Posted on Sunday, November 20, 2005 03:23, by Teri
Hello, all! Sorry for the delay in writing... The past few months have been filled with no news or not good news, during which time I find it difficult to post.
Richard and I left for Osaka, Japan on November 15. We spent the first 4 days at the Nikko Hotel, Kansai-Osaka Airport. What a WONDERFUL time, and such a beautiful room (very "western"). We had the luxury of a large room, a large bathroom, several restaurants, and a complimentary breakfast buffet each morning after our night's stay. The breakfast alone was worth the stay!
Breakfast Buffet at the Brasserie
There were basically two rounds of buffet tables - the one with mostly Western fare, the other with mostly Japanese fare. Also, there was a salad line and a drink line. My typical breakfast consisted of coffee, tomato juice, lettuce greens salad with a wonderful soy type dressing. A soup sometimes Miso (spelling?) - a better one was similar to egg-drop soup but with a soy/beef flavored base. Then scrambled eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, and a croissant. Dessert was a mix of fresh fruits (I always had orange, melon and pineapple) with apple danish. I probably gained 500 pounds on breakfast alone.
Richard was more adventurous with breakfast, typically taking from the Japanese fare table, with smoked salmon, a variety of tuna salads, tofu, and other things I couldn't possibly identify. All in all, we LOVED the breakfast buffet - one hop in the elevator which was always immediately there - then down a few floors and into a culinary delight!
A Trip out for the Day
Leaving the hotel for a day trip was also a "walk in the park" - just take the elevator down to the second floor, walk out the entrance, and there immediately were the two railways servicing the airport. We took JR (Japan Rail) each time.
The first day we traveled to Himeji - a wonderful train ride from Kansai-Osaka to Shin-Osaka, and then a transfer to the "bullet" for the trip to Himeji. Talk about a fast, smooth train ride. What a joy. We went to the Himeji castle (I'll be posting pictures soon, I promise), then to the Japanese gardens to the left of the castle.
The second day we traveled to Kyoto - this was a direct (with a few interim stops) from the Kansai-Osaka airport station to the Kyoto station. Here we visited two prime spots - the first, the Buddhist temple, where we were fortunate enough to arrive just in time for a service; the second to Nijo Castle (where the Shogun lived). Instead of taking a tour bus or taxi, we opted to walk, and were AMAZED to find the walk to get to both places to be just at 3 miles.
Unfortunately, our photos at Kyoto are limited to exteriors only - protocol does not allow photography inside these rather sacred structures.
The third day, we stayed "close to home". We didn't leave the Kansai-Osaka airport area; rather, we took a bus to the Observation Hall and enjoyed a few hours of plane take-offs and landings, as well as viewing the history of the construction of the man-made island which hosts the airport and some information on various planes. We took lots of pictures, but we don't seem to be that good at taking photos of take-off's and landings. *LOL*
Which brings us to the fourth day - which is today. Today is Sunday here; we changed hotels. What an experience. Our home base for the next 3 days is in Shin-Osaka, and we took the train over. We had to wait until 4:00 pm to check in, so we walked the town (Sunday, most things are closed) and then had a totally *wonderful* mid-afternoon supper at an Indian restaurant (all you can eat, great food).
When we checked into our hotel here, what a NEW experience!!!!!!!!!! This room is about the size, Richard says, of the economy rooms on an ocean cruise. There is enough room for the bed, the desk I am at right now (which also holds the tv, the phone, and the teapot), and the bath is very tiny!!! The closet is deep enough to hold my shoes (thank goodness), and has 3 clothes hangers.
What I love about Japan
People are very courteous. VERY courteous.
All hotels come with night clothing and slippers.
Tea is everywhere, and of course in the hotel rooms.
Almost everything is clean. I'm used to dirty things in America. Here, there is an inordinate amount of cleanliness.
The vending machines. They are everywhere, and you can get almost anything you want from them. Hot beverages, cold beverages. Soups. Smokes. You name it.
What Beffuddles me about Japan
I can't read a thing (ok, I can read 1% of what I see - the rest is in Japanese).
I can't talk to anyone (ok, I can talk to 1% of the people I see, the rest speak Japanese).
Watching TV is difficult. Can't understand a thing they say. Well, sometimes it just doesn't matter. *smiles*
What I hate about Japan
Not a thing. Lovely country!