Maybe we’re too big for this…

Today we decided to head to Universal Studios Osaka!

We weren’t sure how crowded it would be, but the website of Universal told us they expected a crowd rating of 40 out of 100 points with 100 being “I can’t move!” so we took our chances.

Here we are in front of the gate:

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Now we just needed to buy two tickets. Rhonja picked a line and at that point I should’ve guessed we had the worst line, since that also always happens at home at the supermarket. History repeated itself since everybody in front of us wanted to buy express tickets which took ages.

Finally we were in and headed towards the park itself.

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Halfway there we were greeted by Snoopy, so we had to get our picture taken.

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The first ride we did was Spiderman. We weren’t sure if it would cause any problems since my arm was still wrapped in bandages, but luckily we could enter without problems. The indicator at the entrance told us the waiting time was arround 40 minutes, but after just 20 we were already comfortably sitting in the ride (which was great)

After this we headed towards Jaws, but it was better last time. In this ride there is a captain steering your boat, but the lady we had this time was kinda off time at every shark encounter. (she would “shoot” at Jaws but the sounds would play 3 seconds later). Still fun though. Also here the time indicated was way more than the actual waiting time.

We now headed to the Harry Potter part of the park, which was a lot less crowded compared to last time. We ¬†could actually enter the shops without waiting for 2 hours! Even went on the Hippogriff since there were not that many people. When we were at the front of the line we were taken aside but had no clue why. When the next train arrived we got to sit in the front since we were really tall and that cart provided more space ūüėÄ

Now we wanted to go on the Hollywood ride Rollercoaster, but the lady at the entrance wouldn’t let me on because of my bandages. I told her I was doing pretty much okay but still no luck. I thought it would be fine to take it off so we could both enjoy all the rides, but before we did that we went to the children’s section of the park to ride the flying Snoopy. Now that ride isn’t that spectacular since its directed at small children, it’s just a cart which you can fly a bit up and down, but the staff there wasn’t really sure if I could ride it with my arm… Luckily we managed to get on anyway.

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(also note the “ladies” in the right cart)

At that time we removed my bandages so we could enter a real Rollercoaster. Lucky for me it was doable, still can’t really stretch my arm all the way without pain but it was a risk I was ready to take.

Again only waited half the indicated time and had a blast! We got some nice views from the coaster since it goes through half the park and pretty high up.

Time for lunch! Since I already went here 2 years back I knew just where to go: Jurassic Park! Arriving there we were greeted by three raptors which almost slapped us in the face with their tails several times.

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And I don’t think we could’ve gone for a better lunch than a turkey leg with some beer.

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(Marcel looks way too happy here…)

After lunch we rode the “Jurassic Park the Ride”, which is a kind of boat tour but with some huge splashes. After that we decided to get into the “singles” line for the newest attraction of the park “the flying Dinosaur”. The singles line let’s you skip almost the entire line, you are then used to fill up the gaps in the carts. When we were let into the singles line, we were suddenly called back by the staff. They wanted to check if we werent too tall for the ride… We were put in front of a pillar which had the maximum height indicated, and then someone from the staff grabbed a small step to check if we were indeed shorter than 1.98m, luckily we were! So we could get back on the singles line.

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(we just took a path to the right which skipped this entire section, which even went below the left stairs as well.) 

Here we had our longest wait in the entire park, a whopping 40 minutes (of which 10 were because of ride inspection) and it was absolute worth it! We even got to sit next to each other even though we got on the singles line.

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As soon as your locked into your seat, it tilts 90 degrees so you’re faced downwards. You really start to wonder if the locks can hold you at this point, but it’s absolutely the best Rollercoaster we’ve ever been on! ¬†Especially loops are awesome, since then you’re falling upside down, heads first, towards the ground.

After this amazing experience we traveled to the future in the Back to the Future ride. (although the 21st of October 2015 isn’t really the future anymore) This ride was kinda terrible, we both got a bit nauseated from the rough movements and crappy video quality. But seeing the ride was made before Rhonja was even born we could’ve expected this.

Lastly we headed back to the Harry Potter part to go on the last ride we still had to do before we had done everything in the park. That ride was okay but nothing special.

After this we called it a day and headed towards the exit.

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Overal we had an amazing time! We did receive some pictures of a snowy Netherlands but in Osaka we had a comfy 25 degrees Celsius (and still most here people were wearing long trousers and sometimes even sweaters and woolen caps!) Also we can’t complain about the waiting times, I think the average was about 25 minutes, so we picked a great day to visit the park!

We absolute recommend a visit if you are near Osaka (but do check the crowd forecast on usjinfo.com). Coming Friday the “golden week” starts and it will probably be one of the worst days to visit if you actually want to get on some rides…)

Tomorrow we’ll be heading to Kyoto!

 

Storm the castle!

Before I start with today’s adventure I want to include two more pictures of Miyajima, which Rhonja totally forgot to add (she wrote our last post since I, Marcel, had some difficulty typing with my arm(which is a bit better now))

The first thing we ran into after the deer on Miyajima was one of the biggest wonders of the earth: the world’s largest rice scoup!

