Nara to Tokyo

It can’t be denied, our fantastic trip to Japan is coming to an end soon – but not before two more nights in Tokyo.

Still in Nara, we crossed the main road nearby and checked out a department store complex; grabbing breakfast, then wandering around a supermarket and several levels of shops. The variety of food available in the supermarket was amazing – so much fresh, good quality fruits, veggies and meats it puts our sad little selections in Nelson (and even Sydney) to shame. We bought supplied for our train trip (some sushi and noodles and a beer for me), and I also bought a couple of small notebooks.

Mickey picked us up to take us to the train station. He gave us a lovely little gift of decorations his 80-year-old grandmother makes, and we gave him a set of New Zealand wooden coasters. He was excited, as he said he was decorating another Airbnb apartment next door in ‘wood and green’ so they would fit right in!

We hugged goodbye at the train station with many laughs. Great guy.

Easy train trip to Kyoto, a short wait, then onto the shinkansen for a very comfortable two and a half hour trip to Tokyo. Sadly, when we passed Mt Fuji it was overcast, so we didn’t get to see the mountain, as we’d hoped.

At Tokyo station we were plunged back into the mayhem of Tokyo, and it took us a few minutes to adjust and get our bearings to find the right subway line for the 20 minute ride to Shibuya. It was a short walk from there to the hotel. Carol upgraded us considerably from her first choice of hotel, so our room has a king-size bed and a view of the skyline of Tokyo in all its Blade Runnerish-glory; skyscraper-tall video screens and all.

We had a drink at the bar – I had a Yamazuki 12 year old single malt, which was excellent – then headed out into the cool Tokyo evening.

Shibuya is a big nightlife area and even on a Sunday night the streets were packed; the buildings were huge neon-and-video animated lego blocks, and our every sense was bludgeoned into making us feel like 13 year olds with attention deficit disorder. We wandered the streets and eventually found our way to one of the top floor department store restaurant levels, and a place where we ate hot pots of veggies, noodles and rice.

Carol’s stomach was a bit off, but she soldiered on. It’s all very exciting, but like a kid on red cordial you crash pretty quickly. There seemed to be thousands of young girls about, going out for dinner and shopping, and in fact a lot of the culture seems directed to ‘girly’ fashion and obsessions. They must be the biggest group with the most disposable income.

After a while we found our way back to the hotel bar for tea (Carol) and a Maker’s Mark bourbon on ice (me). Amazing view out over the city.

Only one more night in Japan …

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