a considerable amount of time writing all the information down. Immigration was fairly quick and straightforward. I collected my luggage and proceeded to the arrivals area. It was not hard for Panos and I to spot each other. We both stand a head and a half taller than most people in Japan so we saw each other from a distance, despite the fact that the arrivals area was packed.

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Narita train station

After catching a breath, we headed downstairs to get the train that would take us to Tokyo proper. We decided to use the Limited Express Train (instead of the Skyliner) given that it was half the price and only 15-20 mins slower. We got off at the Ueno stop and then took the Hibiya subway line to the nearby stop of Iriya. From there it was a short walk to our hotel, the "SOHO Asakusa" Hotel.

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OK, which train do we need again?

We had a great time in Tokyo. We visited several places, including many temples and shrines in Asakusa, the Ueno Park, the Akihabara Electric Town, the Ginza, downtown Tokyo, Shinjuku, and the Tokyo Tower to name just a few.

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A look at Asakusa neighborhood, our headquarters during our stay in Tokyo

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Our first meal on Japanese soil

One of the highlights of our stay in Tokyo was the Honbasho Sumo tournament. This is an event that takes place only 6 times a year (3 times in Tokyo, and once in Osaka, Fukuoka and Nagoya) and it's the official bunch of Sumo matches that determine the official champions and the relegation/promotion of professional wrestlers. We were lucky enough to be in Tokyo just in time for the Natsu (Summer) Basho which was hosted at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan Arena. We bought tickets and had a great time watching some of the biggest Suomo names including the two active Yokozunas of the time: Hakuhō Shō and Asashōryū , plus the Bulgarian Sumo phenom Kotoōshū (aka Kaloyan Mahlyanov). What a great experience.

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Another interesting thing about Tokyo (but also the rest of Japan) was the "rock star" treatment Panos and I enjoyed on the streets. People would stop us and ask to take photos with us, old people would stop in the middle of the street and thank us for visiting Japan while other random people will engage us in long conversations. What a delightful nation!

Despite being a big fan of Japan, Panos has had very little exposure to Japanese food (Scotland is not known for its Japanese Cuisine scene after all) so it was my job to teach him how to use chopsticks, encourage him to eat raw fish, and explain what all those weird things on his plate were.

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Yummy noodles at a place near Shinjuku

Here are some photos from Tokyo:

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BULLET TRAIN TO KYOTO



Line: Tōkaidō Shinkansen
Type: Hikari
Route: Tokyo to Kyoto



The next stop on our list was Kyoto. Panos and I had pre-purchased a Japan Railways (JR) Pass which gave us access to some of the Shinkansen bullet trains. It is needless to say that these trains looked like out of this world. The various bullet trains came in numerous aerodynamic designs, which completely mesmerized me. If I ever decide to give up aviation spotting for train spotting it will be for these babies. Our departure from Tokyo was (of course) on time. Despite the extremely high speeds that we reached the cabin was completely soundproof and thus very quiet. When looking out the window it felt like you were looking at at muted TV screen. The seats were extremely comfortable and with surprisingly generous legroom.

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Our mean-looking ride

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A double-decker monster

The thing that made the greatest impression on us during all the train rides we took in Japan was the unbelievable attachment to etiquette by the train conductors. Without a fail, after entering and before leaving a car, they would turn, face the passengers and bow. Amazing.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_3124.jpg
Cabin view

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My Bento-box breakfast

Unlike Tokyo, which was mostly sunny and warm, Kyoto was wet and gloomy for the duration of our stay. We stayed at a place called "Gojo Guesthouse", in the Gojozaka neighborhood, which featured traditional japanese-style rooms. While sleeping on floor mats was no problem for us, dining on a 6-inch tall table while seating on the floor was very challenging for two guys of our height. It was fun though. While in Kyoto we visited the Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera Temple at the foot of the hills, the Nijo castle, the Imperial gardens, the Toji temple (which features the tallest pagoda in Japan), the downtown area and several temples on the north side of town.

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We're here...

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Kyoto train station exterior

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Our hotel room

Some photos of Kyoto:
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_3190.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_3201.jpg
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Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2011-09-20 17:47:20 and read 10126 times.

HEADING FURTHER WEST



Line: Tōkaidō Shinkansen
Type: Hikari
Route: Kyoto to Shin-Osaka

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_3583.jpg
Kyoto station interior

The Kyoto train station is a building of impressive modern architecture. Sure it looks a bit odd but no one can remain indifferent toward it; you either love it or hate it. We boarded our train for the short ride to Osaka having first supplied ourselves with yummy bento-boxes of fishy breakfast. Our layover in Osaka was no more than a couple of hours so we couldn't go too far away from the train station. We went for a walk, shot some photos and then made it back to the station for our train to Hiroshima.