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After that we also had a great view of “The great Torii” of which the main picture of this blog ¬†is from

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Enough about the past, let’s continue with our new story!

Today we started off relaxed. Slept a little bit longer (since Marcel didn’t sleep that much the night before) and had breakfast in the hotel. It wasn’t that special: just some eggs, sausages, bread and coffee.

After that we decided to head towards Himeji. Public transit was a bit confusing, our navigation keeps showing us the least practical route to take, but a kind Japanese lady at the station showed us the best route.

After a short train ride of about 60 minutes we arrived at Himeji :

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In the distance we already spotted our next objective, Himeji Castle! After walking for 15 minutes we got a much better view

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Himeji Castle was great! It’s one of the few bigger castles which is still (kinda) in its original state. (the one in Hiroshima was a replica, which is understandable since they dropped a huge bomb there)

Inside there was a lot of stuff to see explaining the history of the castle during several era’s and it had some amazing views

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After we went down again, we ran into the souvenir shop where we got the medal as proof of our visit (although these photos should be sufficient as well). For some reason their mascot is a white fluffy ball wearing the castle on its head.

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Back in Himeji we decided to grab some lunch in the form of waffles. Of course these weren’t your regular kind of waffles, we had the cheese and tuna ones.

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And since the weather was really great we had a drink as well

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After our refreshments we went to the castle park. Entrance to the park was only ¬•40 yen extra (which is around ‚ā¨0.32) and in hindsight it was good deal. Though the entrance was a bit low to our liking.

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Luckily it was all worth it. Although it wasn’t that big in size,we saw at least 10 gardeners constantly taking care of leaves, dirt and plants which gave us some great shots.

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After strolling around for a bit we decided to head back to the station. At Osaka station we got lost again but finally managed to find our train back to the station near our hotel, where we opened up our app to find a good restaurant nearby. About 150 meters from our hotel was a place which seemed good.

The only thing English there was a partially translated menu, the staff knew about five English words, so it was time to brush up our Japanese a bit! It even kinda worked out. We received all the different plates we ordered, but when Rhonja asked for cold sake and received room-temperature -sake, we tried to explain we wanted cold sake but in the end we ended up with 2 bottles of sake while the waiter quickly ran away.

The food was great though. They had lots of small dishes to order which all cost the same (¥330). Since meat and vegetables were all the same price we mainly sticked to beef, salmon and chicken with some shitake mushrooms on the side. Apparently they had almost everything on a stick, including spam!

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(not sure if it’s readable since we do a lot of compression for uploading, but the dish on the left page, top right corner is spam on a stick)

After our delicious meal we ran into the nearby Family Mart (which is a small supermarket with a really catchy tune which plays when entering the store) to get our breakfast for tomorrow morning.

That is all for today!

PS. Some photos might seem slightly curved, this is because all photos¬†are taken in RAW format. My tablet needs to convert them to Jpg for uploading but it doesn’t take into account the barrel correction, which better software does.¬†

 

What goes up…

We had a great day in Hiroshima and were off to a great start with breakfast. Or so Rhonja thought, when grabbing a nice looking salad at our breakfast buffet.

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What appeared to be seaweed, taug√© and other nice things turned out to be seaweed, tiny whole¬†fish, and other things. It didn’t taste bad, just weird, and the idea was too weird for the early morning so that was flushed with plenty of bacon.

After breakfast we headed to memorial park to get on the boat to Miyajima.

At Miyajima we found, as expected, many deer. DSC00378-1

They were lazy. And hungry. We spotted a deer eating a plastic bag a person was holding.

After we dropped off our luggage we headed towards mt. Misen, passing the great Torii and the world’s largest rice spoon towards the beginning of our hike. Because obviously we can handle a 2.3km route towards the summit! It was a harsh route with uneven and regularly way too high steps, but the views were lovely and made it all worthwhile.

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Here Marcel was still running…

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And after a while we were treated to these awesome views!

And after 80 minutes (instead of the advertised 90) we arrived at the spectacular viewing point atop mt. Misen.

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As you can see the weather was taking a turn for the worse, so we decided to take the ropeway down the mountain. And we would have, were we not Dutch and it didn’t cost 10 euro’s each. So we hiked back down again in an impressive 35 minutes. On the way down Marcel slipped and hurt his arm. It didn’t seem too bad and Rhonja had a good laugh since she had just warned him to go slower. But unfortunately the pain did not subside overnight.

When we finally returned to the ryokan (hotel) we were treated to a wonderful traditional Japanese room.  (with a view of the sea) DSC00468-1

The traditional Japanese bedding took some getting used to but while Rhonja happily snored away, Marcel was in pain because of his arm.

After the next breakfast (without tiny fish) we asked the hotel if they knew of a clinic nearby and received directions for the next town over. When travelling there we felt a little lost as our route wasn’t very tourist-like whatsoever. But the people at the hospital were very friendly and even though they barely spoke English they did have a handy booklet we could fill out to describe what was wrong.

One x-ray later and we were soon outside again with a new sling and some pain medication.

