Japan Cherry Blossoms

April 2004

Kathy & Gemma enjoy Virgin's in flight bar on the 12hr flight
Honda's Asimo walking, dancing robot
Shugaku-in Rikyu Imperial Villa, Kyoto
With the Nishimuras in Kobe
The brand new Tsubame Kyushu Shinkansen
A-bomb dome, Hiroshima


We'd planned it for a long time but suddenly Easter was rushing nearer and we hadn't booked anything plus we would be away skiing for one of the weeks. The easy part was getting the flights booked with Virgin once we knew when our Japanese friends were free to see us but the rest took some planning. Lots of scouring the internet and some help from our friends the Mizoguis, the Okubos and the Nishimuras and we had a plan.

The idea had been to have a couple of weeks over the Easter holidays to tour Japan when Kathy and Gemma were old enough to enjoy and appreciate the culture and experience but before the exam treadmill and revision took over. So it had to be this year. And it wasn't going to be a tour of just the standard tourist sights and hotels but a chance to experience it Japanese style. That meant booking minshuku and ryokan with their tatami rooms and futon beds rather than hotels

Easter is an ideal time to visit as the temperatures are comfortable before the oppressive summer heat and humidity and the famous Japanese cherry blossom is out.

With a busy itinerary we had no room for bulky suitcases so it was a rucksack each only - quite a challenge for two teenage girls but one they rose to magnificently.

Our tour was to start in Tokyo for the city and technology then take the bullet train with the Misoguis to Kyoto for history and culture. From there a brief visit to the Nishimuras in Osaka and a chance to park some of the shopping before a trip down to the southern island of Kyushu with its hot springs, volcanoes and the city of Nagasaki. We would stop off at Hiroshima for its A-bomb memorials before a long weekend with the Nishimuras and their three girls, Rika, Kana and Mari where Kathy and Gemma had the experience of dressing and going out in traditional kimonos.

[This page is work in progress and will be added to over coming weeks with the rest of the story]



Cherry Blossom in Shinjuku-gyoen, Tokyo
Exquisite food
Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto
One of Beppu's "Hells", Kyushu
Mt Aso Crater, Kyushu
Cycling at Lake Biwa