Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

We get a pretty long break for New Years, so we had a lot of time to work with to go to some interesting places. We started off going to Kunitachi and Tachikawa like usual, and also took a side trip to see Fussa, where I was born. After that we headed to Kanagawa and stayed in the most annoying hotel ever, then headed home with a pit-stop into Saitama on New Years Day. It was a lot of driving, and rather exhausting, but fun!

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
We got sidetracked off the highway by a dome and a dam, but finally found our way into Tachikawa!

Photobucket Photobucket
Parked in Tachikawa and looked around a bit, then took the train into Fussa.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
The station. Honestly, I had no actual idea where we were going, so I just picked a direction which turned out to be the wrong one (oops…). So next time I’ll go the other way! We headed, facing Tokyo, left out of the station.

Photobucket Photobucket
The outside. There was a lot of construction on new buildings, so I bet things have really changed…

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
We just started walking, and after a few minutes I saw something odd in the distance. A cactus house?!? Even in Texas this is BIG for a cactus!

Photobucket Photobucket
And then in the distance I saw another weird thing… which turned out to be a sake brewery! Whoa!

Photobucket Photobucket
The temple close to the brewery

Photobucket Photobucket
What’s going on here?

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
Then we kept walking until we hit the river, stopped, and went back.

Photobucket Photobucket
A sign for the sake brewery, and a bottle from a liquor store of the same. Apparently this is the limited version you can’t even buy at the brewery!

Photobucket
Lest you forget you’re near an airbase…

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
Photobucket
Lastly, a few of the station and the koban. What’s up with the ugly statue though? He’s got a pigeon on his head!

Photobucket
Tired from walking, we took the train back to Tachikawa in time to see the lights, then drove to Kunitachi and a hotel for the night.

I had sent an email asking about Fussa to family, but of course it was too late once I received the email! And it was REALLY difficult to tell where things were from the station map… it didn’t even show the base, otherwise I would have headed that way. Next Tokyo trip I’ll have a better idea where to go then!

The next day, we did the usual exploring Kunitachi a bit, then drove on to Kanagawa and got checked into the Most Annoying Hotel Ever, as I will forever think of it.

Photobucket Photobucket
Back to Kenji’s shrine with the chickens!

Photobucket Photobucket
They were preparing for New Years, including the burning of the previous years decorations. After the shrine we walked along the streets a bit, then headed out for Kanagawa.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
We decided to mix it up by heading a different way than normal, and got off the highway at a lake.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
The roads though… were TINY, windy, through a mountain pass, and I don’t normally get carsick but I was feeling it a little by the end.

Photobucket
The view coming over the mountain was pretty nice though…

Photobucket Photobucket
New Years in Kanagawa was nice, except for the hotel! The food was great, and it was awesome to watch Kohaku until midnight on New Years Eve, then countdown with the bells! We left New Years Day to head back home.

The hotel though. Lemme tell you about this hotel. We were originally going to stay in two different hotels instead of just one because we weren’t sure we’d be in Kanagawa the whole time. So a lot of places were booked by the time we decided we needed two nights. We looked at a few cheap ryokan, and then found an onsen hotel in Hadano, which was expensive, but looked really nice.

The onsen, in fact, WAS quite nice… but the hotel was one of the worst I’ve ever stayed in, and the reason was stupid. The onsen closes between 9am and 10am everyday for cleaning. Those are STUPID times to close, and I’ve never heard of an onsen that closed during those times, but whatever. No biggie, right? Wrong. Because starting at 8am and then at 8:15, 8:30, and 8:45 you get these announcements TELLING you the onsen is closing, all through the hotel, including your room. So say goodbye to sleep! And when they finally turn off, we got a call from the front desk asking us to come down… so they could tell us there were no charges and everything was fine. Um… thanks? To TOP it all off, at that point you’re wide awake, and the onsen is closed so you can’t even take a bath at that time. WHAT. THE. FRIGGEN. HELL. They are very, very lucky I couldn’t chew them out in Japanese, because had they spoke English they would have gotten an earful. Their customer service sucked as well. Okay, I’m done.

ANYWAY, going home to Gunma, we passed through Chichibu, Saitama to see some temples and shrines on the way back.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
One was up on a hill, so we got a really nice view of the area

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
Here you are supposed to tie little locks or ema to the railing I guess…

Photobucket
The bridge over the water

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
The second temple, and frost on the ground

Photobucket
Hahahahahaha!

Photobucket Photobucket
Lastly, we went to a shrine in the city center. The two temples had been absolutely deserted, all the people were here!

Photobucket Photobucket
Quite the festival atmosphere!

Photobucket
The kanji for the past year, which means “bright”.

After that we came home, exhausted, then went snowboarding the next day because we are gluttons for punishment I suppose!

Advertisements