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