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SLSD

Live from Kobe to Vancouver May/June 2019

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Our much anticipated trip began yesterday with a flight from DFW to Los Angeles and then our flight to Osaka on Japan Airlines. (We purchased our tickets through SB.)  We arrived safely and are looking forward to seeing sights in Kyoto with our private guide today.  We found the staff of JAL to be delightful.  And, the airline food in Business Class was surprisingly good (Beef tenderloin with some accompaniments and then later fresh fruit and smoked salmon cream cheese bagel).  While on the tram from our arrival gate to the terminal for immigration, we met three fellow Seabourners, also destined for Kyoto ahead of our Kobe to Vancouver intinerary.  We recognized them by their Seabourn tote bag!  We had nice chats with them as we waited in line to have our passports examined.  They told us that this will be their eighth  SB cruise.  (This is our third.) Like us, they are going to spend the days before embarkation in Kyoto.  While they were taking the train from Osaka to Kyoto, we were met by an English speaking driver arranged through our hotel which is the Hyatt Regency. Our driver could not have been better. He was there waiting for us with a smile and was able to chat with us  on some interesting topics on the hour and a half drive into Kyoto.  

 

So far, we are impressed with the Hyatt Regency, definitely Japanese in style, but still familiar enough for very weary travelers to feel comfortable..  Our room seems quite new and fresh.  We are looking forward to breakfast and meeting our guide at 9am this morning.  I'll report back later today about our adventures in the old imperial capital.  .  

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Can’t wait to hear how you like Kyoto.  I’m sure you’ll love it. 

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Posted (edited)

It is 5am in Kyoto and I've just looked out our hotel window.  Imagine my surprise to see that our room overlooks a small park and shrine.  Our driver told us last night that there are 1600 Shinto shrines in the city of Kyoto.  This must be one of them.  I am so pleased to have a view like this in spite of the fact that we are staying in a big chain hotel (Hyatt Regency).  Just for the record, we are in the "annex" of the Hyatt Regency.  It must be a new building of the hotel.  I am impressed with the attention to detail in this hotel room---light switches in intuitive places, a very nice (but still Japanese style with tub and shower in the same enclosure) bathroom, lots of storage if you needed that, and this charming view! 

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Edited by SLSD

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One other note about the Hyatt Regency Kyoto--it is across the street from the National Museum of Kyoto.  I am not at all sure we will have time to see this museum, but it is convenient to have it across the street.  

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We are looking at this trip for next year , Kodiak Island stands out for us along with doing a full transpacific from Asia to the Americas. What process did you need to follow for the Russian Visas ? 

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I have just checked and this trip isn't happening next year..Different itinerary for the Sojourn . Sydney to San Francisco April 29th the closest we can do. 

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Hi SLSD

 

Enjoy Kyoto we were there again yesterday (25mins on the train from Osaka) and did a few more temples and the Nishiki Markets (a must!) - try the seafood skewers and the very large fresh oysters - we have never seen them that size and at first thought they were conch shells. If you like oysters the massive ones are about $13AU each and Jumbos about $10 each.

 

The Fushimi Inari temple is also a must see with the thousands of orange Tori gates.You can gently climb the hill, Mt Inari though the gates (mainly steps, but all paved) it’s 233 metres to the shrine on the top, an hour up and an hour back or just walk through the bottom section - a bit more crowded lower down for obvious reasons. Hopefully the attached pic will work.

 

Have today changed hotels to Kobe - luggage transfer worked perfectly it was waiting for us to check in at 1:15.

 

We have had a terrific several days and have covered a lot of territory with our train pass, walked our feet off and had fantastic food washed down with ice cold beer.

 

its overcast here with 60% chance of showers for the next few days. Hopefully it’s fine for sail away. 

 

Enjoy Kyoto.

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kowhairob, You are right--the Kobe to Vancouver voyage will not be offered next year as the Sojourn will be on its world cruise. But just so you will know for the future, you do not need a Russian visa if you take one of the ship's tours or hire a private guide in russia.  

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Posted (edited)

That's a great photo BasandSyb, I think we will be seeing that sight tomorrow.  Today, we had a private guide through Chris Rowthorn Tours who took us through part of the Higashiyama District of Kyoto.  We saw quite a few Buddhist temples and fabulous smaller Shinto shrines--some off the beaten path.  Among other things, we saw the Honen-in Temple, walked along the Philosopher's Path, visited the Nanzen-ji Temple, the Ginkaku-ji Temple, and the huge Chion-in Temple with its golden Buddha and enormous bronze bell. Here are a few photos from today, including my great lunch at a charming noodle house.  I had Shrimp Tempura with Udon noodles.    

 

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Edited by SLSD

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Posted (edited)

Here are a few more photos from today's walk through parts of Kyoto.  What a fascinating city.  I especially loved an older neighborhood chock full of small and quite personal Shinto shrines.  Our guide explained that people who live in certain neighborhoods are expected to tend to shrines, providing daily fresh flowers as well as candles.  We saw many beautiful gardens today, but I was especially fascinated by those made up of raked sand or gravel.  One of these is pictured below.  