A couple of shots around the Osaka train station:
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_3731.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_3740.jpg




Line: Sanyō Shinkansen
Type: Hikari
Route: Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_3755.jpg
The train that would take us to Hiroshima

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Legroom


In Hiroshima we stayed at a really nice hotel called "Hana" which, like the one in Kyoto, featured traditional Japanese style rooms. What a lovely city Hiroshima is! I did not know what to expect but I was surprised to see that it was an extremely lively, vibrant and energetic city. Our priority of course was to visit the Peace Memorial park and Ground Zero (A-Bomb Dome). A very eerie place, the museum had a ton of exhibits from the aftermath of the atomic bomb. Personal items of victims, videos and audios from the dreadful day and photos of the city before and after the attack were all in display. The most eerie of them all was a glass display that contained a small flight of white stone steps on the surface of which one could see the "shadow" of a person sitting there when the bomb exploded.

A few shots from downtown Hiroshima and the A-bomb museum:
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The red ball on the photo above represents the location and approximate elevation of the atomic bomb explosion

The trademark dish of Hiroshima is the Okonomiyaki; a type of "pancake" made of a variety of ingredients of your choice. Truly yummy. We had a few of them.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_3320.jpg
Okonomiyaki


It must be said, however, that Hiroshima has so much more to offer other than Atomic-bomb related sights. It has lovely parks, an old castle, many shopping areas and a lot of crazy baseball fans, as we found out in no time. During our first night there the local Hiroshima Carp were playing against the team from Nagoya at the Mazda baseball stadium located a 5-min walk from our hotel. We decided to go to a bar to have a beer and watch the game with some local fans. Those guys were nuts. Everyone, including the bartenders (who were extremely friendly), were wearing Carp gear, were chanting and were creating ruckus every time the Carp made a good play. Such a great experience.


VISITING THE SHRINE ISLAND



Route: Miyajima-guchi to Itsukushima Island
Carrier: JR Miyajima Ferry
Vessel: Miyajima-maru

As part of our JR Pass, we were entitled to use the ferry service from Miyajima-guchi (a suburb of Hiroshima) to the sacred island of Itsukushima, or Miyajima (The shrine island) as it is also known. Itsukushima is home to the Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The island has a distinct rural atmosphere and it's packed with little shrines. The most distinctive aspect about the island however is that deer and monkeys roam freely on the roads. It was a surreal sight.

A few shots from our short trip to Itsukushima island:
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HEADING BACK HOME


.


OZ 161
HIJ-ICN
A321
Seat: 16F


After 10 full days in Japan it was time to fly back home. I was excited at the prospect of flying out of HIJ. I knew that this airport was kind of unique, being located on top a hill in the middle of nowhere, a whole 50km from the city. To get there we had to use the bus that departs from the downtown train station. After about 50 minutes of driving through hills we arrived at HIJ.


HIJ was built in 1993 to replace the small HIW as the main airport of Hiroshima. After examining several proposals (one of which suggested the expansion of HIW) the current site was selected near the town of Mihara. Its main disadvantage is of course the distance from town. Another problem (during its construction) was that a river ran through the construction site. True to their conservation instincts, the japanese architects decided to build a dam and a 800m-long tunnel that allows the river to flow under the airport. Despite being around for 18+ years you couldn't tell the airport's age; to me it seemed like a brand new building. Given its elevated position on top of a steep hill, it felt like we were floating in air even before we took off.

What made an impression on me was the runway centerline lighting system which was set up on extremely tall poles at the bottom of the hill.


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Waiting for our bus at the Hiroshima train station parking lot

Bus ride to the airport:
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The elevated runway centerline lighting system or whatever it's called, as seen from the bus


Shots from within the HIJ departures area:
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Panos was flying first and he had to check in and go to security right away while I had a couple of hours to kill. I looked around for a bit and then waited outside the international check in area which was closed at the time. Check-in itself was uneventful. In fact I don't even remember checking in...

At security I was told that the amount of liquids I could carry on board a plane in Japan is less than that elsewhere (or so I gathered from the very basic English of the security officer) so I had to give away my 100ml toothpaste and mouthwash bottle. Weird. The waiting area for the international departures is tiny (not much international traffic out of HIJ).

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4236.jpg
Asiana Check-in area

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Our bird

Some other traffic at HIJ:
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4248.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4249.jpg


About an hour before boarding a guy from the Duty Free came over and distributed free samples of chocolate to all the passengers waiting at the international departure lounge. Not a big chocolate fan, but they tasted really good! Boarding was of course very orderly. After we pushed back I saw the ground crew forming a line, facing us, and then they all proceeded to bow and then wave at us as we were taxiing to the runway. I had heard about this custom in Japanese airports but seeing it with my own eyes was great.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4256.jpg
Free chocolate!

