Taking it Back – Day 4

Taking it Back – Day 4

Kenroku-en Garden Crowds

Kenroku-en Garden Crowds

OK, so I have to take some of yesterday’s observations back.  Today we explored Kanazawa and the further we get from Tokyo, the more we are finding things as we’d left them.   In Kanazawa, we ran into our first experience of the busloads of tourists we’d come to expect in Japan at some tourist stops.

Our day started off with Kenroku-en garden, a famed strolling garden in the center of the city.   We always advise our clients to go early to avoid the bus crowds.  I tried to take our advice, although I’m admittedly not a morning person.  But up-and-at-’em, we were there by about 8:30 to try to avoid the crowds.  Alas, not possible as we entered with at least two busloads of people, in this case, from Taiwan.  While not westerners, at least some tourists are starting to return to Japan.

Other places held more Japanese tourists as this was a Saturday and so likely had more people than a weekday.   We managed to have an incredibly productive day.  Our original schedule, with one of our local guides, called for 5 visits in about a 1/2 day.  I thought it was ambitious when it was laid out but hoped that maybe we could get it all done.   As it turns out, we were able to get in the original 5 things plus a brief walk-through of THREE additional places – including time for tea and a close inspection of the tsuba collection at our favorite ryokan in Kanazawa and a stop at the Museum of the 21st Century, which had an exhibit titled “Made in Japan 1960″.   It’s a wonderful wall of clocks from that era and, having grown up with these type of items around me, it had a more special meaning than perhaps it would have for the average Japanese person.   I’ve put in a picture here, but it’s hard to really tell unless it’s large how fun the range of clocks on display were.   I’ll write more about the rest of the places visited later (got to leave something to post in the months until I’m back in Japan!).

Arrival into Kyoto drove home even more that there has been virtually no affect in this part of the country.  The train station was mobbed with locals, the restaurants were crowded and all the lights were on and the place is humming.   We arrived into our favorite hotel in town, the Hyatt Regency, and were greeted like family.   As noted in earlier postings, the saddest part about the disaster for the REST of the country is how difficult the world’s reaction has been on all the Japanese.

I’m clearly biased, as I love the country, but I’ve been in the travel industry for over 20 years.  There is probably no better time to come to Japan right now as the tourism industry is working so hard to provide opportunities for foreign visitors.  Prices are amazing, the crowds are small and it’s one of the best times of the year for weather and activities.   I’m certainly glad to be back, even if I have to share it with slightly larger crowds than before, now that I’m in Kyoto.

Tomorrow – TWO festivals!

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