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Edited by SLSD

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Great photos (and report)

Thank you for sharing👍😀

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Looks like you had a fab day. We also looked at Chris Rowthorn tours but changed our mind.and decided freestyle given our inclusion of a number of day trips over several days and wanting to work around possible weather issues. His tours looked to be very good. 

Enjoy.

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Really enjoying your posts, please keep it coming if you have time (it is a vacation after all). The pictures of Kyoto take me back 20+ years, it hasn't changed, which is rather the point, it hasn't much changed in a lot longer than that. 

Your ship is currently on time and not that far away, so take your fill of what must be one of the densest concentrations of temples anywhere, enjoy that lovely hotel and prepare for .. Ross Roberts. 

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Last night we enjoyed a traditional Japanese Maiko dance performance here at the Hyatt Regency in Kyoto.  The hotel offers this complimentary performance every night (6:15pm)  along with sparkling wine.   It was an excellent performance.   

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On a sadder note, 4 passengers from a Princess cruise ship died at George Inlet near Ketchikan yesterday on an organized cruise excursion, two are still missing. It seems the 2 planes involved are the same models as the planes listed for the Misty Fjords excursion from the Sojourn on June 4th. Not good news but, there might be a few complications for that excursion when we get there.

 

https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/incidents/australian-missing-after-cruise-ship-crash-in-alaska/news-story/f86e9bacc149e3c6886c1fd73ffe623c

 

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17 hours ago, SLSD said:

kowhairob, You are right--the Kobe to Vancouver voyage will not be offered next year as the Sojourn will be on its world cruise. But just so you will know for the future, you do not need a Russian visa if you take one of the ship's tours or hire a private guide in russia.  

Thanks for that. 

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Oh my Constanttravelers, that is the saddest news.  We are not scheduled on that kind of excursion as we are such cautious people.  I am very sorry for the families of the people killed.  

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Posted (edited)

We had another full day in Kyoto with a private guide from Chris Rowthorn tours.    First, she took us to the Tofuku-ji Buddhist Temple, which in reality, is a very large campus with many buildings and includes a training school for Buddhist monks.  I loved the peacefulness of this place and its many gardens, forests, and bridges.  Truly delightful.  

 

Next, we went to Fushimi Inari-Taisha which was been voted as the #1 sight for tourists in all of Japan.  While it is an amazing place, WAY too many tourists for us.  We spent a bit of time there, but let our guide know that we did not need to tarry.  She said she could tell that we were not the type to enjoy a place with hundreds of tourists .  We ARE glad that we saw it, but a temple without tranquility is something else altogether. We did walk through several sections of the gate, but elected not to do the whole path. 

 

We were very fortunate that today in Kyoto was the Aoi Matsuri Festival.  With our guide, we took the train across town so that we could observe the festival and its parade.  What a treat!  This is a festival held around the Kamigamo and Shimogamo Jinja  shrines which are Shinto. 

   I've included some photos from the parade below.  

 

The last photo is from a Shinto shrine that focusses on beauty.  People who go there purchase a little round wooden  face and apply makeup on it.  They are asking the deities to give them beauty.  

 

Tomorrow, we embark the Sojourn!

 

 

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Edited by SLSD

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Lovely photos. Looks like you had a smashing day. Love the faces. We heard about this quirky shrine but didn’t get there.

 

You are correct about Fushimi Inari, it’s nuts with tourists for the first little walk, but then they all fall away. We have so many shots of avenues of gates with no one around and stopped at many of the shrines on the way up the mountain. Agree with you it’s all about peace and contemplation.

 

Hope your Kobe transfer goes smoothly. Did you decide to transfer your luggage? Off for some Kobe beef tonight. Safe travels.

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Posted (edited)

BasandSyb, I think you have us mixed up with someone else about luggage.  We have a driver taking us to Kobe.  Hopefully, he will arrive at our hotel and all with go smoothly!  Stay tuned. 

 

I'm glad you got to do the part of the walk without tourists at Fushimi Inari.  I'm sure that was wonderful.  Our guide tells us that it is Trip Advisor that is responsible for all the tourists at this sight.  Until about 2008, it was not like this.  While the shop merchants are benefitting, many of the local people are unhappy about the crowds.  

 

The Festival and parade were very crowded too--but it was a different kind of crowd.  So much to see and observe there.  We are exhausted this evening!

Edited by SLSD

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Here are a few more photos from our second day in Kyoto.  

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You are correct SLSD - it was Topaz88 on roll calls doing the train. My mistake - long day.

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BasandSyb, Long day indeed! 

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SLSD thank you for sharing your wonderful photos as they truly paint a picture of your time in Kyoto. 

 

Enjoy your cruise.

 

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