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4264.jpg
Airside exterior

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4269.jpg
Being waived goodbye by the ground crew

Take off was a bit noisy (a high pitched noise was superimposed on the usual humming) but the noise went away during cruising. I ate my lunchbox and spend the rest of the time reading my book.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4262.jpg
Seat pitch

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4275.jpg
Taking off over the wilderness

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4279.jpg
Bento-box brekafast

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4282.jpg
Approaching Korea

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4285.jpg
Cabin view

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4286.jpg
Over Seoul



We landed in ICN on time and once more we were inspected for swine flu symptoms before we were allowed to enter the terminal building. I had about 7 hours to kill and the first thing to do was to get on another kimchi raid. I just could not help it, I love that thing. The same thing happens when I visit Greece or Spain: Octopus makes temporarily the list of endangered species.

I looked around the shops to find ways to spend the 70.000W I was left with. I went to a shop with Korean items and looked around for gift ideas. I bought some presents from the duty free and it wasn't long before I was back at the food court for some more Korean treats. This time I chose the bibimbap which I also thoroughly enjoyed.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4291.jpg
Taxiing to our gate at ICN



.


OZ 236
ICN-ORD
B777-200ER (HL7775)
Seat: 16K

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4306.jpg
ICN's iconic central building

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4316.jpg
One of the two bridges to the mainland

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4298.jpg
Kimchi and Tuna stew

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4313.jpg
Bibimbap

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4304.jpg
I must say, I don't mind the old livery of OZ

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4326.jpg
Hm... do I know you from somewhere?

After boarding the aircraft we were told that we would be delayed because our luggage had to be manually scanned. We waited for about over an hour while the process was completed. After taking off I noticed that the route we were taking was easterly and somewhat south. I assumed that this was done to simply to avoid N.Korean airspace. However, after reaching the coast I noticed that we kept heading southeast. For a moment I wondered whether I was on the right flight. As much as I would have liked to visit Australia, it was not the right time to do so. Then I thought that we may be avoiding some bad weather. Finally it struck me that we were probably trying to get advantage of the jet stream.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4335.jpg
Legroom

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4336.jpg
Personal IFE screens

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4342.jpg
Cabin during boarding

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4347.jpg
Avoiding N.Korean airspace

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4349.jpg
Bulgogi Ssambab Meal

The traditional costume parade:
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4356.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4373.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4377.jpg



http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_4380.jpg
Pre-landing meal

Delicious meals: Main: Bulgogi Ssambab (along instructions as to how to eat it!), soup, egg roll-thingies, water melon, and kimchi!!!
Snack: Beef rice and vegetables, cabbage and ham salad and fresh pineapple slices

While over the Pacific, our captain made an announcement about something regarding the crew but I could not hear him clearly. Soon after however, the cabin crew showed up dressed in traditional costumes and started parading. Each one of them paraded at least 3 times and then they all gathered together so that passengers could take photos with them. It was quite a surreal moment. I still have no idea what was the occasion.

The rest of the flight was uneventful and we arrived at ORD with a delay of about an hour and a half. The taxiing was long (more than 10 minutes) and we were soon at the terminal.

Overall, it was a pleasant experience to fly with OZ. Both their long and their short haul services were good and you could tell that they are trying to make the experience as comfortable as possible. I would definitely re-consider flying with them, even though I am curious to see how the two big Japanese carriers (and also KE) compare to them.

Many thanks for reading

I'm looking forward to you comments.



BONUS

And finally, as a bonus, some funny signs we came across in Japan:
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_3274.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_3310.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_3311.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_2853-1.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_3070.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/IMG_3373.jpg


Thanks again. I hope you enjoyed.

WideBodyroga

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: jetBlue777
Posted 2011-09-20 18:20:16 and read 10048 times.

Great trip report! It's always nice to see TRs on my favorite airline!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I thought, wow, I didn't know that the waters around Incheon had such a Caribbean color and quality to them. Later on I realized of course that it was not the sea but an area covered by a teal-colored tarp

I'm glad I'm not the only one! 
Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Someone have mercy on me!

I would not want to be on your shoes....  

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Bento-box brekafast

Looks delicious!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Bibimbap

Ah, one of my favorite dish in the world!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
For a moment I wondered whether I was on the right flight. As much as I would have liked to visit Australia, it was not the right time to do so. Then I thought that we may be avoiding some bad weather. Finally it struck me that we were probably trying to get advantage of the jet stream.

LOL!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The traditional costume parade:

Awesome. Too bad they didn't have it when I flew with them, did they discontinue it? (I was flying out of JFK)

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
And finally, as a bonus, some funny signs we came across in Japan:

     

Excellent trip report! As usual, Asiana is always a pleasure to fly with and I'm glad that you flew with them. Food looks delicious as always.

Nice pictures of Japan too! One of my bucket list, I'd definitely visit Japan soon!

Here's my TR of Asiana (JFK-ICN-MNL-ICN-JFK) if you're interested!

50 Days In Asia W/ A 5-Star Airline: Part 1 (pics) (by JetBlue777 Sep 2 2010 in Trip Reports)
50 Days In Asia W/ A 5-Star Airline: Part 3 (pics) (by JetBlue777 Oct 24 2010 in Trip Reports)

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2011-09-20 18:24:08 and read 10041 times.

