Day 10 – Thursday, October 20, 2022 – Bullet Train to Nagoya; Train Ride to Ise; Toba
Packing last night helped us to be ready at 7:00 am to take our large bags to the lobby to be shipped ahead to Kyoto. After dropping off the bags, we ate a little breakfast and then went back to the room to make sure that we had all of our belongings.
Ken arranged for taxis to pick us up at 8:15 to take us to the Tokyo Central Station. The stations were incredibly crowded because people were coming into the nearby financial district for work. These young men and women were impeccably dressed. Men wore dark conservative suits with white shirts and ties and very pointy dress shoes. The women wore short, short skirts with tall boots or long midi length skirts with stylish ankle boots with very high heels.
Ken directed us to our platform for the bullet train that would take us to Nagoya. The train was supposed to leave at 9:03, but there was a delay of three or four minutes. The crew apologized profusely several times for the inconvenience.
We had assigned seats on the train and we were lucky to be seated on the right side of the coach for great views. Riding through the countryside we saw mostly single or two-story traditional homes and almost every roof had solar panels.
There were small family gardens, green houses, rice fields, fish farms, and many baseball fields. The train traveled at 160 mph, one of the fastest in the world. Taking photos out the windows was a very tricky endeavor as we were moving so fast.
Vic was able to get a shot of Mount Fuji. The volcanic cone is inactive now but the last eruptions was in 1707. The train made several stops along the way with passengers getting on and off about every 20 minutes.
Arriving in Nagoya at 11:00, Ken walked us to regional station where we were able to buy sandwiches and a few snacks for the next portion of our journey. We boarded the Kintetsu Express train for a 90-minute ride to Yjiyamada Station.
Typical of the OAT organization, a bus was waiting for us to arrive close to 1:15 pm. Ken reminded us that we weren’t in Tokyo anymore; there were no crowds, little traffic, and it was even more quiet than the city.
We drove to the village of Ise, to see the 2000-year-old Grand Shinto Shrine. The woods surrounding this serene riverside complex is forested with ancient cypress trees, some over three thousand years old. The shrine is one of Shinto's holiest and most important sites. After a long day of sitting on the train, we were very happy to walk in this peaceful park. Ken walked with us for about an hour and then we had some free time to wander on our own.
Back on the bus, it was a few more minutes to our hotel in Toba. Our hotel is a Ryokan, a traditional Japanese-style inn often near hot springs, with an emphasis on traditional style and atmosphere.
At 6:00 we met in the lobby and Ken gave us an opportunity to ask questions and discuss many issues of Japanese culture and controversial topics. The discussion was lively and all of us learned so much more than a guidebook or regular tour guide would share with us.
Dinner was an exquisite buffet in the hotel and possibly the best meal we have had so far. There was an infinite variety of Japanese foods, all in small portions enabling us to try many different things.
We lingered until almost 8:30 and then went back to the room to prepare the journal and organize ourselves for tomorrow. A long day, but another rewarding one of learning and discoveries.
Accommodations: Todaya Hotel -- Meals included: B, & D
To receive $100 per person off your first reservation with OAT, mention the following information when reserving your Overseas Adventure Travel Trip:
Mr. Victor Garcia Customer #673062
You were lucky to see Mt Fuji; when I went it was cloud covered. It is surprising that the train was late; the apologies reflect the quality of service and the high standard they are expected to adhere to. On our trip we also stayed at a Japanese inn and got to enjoy the hot baths. Quite an experience.
What wonderful experiences. The size of that tree is amazing. The food sounds delicious, & so interesting.
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What a huge tree! Thanks for the photo to get perspective.
Day 13 - Saturday, April 22, 2022 - Depart for U.S.
The hotel prepared a box breakfast for us as we had to be in the lobby way before the breakfast room was open.
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