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Miaminice

Japan Cruise on Westerdam - 04/14/19 - Live(ish) report

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Great photos :).  We are booked on the same cruise this time next year so are following your blog with lots of interest.  We were just discussing the option of flying into Japan a week pre cruise and perhaps spending 3 or 4 nights in Kyoto before training up to Tokyo.  Your pictures have added lots of new life to that idea :).

 

Your post about 10pm "last call" made me smile.  It sounds like you have one of the late night crowds...when it comes to HAL cruises.   Agree that on Celebrity there is a lot more late night action...because more then 10 people are awake after 9:30.

 

Hank

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10 hours ago, Miaminice said:

.................................

 

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When the ship sailed, we were reminded of why we love Japan. The dancing stopped, the visitors and the performers waved us goodbye, unrolled a banner and all shouted: „Arigatou gozaimasu, thank you for comming! Please come back to Kochi again.“ When our captain answered by blowing the horn, we just couldn‘t help it and had to wipe the tears from our eyes. We love Japan! 🇯🇵

 

 

 

 

Just discovered your thread! Awesome pics! Having sailed to Japan, China and South Korea, the Japanese are by far the friendliest and most welcoming!

 

Question please; is the officer in the above pic a Kyoto crossing guard?

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9 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

Are the cherry blossoms still evident in the places you've been?  Our cruise next year on Westerdam is at about the same time, and I am hoping to see some.

 

Depending on the port. In Kochi they were gone already. In Kyoto and Shimizu we were still getting a glimpse. They are still supposed to be there in our northern ports like Aomori.

 

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57 minutes ago, Copper10-8 said:

 

Just discovered your thread! Awesome pics! Having sailed to Japan, China and South Korea, the Japanese are by far the friendliest and most welcoming!

 

Question please; is the officer in the above pic a Kyoto crossing guard?

 

Crossing guard yes, but it was Kochi

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25 minutes ago, Miaminice said:

 

Crossing guard yes, but it was Kochi

 

Thanks for that info! Enjoy your cruise on Westie

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On 4/17/2019 at 8:19 PM, Copper10-8 said:

 

Just discovered your thread! Awesome pics! Having sailed to Japan, China and South Korea, the Japanese are by far the friendliest and most welcoming!

 

Question please; is the officer in the above pic a Kyoto crossing guard?

Yes, I agree. Japanese have been wonderful to us, too.

Kochi was Westerdam's maiden call complete with fire hoses going and shoreside gala. 

20190416_174312.jpg

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Japan Cruise 2019 - Day 6 - Sakaiminato 

Sakaiminato is one of the largest fishery bases specializing in snow crabs. But above all it is famous for being the birthplace of Japanese cartoon artist Mizuki Shigeru. Eeeeeverything in Sakaiminato revolves around his „Yokai“ monster characters. A street named after him is lined with over 150 statues of the Yokai, Sake is offered in Yokai bottles, pastry is shaped as Yokais and so on.

As cute as this was, we couldn’t really relate to it. We had just decided to take a shuttle back to the ship when we heard about Yuushien Gardens not too far away. They provided a free shuttle which left shortly after. 

The gardens around a pond were beautiful and despite the cool weather we enjoyed wandering the small paths.

A Japanese style restaurant couldn’t be left unexplored, so we decided to have lunch there. It was delicious... however, the cold soba noodles did not really fill me enough to resist stopping by at the buffet back on board for a slice of pizza.

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1 hour ago, Miaminice said:

 

 
 
 
If I am ever asked to describe “serenity”, I will show this picture as my response.
 
And I suspect “raking” the lines would be very calming. A true stress reliever.
 
Again, thank you for your amazing pics.
 
 

 

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I am not a fan of the Yokais either.

 

Glad you found the gardens -- beautiful.  Lunch looked good.  But like you, I am afraid my DH would be hungry as well after it.

 

Great pictures.

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Japan Cruise 2019 - Day 7 - Kanazawa

On this beautiful morning we were not only greeted by sunshine and blue skies but also by some Japanese ladies in beautiful Kimonos.

 

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After finding our guide we took the provided shuttle bus to Kanazawa Station, where our guide told us to get a day pass for a loop bus which we took to our first destination. Kanazawa is known for the production of gold leave supplying all of Japan with it.

