May 18, 2017

Final Thoughts On Japan

What an amazing trip!  We would absolutely love to go back!  Alex and Kana will be in Japan for another 16 months before Alex is stationed back in the US.  So we likely won't be visiting them in Japan again.

Our time there was always different.  I doubt we repeated a meal or an experience twice.

I told you about Kyoto a few posts ago.  I left out a few places we visited while in the area.

we had a corner room on the 5th floor

the Kyoto rail station is across the street
The room that Kana reserved for us while in Kyoto was perfect.  It was across the street from the train/bus station.  It made it super convenient for us to plan our days travel.  Plus breakfast was included.  So that made it easier to start our day.

Our day trip included a river, cherry blossoms, a bamboo forest and souvenir shopping.

boat rentals are popular at the base of Katsura River

another type of boat rental
Katsura River is a popular destination for many reasons.  For us it was simply so we could do some sight seeing.  The river itself was full of boats.  There were two styles that we saw.  One was row boats.  The other was a skiff of sorts.  Passengers get to sit back and relax while the captain walks along the front section of the boat while propelling it forward with the use of a long pole.  He starts in the center of the boat, plants the pole on the bottom of the river and then walks to the front tip of the boat.  The repeated action must get tiring.

The cherry trees were in near full bloom.  We passed by this particular one and although it doesn't show too well in the photos, the color was quite vivid.

We continued to walk through the park and came upon  Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.  The area is crowded but we get a few good pictures.  The trees are the attraction for us.  There are temples which we don't visit.  I think we've all had our fill of temples.  The grounds of one of the temples has cherry blossom trees.  Kana asks and finds out that the flowers aren't showing much.  There is an entrance fee so we forego the stop and instead visit the nearby shops and eateries.

We bought a pair of handcrafted chopsticks for each of us.  They offer free engraving.  How could we pass that up.  While waiting for the engraving, we venture across the street and pick up some plum jelly.

we'll need to practice our newly acquired skill
To finish out our day we planned to visit the Geisha district.  On the bus ride there is when Ron realizes he isn't feeling so well.  We still walk around for a bit but we're too late for the show.

Geocaching is a world wide activity.  There are several caches hidden near Alex's apartment.  I map them out and the one day when both Alex and Kana had to work, Ron and I ventured out by ourselves in search of a few finds.

The first on our list was magnetic and hidden on the ledge of a large bulletin board.  It was small and only contained a log sheet and a couple tiny trinkets.  We added our signature to the log and a trinket of our own.  Our first foreign cache! :-)


The second cache was also magnetic.  This one was called Three-Horned Dinosaur.  It took us on a walk in the nearby neighborhood.  The log and it's contents were hidden on the underside of this soda machine.  Ron was the brave one who stuck his hand under there to retrieve the find.

We continued on our cache hunting trip.  We looked high and low but couldn't find our third attempt.  Oh well, it was fun to get out and go exploring the streets of Okinawa by ourselves.  

I left the best for last!!  Rocky loves his home in Okinawa.  He is always a fun subject for my camera lens.

he's pooped from all his playtime :-)


  1. What a fun trip. And what great timing that you were able to see the cherry blossoms. I love those tall slender trees (bamboo?). Cute kitty. So did you leave your TB in Japan while you were geocaching?

    1. It was a trip of a lifetime for us!! We planned to be there around the time the blossoms were showing but Mother Nature can be unpredictable. Glad we caught them near the peak :-) Yes, the bamboo forest was quite impressive. The trees, as a complete guess, were maybe 40' tall. Rocky has been with Alex for many moves. He's been in Florida, Oklahoma, California and now Okinawa. He's quite the traveler :-) Our TB is currently in Maryland. We dropped it off here in Sacramento. Someone picked it up, traveled with it for awhile and dropped it off on his trip to MD a few days ago. It's pretty cool that we get notifications when it's retrieved from or dropped off in a cache.

    2. Yes, it is fun to watch where they go. If you look on your statistics page you should have an international badge! Cool. We forgot to do it while in Mexico but we'll try to remember when we get to Maine if we day trip up to Canada!

    3. I didn't know that. Just looked at my profile. How cool :-) You guys sure keep busy with it!!

  2. The blooms are beautiful, and I love the tall bamboo groves!! What a wonderful opportunity to see so much of the country. International Geocaching - how fun is that?! Hope you're practicing with your special chopsticks :-)))

    1. There was so much color there! We truly enjoyed all of our adventures!! I need to make more chopstick friendly meals...


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