click here to go to Zach's June 2016 page

Zach's May 2016 02 - Kyoto, Hiroshima and Disney Sea

(Warning: May consists entirely of our trip to Japan (although it only lasted 2 weeks!), and has therefore been broken down into two pages - and includes MANY pictures! This is the second half: Kyoto, Hiroshima and Disney Sea.)

To accommodate the smoking population in Japan - while protecting the rest of us - they have enclosed 'smoking rooms'! Here, in Tokyo Station. (There were dedicated smoking rooms on the train, too!) 2016-05-12

Here comes our bullet train! :=D The lady in pink, there, is one of the cleaning crew who passes through each car between loads of passengers, changing headrest covers, etc. 2016-05-12

...Apparently we are travelling at a decent rate of speed - this is the view through the window from the Shinkansen! 2016-05-12

Yay, a beautiful view of majestic Mount Fuji! :=) (as seen from the train) 2016-05-12

In Kyoto, we explored a bit and grabbed a bite to eat. Mommy continued to be the adventurous one - this is takoyaki... which, she later discovered, are octopus balls! :=O (Good news: made of octopus, not testicles thereof!! :=D ) 2016-05-12

After finding & dropping our stuff at our hostel, we ventured out to and up the mountain at Arashiyama. That's Kyoto in the background! 2016-05-12

One of the big attractions at Arashiyama is the Iwatayama Monkey Park :=) (And oh, the monkeys we saw!) 2016-05-12

Oooh, oooh, Mommy found more gorgeous manhole covers! :=) (-She felt nostalgic, with those maple leaves!) 2016-05-12

Heading into the bamboo grove (Oh, looky there, a vending machine!) 2016-05-12

Look up, waaaay up... :=) (bamboo trees in the bamboo grove!) 2016-05-12

The next day, we rented bicycles (*a brilliant move for engaging the boy child!) and tootled around Kyoto. 2016-05-13

...Admittedly, we didn't realise we would be heading up this hill, amidst all these people, with our bikes! :=D 2016-05-13

At the top of that hill was Kiyomizudera Temple.(Oh, whoops, this is only the gate! The temple itself wasn't vermillion, but very large and impressive.) 2016-05-13

Ah, poor boy :=\ - he'd had enough of temples and shrines, already! Here, he's awaiting our turn to enter “The Buddha’s Womb” - a pitch-black basement that symbolizes a mother's womb. 2016-05-13

...We thought often of the origins and true purposes of these temples and shrines, and harkened back to Biblical stories of "moneychangers in the temple" :=( 2016-05-13

:=) 2016-05-13

After Kyomizudera, we ambled back down into Kyoto and to the Nishi Honganji temple. (These are amazing edifices - some dating back a few hundred years!) 2016-05-13

As in Tokyo, there were lots of cyclists in Kyoto, too. Check out the front baby/child carrier they use! 2016-05-13

We rode along the riverbank pathway, up to the fork in the river and to these stepping stones. Finally, something moderately fun for Zach to do! :=) 2016-05-13

That evening we headed to reknowned Ponto-chō Alley. It was quaint, but we didn't eat there or see any geishas, alas. 2016-05-13

We did find some interestingly flavoured marshmallows, on that walk, however! :=D 2016-05-13

The next day we headed back onto the Shinkansen (bullet train) - we reached speeds in excess of 300km/h! (We only got a screen shot of 299! :=D ) 2016-05-14

This is a view from the train, on our way to Hiroshima -- NOT crazy-industrialised citiscape! 2016-05-14

We found more robots :=) 2016-05-14

We also found the Atomic Bomb Domb - the hospital above which the atomic bomb detonated :=( 2016-05-14

Peace Memorial Park 2016-05-14

Peace Memorial Museum was very sobering and eye-opening :=( 2016-05-14

That afternoon we headed down to Itsukushima (Miyajima) Island, where we were surprised to see deer on the beach! (-As you do...) 2016-05-14

Those were some mighty domesticated, agressive deer - they wanted to eat, and they weren't shy about it! 2016-05-14

Meanwhile, the boy got to be a boy for a little while :=) 2016-05-14

:=D (-The things we do to get our kid in a photo without rolling his eyes...!) 2016-05-14

--See what the deer did to the brochure in Daddy's pocket?! It got his shirt, too! (Got it wet, but didn't damage it, thankfully!) 2016-05-14

The beautiful, 'floating' Great Torii. (-A different experience at low tide, apparently!) 2016-05-14

...Have I mentioned that he quickly grew really bored of shrines & temples?! :=\ (We didn't spend much time <or money> at this one!) 2016-05-14

We got to try a local delicacy: maple leaf-shaped cookies, 'Momiji Manju' (which taste nothing like the 'maple' flavour we know, incidentally! -they're sweet but filled with fillings like red bean paste) 2016-05-14

Hey! :=D ...?! What's the Philly Phanatic doing way down here on Itsukushima Island?! (Here's your answer: he's Slyly, the mascot for the Hiroshima Carp baseball team!) 2016-05-14

That night, we took in a Hiroshima specialty for dinner: okonomimura! (Mommy's gonna have to try to recreate this, sometime, at home... for her own benefit, if not her boys'! :=D ) 2016-05-14

Voilà. -Mommy enjoyed it! :=) (The boys fared ok...) (Notice, they're doing a stellar job with chopsticks, too!) 2016-05-14

Part of the attraction was this: the entire floor of this building was filled with virtually identical booths (just different chefs) offering virtually identical food!?... 2016-05-14

We returned to visit the A-Bomb Dome, close-up, after dinner. It was sobering... The building looks relatively intact, considering what occurred.... 2016-05-14

But once you see the expanse of the rubble on the ground around it,...! 2016-05-14

We stayed in a traditional ryokan for the night. Pretty cool! 2016-05-14

The next morning we packed up and headed to see the Yamato Musem to see Daddy's beloved Battleship Yamato! :=) (The battleship Yamato was a Japanese WWII battleship; the space battleship from Starblazers was based on this.) 2016-05-15

In addition to lots of World War II naval history, the museum had some fun stuff for kids, too :=) 2016-05-15

After our visit to the Yamato Museum, we headed back to Tokyo, for our last full day in Japan........ to Zach's much-anticipated destination: DISNEY SEA!! :=D (This is the atrium of the Tokyo Bay Maihama Hotel Club Resort - !) 2016-05-15

Zach's favourite ride was Journey to the Center of the Earth - we went on it twice, with the intention to go a third! 2016-05-16

-There we are! :=) 2016-05-16

Aesthetically, Disney Sea is a beautiful place! :=D 2016-05-16


This is why we didn't get to go for a third spin. :=\ (MUCH to poor Zach's dismay!) 2016-05-16

Well, the time has come to start heading home again.... Meanwhile, we had some time to kill before our flight! 2016-05-17

:=D 2016-05-17

We found this delicacy at a Narita airport shop. .....Huh?! (Why would they do that to something so good?! :=( ) 2016-05-17

Zach found another robot to play with. :=) (It would be much more enjoyable if the robot spoke *English*! :=D ) 2016-05-17

Ho-o-omeward bound... :=) (Nope, Zach still doesn't want his picture taken!) 2016-05-17

    click here to go to Zach's June 2016 page