last minute stress, but fun ….

Japan - punksandskins com

“Travel is the only thing you can buy
that makes your richer”
Unknown

So it’s 32 days to go.

I have just been told that Japanese bank’s AMT doesn’t except foreign cards … only 7 Eleven and post offices. It’s not only to pack a suitcase and go, when it’s about Japan.

10 days ago I saw that my lovely girlfriend Nancy, that lives in Lima,  had tried to contact me on Skype while I was up in Stockholm – so I contacted her and she told me that she want to come along to Hong Kong and Japan.

Talk about panic attack – my god, only the thought about do new bookings and change bookings all over again, only weeks until take off. I have been at it for 6 months now.

hong kong - qidian ca

Fantastic news with Nancy coming along …. so I started straight away with chasing hotels and looking up flights. First she had plans to fly from Lima to Hong Kong in one go, but I told her that it means that she have be on at least 3 airports and being on the go for 38 hours without a proper bed. With her sister living in Rome – I told her to buy her flight from there.

We found a fantastic deal with Turkish Airlines .. for 513€ – so she will arrive 3 hours after me to Hong Kong. We will meet up at the hotel … and a couple of hours later we will be enjoying the “Symphony of Lights” on the promenade at Golden Bauhinia Square, only a couple of minutes walk from our hotel … after that dinner at a seafood restaurant, “Quayside”

Had to change hotel – we are now staying at The Harbourview Hotel, that has a much better location too – a far cheaper than what I had booked. Separate rooms here.cherry blossom - japanphotoguide com

We manage to get seats together on the flight between Hong Kong and Tokyo (HK Express). It wasn’t easy to find an airport transfer company that picks up between 11pm-05pm. Our flight lands 00.25am and for while I thought we was going to have to spend the night at the airport, but I found 2 companies, with acceptable prices.

In Tokyo I already had a twin room with breakfast for 2 – only room I could get at Grand Arc Hanzomon Hotel and the location are more important the type of room I got. So Nancy can just move in.fuji -viator com

Kyoto, what a nightmare …. fully booked everywhere and on my hotel too (Hotel Vista Premio – listed with 2 stars in “MICHELIN Guide KANSAI 2015”), here is it also all about location with walking distance to the Gion District. If we didn’t want to pay an arm and a couple of legs for a room per night – was desperate. Found Nancy a room within 6 min taxi journey from mine. On the same time I wrote to my hotel and asked them to consider us if they get any cancellation on a single or twin room.

So a couple of days later I got an email that we had a twin room if we wanted and we did and with breakfast included. Happy days.

We are going to travel 1:st class (green car) with the Shinkansen (新幹線), also called the bullet trains, to Kyoto. We are going on  the Nozomi that does 300 km/h (186 mph) – The word “nozomi” in Japanese means “hope” or “wish”. Sounds good to me.

Hiroshima, I had to give up my fantastic room at ANA Crown Plaza and book us in at a Hotel Sunroute Hiroshima, where I got us 2 single rooms. The Hiroshima Memorial Park is located in front of the hotel – so that was a great move. And breakfast served on top floor with a stunning view over the park and hopefully some cherry trees will still be blooming.kyoto-golden-temple - telegraph.co uk

Between Kyoto and Hiroshima will we travel by luxury coach. The Shinkansen will take 99 min and our bus will take nearly 7 hours, but hopefully we will see a bit more of the countryside and go into some cities on the way. Early start 06.10am departure, will not sleep much that night. Train would have cost us ¥ 15,000 per person and the bus cost ¥ 8,190 for 2. Really looking forward to this bus journey.

Willer Express, don’t have normal buses – they are pink:  free wifi, your own power plug, blanket, a seat that recline in 140degree , canopy, foot rest, leg rest and pillow.

Willer Express has the most user friendly Japanese website – WoOooOOow, booking done in less than 2 min. Well done!!

The worst website has ANA Nippon Airlines for domestic flights! Some prices are only for members, what a carry on and when the reservations is done, there is no e-ticket or proper booking number. Had to phone them twice, very nice agent and very helpful. Don’t need booking number, only to put in the credit card in the check-in-machine.hiroshima memorial - gulfnews com

Manage to get Nancy on the same flight as me (there is only one per day) -but her ticket became  ¥ 1.000 more expensive than mine, but we are on.

Beside Kyoto I thought that the night on the island Miyajima outside Hiroshima was going a be a hurdle for us, but luckily Kurayado Iroha Hotel had one twin room left – so room and details was change in a blink with bookings.com; Japanese bedroom, bath, dinner and breakfast – so exciting.

floating gate-luxetravelasia com

We will be spending our last night in Japan at hotel by Narita Airport, it means less hassle when we have morning departures. Had to change from Hilton to Nikko Narita Hotel, closer to terminal and cheaper rate. Owned by JAL, Japanese Airlines, with who I will be flying back to Europe with and got 2 Superior singles with breakfast for only 56€/each.

