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Please welcome Lorina!

It seems that I didn't write in this section for quite a while even though we have those who want to show off!

On the next day, after we returned from Autumn Japan, in accordance with our agreement with VolksUSA we were waiting for a new guest. She was ready to come earlier, but we headed to Seattle and then to Japan so it was a total mess.
But she came, so please greet the one who helped me to fight jetlag.

Lorina - back
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Day 7 in Tokyo: Kodokan, Tokyo Tower

On our 15th (and last full) day in Japan at first we went to Kodokan, the Judo academy and museum. Not that we are very interested in Judo, but a friend asked to get him some stuff there and since we had nothing better to do anyway we decided to check it out.

Biycle parking
Bicycle parking in building across the street from our hotel.
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Days 3-6 in Tokyo.

The plans for next day were pretty scarce, so we woke up pretty late again.

About this time I started to realize that winter in Tokyo is pretty boring. Bad weather combined with little to see.

So we decided to go to Nakano Broadway, a place where supposedly a lot of anime shops located.

Buta shogoyaki
But first, breakfast (this is Buta Shogoyaki)
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Days 1 and 2 in Tokyo: Akihabara, Suntory Hall and JLUG

As you might remember, we left off the story last time with departing to Tokyo. Our hotel in Tokyo was a pretty cheap place called Horidome Villa (business hotel). The room about the same size as what we had in Osaka we were able to book for just about $65/night. We arrived quite late in the day and took what appeared to be the last available room, that also turned out to be the worst room as well: very humid, with small flies everywhere and with bad smell. Front desk acknowledged the problem and promised to provide with another room on the next day after some people check out.

So we slept for quite a bit of time in the morning and then the front desk informed us that we can move to another room at like noon, so we decided to wait until noon in hotel (and it was around 10:30 already) so that we can move our stuff to that other room.

Another problem with this hotel turned out to be that they did not have any nonsmoking floor. One of the floors had all non-smoking rooms, which just meant that all smoking guests of those rooms went to the hall for a smoke, and the smell immediately penetrate at least our room (both of the rooms we tried actually).

Window view
This is what we had for a window view.
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Autumn Japan: Day 2 in Osaka and Day 2 in Kyoto: Arashiyama

Next day turned out to be rainy and so we decided to not go to Kyoto, but instead go to Nihonbashi shopping area.

But first, breakfast.

Takoyaki soup
We found some takoyaki place at the Shin-Osaka station (it was really hard to find a non-smoking place). These are Takoyaki with soup.
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Autumn Kyoto, day 1: Tofuku-ji, Tenshi-no-Sato.

So next day came and we headed to Kyoto. Getting there from our hotel was an easy 23 minutes train ride (that set us back for something like 540 yen/person).

The day in Kyoto was preplanned in a way, it's when we planned to meet a friend that we have met at SC'10. He lives in Kyoto and also has Suigintou that Ksusha and our Hina-chan wanted to see very much, yes, Hina-chan also came with us to Japan Wink

Anyway we've got to Kyoto and the first stop was at Tofuku-ji temple, a famous zen temple. It was established in Kamakura period, about 750 years ago. The name was taken from two major temples in Nara: Todai-ji and Kofuku-ji.

Center outer gate
Central outer gate.
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Autumn Japan, Osaka day 1: Amerika-mura

So having left Nara we went to Osaka. Not that we really wanted to stay in Osaka, but by the time we knew the dates we can be in Kanto region, all hotels in Kyoto (and this is where we were planning to go) were sold out.

So we booked a hotel very close to Shin-Osaka station, convenient for travel to Kyoto.

Of course we got to Osaka pretty late, so no point in going to Kyoto that day, instead we decided to go to Amerika-Mura district in Osaka, that is known for it's big shopping areas.

We also wanted to visit Mandarake shop and to eat some yakiniku in the evening.

Light posts at Amerika-mura
Interesting light posts in the area.
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Autumn Nara, day 4. Kasuga Taisha Shrine

On our last day in Nara we wanted to go to Kasuga Taisha Shrine, that was a bit too far away for a walk, so we took a bus instead.

Sake
As we enter the surrounding area we immediately see barrels with sake.
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Autumn Nara, day 3. Tanzan Shrine and Hase-dera

Early morning of day 3 in Nara we headed to Tanzan shrine, it's somewhat outside of Nara, but promised very nice views.

First we spent some time in a train to Sakurai station

Christmas tree at some JR station
On the way to Sakurai station we passed this place with apparent preparations for New Year.
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Autumn Nara, day 2

For this blogpost we are returning to the Nara visit.

So on the second day in Nara we went to Todai-ji from the very morning hoping the sneak in before tourist groups appear.

Sun-lit tree in a park
Morning sun shining through Nara park trees.
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