Published: June 14th 2017
Geo: 35.79, 140.32
The unexpected side effect of having amazing rooms looking directly onto the temple was the temple bells at 6am, pealing loudly through the dark!
We later woke on our tatami mat futon beds – ready for a Queen size mattress now! – and Steven and I took a last chance for a bath (again, the only people there, in our respective rooms). We got the kids up, organized suitcases for the last time and checked out at about 10am (leaning the bags at the hotel) and booking a taxi to the train station for the afternoon.
The main street of Narita is extremely traditional, full of quaint shops, small restaurants and one of the largest temple complexes in Japan. However, it does NOT have anywhere selling any style of western breakfast….we convinced the kids that an apple/banana was it until an early lunch.
It was bitterly cold – I cannot explain how a grey windy day at 12 degrees in Narita felt colder than 4 degrees in Takayama, but maybe we were not prepared/dressed for it. We wandered through the large Buddhist temple, looking at the turtles and fish in the fountain, the pretty pagoda and the main temple, where
prayers were commencing. We decided to watch the ceremony (it was indoors, it was warm…these things increased our piety and cultural interest), and whilst Matt grew tired of watching (so he and I went outside), the others were enthralled and amazed when the “bishop” lit a large fire, and the parishioners passed their handbags through the fire! The “Church of Olivia” (a new world religion to be set up by Olivia) will have large fires and ornamental cabbages!
Lunch early, as we never found breakfast, was at an authentic restaurant where we sat on cushions on the floor and was lovely. Then, we wandered the streets a little more, ending up at McDonalds (shhh…don’t tell anyone!) for a quick snack before heading back down the hill to our hotel.
We had arranged a maxi taxi to take us to the train station (only 1km away, but too hard with all the luggage). The taxi driver thought he was taking us to the airport, got cranky, took us to the railway station then charged us the full fare to have taken us to the airport. Our only experience being “ripped off” in Japan….and Steven wasn’t in the mood to argue in a language
we don’t speak, with someone who was clearly unhappy. Given that our train passes gave us a free connection then to the airport, it didn’t matter much…
Into the airport, and into the QANTAS club – an issue about whether we could all come in on Steven’s membership, and whether the children were all under 18, culminating in the girls being told to share a shower cubicle (they stood their ground and got a second cubicle and second towel 😊) where we ate, drank and prepared for the flight home.
What a great holiday.
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