slivka.com > Trips > 2010 Japan Trip

May 9 - 19, 2010: Japan Trip!

Ben and Lisa spent 2 nights in Tokyo and 8 days on a Butterfield & Robinson bicycling trip from Wajima to Kyoto via Kanazawa and Yamanaka.


See Butterfield & Robinson Japan Biking brochure (PDF, 1.7Mb) for a detailed itinerary.

Konichiwa = Good Morning.
Hi! = Yes!
Arigato = Thank you.
Sayonara = Goodbye.

Much food, many local ingredients, great bicycling, many glazed tile roofs, azalea bushes and pansies, very green, volcanic hot springs to bathe in, yukata (informal kimono) to wear, and futons to sleep on every night. Very relaxing.

During our trip, 100 Yen = US$1.11.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of our trip was the almost complete absence of cigarette smoking. The sidewalks of Tokyo are liberally covered with No Smoking signs (apparently impregnated into the sidewalks), and we only saw 2-3 people smoking during our 1.5 days in Tokyo.

The Japanese people we encountered were unfailingly polite and helpful, with nodding/bowing and "Hi!" (Yes!) in abundance. We saw a lot of school children, and they were always wearing uniforms and were often riding bicycles (with no helmets, of course). There appeared to be a single (national?) uniform for boys, and another for girls. When we passed the children in the streets they ignored us, but when they passed in buses or we passed them at sitting inside a school building, they waved madly to capture our attention (presumably they noticed Ben's Canon digital SLR).

Ben and Lisa are barely 5'10" tall, but in Japan we felt like giants!

In the countryside -- and even in many of the smaller cities -- it seemed like rice paddies occupied every flat bit of land. We saw people working in the paddies, and they almost always appeared to be past 60 years of age -- as did most of the staff at the Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) we stayed in. Which made us wonder: who will do this work in the next generation?

In the less urban areas the buildings were almost always roofed with black glazed tiles, and in front of every home and business there was a garden of some size, most often with azalea bushes, poppies, and various green shrubs -- all very meticulously pruned and cared for.

Day Ben
Miles
Hours MPH Lisa
Miles
Wed 32.4 2.7 12.0 32.4
Thu 38.5 3.2 12.0 38.5
Fri 37.7 3.1 12.3 33.4
Sat 29.0 2.4 11.9 29.0
Sun 20.7 1.6 12.9 20.7
Mon 42.7 3.3 12.8 22.7
Tue 16.4 1.2 13.7 6.4
217.4 17.5 12.4 183.1



Note: There are 2,199 pictures, with 206,906,285 bytes of thumbnails and 8,472,448,021 bytes of full-size pictures.
Sun May-09 SEA->NRT
Mon May-10 Arrival at NRT, Grand Hyatt Tokyo, L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon
Tue May-11 Imperial Palace East Gardens, Senso-Ji Temple, Tokyo National Museum, RyuGin
Wed May-12 B & R Day 1: HND->NTQ, 32.4 bike miles, Fukushoji Temple, Shiroyone Senmaida, Noto No Sho Ryokan
Thu May-13 B & R Day 2: 38.5 bike miles, Asaichi Fish Morning Market, Soji-ji Zen Temple
Fri May-14 B & R Day 3: 37.7 bike miles, paper making, Kabuto fuishing village, Wakura-Onsen
Sat May-15 B & R Day 4: 29.0 bike miles, Notojima, Sea of Japan, Kanazawa Excel Hotel, Jardin Paul Bocuse
Sun May-16 B & R Day 5: 20.7 bike miles, Kanazawa Castle Park, Kenrokuen Garden, Kayotei Ryokan
Mon May-17 B & R Day 6: 42.7 bike miles, Shishi No Sato Brewery, Choujuan Ryokan, Natadera Temple
Tue May-18 B & R Day 7: 16.4 bike miles, Miho Museum, Westin Miyako Kyoto, Ryokan Yoshida Sanso
Wed May-19 Nijo Castle, Kyoto Station, JR Train, KIX->SFO->SEA

Last updated Saturday, September 8th, 2012.
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