Our second day started very early with a 5:45am alarm call having a very busy schedule itinerary set for the day starting with a 6:50 train from Wakayama. On the way to the station, we called into a seven eleven for breakfast then find the platform for our train which was easy being a smallish station. Our first destination was to Shin-Osaka station taking exactly 1 hour and 17 minutes. There was no need for reserved seats on this train but our next train being a Shinkansen bullet train as our destination was Tokyo we had reserved our seats the night before at the ticket office using our rail passes. Shin-Osaka train station is a very large station being on the main Shinkansen route and is one of the major hubs to travel North or South in Japan. We had exactly 41 minutes to locate the Shinkansen line and our platform for our 8:48am bullet train called Hikari to Tokyo Central. Being used to the Japanese train stations and how to navigate them it only took us a few minutes to find our platform and position of the car number and reserved seat as the train stops exactly at the car numbers which are painted on the platform…Only in Japan.
Tokyo is a fair way up and travelling at speeds of 180 mph had taken 2 hours 54 minutes arriving 11:42am we used this time to do a little laptop work and a cat nap. Our plan after dropping off our cases at our hotel, (which was situated 5 mins walk from the station) for the next three nights was to head out to the Bonsai Museum and village at Omiya district.
Omiya district is a suburb of Tokyo about 40 minutes out by local train. Using our JR passes makes it very easy for us to navigate and use the local trains. All the local trains run on named lines so once you research the line for your destination as in our case was the Ueno-Tokyo line to Toro Station for Omiya then look for the platform number for that line and your away, just jump on the train and away you go.
The bonsai village was a short 10 minute’s walk and the first stop was the bonsai museum as you could pick up a map for the locations for the bonsai nurseries. The museum had an entry fee of just 310 yen which is about £2. The museum was very educational regarding the beginning of bonsai in Japan and how the names, styles, etc came about. Unfortunately taking pictures inside was not allowed. But outside they had a walkaround garden with mostly large bonsai of a considerable age on show and taking pictures was allowed. The average age of the trees on show was between 100 to 300 years old!! They had a white pine that was over 800 years old from seed… get your heads round that!! We’ll let the pics talk next!
Moving on to the bonsai nurseries there were approximately 6 bonsai nurseries located around this very nice suburb all walking distance so we set off with our map in hand and had a quick look in them all. Some really nice trees were on show mostly for sale too, sadly again no photographs were allowed which was such a shame. Unlike last year where we visited Takamatu which had so many more nurseries and pine farms with taking pictures being allowed making this a much better area to visit if anyone is thinking of visiting bonsai nurseries in the future!
After this our plan was to visit a part of downtown Tokyo called Shinjuku this is a very busy entertainment area with neon lights on the buildings making it a cool place. Timing was to get there just on dark which was easy as it was the same train line just a few stops past the main central station we had started earlier.
When we arrived, it was just getting dark the place was absolutely buzzing with people mostly Japanese but a few foreigners, we did not hear anyone from England speaking. After taking a few pictures and a little coffee break it was time to head back to the hotel but first we found a really nice restaurant as we were both famished from the days exertion.
This day we walked just over 7.2 miles.
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