My Trip To Japan 2013 - Part II

On the Ferris Wheel at Tokyo Dome

On another day, we took our time (as we got more than a little bit lost, thank goodness for the kindness of a young woman how spoke VERY good english, having spent a couple years abroad in America) getting to tokyo dome. If you are a baseball fanatic then you just might know that this is the home base for the Yomiuri Giants. Honestly this meant absolutely nothing to the group I was travelling with, so we spent most of the day exploring the theme park. With Roller coasters, Water slides, Ferris Wheels (with a stunning view of the city), Go-carts and more!

TIP : Unfortunately a lot of attractions were closed to us because we were travelling during winter. The same thing happened to us a few days later at Fuji-Q

Legitimetly TERRIFIED at the Haunted Hospital at Fuji-Q

A two hour bus ride from shinjuku got us up to fuji-q amusement park !!! The general entrance fee, excluding rides, was around $12 AUD and rides as a rule of thumb were somewhere between $4 and $10. If you make the effort to get to Fuji-Q then you absolutely must experience the haunted Hospital (this coming from a girl who can't watch thriller and horror movies on her own :S). Upon entering, they sit your group down on a small metal slab and show you a truly erie short film about what happened to the Hospital. They suddenly drop the seat/slab down about an inch and capture your utter shock and terror in a gloriously unflattering image (as you can see above). Then you are given one flash light and sent on to poop your pants as you make your way through the hospital with all sorts of people jumping out and chasing you. The Japanese sure do know how to do heart pumping scary!!!

TIP : If you know that you won't be able to make it through the whole Hospital, they do have little escape exits that you can duck out of!!

Chowing down those Dippin' Dots 
The rides at Fuji-Q.

In stark comparison, my favourite ride - the swing chair - was incredibly peaceful and gave you an astonishing view of the surrounding are and of mt fuji. It also gave us numb fingers, nose, toes and teeth, so maybe don't do it during winter huh? As is usual in theme parks there a number of devilishly unhealthy places to eat at Fuji-Q. Pizza-La express is not something I would recommend - as accustomed to top notch pizza as we westerners are it was more than a bit of a let down to us and we were so excited having been deprived for so long. However we more than made up for this disappointment with delicious crepes and Dippin' Dots (tiny little balls of ice-cream as you can see in an above picture). 

At Fuji-Q amusement Park

After tiring of the rides at Fuji-Q we hoped on a beautiful Harry Potter-esk train, at the back of the amusement park, which dropped us off in a town further towards Mt Fuji. From the station we too a beautiful senic bus to see the Ice caves at the base of Mt Fuji.

TIP : Due to bad planning on our part, we weren't actually able to get off of the bus that drove us up to the base of Mt Fuji, as the next scheduled bus to take us back to the station wouldn't get us there until after our train was due to depart. Remember to give yourself lots of time when booking these things in. Luckily we had managed to spy it several times from the theme park and from the bus. 

"Harry Potter" train to Mt Fuji
Bus to Mt Fuji Ice Caves
Mt Fuji
tokyo tower is another icon that you should take yourself to see. It is very similar in appearance to the Eiffel Tower and looks absolutely stunning at night! Its about $10 AUD to get in and you can go souvenir crazy inside.

Haha "Climbing" Tokyo Tower
Jizo statues at Zozoji Temple 
After seeing Tokyo Tower we took ourselves on a little wander and came across zozoji temple. For me it was very emotional walking the grounds, as it is known for the tiny stone Jizo statues in the cemetery which represent the unborn (stillborn, aborted and miscarried) children of Japan. The statues are dressed up beautifully in red knitted hats and scarfs and surrounded by flowers. Not really a trip for the feint hearted.
The next day was a very early start for us, leaving our flat in Ikejiri-Ohashi we caught a train from Shibuya to Negoya, and the from Negoya we caught a train to gero

Traditional Japanese banquet 

If Akihibara was a show of modern day Japan then Gero was a show of all things traditional.  Here we stayed in a traditional Ryokan (Japanese hot spring hotel) situated above a calm and charming village in Gero. We experienced sleeping on Tatami mats, wearing kimonos and our very own Japanese Banquets. Really our whole trip had been planned around this one experience and it was my absolute favourite thing about our trip to Japan. We were lucky enough to see snow fall and fireworks while sitting in the hot springs, it was so enchanting to watch. This particular Ryokan was also proud to boast that they hosted the Showa Emperor.

In our Kimonos in the room the Showa Emperor and Empress stayed
TIP : You can only really visit Hot springs during the winter months as they are MUCH too hot during summer. The hot springs do absolute wonders for your body and general health so stay in as long as you can but don't push yourself!!! The hot springs we visited were natural and surrounded by rocks that you could perch upon when it became too overwhelming.  

Tatami mats 
If you are not afraid of a little bit of exercise then it was actually a really nice to walk down, from the ryokan into town. If not, there is a small bus that will take you up and down.  Again there are some great traditional souvenir shops around and lots of places to grab some traditional Japanese grub!!!

As you are obviously not allowed to take a camera into the
hot springs I borrowed this photo from the internet to show
 you how stunning it really was 
After spending three days in Gero we then moved on to part two of our trip, kyoto.
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