Great photos! Your itinerary was pretty much EXACTLY the same as I took on my gap year back in 2003. I flew SQ LAX-NRT, did Tokyo, bullet train to Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Miajima, then flew out of HIJ. I wanted to take the OZ flight to ICN (I was continuing to PEK), but when I bought my RTW ticket, OZ wasn't in *A, so I flew up to HND, then to PEK on NH. I LOVE Japan. Thanks for posting!

PS, gotta love Asian airloines for their cute quirks. You wouldn't see a European on American airline cabin crew dressing up!

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: richcandy
Posted 2011-09-21 00:21:31 and read 9552 times.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3):
Great photos! Your itinerary was pretty much EXACTLY the same as I took on my gap year back in 2003. I flew SQ LAX-NRT, did Tokyo, bullet train to Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Miajima, then flew out of HIJ. I wanted to take the OZ flight to ICN (I was continuing to PEK), but when I bought my RTW ticket, OZ wasn't in *A, so I flew up to HND, then to PEK on NH. I LOVE Japan. Thanks for posting!

At the risk of sounding like a copy cat, I did a very similar itinerary (at least the Japan part) in 1995

I flew BFS-LHR-FRA-NRT with BD/LH. A few days in Tokyo then bullet train to Kyoto a few days there on to Nara then Hiroshima. There had been a earthquake at Kobe a few months before my trip and there was no bullet train service from Kyoto to Hiroshima. There was a limited regular train service which involved a number of changes and took all day. Then Osaka and Nagoya. Flying NRT-FRA-LHR-BFS with LH/BD

When I was a kid Japan was the country that I most wanted to visit. So when I started to work it was the first place that I saved for so that I could visit. (Think it was the only time I ever saved money). At that time the Japanese economy and currency was strong, so there were few tourists and it was expensive. (£14 for a bottle of beer) I loved Japan and really wanted to go back, but so far thats never happened.

Alex

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: triple7man
Posted 2011-09-21 04:16:59 and read 9269 times.

Thank you for the update. I used to live outside Tokyo so your pictures brought back many wonderful memories.

It looks like you really like okanomiyaki. It is good.

I have never flown Asiana, but it looks like you were treated very well...especially on the return flight

Thank you again for updating

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: sultanils
Posted 2011-09-21 07:39:11 and read 9006 times.

Hi again Widebodyroga,

Again an excellent report of yours! I did not read the version 2,5 years ago, bit I think this one will be better by any means. Being brought into a wonderful country (judging from your pics) by a high standard carrier that is OZ, what more do you want. It all looks top notch, except for not having a window in certain places  
Great you got to visit Hiroshima, I think seeing this place where the first nuclear bomb was dropped must give you a lasting impression...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Upon exiting the aircraft we were met with a quarantine team which took each passenger's temperature

You mean EVERY passenger? How long did that take then?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
When it was time to board our flight to NRT, I realized that the 777-200 we were about to enter was the same that brought us there from ORD. No new registration for me. Argh!

Bummer...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
This time I had seat 10A on the bulkhead which despite being a window seat it lacked a window as well.

Bummer x2...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I love this kind of legspace

The shoes I recognize from a recent report of yours   

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A double-decker monster

These trains really look from out of this world!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The elevated runway centerline lighting system or whatever it's called, as seen from the bus

Impressive.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
After we pushed back I saw the ground crew forming a line, facing us, and then they all proceeded to bow and then wave at us as we were taxiing to the runway. I had heard about this custom in Japanese airports but seeing it with my own eyes was great.

Great pic of that scene, what a sight to see.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I still have no idea what was the occasion.

Me neither but it's a nice distraction anyway!

Sultanils

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2011-09-21 08:06:46 and read 8953 times.

Hi Widebodyroga,

great report with stunning pictures! Japan is amazing, I'd love to go there again soon. My spotting tour in 2007 was one of the best trips ever.

OZ and KE are high on my list, they seem to offer a consistent product.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
For the second consecutive time on a long haul flight (the previous one was on an AF A340 from CDG to ATL) I got a window seat with no actual window. According to seat guru, on Asiana's 777-200ER the seats to be missing a window are on row 15 (A + K). However, in reality it was row 17 (A + K) that was missing them. I was very disappointed by this but there was nothing I could do as the flight was almost full.

That's disappointing indeed. Sometimes you simply don't find all existing configurations on seat guru and other sites.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The first one consisted of beef with steamed vegetables, a shrimp salad, a Greek salad and an apple pie. The pre-landing snack consisted of a couple of tasty soft rolls filled with a goat-cheesy substance, a potato waffle, fruit salad and a fruit yogurt. It was delicious and very filling.

