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Planning the trip, Countdown to lift off

Linz, Austria



So, it’s less than two weeks to go now, and things are busy with some leftover preparations and going over the plan in order to actually reach my destination. My things are mostly packed, the weight of the pack was checked and found to be bearable and there is plenty of room for souvenirs to be brought home (requests, suggestions?).

Talking about souvenirs: Gift giving and bringing souvenirs from travels is an art in Japan and quite essential. Thus, I will be bringing some souvenirs from Austria to give away. Just gotta find a way how to pack them…

Anyway, I think the first real challenge, after surviving 14 hours of flight, will be to get from the airport to the guest house in Kyoto I will be staying at the first few weeks.

Guest Houses:
I find guest houses to be the ideal accommodation for travelers who plan to stay an extended amount of time in one area. They are cheaper than hotels, you can get in contact with the house owner and other residents easily and comfortably and while not as authentic as staying with a host family, you still can get a pretty good feeling of the lifestyle of the locals. There usually are no meals included, but where is the fun in getting served all the time when there is an exciting city outside waiting to be explored (and many many foods to try)?

This particular house I will stay at, Yurakuso (http://homepage3.nifty.com/yurakuso/), is managed by a couple having accommodated travelers of all nations for 35 years and counting.
My guess is that I will arrive there at about 3 p.m., after roughly 20 hours of travel and I expect to be pretty tired by then, so taking a stroll near the Kamogawa river and grabbing something to eat will probably be all I’ll do that day. Perhaps finding a good map of the area, too.

I have got a Japan Rail Pass for the first week in Kyoto, so expect me to travel around quite a bit in that time and not so much to visit Kyoto itself. Gotta use what you have as long as it lasts, and the thing is expensive enough with the EUR/YEN rates and all.

After this first Rail Pass I still will have one 7-day and two 14-day passes to be used later, one other for Kyoto, one for traveling to and around Tokyo as well as for my stay in Hokkaido and one for the last week before flying home to Austria.

So long and stay tuned,
JuergenS

Edit: Updated the picture to one I took myself.

permalink written by  JuergenS on June 23, 2010 from Linz, Austria
from the travel blog: Two month of Japan
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Preview: Eiheiji

Kyoto, Japan



I will visit the Eiheiji temple tomorrow, one of the two main temples of the Soto sect (Zen Buddhism). It consists of about 70 buildings and is well visited all year long.

As for today, I spent the day at Yurakuso bringing sleep, hydration and personal hygiene to Normal levels and relaxing.

Stay tuned,
JuergenS

permalink written by  JuergenS on July 7, 2010 from Kyoto, Japan
from the travel blog: Two month of Japan
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Preview: Hiroshima

Kyoto, Japan



For the next two days I will be exploring Hiroshima. While known to the world pretty much only as the target used for testing "Little Boy", it actually is an thriving and lively town. The attack killed one third of Hiroshima's inhabitants, and approximately as many in the years to follow, but the people recovered and are now as proud as one can be of their very own culture. There are lots of shopping and entertainment districts/streets and a lot to see.
But of course, the Peace Memorial Park, Museum, the Flame of Peace and the Bakudan-Dome remain the number one reasons for tourists to visit.

So long and stay tuned,
JuergenS

permalink written by  JuergenS on July 9, 2010 from Kyoto, Japan
from the travel blog: Two month of Japan
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Preview: Next Week

Kyoto, Japan


As I said before, I will stay in Kyoto for a while now. This first week got me pretty tired, to be honest, and constantly hearing, reading and talking Japanese is straining too.
Well, this week is the Gion Matsuri anyway (starting Wednesday, lasting four days) with gigantic floats being pulled through the streets and lots of stalls left and right to try some food or your hand at traditional games. The festial actually spans the whole month of July, but those four days are the main part.

Also, I plan to do some cultural and culinary posts in the future too. Most probably there won't be a post from me everyday, but I will still keep you updated.

So long and stay tuned,
JuergenS

permalink written by  JuergenS on July 12, 2010 from Kyoto, Japan
from the travel blog: Two month of Japan
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Preview: Yokohama and end of solo traveling

Tokyo, Japan


Tomorrow I will visit Yokohama for its Chinatown and Landmark Tower. Also it would be kinda weird to live in Yokohama for a month and never get to its center, no?

Also, starting next Monday I won't be traveling alone anymore, as my girlfriend will finally join me for the last two weeks of this journey. One week in Tokyo, the other in Kyoto and heading back home from Narita, that about sums it up. We will do some things I already wrote about (I will dump some pictures of those, if we take interesting ones) as well as visit places I do not know yet. I will try to keep you updated.

So long and stay tuned,
JuergenS

permalink written by  JuergenS on August 19, 2010 from Tokyo, Japan
from the travel blog: Two month of Japan
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