The parts in between
In my last travel diary entry I'd just gotten to the end of our 3rd day in Japan (or 2nd day in Tokyo).
On our 4th day, we grabbed some ekiben (train station packed lunch) and hopped onto the train leaving Tokyo behind for the day and headed off to Kakegawa and Shizuoka to meet my friend Lisa.
On the way from Tokyo to Kakegawa, Mt. Fuji put in an appearance. It's hard to tell from the picture how very impressive and striking Fuji-san really is, even when seen through the windows of a train.
Kakegawa welcomed us with clear blue skies and it was all a nice change from the 24/7 hustle and bustle of Tokyo, with it's small, quiet streets and nary anyone else in sight. It was great to get to see such a different side of Japan, after our introduction to it had been amongst the throngs of people and ever present buzz of Tokyo.
While there, Lisa took us to visit Kakegawa castle, and it's tearoom.
Kakegawa castle was small, very charming and cozy, but still rather grand, what with being a castle and all. The wonderfully enthusiastic elderly gentleman who acted as a guide of the castle showed us photos of the castle and its grounds through the seasons, so we could see what the area will look like come spring and everything is in bloom and not hibernating like it all was as we were there during winter.
The view from the very top of the castle was awesome, and showed how in Japan, mountains really are everywhere! It was also a great contrast from the impressive and pretty intimidating view of Tokyo we got from the top of Tokyo Tower.
After touring the castle, we paid a visit to the tearoom situated on its grounds. I, Jenny and Aliisa all practice chadô (the art of tea, Aliisa is actually currently studying chadô in Kyoto), so it was really super for us to get to see another tearoom asides from the one we have here in Helsinki.
After having some tea and simply stopping and enjoying the moment for a while, we took a little walk around the castle and it's environs.
...and that's where the battery of my camera ran out.
I was so upset that I couldn't take photos in Shizuoka, where we went after Kakegawa. Shizuoka is a lovely city that has the feel of a small town, even though it's the capital of its prefecture. Then again, I think every place will feel smaller after Tokyo.
The best thing about Shizuoka couldn't be captured on camera though: that the streets smelled wonderfully of roasted tea. The Shizuoka area is famous for its green tea, apparently to the extent that the city is permeated with the smell of it! After sniffing about the streets, we went to a lovely little teashop & cafe that served super yummy "chaffels", tea waffles, a speciality of the shop and Shizuoka.
Afterwards we parted company with Aliisa, as she had to get back to Kyoto earlier for school, and I and Jenny returned to Tokyo for one more day, before we too would make our way to Kyoto. To cap off our tea-filled day, we had a nice cuppa at the ryokan before bed. :)
On our last day in Tokyo, we ended up spending quite a lot of time having a tiff with the coin lockers in Shibuya train station (they would only accept 100¥ coins, which we were very short on at the time) where we left our luggage for the day and then getting a little lost in Shinjuku, looking for shops we wanted to visit.
After we were done with shopping and getting lost, we returned to Shibuya, collected our bags from the accursed coin lockers and headed off into the sunset... or Kyoto, as it happened. :)
Next up in my Japan travel diary, Kyoto! :)