I have been meaning to write to you for ages since we got back but one thing and another has delayed me…
Pat and I would like to say a huge thank you for our trip to Japan! It was absolutely great and the itinerary you prepared worked wonderfully (thank you also for clarifying for us the extra night in Okayama so quickly).
The Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo was great, lovely staff and our room each time was fantastic. It was a great way to start and end our trip, and we enjoyed being in Shinjuku (once we got used to the station – wow). Kanazawa was charming and we loved the Kenruoken Garden (hope I’m not mixing it up with the other stunning one in Okayama). We loved Takayama and really enjoyed the Green Hotel, our first onsen experience. A real surprise was Okayama. Considering we mainly went there for its proximity to Naoshima Island, we both found it a relevation. Lovely sized city, with great castle and beautiful garden and we had some fab meals there. I loved the Grand Via Hotel there – I could see the shinkansen terminal and tram terminus from our (large) room! It was a great suggestion of yours to stay there and not on Naoshima (though I did enjoy visiting it and found a funky rockabilly diner there, recommended by one of my workmates – who knew?).
As for Miyajima Island, we LOVED it and the Kinukoya Hotel was superb. The food was unbelievable there and again, the onsen experience was just fantastic. We managed to fend off the deer, and could see the floating Tori gate from our room. Awesome. The Hiroshima Museum was sobering but fascinating, when we took our day trip there.
Osaka was fun and we ate some great food there and saw some of the best cherry (and plum) blossom of our trip near the Castle, which was also excellent.
We loved travelling by train, especially the mighty shinkansen, and we also loved the Kyoto Railway Museum. I almost forgot: Kyoto was totally beautiful and a highlight was the Fox temple, the Philosopher’s Path (almost obscured by crowds :)) and of course, the number of local women wearing stunning kimonos.
We definitely want to go back at some stage, but again, thank you so much for such a wonderful introduction; we will most definitely recommend to any friends thinking of going to come and see you.
Very best wishes,
Alison and Pat