We made a short stop at a small factory where we were introduced to the process of manufacturing the paper thin gold foil.

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A short walk through the old Geisha district and past a Sake store took us to the bus stop again.

 

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Our next stop was the breathtakingly beautiful Kenrokuen Gardens.

Since I can’t describe their beauty in words doing them justice, I will leave it to the photos.

 

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Next was Kanazawa Castle and its gardens followed by a Japanese lunch.

 

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The arcades of Omicho Market were close by so we also paid them a visit. 

Last but not least we visited the Samurai district and an old Samurai house before heading back to the ship.

 

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At 9pm we went to see an amazing performance of a group of all female drummers. Calling it energetic would be the understatement of the year.

 

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Another group of local dancers performed on the pier to say goodbye. To the sound of the horn they said: Thank you for coming, we will miss you... what a great day!

 

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10 minutes ago, Miaminice said:

Japan Cruise 2019 - Day 7 - Kanazawa

On this beautiful morning we were not only greeted by sunshine and blue skies but also by some Japanese ladies in beautiful Kimonos.

 

After finding our guide we took the provided shuttle bus to Kanazawa Station, where our guide told us to get a day pass for a loop bus which we took to our first destination. Kanazawa is known for the production of gold leave supplying all of Japan with it.

 

 

Thanks again for your extensive and great reports.

 

I am thrilled to read that HAL and or the port provide shuttle busses to Kanazawa station.

 

In research I found out that many great spots that you also visited, are slightly south of Kanazawa station. We intend to DIY. If there is a complementary shuttle, this makes it even more easy.

 

Did the complemantary shuttle ride throughout the day?

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Your photos are a 1000 words!  The places you have visited are beautiful!  Thank you again for taking the time to share!  Continue with safe travels!

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Just a piece of information regarding the visa before I post more about the day later.

 

Our passports were collected when we left Japan and returned with a Russian stamp today. Despite having NO VISA we just wandered off the ship. We were checked twice by Russian officials at the exit and all they wanted to see was the stamp. Nobody cared about a visa. Despite the information given by HAL that a visa OR doing a ship’s tour was necessary.

 

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Hoping Oliver won’t mind me answering,  but the cherry blossoms have been amazing. We started in Hiroshima ten days before the cruise.  We too thought it was a good idea to work up to Tokyo.   The blossoms were at the peak in early April in Kyoto.  

A4BE711E-2C70-467A-9F0B-5A6FAA773749.jpeg

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Japan Cruise 2019 - Day 9  - Vladivostok 

 

Today Vladivostok at the end of the Trans-Siberian Railway was our only non-Japanese stop on this cruise. In order to avoid the hassle to apply for a Russian visa, we booked a walking tour with the cruise line for the afternoon. However, after breakfast we decided to try to venture out on our own despite having no visa... and sure enough, the passports were checked by officials who only looked at the stamp and couldn’t care less if we had a visa or not.

 

We walked past the near town square, past Russian Navy ships, a submarine museum, through town, past the shophouses of the old Chinese quarter and along an embankment/amusement park - and went back to the ship.

 

We hoped the walking tour in the afternoon would take us to more interesting places. Unfortunately we had seen more in the morning than on the tour. The only thing we hadn’t seen in the morning was Yul Brunner‘s house and a statue of Comrade Lenin.

 

OK, we can add Russia to our list of countries visited... and now we are very much looking forward to a few more days in beautiful Japan after a day at sea tomorrow.

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3 hours ago, bennybear said:

Hoping Oliver won’t mind me answering,  but the cherry blossoms have been amazing. We started in Hiroshima ten days before the cruise.  We too thought it was a good idea to work up to Tokyo.   The blossoms were at the peak in early April in Kyoto.  

A4BE711E-2C70-467A-9F0B-5A6FAA773749.jpeg

 

Beautiful -- thank you for sharing the picture.

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What time of the year is better for this trip, spring or autumn?

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19 hours ago, vster5 said:

What time of the year is better for this trip, spring or autumn?

 

Spring - for Cherry Blossom.

However, there is never a bad time to visit Japan...

 

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Two very different ships at Vladivostok just days before the summit between Russia and North Korea.  The Westerdam made bbc news 

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