Hello all to part 1 of a special Cherry Post where I talk about the recent #BCHoliday trip to Japan!
But before I get to the juicy stuff, lets turn the clock back to the week before I went away (this won’t take long I can assure you).
Well the week before I went to Japan I spent the days getting through work, preparing everything and working on a custom print.. this wasn’t any custom print.
This was a custom print of Nagoya Castle, the castle is located in Japan from a client who lived there for a bit and recently went there a few weeks ago before me, one of two people I know who went there recently & not just for the rugby (eg the Rugby World Cup).
It was a wonderful design to produce before going away to the origin of said design, it was a way of getting in the mood to get some inspiration there (which I did get in 100s of pictures search #BCHoliday on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook for them). Sadly never got to see Nagoya Castle in person due to some plans not working out but managed to visit the train station a few times at least, more about that later.
What do you think? Comment below, I would love to hear what you think of it & yes the design is likely to come to the Bonfirecherry shop soon!
With that out of the way, let’s talk about this years #BCHoliday to Japan!
Technically the holiday starts on Monday 4th November but briefly starts a day early on Sunday as I will explain.
Me and one of my best friends Dene (as you might know as fellow co-host of the Bonfire Banter Podcast, read last week’s post to see why nothing is happening on that recently) started to travel to Heathrow Airport from Northampton midday on Sunday as I thought we could check in early to get rid of our luggage so we could get through security and that on Monday without any problems..but that didn’t happen.
First off a trip to Northampton to London (Euston Station) usually takes below an hour to get there, the journey down took nearly two hours due to the first train we went out broke down and then having to go onto another train which was delayed, thankfully we weren’t in a hurry but still.
We got to Euston station in London at 3pm instead of 2pm, then came the fun part of going on the London Underground which was ok if you didn’t bring 2/3 cases with you…but I did (I had 2 medium cases and 1 cabin case with the cabin being inside of the mediums) which must have pissed off some Londoners but it was an..interesting experience compared to Dene who had just had a big backpack instead.
We got to London Heathrow just before 5pm and went straight to check in at Japan Airways/British Airways (it was a Japan Airways flight I went on but bought the tickets via British Airways, some connection between the two) and sadly wasn’t able to check my luggage til 7am the next day. The reason for thinking I could check in early is because I have been counting down the trip via the British Airways app on my phone and said about checking online which I thought I could do at the airport but wasn’t able to do either due it wasn’t a proper British Airways flight, thankfully we had a hotel booked near heathrow to stay in overnight, before heading out we spoke to someone at Japan Airways and managed to get some good window seats eg got our seats changed around which was something.
I would say I got a good sleep but that would be a lie as I forgot I was sharing a twin bed room with my friend Dene and he..snores.. something I completely forgot about since our travels to Amsterdam a few years ago (Read part 1 & part 2 of the trip). Only positive thing was I was able to wake up early, showered and got myself ready before Dene for the big day. Something that the both of us remembered many times through this trip that we are total opposite people, I like to get things done early & do much as possible while Dene takes his time to get ready & then sees what you can do haha.
We got back to Heathrow around 6am to chill & have breakfast there before we checked in. Security went alright for me, not so much Dene as he forgot he had a twix chocolate bar in his pocket & that’s not a dirty metaphor for something.
Spent time in departures before heading to our gate where we saw our plane, the dream holiday that I never thought would happen was getting closer and closer!
The flight between Heathrow and Haneda/Tokyo International Airport was around 11 and a half hours long and I was bore you with every detail of the flight was both of us want to get to the very good stuff aka when I landed. In short, I was flying in economy and even in that class in the plane there was a lot of leg room near the window and I’m a tall person too. Got a food & drinks during the flight even had the flight attendants checking on how everyone was, I would say I slept well but I would be lying as it was a bit impossible but managed to get a few hours of sleep during the flight, somehow.
Got to Haneda Airport at a good time on Tuesday morning and through security/customs alright even thought customs was wondering why I was bringing so many cases for one person but the custom staff was very understanding thankfully.
The “fun” part before leaving the airport was first ditching my two medium cases to get them transferred to our hostel & then a bit of a wait to get the most vital/important piece of document for the whole trip, a Japan Train Pass which was very resourceful during the whole trip and needed it to get to Takayama aka where we would be staying.
