The morning saw blue skies and calm winds – you would ever have known that there had been a catastrophic typhoon the day before, resulting in over 20 deaths.
Given we had seen very little of Tokyo, we decided to make a early start by catching a cab to the station, stowing our bags in the lockers then heading to the Meiji Shrine. It was such a beautiful morning to be walking amongst the trees in this amazing urban oasis. We even got to see a traditional bride.
From there it was on to the usual suspects of Takeshita-dori Street, Shibuya Crossing and back to Shinjuku. Unfortunately, most of the shops weren’t opening until 3pm due to the storm, so it was a very different take on these usually very busy, bustling and unique precincts.
After collecting our luggage an making our way to Shinagawa, it was one to the bullet train to Shin-Osaka. According to our planning, the train should have taken just over two hours however in our exuberance to get on the train, I think we made a tactical error. While we were on the “express”, it went via Kyoto rather than direct to Osaka and what should have been 2 hours became 4.
A rush to change to the regional train at 4:15pm and we were finally on our way to Yuasa. Only once on board did we do the sums and realised we would be navigating to our Ryokan after dark. We were doing fairly well following our directions however the hostess must have been worried because before long, she arrived on her bike to escort us to our overnight home.
After being shown our rooms, we were asked if we would like an onsen first or to eat dinner. Opting to have a quick bath, we agreed to have dinner in 45 minutes time.
We had all done our homework on the correct etiquette for using an onsen and being ever vigilant, Andrea asked if we were to strip now and make our way across the courtyard. Naturally we all said yes! (don’t worry, we stopped her before totally disrobing).
Of course, none of us read the full instructions before entering the onsen (hidden under a pile of other fact sheets I might add) and all striped off, leaving our clothes in the lockers. It wasn’t until we were all naked and wrapped in our modesty towels that we considered how we were supposed to get back to our rooms. I am very sure the sight of 4 mature aged women, wrapped in blue towels sprinting across the courtyard would not have been particularly pleasing!!
To add insult to injury, Zalie and I were locked out of our room and we had to make an entry through Jenny and Andreas room!
Wrapped in our kimono (which is traditional, wrapped right over left, which is a big faux pas as that’s only for the dead!), we went to the dining room to be faced with the most amazing Japanese dinner! Lucky for me Jenny isn’t so keen on sashimi – I thought a swap for some tempura was a pretty good deal!!
And so we finish an exhausting day, navigating the Japanese rail system to rural Yuasa, on our futons on the floor. A glass or two of sake at dinner has just about finished me off so hopefully I won’t feel the floor too much through the night.