This morning we said a fond farewell to Yakushima. I honestly think we’ll be back one day.
After some momentary confusion when our contact from the car rental agency failed to show up on time at the ferry port, we eventually got the direct ferry from Miyanoura through to Kagoshima. Much calmer journey this time.
Once in Kagoshima we lugged our bags a km or so into town and tracked down the bus stop for the bus that would transfer us to the airport. If we hadn’t seen one actually stop at the bus stop I think we would have been wandering for ages as the bus stop had no sign in English anywhere suggesting anything to do with the airport!!
After a quick bite to eat at the airport we caught our flight to Tokyo.
For those of you that have been building a mental itinerary in your heads of where we have been and where we are going, you would have noticed that there’s quite a bit of back-tracking going on. This is purely a result of either fully booked flights (eg. our flight to Fukuoka instead of Hiroshima earlier in the trip), or due to a lack of flights (as was the case in trying to get to Ishigaki, one of the more remote Japanese locations, forcing us to go through Tokyo). The other contributing factor is that throughout this holiday we have been making use of the Visit Japan air pass which gets you five sectors of travel for around AU$120 per sector, regardless of distance traveled. So to travel to Ishigaki via Tokyo was just as expensive as if we had flown to Ishigaki via Fukuoka or Osaka.
On arrival in Haneda airport we had a mad time trying to work out trains that would take us to Shimbashi station. In the end it was a bit of an educated guess that turned out half right! The train made an extended stop at one of the stations and when we saw 90% of the passengers get off after an announcement on the loudspeakers (in Japanese only of course!) we got a bit nervous and joined them in leaving the train. It was the right decision in the end as it ended up transferring onto a line that went nowhere near our destination!
After getting off at Shimbashi station we walked the 500m or so to the Mitsui Garden Hotel Premier in Ginza.
This was one of our indulgences on the holiday, as we had booked ourselves a ‘View Bath’ room. In other words, it was right at the top of the hotel and had an amazing bathroom looking out over the city of Tokyo. It was absolutely spectacular at night time, as we had an awesome view of the Tokyo Tower, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the Eiffel Tower.
That night we wandered the main shopping street of Ginza and ended up grabbing some Chinese (accidently, but it was very tasty!) for dinner. For dessert we tried this great French-style cafe where we had some very tasty treats!
Tomorrow we leave for Ishigaki!!