This page is written monthly by Harumi Okochi,
and sometimes Harumi's friends join.
We'd be happy if you look at our previous issues.
David and Ann in Nara
Ann and David's trip 2002
I would like to introduce you Ann and David Maclennan who live in Tasmania.
They were here last year. They had a most wonderful world trip.
I asked David to let other people see what they saw in Japan last autumn.
Autumn in Japan is so beautiful.
Enjoy your trip with Ann and David!
|Ann and David's trip 2002
by David Maclennan
It originally started out as a three-month trip to Japan. We had already visited Japan in springtime, early summer and winter and wanted to go back to see the beautiful colours of the trees in autumn. We started planning over three years previously. To start with, we wrote to every Tourist Information Centre in Japan and received massive amounts of information. We wanted to go to places that we had not been to before. We also wanted to visit our friends in Japan.
Through the information we had received as well as reading various books on Japan, we decided that we wanted to visit Karatsu and particularly the Kunchi festival. We first wrote to Yoyokaku in the middle of 2000 requesting to stay on first night of the festival. Harumi told us that they were full on that particular night but could accommodate us the following night. This we accepted.
About a year later, we realized that Ann's mother was becoming very frail and that we should take the opportunity to visit her. This completely changed the complexion of the trip and we decided that we would visit places around the world that we had not yet seen. We purchased an "around the world" ticket and planned to visit Thailand, India, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore. By doing this we shortened our time in Japan from 13 to 7 weeks.
Nevertheless, we still managed to visit most of the places that we had planned to go to in Japan. The only real difference was that we did not get to spend the amount of time we would have liked to at each place.
All our travel in Japan was done by public transport mainly using JR rail passes and staying mainly in
We moved on to Honshu and caught the local trains from Aomori down the Rikuchu Kaigan coastline. Unfortunately, it poured with rain and blew a gale for most of the day and we did not really get a good look at the beautiful coastline. That night we stayed at a small town called Miyako, where we were met off the train by Sasaki Masato and his family. We had originally met on the Internet when I was trying to
The next port of call was Nikko and the colourful Toshogu shrine. From Nikko we traveled to Kawasaki where we stayed with the Matsuo family, our friends of 12 years. It was great meeting up with them after four years absence. We then went to Susono to stay with the Osada family whose daughter, Moena, we had hosted for several months the previous year. Once again we had a really wonderful time, including a trip part way up Fuji-san.
We left Susono early in the morning and made the long trip to Yufuin on Kyushu. Ann wanted to go to the porcelain area in the Saga Prefecture as she had started her working life in a China store in England. We were lucky enough to arrive in Imari at the time of its autumn porcelain fair. Then it was on to Karatsu and
Luckily we arrived early, even as guests were still leaving. This, however, did not faze Harumi in any way whatsoever. She had been trying to contact us via E-mail for a few weeks, not realizing that we were traveling around the world. It was a very, very warm welcome but she pushed us out of the doors almost immediately as the Kunchi procession was due to start and she knew that this would be our only chance to see it.
We walked quickly to a vantage point and we did not have to wait for
Harumi and one of her maids escorted us to our room and sat talking to us for quite some time while we drank some tea. This made us feel quite at home. We rested for while before getting ready to go
Our next stop was at an even smaller place called Takabe just out of Okayama. We stayed at an international villa and the room was quite comfortable even though it housed the smallest bathroom we have ever seen. During our stay there we visited the sights in Okayama and Kurashiki.
Our next stop was with another friend who lived in Atsugi. Once again we had met through
Kanazawa and the Noto peninsula were the next places that we visited. We love the Kenrokuen garden in Kanazawa, having visited it in the other three seasons. Four days later, we were on our way to Takayama
It was at this point on our trip that the first major problem in travel occurred. We had booked seats on the Shinkansen from Nagoya to Yokohama and we had intended using a JR bus service out of Shirakawago. This was to connect with the local train from Minoshirotori that took us on to Nagoya. Unfortunately, this bus service had ceased several months previously but the gentleman in the information
We duly arrived on time in Yokohama to meet up with the Matsuos once again and spent a few more days with them before heading off to Kyoto. We always have a wonderful time with the Matsuo family and this was no exception. Sachiko, the mother, is a wonderful cook so meal-time is indeed a feast. Asuka, her daughter, who had stayed with us for a year as an exchange student twelve years previously, took us out for two glorious meals. I have always wanted to eat 'fugu' but have never had the opportunity. Asuka made sure at this wish came true.
It was when we got to Kyoto that we were able to see the autumn trees in their fullest splendour. The walk down the philosopher's path from Ginkakuji was quite breathtaking, as were the trees that were lit up at night in the grounds of the various temples. After a wonderfully relaxing week in Kyoto, it was once again off on a plane, this time to Hong Kong, to meet up with family and friends as well as a day
Even though we were exhausted when we arrived back, we had met so many wonderful people and had so many magnificent memories, captured on over 1200 photographs, that the whole trip had been absolutely worthwhile.
Thank you , Ann and David!
I envied you and probably those who read this page also did.
Now, David, would you please introduce yourself? My friends who read this page regularly will want to know who these new friends are.
|Thank you so much, David. I think it is spring
in your country now. Are you enjoying beautiful
Thank you too, my readers. I hope you enjoyed meeting David and Ann on this web-page.