Wow, the meals look really good.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
When it was time to board our flight to NRT, I realized that the 777-200 we were about to enter was the same that brought us there from ORD. No new registration for me. Argh!

Oh no...and I cannot believe you got the same plane again on the flight home!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Soba noodles, rice, mushrooms, beef and red pepper paste. I could eat that everyday

That looks, well, interesting...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The thing that made the greatest impression on us during all the train rides we took in Japan was the unbelievable attachment to etiquette by the train conductors. Without a fail, after entering and before leaving a car, they would turn, face the passengers and bow. Amazing.

Yes, I can only agree.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The trademark dish of Hiroshima is the Okonomiyaki; a type of "pancake" made of a variety of ingredients of your choice. Truly yummy. We had a few of them.

All these nice food pictures are torture!  

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
After we pushed back I saw the ground crew forming a line, facing us, and then they all proceeded to bow and then wave at us as we were taxiing to the runway. I had heard about this custom in Japanese airports but seeing it with my own eyes was great.

I found that fascinating, too.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
And finally, as a bonus, some funny signs we came across in Japan:

Great stuff!


PH

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: ATLFlyer323
Posted 2011-09-21 17:08:24 and read 8411 times.

What a great report! Thanks for taking the time to re post this detailed report!

-Brandon

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: jchalupsky
Posted 2011-09-21 19:17:53 and read 8332 times.

Absolutely one of the best trip reports I've ever read. I love the fact that you have so many photos of your actual trip, i.e. street scenes, food shots, hotel photos etc. in addition to the airplane and airport photos. I truly was living vicariously through your report! Great job!

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: ORDnHKG
Posted 2011-09-22 00:30:17 and read 8198 times.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
According to seat guru, on Asiana's 777-200ER the seats to be missing a window are on row 15 (A + K). However, in reality it was row 17 (A + K) that was missing them. I was very disappointed by this but there was nothing I could do as the flight was almost full. Leg room was satisfactory but I did not get the chance to enjoy it, given that the passenger in front of me had her seat fully reclined for the entire 14hours of the trip (I think she had drugged herself to sleep).

OZ has multiple 777 configuration, and seatguru only provided one. The 777 you were on HL7775 is one of the two 3 class 777. The plane delivered brand new and used solely on ORD-ICN-ORD, occasionally going to NRT/HKG/MNL. This route has since downgraded to a 2 class 777. HL7775 with its sister HL7791 which is also a 3 class 777 now being used on JFK-ICN-JFK.

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2011-09-22 08:38:31 and read 7967 times.

Thank you all for your nice comments guys.

Quoting jetBlue777 (Reply 2):
Great trip report! It's always nice to see TRs on my favorite airline!

Thank you jetBlue777. OZ is definitely my fav airline too since I've flown with them. Only AF on TATL has offered comparable comfort to what I experienced with OZ.

Quoting jetBlue777 (Reply 2):
Awesome. Too bad they didn't have it when I flew with them, did they discontinue it? (I was flying out of JFK)

No idea if it's a regular thing actually. I just wish I had heard what the pilot had said about it when introducing it. It was a great treat though.

Quoting jetBlue777 (Reply 2):
Here's my TR of Asiana (JFK-ICN-MNL-ICN-JFK) if you're interested!

Thanks! What an interesting time you had in Asia. Very rich itinerary indeed. And OZ delivered yet again!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3):
Great photos! Your itinerary was pretty much EXACTLY the same as I took on my gap year back in 2003.
Quoting richcandy (Reply 4):
At the risk of sounding like a copy cat, I did a very similar itinerary (at least the Japan part) in 1995

Thanks Gabriel and richcandy! I think that any trip to Japan should include these 3 stops and I'm glad you got to do it too.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3):
PS, gotta love Asian airloines for their cute quirks. You wouldn't see a European on American airline cabin crew dressing up!

Without a question. It's amazing what a difference such little things make on a long flight.

Quoting richcandy (Reply 4):
At that time the Japanese economy and currency was strong, so there were few tourists and it was expensive. (£14 for a bottle of beer)

Yeah, even in 2009 the prices were pretty steep, especially in Tokyo. But Japan is such a unique and interesting place that it's totally worth it.

Quoting triple7man (Reply 5):
Thank you again for updating

Thank you triple7man!

Quoting triple7man (Reply 5):
It looks like you really like okanomiyaki. It is good.

We loved okonomiyaki! Especially the variety with shrimp and other seafood that we got in a restaurant in Kyoto (yes we had Okonomiyaki outside of Hiroshima too). Too bad one cannot find okonomiyaki outside of Japan easily.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 6):
Again an excellent report of yours! I did not read the version 2,5 years ago, bit I think this one will be better by any means. Being brought into a wonderful country (judging from your pics) by a high standard carrier that is OZ, what more do you want. It all looks top notch, except for not having a window in certain places  

Thank you sultanils. Nice to hear from you again. I agree, the whole thing was a great treat. Now my wife is trying to convince me to go back there with her, as she has never been to Japan. I wouldn't mind doing this trip all over again.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 6):
You mean EVERY passenger? How long did that take then?