After some wait, we got the Japan Train pass and started our #BCHoliday to Takayama which was FIVE HOURS AWAY, I picked Takayama due to it was away from the main touristy areas & was a mixture of new/old Japan which caught my attention but didn’t think much of the traveling distance til then.
We first got the Monorail to a stop in Tokyo where caught one of the Shinkansens aka the bullet train to Nagoya to then get a normal train to Takayama, see map above on the route.
We finally got Takayama around 4pm Japan time which was 9 hours ahead of the UK, got some dinner at 7 Eleven near our hostel & then checked in before heading straight to sleep as it was such a long day.
We were planning on going back to Nagoya (mainly the castle I done a print of at the start of the post) on Wednesday morning but missed two trains due to Dene taking forever to get ready but instead we decided to just explore Takayama instead which we ended up loving & we only explored one section of it on Wednesday.
I’ve been planning this trip for months and during my research I came across the Hida Toshogu shrine, which was only about 20 minute walk from the hostle & wasn’t on a lot of lists online of things to do in Takayama so that peaked my interest.
The shrine was a bit off the beaten track so to speak and it was well worth the walk to it, there was only 2 locals around whom were there for a bit then disappeared so we had the area to ourselves to soak in the area & get some inspiration in peace.
100% I will be doing a print soon based on a picture I took on the area, it was colourful & beautiful at the same time.
One of the destinations of places to visit in Takayama was the Hida Folk Village which we found out was another 20 so minute walk from where we were, as we didn’t have much planned that day, we decided to go there next.
There was a few museums we discovered on the way up, the first was about mountain live which was most interesting. Something was a thing in most museums around this area that they would want you to go around slippers that you provide instead of your shoes, good idea, annoying for me when I’ve got size 12 feet but went around with the slippers on.
The next one was called Takayama’s Teddy Bear Eco Village, aka museum full of teddy bears. This was a complete surprise to me and dene but as we didn’t have much planned we thought we check the place out, the most impressive bears where the massive ones which you can see above. I am planning on doing a print based on one soon!
Our next stop was the Hida Folk Village, an open fair museum featuring 30 thatched roof houses (during my research as I mainly took pictures there, they were shingled roofs such as “gassho-zukuri styled buildings too). The open air museum overlooks the valley of Takayama, as most places online put it, it’s a beautiful hidden gem of the area.
If I had to describe the place in two words, it will have be “Postcard beautiful” as every where you look it was beautiful and if you took a picture every one would make a great postcard. A trend of the morning was walking and tons of steps and you did there for sure here giving by this located in the mountains. Another place I am planning on doing a print of soon.
As a crafter, I was happy to come across a wood crafters desk with all of the crafters tools out!
After spending a few hours there, we took our time walking back to our hostel, went out for dinner and chilled the rest of the day.
We woke up early on Thursday to get a train at 4.44am to get us to Tokyo just before 10am with us planning to visit Akihabara & Tokyo Tower while we were there. As a fan of Japanese anime/manga series as the series One Piece (read a blog post about the connection to the series with Bonfirecherry here), it was great to visit Akihabara, the home of every anime/manga.
We then travelled to Tokyo Tower for 2 reasons 1) To get a good view of Tokyo from above and 2) I am a huge One Piece fan as mentioned above and they have a bit in Tokyo Tower covering 3 floors all related to One Piece so it was a must. It was so interesting getting closer to closer, another place to add to the list of print ideas!
Impressive view from 150m, I confess I was just getting excited to visit the One Piece section so didn’t take long around the viewing area, sorry!
Spent a few hours in One Piece Tokyo Tower, find some pictures above. Be sure to check out the blog post I mentioned a few paragraphs ago to find out why I like the series so much.
We then spent our time walking back to the station and I saw a baseball team practicing which was cool to see.
We didn’t get back to Takayama til around 11pm!
I think that’s everything for Part 1 of this #BCHoliday in Japan, wait for Friday for Part 2 where I talk about visiting the rest of Takayama and more of Tokyo!
Thanks for reading 😊
PS. ON TWITTER/FACEBOOK/INSTAGRAM SEARCH #BCHOLIDAY FOR PICS!