Tokyo, Japan

We returned to Tokyo for the last leg of our trip. For the first two nights, Jess and I stayed at a traditional Japanese-style inn (a ryokan) in the district of Asakusa. 

Asakusa was quite traditional compared to the other places we’d stayed in, but was extremely touristy with all the typical souvenir shops selling their bits and pieces.  

We made the trip to DisneySea in Urayasu, where we spent the day mostly standing in lines (but enjoying a few rides too). It felt strange, but also a little refreshing, not having my camera with me for the day.

For our last two nights, Jess and I stayed at a lovely hotel in the area of Chiyoda. 

Akihabara, an area famous for its electronic, anime and manga shops, was first on our list. We had a really strange experience at a maid cafe during our visit. 

We also went to Ginza, an upmarket district home to expensive shops, restaurants and entertainment establishments. 

Particular highlights included two exhibitions in the district of Ueno: ‘Marcel Duchamp and Japanese Art’ at the Tokyo National Museum, and ‘Munch: A Retrospective’ at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. Both were extensive and really interesting. 

Our last morning in Japan was spent at the bustling Tsukiji Fish Market.

Osaka, Japan

Our next destination was Osaka. Jess and I stayed in the district of Shinsaibashi, the city’s main shopping area, for three nights.  

A highlight from our stay was Osaka Castle. The castle is surrounded by a large moat and stone wall, and offers incredible views of the city. 

Umeda Sky Building was also an interesting attraction. We gave its observation platform a miss, but spent a bit of time admiring the unconventional-looking building from the ground. 

Escaping the city on our last day in Osaka, we visited Minoo Park. An easy trail took us past a range of shops and temples, and plenty of trees adorned with a mixture of autumn colours. At the end of the trail was a waterfall (and lots and lots of people). Photos just don’t capture the beauty and magic of this place.

Highlights (not captured on camera) included a Louvre exhibition at the Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts and an evening drinking cocktails at Bar Rock Rock (a dingy bar which has literally been visited by every big person in rock, metal and pop). 

Our last evening was spent at a small goth/metal joint called Rock Bar Midian. The only other person at the bar was a fellow Aussie who had grown up with the guys from The Amity Affliction.  

Nara, Japan

Nara was a destination that both Jess and I had been really looking forward to. We were particularly interested in seeing the deer that roam the area. 

What we didn’t expect, though, was the huge number of deer. Hours were spent photographing and feeding them as we wandered through Nara Park and its surrounding streets, and visited Kasuga Taisha Shrine and Todaiji Temple. 

While most of the deer were pretty friendly and relaxed, some got a little too excited/aggressive at the sight of food or a bag. But what a fascinating animal.  

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