Yes, every single passenger. The thermometers they were using was providing a pretty instantaneous reading so it was not taking too long. Maybe 15-20 seconds per passenger. I was one of the first few in the line for disembarking so I didn't stick around to see how long it took for the whole aircraft to be checked, but I'm sure it was not too long. There were 2 inspectors so it must have not lasted too long.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 6):
The shoes I recognize from a recent report of yours   

Hehe, I do definitely have a favorite pair of "traveling shoes" just like I have a pair of favorite traveling shorts and jacket. These shoes though, you will be pleased to know, have been since replaced with a newer pair  
Quoting sultanils (Reply 6):
These trains really look from out of this world!

Aren't they great? I have a ton of photos of various trains I saw in Japan. I was very tempted to post more of them in the TR but I did not want to hijack it with train photos.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):

great report with stunning pictures! Japan is amazing, I'd love to go there again soon. My spotting tour in 2007 was one of the best trips ever.

Thanks PH! I can't wait to go back too

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
That looks, well, interesting...

Being a fairly novice photographer at the time of this trip, I shot this photo with one of the color filters on, which turned the food colorless and less appetizing than it really was.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
Great stuff!

Thanks! We saw a ton of funny signs with bad or cute English. What I showed you is only a small fraction  
Quoting ATLFlyer323 (Reply 8):
What a great report! Thanks for taking the time to re post this detailed report!

-Brandon

Thank you Brandon. It was my pleasure. It was painful to look at the old version of this TR so I got determined to make things right and rewrite it properly and with enough detail and photos.

Quoting jchalupsky (Reply 9):
Absolutely one of the best trip reports I've ever read. I love the fact that you have so many photos of your actual trip, i.e. street scenes, food shots, hotel photos etc. in addition to the airplane and airport photos. I truly was living vicariously through your report! Great job!

Wow, thank you very much jchalupsky! I'm glad you enjoyed the TR   As much as I love aviation, my main passion is travel itself so when I read TRs I value photos of the destinations almost as much as I value aviation-specific ones.

Quoting ORDnHKG (Reply 10):
OZ has multiple 777 configuration, and seatguru only provided one. The 777 you were on HL7775 is one of the two 3 class 777. The plane delivered brand new and used solely on ORD-ICN-ORD, occasionally going to NRT/HKG/MNL. This route has since downgraded to a 2 class 777. HL7775 with its sister HL7791 which is also a 3 class 777 now being used on JFK-ICN-JFK.

Thanks for clarifying this ORDnHKG!

[Edited 2011-09-22 08:45:54]

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: Tigerguy
Posted 2011-09-22 18:46:52 and read 7783 times.

Nice report; I had a very interesting read. Japan is definitely on my to-do list as well, but I'm at that hideous place where such a trip will be quite impractical for the forseeable future...

What caught my eye the most was your pic of the minimap while you were over Alaska. It looked like Amarillo, Texas was one of the few places shown. Not that I'm from there, but it was just one of those odd things that you just have to comment on.   

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
And finally, as a bonus, some funny signs we came across in Japan:

Gotta watch out for that Google translation!   

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: VonRichtofen
Posted 2011-09-22 23:57:36 and read 7656 times.

Great report! It was a bit bizarre looking at some of the photos. You took some pictures in the exact spots that I took photos when I was in Japan in 2004 and I did a similar trip. Tokyo to Kyoto and Hirishima on the Shinkansen.

-The photos of the Imperial Palace gaurd tower with moat and modern city,

-The pictures of Kyoto Staion

-Ryokan pic

-Pic of the flame monument at the A-bomb museum

These were all taken in nearly the exact same manner in which mine were taken (same position, same angle etc).

Weird!!  

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: SomedayTrijet
Posted 2011-09-23 04:03:32 and read 7571 times.

Oooh, a trip report involving Japan. I have always wanted to go there, and this report certainly makes my desire even stronger! Really great photos too!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
After boarding the plane I was met with an ugly surprise. For the second consecutive time on a long haul flight (the previous one was on an AF A340 from CDG to ATL) I got a window seat with no actual window. According to seat guru, on Asiana's 777-200ER the seats to be missing a window are on row 15 (A + K). However, in reality it was row 17 (A + K) that was missing them

I feel your pain, too bad this happened especially on such a long flight too! Have you tried suggesting SeatGuru to change this, so other window-addicted people might end up like that?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
When it was time to board our flight to NRT, I realized that the 777-200 we were about to enter was the same that brought us there from ORD. No new registration for me. Argh!
Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
This time I had seat 10A on the bulkhead which despite being a window seat it lacked a window as well. Someone have mercy on me!