Shiraito Falls - natgeocreative com

Also booked two tours, one from Tokyo to Mt Fuji and Shiraito Falls – had plans to take the big tour with return on the bullet train and boat tour on Lake Ashi and Mt Komagatake Ropeway – but the nearly very review said that it is a very rushed tour and some guides didn’t speak that good English. What is a pity, because it’s very pricey.

From Kyoto will we go on a full day trip with most temples in Kyoto included and Nijo-jo Castle and Nara, Japan’s first permanent capital. There is so many temples in and around Kyoto – and it’s impossible to visit them all.

Quite a few restaurants are booked too!! Restaurants in Japan are tiny, not many seats.

Can believe I pulled it off to get us booked together only 5 weeks before departure, but I have been stressed at times – and my “sorry ass” has been really sad.

One thing is for sure … the bank account is getting weaker by the booking. *smile

So only the packing left … and then we will be talking about REAL stress.

packing - news29 ru

Images provided by and thanks to:
qidian.ca/japanphotoguide.com/telegraph.co.uk/mishka.travel/punksandskins.com
willerexpress.com/gulfnews.com/luxetravelasia.com/natgeocreative.com/viator.com/news29.ru

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33 thoughts on “last minute stress, but fun ….

    • Colleen, I have 8 x 4gb memory cards on the packing list – so you will be sick and tired of this journey before I done all my posts. I hope some of my images will be so good as the ones I used here. And that the weather will be on our side.

  1. Viveka–You are amazing how you accomplished it all! I so doubt we will be sick and tired of your journey–you are not even gone and I cannot wait for the photos!

    • Loisa, you’re such a fantastic support – I hope there will be time to post something from over there …. every hotel have free wifi, even the bus .. and the train too maybe. So some smoke signal will be sent, I’m sure.

  2. I am sure you are going to have a wonderful trip and how nice for you to have a companion to share your experiences with. My cousin and Aunt are off to Japan soon to celebrate his 30th birthday. I would like to go and see Japan for myself some day. I think those buses look amazing. I am used to travelling up and down Britain in terrible buses, uncomfortable and cold, so that looks like a hotel on wheels by comparison. I look forward to reading all about your trip and seeing your photos.

    • Laura, I haven’t gone on so many buses in UK – London, Belfast when every they felt for turning up – long distance only between Stranraer and Edinburgh. But you’re so right buses and trains are so terrible cold in UK.
      7 hours on a bus for me is a long time … have to gear up with some Japanese goodies, what ever that can be. It has wifi so I can maybe do a post. Now when all this is done, I just want 3 coming weeks to disappear. Bring it on.
      Your cousin and aunt will have some stories to tell too. What 30th celebration. Yesterday the Yen went down a bit. Hurrah.

  3. SO excited!!!! It’s great that you’ve got company, hon, because it’s a lot of travelling on your own. You don’t have to be glued together, do you, but it’s nice to have somebody to eat with and just share the excitement. Kyoto! Be still my beating heart 🙂

    • No, on 3 hotels we have separate rooms. So we should manage 11 days sharing room. In Kyoto not a chance for a room if you don’t to pay £200-350 per night.
      The thing is that when you travel with somebody … you never talk to locals .. when I travel alone I meet interesting new people all the time.

    • I will take my little camera too …. and I have invested in Ultra memory cards, suppose to be faster … but I don’t understand where. *smile – Nancy, is very likeness you in many ways. Lovely little creature, 5 days older than me .. but look like 45. Not fair. We have never shared room together before and it will be 10 days on the trot. That in itself will be an adventure .. with 4 bags.

  4. Wow, What a great trip! I think you are fantastically organised, very thorough and good at getting what you want for the price you want!! I am super envious, but know that such a trip would not be possible with my fatigue….so I shall just enjoy the images you post. 😃

  5. I finally concluded, a few terrible vacations ago, that however bad the accommodations and travel, missed connections, overcrowded airplanes … whatever … I might as well find something positive in the experience. Like great photo ops. In fact, sometimes photo ops are the ONLY really great part … but that is often enough for me to feel it was worth the hassle. Your pictures certainly would suggest the same 🙂

    • Marilyn, I can’t recall that I have had a really terrible vaction anywhere. There has been waiting times on airports, but the destination has always made it up to me. No, not one. Sorry to read that you had a couple. I can image that a bad holiday experiance …. is something that doesn’t go away for a while, because it’s also about a lot of money spent. Yes, the photos … they are priceless, but still it’s the memories we carry in ourselves that matters.
      Thank you so much for the kind comment about my images, I just put the camera against nearly everything I see .. and like. Not much thinking behind my shots. Very impulsive work.

    • Dia, yes …. it was a challenge – HK no problem, but Japan in April with Kyoto sold out to 91% – but it’s to go down every alley way there is. It was fun too. Have a lovely weekend.

    • Yes, this is my was going my biggest trip ever as solo traveller and it’s a big trip still – now I have company .. fantastic. I promise there will be plently post about this trip and some reports during the trip. It’s going to be a pleasure to share everything with you, Carol.

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