Sendero Group Travel Blog

Follow Sendero travelers on their adventures using accessible GPS.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

 

Japan, Osaka and Kyoto



Since the United flights to Bangkok route through Japan, it only made sense to stop over on the way home for a couple days. It is about a 6 hour flight to Osaka and then another 10 hours flying to San Francisco from there.


We were in for a bit of an unpleasant shock when entering immigration in Osaka. I passed through with no problem but then Gena was held up. Her passport was flagged so they took us into a holding room while they sorted it out. Being a holiday in the US as well as in Japan, everyone was concerned that no officials could be reached to figure out the problem. Because of the language barrier, it was a very upsetting interchange with us having no clue when and if anything would be done.

In case we were not allowed into Japan, we started looking into flights back to the US but the last one was gone for the day.  There was only a flight to Guam, about 4 hours from Japan that was leaving an hour and a half hence.

Finally, Gena was called to the phone and got an earful from Mr. Brown at the US embassy in Osaka,  telling her she was in big trouble. Once she explained she was blind he lightened up. Turns out that Gena was using a passport she thought was active but was in fact one she thought was lost and replaced. Hard to figure out why she had been through 6 passport checkpoints prior to Osaka without issue. Finally, after being detained for 2 hours, we were hugely relieved to be allowed into Japan although I was a bit disappointed not to be going to Guam.
Toilet control with Braille labels 
Our time in Osaka was mostly around the two hotels where we stayed, the Ritz Carlton and Swissotel. We were duly impressed by the heated toilet seats in both hotels. One even had a push-button panel with Braille labels.

Mike and Gena in front of the Osaka CastleOutside the hotel, there was not much English Spoken; I did not have GPS maps so navigating was a challenge. A lovely young woman in the Ritz, who was from Kyoto, wrote down directions to the train and to various places to visit in Kyoto. We used this and the points of interest aspect of the GPS to find our way to Kyoto and back on the train as well as going to the castle inOsaka. The train stations were huge and packed with lots of people. It wasn’t easy but we managed between all our alternative tools and techniques to get where we wanted to go.

view of Osaka buildings from the CastleOn our return trip, we came out of the wrong exit and found ourselves taking a very long way around. We made it in time to check out and catch our shuttle back to the airport.
 Gena, Mutsuki and Mike at bus station


I have always said that “the people make the places” and that was true of Japan. Our favorite was our friend Mutsuki from the Ritz. Our waiter at the Italian Cantina was wonderful, not to mention another waiter, Tomach, who was actually Hungarian. We had fun with a few folks who didn’t speak a word of English like one of the guards at the Osaka Castle, who ran up 6 flights of stairs in search of us. He really wanted us to take the elevator. We enjoyed the ladies in a women’s clothing store called Scream. They even let us feel the super high heels and leggings they were wearing.
Restaurant in Japan 
We had a good time despite the problem entering the country because of the warmth of the people. Next time, we will make sure we don’t go there on a holiday, which made a very crowded place even crazier.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

Archives

August 1997   January 1998   August 1999   December 1999   January 2000   September 2004   October 2004   November 2004   December 2004   March 2005   May 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   November 2005   May 2006   June 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   October 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   October 2008   January 2009   June 2009   July 2009   August 2009   September 2009   October 2009   November 2009   December 2009   January 2010   March 2010   April 2010   July 2010   October 2010   December 2010   February 2011   May 2011   July 2011   September 2011   October 2011   November 2011   January 2012   February 2012   March 2012   April 2012   May 2012   July 2012   August 2012   October 2012   November 2012   December 2012   January 2013   March 2013   June 2013   July 2013   August 2013   September 2013   October 2013   November 2013   December 2013   January 2014   March 2014   April 2014   August 2014   September 2014   October 2014   November 2014   December 2014   February 2015   July 2015   August 2015   September 2015   November 2015   December 2015   January 2016   January 2017  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?