Seems you didn't have so much luck on your outbound trip. Good that the inbound ended better!  
Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A double-decker monster

Wow, even in China we don't have these ones!  Wow!
Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I must say, I don't mind the old livery of OZ

We'll have to disagree here  
Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
And finally, as a bonus, some funny signs we came across in Japan:

A perfect ending to a perfect trip report!

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2011-09-23 13:38:04 and read 7346 times.

Quoting Tigerguy (Reply 12):
Nice report; I had a very interesting read. Japan is definitely on my to-do list as well, but I'm at that hideous place where such a trip will be quite impractical for the forseeable future...

What caught my eye the most was your pic of the minimap while you were over Alaska. It looked like Amarillo, Texas was one of the few places shown. Not that I'm from there, but it was just one of those odd things that you just have to comment on.   

Thank you Tigerguy!

I have seen this happen many times before. I remember once we were flyng TATL over the UK and the only place-names on the whole island were John O'Groats and Swansea. No London, no Birmingham, no Glasgow, but just those two. I've seen moving maps with Tours and Limoges but no Paris or Lyon or Marseilles, a World map with only 4-5 marked cities one of them being Araxos, etc. Maybe those maps are meant to be educational and that's why they do that 
Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 13):
Great report! It was a bit bizarre looking at some of the photos. You took some pictures in the exact spots that I took photos when I was in Japan in 2004 and I did a similar trip. Tokyo to Kyoto and Hirishima on the Shinkansen.

-The photos of the Imperial Palace gaurd tower with moat and modern city,

-The pictures of Kyoto Staion

-Ryokan pic

-Pic of the flame monument at the A-bomb museum

These were all taken in nearly the exact same manner in which mine were taken (same position, same angle etc).

Weird!!  

Thanks VonRichtofen! Hehe, that is weird indeed. Sometimes photographers think in similar ways and identify the exact same "optimal" angles for specific shots. My photos were taken with a rather old Canon point-and-shoot camera, so I am rather pleased with the overall result given the very basic equipment that I had to my disposal.

Quoting SomedayTrijet (Reply 14):
Oooh, a trip report involving Japan. I have always wanted to go there, and this report certainly makes my desire even stronger! Really great photos too!

Thanks SomedayTrijet! You should definitely try to go there one day. It's absolutely worth it.

Quoting SomedayTrijet (Reply 14):
We'll have to disagree here  

Hehe, well, let me rephrase then. I think Asiana's old livery is pretty ugly, but I confess that I like it (just like some women agree that Gérard Depardieu is ugly but they can't help to be in love with him). It's just that the old livery has such an 80s retro feel to it. The new livery is miles better for sure but the old one almost makes me hear "The Final Countdown" playing in my head when I see it...

Quoting SomedayTrijet (Reply 14):
A perfect ending to a perfect trip report!

Thanks again!  

[Edited 2011-09-23 13:47:45]

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: The777Man
Posted 2011-09-23 14:22:10 and read 7326 times.

Hi !

Thanks for a very nice report with nice pictures ! Japan is one of my favorit countries to visit and it was nice to see so many pictures from there.

I hope to go to Tokyo in January with my son and looking forward to that very much.

The777Man

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: VonRichtofen
Posted 2011-09-23 16:23:40 and read 7255 times.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 15):
My photos were taken with a rather old Canon point-and-shoot camera

Mine too 

I was using a Canon Powershot 480. I think it was only 4.0 megapixel

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2011-09-24 07:33:06 and read 7057 times.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 16):

Hi !

Thanks for a very nice report with nice pictures ! Japan is one of my favorit countries to visit and it was nice to see so many pictures from there.

I hope to go to Tokyo in January with my son and looking forward to that very much.

The777Man

Thank you the777Man. I wonder how Tokyo will be in January. I know that it gets pretty cold and snowy in Hokkaido but no idea how Tokyo winters are. I hope you have a great time  
Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 17):
I was using a Canon Powershot 480. I think it was only 4.0 megapixel

Another coincidence   My Canon Powershot was slightly newer though, the SD750, 7.1Megpix

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: MSS658
Posted 2011-09-25 10:16:41 and read 6749 times.

Hi

Nice trip report, love how nice presented the meals on OZ where. Also love the scenery pics. Gives a nice impression of life in japan.


Thanks for reposting this

Greetings
Marc

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: JL418
Posted 2011-09-25 14:06:52 and read 6682 times.

Hi WBR!

I really liked your TR as it brought along some very nice memories of my experiences in Japan. Glad to see you were staying in Asakusa, that was the borough I've been staying in as well (even if in a much less glamorous hostel).

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Another interesting thing about Tokyo (but also the rest of Japan) was the "rock star" treatment Panos and I enjoyed on the streets. People would stop us and ask to take photos with us, old people would stop in the middle of the street and thank us for visiting Japan while other random people will engage us in long conversations. What a delightful nation!