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Even though we had to change plans because Marcel was stupid enough to fall down, we had a wonderful day with mild weather which we spent strolling around the city centre of Osaka. There was so much we haven’t seen it all yet, but we did have a lot of fun at a particular arcade. First just looking around the vending machines, seeing the many cool and weird things like this shifty looking pikachu.

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But among the arcade cabinets many of which Marcel unfortunately couldn’t use, we did find a Luigi’s Mansion? That was certainly a new one worth trying out! Time to bust out our vacuums and deal with a ghost infestation! Just look at those little plastic vacuums. It was awesome.

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But it was soon time to head to our restaurant where we made a reservation. Passing by many great smelling restaurants on our way there it once again turned out to be a great choice. The staff was really kind and spoke decent English, but the food was amazing. We had a lot of fun trying the different cuts of meat, cow heart, intestine and “quality stomach” (and octopus) since we went for an all you can eat/drink arrangement. Obviously we ordered wagyu beef with every order.

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Because of Marcel’s injury were not sure yet what we’ll be doing tomorrow but we’re sure to have a blast! ^o^

What a long day…

We arrived on Kansai Airport around 09:00. After  all that flying, we were glad to be on solid ground again.
Now I know the food served in planes isn’t that great, but the meals we got were awful. Our evening meal was some sort of soaked rice with a bit of pork which tasted terrible, our breakfast was r√∂sti with “I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-egg”…

At the airport we had to wait for around 20 minutes, after which we got eyescanned and fingerprinted again. Luckily the postoffice (for our hired simcard) and the ticket office (for our trainpass) were really simple to find so we boarded our bullet to our next stop

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After around 3 hours we finally arrived in Hiroshima. Since we our last “meal” was on the plane we were starving by now. On Hiroshima station we jumped into a supermarket to grab some lunch, together with lemon/honey soda and cold tea.

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Compared to the airplane food it was heaven! Finally we remembered again what “taste” was like. So there we were, enjoying our food outside if Hiroshima station. The weather was also great! Sunny and no clouds in the sky.¬†

We then decided to find the bus that would take us to the hotel, but I first had to find a place to dispose of our garbage. After walking in circles for a few minutes, the kind lady at the bus stop came up to me and told me I had to walk into the supermarket I’ve been walking past twice. She was right! Hidden in the corner of the store were the bins, and when I came back she even directed us to the next bus that would take us to our hotel.

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After dropping off our luggage at the hotel we walked around Hiroshima Peace Park, which is a 1 minute walk from the hotel. Visited the museum, the dome and even the hypocenter, which is a bit hidden in a few streets away from the park( we were the only tourists there)

It was now almost dinnertime again so we did a quick visit to Hiroshima Castle (or at least the replica). We also ran into the Pokémon Center Hiroshima, which of course we payed a visit aswel.

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And on our way back we ran into a Coco Curry house where we had a great meal. (interesting side note: Curry is the #1 dish in Japan)

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After dinner we strolled around for a bit, grabbed some drinks and snacks at Family Mart, and headed back to the hotel to relax a bit. Although we were a bit tired, we’re both luckily not that much affected by the jetlag. That’s all for now, tomorrow morning we will be taking the boat to Miyajima (it’s where all the deer are!)

For now, Kanpai! (with cooled glasses from the hotel :-D)

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Bored(ing)

Currently waiting on the plane to leave the ground. Already have been waiting for almost an hour. At least we have enough legroom:

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Flight will take arround 11 hours, we’ll arrive at 01:50 in Osaka, but over there it’ll be 08:50…

Hopefully our recovery will be smooth!

Greetings from Schiphol!

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Current Preparations!

Welcome to the blog!

The trip is almost there (just a few days left!) and of course a lot of preparations are already done.

The flight was booked over 6 months ago, since back then KLM had a pretty good deal on flights.
We made sure everything fitted in our holidays (since Rhonja has pre-determined days off) but we overlooked a small detail…

A few weeks after we booked we started making plans for our holiday, but at that time we noticed that during our trip Japan would have it’s “Golden week”.
The Golden week is a time were almost everybody in Japan has a week off from work. This means that it can be pretty crowded at tourist-spots during that time.
We’re not entirely sure¬†how “bad” it’ll be, we’ve read stories ranging from “DON’T GO!!IT’LL BE HELL” to “no worries” about the golden week, but we’ll manage ūüôā

Just to be safe we planned most of the stuff way ahead of time.
A small list of things that are already planned:

  • The tickets. We’ll be flying into Osaka and leaving from Tokyo. Not sure why I didn’t think of this last time, since it saves a lot of time traveling.
  • All the hotels. It made sense to at least have a place to sleep during the trip
  • JR-pass. Hopefully not (almost) forgetting it like last time
  • A reservation at Yakiniku Rokko. I ate here with Syb in 2011 and it was amazing. We tried to eat there in 2014 aswell, but unfortunately the place was full at that time.
  • Shirakawa-go bus tour. Also went on this one last time, but seeing this is during the Golden week we booked it way in advance