“Greg and I would like to thank JTB Senior Manager Yukari-san and Moi-san for assisting us in organizing our third trip to Japan. All our arrangements worked well we had a fantastic 13 days. Hotels were excellent, from the rooms to the breakfasts and the friendly helpful staff. Hakone (Mt Fuji) deserved another day and Takayama was just lovely. Kanazawa is worth a return visit, there was more we could have seen and we look forward to another stay at the Tokyu Hotel. Hiroshima somber history, but a lovely city. Okinawa amazing food. A great holiday thanks JTB.”
- Mary-Ann and Greg
Hotel – Asakusa Hotel Akihabara Lots of shopping !
Hotel – Hakone Pax Yoshino
We joined the Sunrise Tour from our hotel in Tokyo, saw Mt Fuji from our bus window on the way to Hakone. On arrival at the 5 th Station it was very windy and we had only a short time to take some photos. We enjoyed the bus tour very much and our guide Shigy was very good.
Our Ryokan for the night, Hakone Pax Yoshino was excellent. We had a Japanese Style Room with partial open aired bath and a small balcony overlooking the river below it was so relaxing to hear the sounds of the river. The room was very spacious with Tatami Mats, our own toilet, shower, and the hot spring bath. Beautiful Yukatas were provided for us to wear. Our booking included dinner with 11 courses and breakfast the next day. It would have been better to stay a second night to explore the area.
Hotel – Green Hotel
We took a train from Odawara to Nagoya and onto Takayama. The scenery was lovely particularly from Nagoya to Takayama where we arrived in the lovely village late afternoon and immediately set out to explore. We are very glad we did, as the sun was setting we had great opportunities to photograph the old buildings. The following day we toured the local markets, floats museum, stores, teddy bear shop and craft brewery.
Again we had chosen well, the hotel and the breakfasts were great.
Hotel – Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel
Next morning we joined the Sunrise Tour to from Takayama to Kanazawa via Shirakawago.
On arrival at Shirakawago, we had a wonderful view of the village from an observation point high above then some of us chose to walk down to the village which gave us good opportunities for photographs. The lunch was very nice then we toured the village and had some free time before rejoining the bus to Kanazawa. It was a good tour and our guide Kazuko was very informative.
In Kanazawa we visited the Castle, Gardens and Seisonkaku Villa which I highly recommend doing. Then we took a local bus to the D.T. Suzuki Museum ( Zen philosopher ). It is a small museum but was wonderful to be there, read his history, view some books in the learning centre and have some quite time for reflection. Then took the loop bus to the Gold Leaf Museum where it was fascinating to learn about the art. A shop not far from our hotel specializes in the art of Temari. Some of the pieces were just wonderful to see. One regret is that we did not make a reservation for a special lunch that was highly recommended to us by the JTB staff. When we arrived at the location we could see it was a mistake, so next time we will definitely book !
Across a connecting bridge from the castle are the Kenrukeon gardens. They are spectacular and wonderfully laid out. It was a delight to view the changing colours of the foliage in autumn.
In the evening we stumbled across a small bar that was just opening at 7pm as we walked past.
There is much to see in Kanazawa and we wish we had one more day here.
I highly recommend the Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel. Everything about it was awesome. We were greeted by a welcome Geisha, the staff were friendly and helpful one of which spoke perfect English making our request for directions to local attractions so much easier. Our room was lovely, the selection and quality of food at breakfast was very good. It is located on the main road, a little away from the train station, but close to the main shops and Castle and Gardens. There are many restaurants in the surrounding streets, and a small Uniqulo store in the same building.
Hotel – Hiroshima Tokyu Hotel
From Kanazawa we took the Thunderbird Train to Shin-Osaka then onto Hiroshima. We visited the Atomic Dome and Peace Museum, both very moving experiences. We both remarked on the quietness of the area and the peaceful walk alongside the river. We were glad we were able to visit.
The following day we took the train to Miyajama and used our JR Pass for the ferry across to the island. It was very busy there. Lots of places to eat and get souvenirs.
Our hotel was in a good location close to the Peace Park, entertainment and shopping. The staff very helpful and the breakfast was in a large airy room with lots of choice.
We were very fortunate to be in Hiroshima when the Illuminations were on display. Many families were enjoying the wonderful art that had been created. Plus there was a 3 day festival on which had made the town very busy with people and there were lots of street food stalls with amazing food and desserts to try – good timing !
Again, JTB staff had recommended a particular restaurant to try Okonomimura Pancake. It was very difficult to find but we are so glad we kept looking and asking directions. The lady chef was taking orders, serving drinks, cooking and serving all while her head was turned to watch Manga on her TV ! The food was delicious.
The second night we found the Hiroshima Diner where we had an amazing dinner.
Fukuoka / Hakata
Hotel – Tokyu Hotel
We only stayed here one night and unfortunately did not have time to look around very much.
The hotel was very close to the subway so we could get to the airport easily the next day, and is only 5 minutes away from the train station. The staff were friendly and helpful.
Hotel - Okinawa Tokyu Hotel
We took the monorail from the airport to the hotel. From the station there is a pedestrian walkway from the station to the hotel a little difficult to navigate at first but once you found the way it was easy to take the monorail to other places.
We had hoped to hire a car and had our drivers and international drivers license with us but were told we needed some “translation certificate” which would take an hour to do, so we decided instead to look around the main road in Naha which was filled with souvenir shops and restaurants.
The following day we went to one of the islands by high speed ferry which left at 9am. We were glad we took a taxi from the hotel to ferry terminal as from the outside it looked like a hotel entrance.
In hindsight, we would have been better to take the advice of the JTB Staff ! and stay further up the island for one or 2 nights instead off all 3 in Naha.
Two of the three nights we had dinner at the same restaurant as the food was delicious.
Okinawan purple potato tempura, Chicken Teriyaki, Fried Dumpling and the most crunchy Cesar Salad.
We visited the “Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters”
It was very sad to see these underground caves and learn of the history relating to 1945. It was difficult to find. We took a local bus from the terminal which was close to our hotel.
Bus 55, 98, 88 but it leaves from outside of the bus terminal on the other side of the road. It took us around 12 minutes from there we got lost like so many I read online before us! Walk up the steep steps when you get off the bus. Cross straight over the lights. Walk straight to the next intersection turn left and it is ahead of you up a winding road.
Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel
A tie between the bar in Hiroshima, and the restaurant in Okinawa.
Both pictures and business cards are above.