Venturing North

Trip Start Sep 05, 2011
Trip End Nov 07, 2011

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Where I stayed
Anne Hostel, Tokyo

Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Monday, October 31, 2011

Over the last few days we have been busy visiting some interesting places. Before our rail-pass expired, we managed to see Yokohama and Matsushima. We have generally been working our way up through Japan over the last week and Matsushima is the most Northern point we will go.

Yokohama is Japan`s second city, it is very close to Tokyo and the residential suburbs merge into one. Yokohama is very similar to Osaka, it is mainly a business area, with the exception of a shopping quayside it does not have any notable tourist attractions.

We saw a shop which we thought was funny; it was a dog hotel and shop which sold accessories for dogs. On display were lots of pushchairs/pram type things for dogs. We thought it was just a baby shop when we first walked past then as we sat by the river we noticed people with dogs in prams heading into this place. The dogs are all tiny over here; they look so ridiculous all dressed up sitting in prams. We even saw one on the train!

It turns out that we were wrong about the weather in Japan. We were expecting it to be cold but actually it is still sunny and warm which is great. This made our trip to Matsushima even more worthwhile as it is a coastal tourist town which is one of the top scenic spots in Japan. On the way the train made a stop at a place we recognised from the news back in the UK, Fukushima. Fukushima is a large city and the affected nuclear power plant is miles away on the coast.

Matsushima was hit and badly damaged by the tsunami which followed the earthquake earlier this year. There are a lot of outlying islands on the coast and luckily these took some of the force of the tsunami before it hit land. Nevertheless the tsunami caused damage to homes and businesses. We could still see some evidence of the damage although the area was almost completely reopened months ago. Matsushima has some beautiful scenery. This time we will let the photos do the talking...

We have also had a chance to begin exploring Tokyo. We thought there would be no better place to start than the `Shibuya Crossing`. This is a famous tourist spot and is known as the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. This is a bit of an odd claim to fame, it is quite interesting to see so many people crossing the roads at once but it doesn't take long to tick this attraction off the list!

The next place we visited was the `Government Metropolitan Building` in Shinjuku. This is a tall skyscraper that has a free observatory on the forty fifth floor. The views over the city are impressive. On a clear day you can supposedly see Mount Fuji. Unfortunately it was not a very clear day so we visited at dusk to get some good photos of the city.
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