Really? That's quite different from what my friend and I experienced in Japan. I wouldn't say that we didn't feel welcome, that would be unreal and unfair, but one has to say that in Tokyo we really had a hard time talking with the natives, especially when we were in need of information. People seemed very shy and afraid to say something wrong even if we took great care in approaching them (in order not to be labelled as the usual noisy and clumsy Italians!). Things were better in Kyoto where people was more open and in Nara as well.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
BONUS

And finally, as a bonus, some funny signs we came across in Japan:

Great! Pocari made us laugh a lot especially for its second name, "Sweat". However, were those funny Wonda coffee ads still around? I tried to buy one of those from a corner shop in Gijon, Kyoto, but admitted defeat as I couldn't explain myself to the owner.

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2011-09-26 11:11:17 and read 6521 times.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 19):
Thanks for reposting this

My pleasure Marc  
Quoting JL418 (Reply 20):
I really liked your TR as it brought along some very nice memories of my experiences in Japan. Glad to see you were staying in Asakusa, that was the borough I've been staying in as well (even if in a much less glamorous hostel).

Thanks JL418. Our hotel was not even remotely glamorous either. I think most places in Asakusa are like that. Tokyo was painfully expensive so we had to be clever about what accommodation to book. Being two guys, our acceptable standards were pretty low so we did just fine  
Quoting JL418 (Reply 20):
Really? That's quite different from what my friend and I experienced in Japan. I wouldn't say that we didn't feel welcome, that would be unreal and unfair, but one has to say that in Tokyo we really had a hard time talking with the natives, especially when we were in need of information. People seemed very shy and afraid to say something wrong even if we took great care in approaching them (in order not to be labelled as the usual noisy and clumsy Italians!). Things were better in Kyoto where people was more open and in Nara as well.

Hm, interesting. No idea why we observed such opposite attitudes by the locals in Tokyo. I always thought that the locals were attracted by our height (we are both around 6'3''/6'4, i.e. 1.95m) and that's why they were so curious about us. We never tried to approach any locals, they were always the ones approaching us. Maybe if we were the ones to initiate the contact they would have reacted differently.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 20):
Great! Pocari made us laugh a lot especially for its second name, "Sweat". However, were those funny Wonda coffee ads still around? I tried to buy one of those from a corner shop in Gijon, Kyoto, but admitted defeat as I couldn't explain myself to the owner.

Yeah, we had a laugh about the Pocari Sweat name too. Not sure about the Wonda coffee ads though. It's either that they don't exist anymore or that I did not notice them. What was special about them??

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: 9w748capt
Posted 2011-10-09 20:26:58 and read 5691 times.

What a brilliant report - truly one of the best I've seen here on a.net! I love your attention to detail - for example a picture of the bus that you used to get from Hiroshima station to HIJ - little things like that really bump up a report to elite status - for me anyway!   Your itinerary was eerily similar to mine - except I spent a month in Kyoto as an exchange student and did a week-long jaunt through Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Miyajima using the same JR Pass. What a great deal right? Definitely brought back lots of memories. This is after the fact, but you guys would have enjoyed stopping at Himeji to see the castle there too.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 20):
Great! Pocari made us laugh a lot especially for its second name, "Sweat". However, were those funny Wonda coffee ads still around? I tried to buy one of those from a corner shop in Gijon, Kyoto, but admitted defeat as I couldn't explain myself to the owner.

Haha, reminds me of the "Suntory boss has been the boss of them all since (insert year here)" ads I'd see on vending machines everywhere. Hilarious!

Thanks again for sharing, I enjoyed your TR very much!

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2011-10-09 21:53:01 and read 5656 times.

Quoting 9w748capt (Reply 22):
What a brilliant report - truly one of the best I've seen here on a.net! I love your attention to detail - for example a picture of the bus that you used to get from Hiroshima station to HIJ - little things like that really bump up a report to elite status - for me anyway!   Your itinerary was eerily similar to mine - except I spent a month in Kyoto as an exchange student and did a week-long jaunt through Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Miyajima using the same JR Pass. What a great deal right? Definitely brought back lots of memories. This is after the fact, but you guys would have enjoyed stopping at Himeji to see the castle there too.

Thank you so much for your kind words 9w748capt! It is an honor to hear such positive comments. I am really glad you enjoyed the TR.

You know what, my wife really wants me to go back to Japan with her so we'll definitely keep in mind your recommendation about Himeji.    And yeah, the TR Pass is a hell of a deal. Our trip would not have been the same without it.

Thanks again!

WBodyroga

Topic: RE: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima On OZ & JR. TR Remake
Username: knightsofmalta
Posted 2011-10-10 00:28:52 and read 5572 times.

Hi there,

Thanks for posting, I really enjoyed that. I flew with Asiana from Frankfurt to Sydney two years a go and I thought they were absolutely brilliant, can't wait to try them again.

I really liked your pictures. I think they perfectly capture the essence of Japan as a tourist and brought back fond memories of my own trips to Japan, so thanks for that too.

William


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