The long trip home

Our return trip home was quite an adventure!

We left Kyoto around 11am in light rain as there was a Typhoon approaching Tokyo.

We arrived in Osaka by train within about an hour and a half.

Our flight to Narita was delayed about an hour but we still had enough time to collect our baggage, check-in and clear customs in Narita for our next flight and to grab some dinner.

Our flight from Narita was due to leave at 9pm and we finally boarded at 10pm.

After about 30 minutes the pilot announced there was a problem with the air conditioning and it was being attended to.

Another 30 minutes later we were told the air conditioning was fixed but as they went to fire up the engines they came across a technical problem.

Around an hour later, about midnight, we were told the technical problem was fixed but that we had passed curfew for leaving Narita and the Typhoon was approaching and we would not be allowed to leave.

So after 2 hours on the tarmac we were asked to disembark, collect our bags, go back through customs and attend the Jetstar check-in counter (with 300 other people) to make hotel and flight arrangements.

After all this, by the time we got to the check-in counter we were told that they couldn’t/wouldn’t arrange accommodation or transport, were given a list of about 15 hotels and told to make our own arrangements – by now it’s almost 1am.

Another family before us had tried the first 10 hotels which were all full, but got lucky on the 11th so we called that one first and got a room.

The hotel was about 15 minutes drive away but by now there was no transport other than taxi, which is outside at Terminal 3, and the wind and rain had become ferocious.

We queued only semi under cover in that typhoon wind and rain for over an hour to get in a taxi, by now Tess was asleep in my arms, with no seats anywhere, and Ari was very happily chatting to another Year 3 boy he met – the same family that told us about the hotel.

We got to the hotel at 2:30am and we got a text confirming to be back at the check-in at 9am for a new flight.

That new flight was also delayed.

We arrived at the Gold Coast past midnight and then had an hour and half drive home, and got in bed about 2am.

So it took us about 40 hours to get from Kyoto to Home!

Quite an adventure!

Very poorly handled by Jetstar!

Very well handled by the kids.

Nonetheless we have thoroughly enjoyed this trip to Japan and it’s sad that it’s over.

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Kyoto – Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺), is an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto. It was originally built in 778 although the present buildings were constructed in 1633, ordered by the Tokugawa Iemitsu.[3] There is not a single nail used in the entire structure.




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Kyoto – Arashiyama

Arashiyama (嵐山 Storm Mountain) is a district on the western outskirts of Kyoto, Japan. It also refers to the mountain across the Ōi River.

There’s lots to see and do here, we stayed a whole day and had to choose only a few of the many sights to see in the time we had.

The most well know is probably the Bamboo Forest.




The main temple is Tenryū-ji (天龍寺)—more formally known as Tenryū Shiseizen-ji (天龍資聖禅寺)— It is the head temple of the Tenryū branch of Rinzai Zen Buddhism and was completed in 1345! Although after many fires most of the current building was constructed after 1865.







The Moon Crossing Bridge



The Iwatayama Monkey Park on the slopes of Arashiyama. Over 170 monkeys live at the park. While the monkeys are wild, they have become accustomed to humans. It was quite a walk to the top of the hill which had fantastic views over Kyoto.



A Kimono Forest




Another big day – A great place to spend it

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Kyoto – Fushimi Inari Taisha

The Fushimi Inari Shrine is at the base of  Mount Inari and has trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines which span 4 kilometers and takes about 2 hours to walk up – we didn’t make it the whole way!

Inari is the god of rice. Since early Japan, Inari was seen as the patron of business, and merchants and manufacturers have traditionally worshipped Inari. Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha is donated by a Japanese business.  There are thousands of them!

 



So, clearly heaps of Tori Gates!

There were also lots of little shrines off to the sides of the main path.







On the way down there were lots of street food choices for lunch.




This was a big day of walking!

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Kyoto – Nijo Castle

After four nights in Osaka we moved to Kyoto which is only about an hour away on the local trains but very different to Osaka.

Our hotel here, the Mitsui Garden Hotel Shinmachi Bettei, also has hot spring baths but our room is more ‘Western Style’ and the hotel is not quite as kid friendly – although it’s very nice.



On our first day here we walked from the hotel to Nijo Castle, photo’s were not allowed inside but it was very impressive, built in 1679 it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.







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Osaka Aquarium

Osaka Aquarium is one of the largest in the world.


The main central tank has two whale sharks sharing the space with hammerheads, reef sharks, groupers and  rays.



In a separate tank there are even sun fish!


And the seals were very cute




We came mainly to see the whale sharks and sun fish but there is lots lots more to see too!

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Harry Potter World – Osaka Universal Studios

The Harry Potter World part of Universal Studios in Osaka exceeded our expectations.

The Hogsmead Street and Shops and Hogwarts Castle are very authentic and the Butterbeer tasted much better than we expected.

Since our main reason for visiting Universal Studios was for Harry Potter World I will keep our pictures of the other theme areas separate.

The park is pretty big and although we stayed only half an hour away by subway, I think it would be worth staying in the Universal Village Hotels and getting a two-day pass – but we certainly made the most of a single day.







Ari was picked to be part of the Olivander’s wand show which was pretty special for him.


The wands that the kids bought can be used around Hogsmead to cast spells.












We really loved our day here!

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