PatSharpsMullet wrote:I'm off to Japan tomorrow. Don't get there till Tuesday though.
If you're lucky there might still be a few places with cherry blossom. Full bloom was the end of last week but there might be leaves on the trees if it doesn't rain or get particularly windy before Tuesday.
Off to Mt. Fuji at the moment. Bit of a ball ache to get to. My Tokyo hotel has a handy so I basically get a free phone. But wifi is free and in lots of public places so I had been coping on my phone in Kyoto and hiroshima. Also O2 is a fiver a day for all data usage so not had any connection issues. I know there were lots of phone queries. (3 is extortionate though)
Best place so far waa miyajima (free train and ferry with JR pass).
It's been really nice weather the past week or so too (I was abroad before then and like when I landed back in Japan the temperature had kicked up a bit). April is a great time to visit, even if I am old and jaded by the sakura now.
Also I was really disappointed with the inside of Himeji Castle (and indeed, any Japanese castle). They look beautiful on the outside but inside they are often just a hollow shell with wooden stairs that can be strawberry floating treacherous when you have to go up in socks.
Himeji was like one of those rollercoaster queues. Except the end of the queue is when you leave the castle. Guess that is the cost of being a tourist in sakura season. The castles are better from the outside as inside the keep there is little due the minimalist style of Japanese and it all being wooden.
Nijo castle in Kyoto was much better inside because it was actually a palace. We went Ichiran today. Definitely worth a trip. Try and go out of peak eating times to avoid the queues.
I was unimpressed with Ichiran too. Thought the huddles were quite thin and cardboardy. Like the stuff you get in isntant packets. Maybe I'm just old and jaded. Only been the once a few years back, so might go try it again sometime. It's got branches in New York and stuff now, and foreign visitors from America normally rave about it. The only thing that stood out for me was that you could basically make it your own little private ramen booth.
I quite liked Inuyama castle but you might not be heading that way. The vast majority of them are reconstructions but half a dozen of them are the real thing.
Denster wrote:Thinking about the JR pass. If we're not going to travel outside of Tokyo much is it worth getting? Possibly might do a day trip to Kyoto.
Not really worth it for one day trip, though you could pop along to Mount Fuji or something on it and make it worthwhile. City travel in Tokyo is pretty cheap so won't cost a fortune compared to a JR pass. How long are you going for now?