RTW Himeji castle

I had seen other gorgeous Edo period castles, most notably in Osaka, but Himeji was the real deal. Himeji castle still stands as it was after extensions over four hundred years ago, surrounded by moats and high defensive wall system. Himeji was conveniently on my way from Tottori to Osaka, so I stopped there for…

RTW sand dunes in Tottori

I was knackered when I got to Tottori. The soul sucking string of one night stays from Beppu to Tottori was finally over. I spent the three days in Tottori sitting on the sand dunes, walking on the beach, applying sun lotion and sleeping. I even had a nap on the sand dunes the first…

RTW Miyajima island and Hiroshima

Since I had to stay in Kyoto for four extra nights, it meant canceling my three booked nights in Hiroshima. However, I didn’t want to leave Japan without even a short visit, and managed to fortunately book one night in Hatsukaichi, nearby. I say fortunately, as this was during the Golden Week and Japan was…

RTW Kitakyushu and wisteria

Due to reshuffling my plans a few times during Golden Week, I ended up spending only one night in Kitakyushu. The reason why everyone goes there, and why it was pretty fully booked, were the wisteria tunnels at Kawachi Fuji-en gardens nearby. To have use of the full day, I took an early train from…

RTW parks and onsens in Beppu

Well, I only visited one onsen but it had several types of pools and baths, so that counts for plural. I already wrote about the Seven Hells, but there was more to see and do in Beppu than just the colorful hot pools. The town itself was rather nice, and fairly quiet, especially given that…

RTW the Seven Hells of Beppu

Last time I wrote I was in Kyoto, having extended my stay as I waited my China visa to be processed. The wait meant shuffling around my existing bookings, but I was still determined to go to Beppu. Beppu is known for its geothermal activity, and I thought it a nice bookend to my travels which had…

RTW last few days in Kyoto

During my last few days I was mainly arranging my Chinese visa in Osaka or worrying about it. It required a lot of printed, signed and/or scanned papers, two visits to Osaka, and e-mails with the tour agent at CMA CGM. I will write more about this in a post later, but a spoiler for now:…

RTW gardens and castles around Kyoto

After busy days visiting the historical areas and top shrines in Kyoto, followed by a day of total vegging, I needed a more relaxed kind of day. So I headed to the Nijo Castle and gardens near my Kyoto hostel. It was literally a five minute walk from my hostel, which was lovely. Nijo castle…

RTW kimonos and shrines in Kyoto

Kanazawa to Kyoto was an easy 2 hour train ride, after a nice easy morning, and a short walk to the train station, yet I felt thoroughly put upon the whole day. Tired and cranky, not happy with anything. Clear signs that I needed some time off. I was meeting a friend in Kyoto but…

RTW planning the way home

So there I was, in Japan, after almost 13 months on the road and over six months in Asia, with my plans to take the Trans Siberian scuppered. I had called the Russian Embassy in Tokyo and they told me that they would not be able to grant me a visa as I would need…