Well located, clean, comfortable with all services including internet. A friend Puyon got this wonderful accomodation during Kyoto's major tourist season. I don't have a clue how he did it. Well recommended !!! Well located...ie, walking distance to major transportation. Cost $50 per person per night
These toilets can be found in many places, eg. hotels, restaurants and shopping malls. These are electronic toilets! This toilet was at Dai-ichi Hotel Ryogoku.
Instructions to Usage of Electronic Toilets
Don't know how to use these space age toilets? Here are the instructions for this particular Toto model at Dai-ichi Hotel Ryogoku.
2nd journey to the 0th world
"3 nights in tokyo"
Day 1 Tokyo, Dai Ichi Hotel Ginza
Day 2 Tokyo, Akihabara
Day 3 Tokyo, Akihabara
Day 4 Tokyo - Bangkok
Tsukuba & Tokyo
Left Ottawa on Friday morning, heading first to Toronto, and then to Narita airport (Tokyo). I passed the long flight by reading some of my papers for the meeting I was going, reading my book, and watching movies. As I recall, it was a rather uneventful flight - which is always a good thing. Actually, the only really unusual thing, for me at least, was to actually be on the same flight with my colleague who was going to the same meeting.
We arrived at Narita sometime noon, Tokyo time. We had to change some money and get bus tickets for the next leg of our journey. We just hung around the airport for an hour or so and then caught our bus to Tsukuba Science City. This is where we would be meeting due to the location of the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI).
While it was not Tokyo, or some other better known place, Tsukuba Science City was designated by the Government as a model region for international tourism. In addition to the proximity to our hosts, local attractions include Mt. Tsukuba, and Suigo-Tsukuba Quasi-National Park. Mt. Tsukuba has been an object of worship since olden times and Tsukuba Science City is a place centre for numerous public and private research and educational institutions. Tsukuba Science City is located approximately 60 km northeast of Tokyo. It spreads over Tsukuba city and Kukizaki town, covering 28 400 ha, and is situated on part of the Joso Plateau which is 20 - 30 m above sea level.
On arrival, we checked in to our hotel, the Tsukuba Dai-Ichi Hotel. After unpacking we met again for a bite of dinner. Afterwards, as I for one was a bit worn out and jet-lagged, I returned to my room for an attempt at a night’s sleep.
Woke up bright and early the next morning, after a less than perfectly restful sleep. Oh well, still another night to try before the meeting begins.
Up at 7:30 and had breakfast. This was a rather interesting affair that was buffet style and included "Western-style" options (eggs, bacon, etc.), as well as miso soup and tofu.
After breakfast, having explored around the hotel a little bit, I decided to tag along with my colleague, who was attempting to find a "Go" club. He managed to track down the place to head, which turned out to be not too far from our hotel, and off we headed.
It took us about 15 or 20 minutes and we found this small white building with a bit of a parking lot (which happened to be mostly empty at the time). In we headed to find a room with several tables set up for Go players, a training board, and a television showing Go training videos. This, of course, was all very new to me. My colleague, however, was not at all out of his element.
He managed to make the caretaker understand that he wished to play Go and they had a game. He then attempted to teach me Go. Finally someone else came in who was actually better then him (on the universal Go ability scale) and they had a game. At this point it was about lunch time, so we headed off to find something to eat. But I believe he made arrangements to come back at a time when more people would be likely to be there.
We picked up some "box lunches" from a shopping centre near our hotel and ate them in a nearby park. They were pretty good, consisting of a small variety of sashimi. While I believe he returned to the Go club in the afternoon, I begged off, got my book, and sat down in the park to read. Later on, I bumped into some other colleagues and we later went for dinner.
And somewhat later after that, I returned to my hotel for another attempt at a night’s sleep. After all, the meeting would start the next day.
The next few days, I was occupied with my meeting and didn’t get to do anything very interesting. However, there were some highlights.
19 June - Up before 07:00 this morning and in for breakfast. Met several more colleagues and then we all headed off FFPRI. After the close of the meeting for the day, we had a reception to attend. This was held at our hotel and was rather nice, with lots of lovely munchie bits, including fresh fruit and beer. After a few speeches and chances to meet and re-meet a variety of people, it was again time to try to get some sleep.
20 June - Up before 07:00 again this morning for breakfast and shuttle to FFPRI.
Up early this morning (06:00!!) for breakfast and shuttle for field trip. Headed to Mt. Tsukuba and shrine and lovely gardens near base of mountain. Took cable car to ascent the mountain and walked around on paths at top - saw another shrine! After walking around, looking at the sights on and from the top of the mountain (which were few due to the fog/haze), we took a gondola down the mountain. Then on to lunch at Denny’s! Familiar and yet...
After lunch we got to see several forestry sites - Sugi (Cryptomeria japonica) and Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) plantations and harvesting. Along the way we also got to see rice fields and stands of bamboo! All quite interesting.
After our brief and interesting tour of forestry and cultural sites around Tsukuba, it was back to the meeting at FFPRI.
Today was another interesting day. First, up early and into a bus to take us to Tokyo. We headed to the hotel we would be staying at that night to drop off our luggage and then headed to Asakusa. Long considered the heart of old downtown, Asakusa, north-east of the centre, is one of the few places where you can experience something of the real-life flavour of old ***amachi. The big attraction here (and the one we saw) is Senso-ji Temple, probably the liveliest place of Buddhist worship in all Japan.
After a look around at Senso-ji, and the obligatory tourist shopping, we were taken to Mita House, in the international area of town. Here we had lunch before participating in a seminar sponsored by the Japan International Forestry Promotion & Cooperation Center (http://www.highway.ne.jp/jifpro/ - Japanese only). This was an opportunity for us to share information about the international forest policy exercise we work on with an interested local audience. Quite interesting.
Then it was back to our hotel, the Mita Miyako Hotel, in time for another reception with more speeches and more lovely munchies and more beer.
Finally, after my final night in Japan, my final day in the country. As my flight wasn’t until later on, I intended to see what I could see, at least for the morning. I ended up heading off on the subway with an Australian colleague, who had a flight at approximately the same time as I, to see if we could find our way to the Imperial Palace grounds.
As it turned out, we could and spent a rainy morning wandering around the quite splendid grounds of Chiyoda City, Edo Castle - the Imperial palace - which was founded and constructed from 1590 to 1710. We saw (and took pictures of) walls and moats and sentry posts and bridges (including the Niju-bashi Bridge at the main entrance), as well as a statue of a fellow on a horse (probably Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) who was made Shogun in 1603 and established his government in Tokyo - his administration apparently provided centuries of reasonably stable peace until the Americans (USA) arrived in 1853, triggering revolutionary changes).
We then made our way back to our hotel to have a bite of lunch and I then headed on the shuttle bus back to Narita airport. I was, of course, hours early for my flight - but then, better early than late.
My flight left at 19:00 and (due to the miracle of the international date line) arrived in Toronto at 18:15 the same day. My rather weary colleague and I had a beer between flights and finally arrived back in Ottawa at 23:00 - still Saturday, but just barely! Another successful trip finished.