It’s finally time for another episode of Flavia goes to Japan and South Korea! Just kidding. Unless you think of these as episodes. Which is fine. Haha. Anyway, as you can probably tell from the other posts I’ve made about this trip, we made sure to stay busy every single day! Because Day 6 was just as busy as Day 5, I have decided to split this day up into two posts as well! I don’t want to overwhelm you all with too much stuff, and I also dislike when my posts look too long, haha. If you want to find out more about some of the planning that went into this trip, as well as about the first half of Day 6 (of course), read on!
Because my parents only had 10 days that they could stay in Japan, we made sure to pack each day full of as much as possible. Before we even left Canada, I made a detailed plan based on what they wanted to do and see, just to be sure that we can actually get as much done as possible! I don’t usually travel that way, and normally take things one day at a time. When I go on vacations, my main goal is usually for me to de-stress, and being busy while following a detailed schedule doesn’t usually do it for me. But I’m happy that I was able to use the organized side of my brain o help my parents experience as much of Japan as they possibly could in 10 days. It was also a bonus that I was able to experience all of these things alongside them, because I really regretted not doing and seeing a lot more things when I was in Japan the first time in 2014!
We started our day early once again, since we were still waking up with the sun (due to jetlag probably, and likely also because we wanted to get as much daylight out of our day as possible), and headed for the train station. I cannot tell you guys how much I miss those walks from our apartment to the train station every morning and night. Sigh. Getting flashbacks right now, and tearing up. Don’t mind me.
Anyway, we took the train to one of the 2 Shinkansen (bullet train) stations in Tokyo (I forget which one), bought tickets, and waited. For those of you planning to visit Tokyo, and who also want to take the Shinkansen to Odawara or Kyoto, there is a Shinkansen station at Tokyo station, and one at Shinagawa station. We were all very excited, because I had not taken the bullet train the last time I was in Japan, and my parents had also always wanted to take one. I’m not sure if I mentioned this (so I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself) but, my parents, sister, and I used to watch Japanese dramas almost every weekday evening together! This was before my sister and I discovered Korean dramas and found the Japanese ones to sadly become less and less satisfying for us. (I also found Japanese dramas to be a little painful to watch after my first trip to Japan, because I missed it so much!) This was also before my sister and myself got boyfriends and started spending half of our time with them…and they don’t really like dramas…sigh. The conflict.
Seeing the Japanese countryside is very soothing to me, and it also fulfilled a dream that I’d had since childhood. You see, I grew up watching Miyazaki films, as well as anime TV shows, and I think that I’ve been very drawn to Japan and its landscapes and culture since then…partially due to that.
We arrived at Odawara station, our first stop for the day, and stepped outside, a little disoriented. I had never been to Odawara before, and was therefore as new to the place as my parents were. Rather than using Google Maps, we just looked around and saw the tip of Odawara castle, one of the things that we wanted to see in Odawara, and therefore started making our way in that direction. It worked out quite well, and we were happy to be seeing our first Japanese castle! Ah! I hadn’t seen any castles the first time I went, which is kind of sad. But due to my parents wanting to see some, I was able to see 2 or 3 on this trip!
I should really know the exact amount, but the days feel like they’re blending together now. This happened some months ago, after all, and I’m using the photos that I took to jog my memory a lot of the time. Anyway, back to Odawara castle! It was very impressive from the outside, and we went to a samurai museum which was nearby, and that was quite an experience as well. If you plan on travelling here, I just want to let you know that you can get a deal where you save money if you get tickets to the museum, and to see the castle interior. Sadly, the samurai museum was a little more interesting for all of us, than the inside of the castle.
I found out later that there had been a fire, and that they had to rebuild the castle from scratch. Well, when they did this, they didn’t re-create the interior the way that they did with the exterior. It was all modern stairs and rooms, containing glass displays of antiques from may years ago. We had been expecting the interior to look as it would have back in the day, with just a few modern upgrades…so we were a little surprise and disappointed. But it was still nice to see! (They also had a cage containing some monkies outside, and they made me very very sad. I was very tempted to get arrested for setting them free…but they would have likely been hit by cars or died another way if I’d done that anyway. So I was happy to move on to the next thing on our list: Miyukinohama Beach!)
If you have been following my blog and social media for some time, you might know that I love going to the beach! I think that my love for beaches, seas, lakes, and oceans began when I was little, and my grandparents would take my sister and I to the Black Sea in Romania every summer.
We had a nice walk from the castle, through the town (which is quite different from what we’d seen in Tokyo), and found Miyukinohama Beach (even though we didn’t know what it was called at the time). I used Google Maps and just sort of…headed for the water. Haha. Imagine our surprise though, when we reach the sand and find that in stead of the beige to brown that we’re used to, it’s a dark gray to charcoal colour! It was so fascinating! The sand also felt different, and my dad then figured out that this was because this was volcanic sand! So cool. And I found some interesting rocks that I picked up and brought home to Canada with me, haha. And nope, somehow my luggage was not over the limit. Don’t ask me how! One of the rocks even looked like an onigiri (Japanese rice cake), and I just couldn’t leave it there on the beach. It was meant to go home with me to look cute on my shelf!
Even though Day 6th was a very gloomy day, weather wise, I was still very happy to see Odawara, and this unique beach. We were also happy to find that this place wasn’t really a tourist attraction, (and this was the case with Odawara overall, which was nice), and were therefore almost completely alone on this beach. I could have stayed there for hours and hours, but we eventually had to leave due to getting hungry. Be sure to stay tooned for my next post to see what we ate in Odawara that day before heading toward Hakone!
THANK YOU FOR READING THIS POST ABOUT MY JAPAN AND KOREA 2017 ADVENTURES! ALSO, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND/OR SOME OF YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES IN JAPAN, ASIA, OR ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD YOU MAY HAVE TRAVELLED TO, IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!