Monday, October 20, 2008


Things that worked in Japan, things that didn't

Canon Ixus 860IS digital camera. Not the lightest or best-built compact around, but it took some excellent pics, was easy to carry, and was ready to shoot in a second. Its large screen means it goes through batteries fast, so I was glad to have bought a spare. It has limited zoom of course, but an excellent wide angle. Lowepro belt pack was also great to have.

Ecco shoes. Really comfortable shoes for a tour make a huge difference, and a pair I had bought with a simple velcro fastening were perfect for this trip.

Ear plugs. We stayed in one hotel right beside the railways station, and earplugs were essential.

Imperial Hotel Osaka. A late change to our arrangements got us into this very smart hotel. An unreserved recommendation from me, just excellent, with great views over the river.

Park Hotel Tokyo. Our top-and-tail hotel, and very pleasant each time. Two good if expensive restaurants, great breakfast, good views, lovely and helpful people. Nice rooms, well provided with kit. Free internet in the business centre. Strongly recommended.

Travel For You. Our tour organiser, who put the trip together and were really supportive throughout.

Didn't work:
KLM. Lost some of our luggage at Amsterdam hub on the way out ("recompensed" with a 25 Euro voucher for future flights! Ha ha.); incredibly cramped seating on planes; pathetic in-flight entertainment on 747 on the way back. Won't ever use again.

New Myako hotel in Kyoto. Poor bedrooms, poorer food, disappointing service, crowded, noisy and unkempt. Avoid at all costs.

Scotte jacket bought from Magellan's. So full of pockets it was almost impossible to find anything. Designed to carry bits of electronic kit, but had sacrificed some essential ease of use in normal functions for this.


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