General Japan Trip relation

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by bijomaru, Tuesday 12th May, 2015.

  1. bijomaru Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Rob Swindon
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    So after 20 years of dreaming about a trip to Japan, it finally happened. I will be uploading some of the better pics we've taken. It may take me few evenings so bear with me :Smile: If there are any questions anyone would like to ask, I'd be happy to answer :Smile:

    Saturday, 11th April - Arrival, Honda HQ, Tokyo Tower

    We've landed in the early afternoon of 11th April
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    After checking into the hotel, the first stop was ... obviously Honda HQ. Now by sheer coincidence (honestly, I only realised this after I booked the hotel) we were staying relatively close to the Honda building, maybe 30 minutes on foot.
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    There were some cars parked outside. They were also all unlocked, free to try for the public. There was no security, but as we found out later, the honesty and helpfulness of Japanese is on a next level.
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    Inside, more vehicles you can sit on/in.
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    Also a small goodies corner (left shopping for later)
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    We've spent there a while and decided to get moving towards Tokyo Tower. View down the main road near Honda HQ, Aoyama-Itchome.
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    Walking through Roppongi Hills
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    Tokyo Tower from below and from the first viewing deck. We've grabbed there some food, spent a while browsing souvenirs. I think it left us a bit overwhelmed with the choice, so again, we've left shopping for later. The night time view from even such a small height, was one of the first 'wow' moments for us. You can see the city skyline and skyscrapers as far as the horizon. It's really amazing.
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    It was getting late and we were tired after the journey and long walk (Hotel, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo Tower | Walking Workout | Endomondo), we've decided to retreat to the hotel for rest, and start early next day.

    tbc ...
     
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  2. Nels Moderator Staff Team

    Great to see you've returned safely. Love the shots. (I want an Asimo :Sobbing:)

    I'm looking forward to the next chapter. :trampoline:
     
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  3. Ichiban Founder Staff Team

    England CJ Leeds
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    This bring back so many happy memories of the 90's the Aoyama Plaza the home for Honda.

    Love that Legend I would import that car here tomorrow, you two look really happy infact anyone who comes back from the motherland is always similing. We need to see your NSX exploits.
     
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  4. bijomaru Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Rob Swindon
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    Sunday, 12th April - Ginza, Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku

    Yeah, so getting up early didn't really work. We really needed rest. So we got out of the hotel sometime before noon. We've made our way towards the central Ginza district. Mostly offices, designer stores, also a Sony showroom with lots of phones, cameras, TV on display. Very small section for PlayStation and no pics allowed except for the lobby downstairs, so nothing to show here :/
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    We've found a small shop with treats from Okinawa. Bought few tasty snacks and managed to get us some warm food by asking in Japanese! Also a nice small alley with cherries in full bloom! And I have became a little obsessed with the taxis.
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    Shibuya crossing is massive. And the amount of people crossing it makes a huge impression when seen live. I have a video of this from our second visit that I will upload later. We've also went to a gaming arcade. They're everywhere, and usually have 4-5 stories. From 'mascot-catchers', through arcade games, to 'raise and pet your horse then let it race against other people' large sections of the floor.
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    On our way to Harajuku, we went for a stroll around Yoyogi park. As it was cherry blossoms, there were loads of people hanging out at the 'hanami' parties in the park. Also caught some rockabillies dancing at the entrance.
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    Harajuku was full of teenagers and shops with weird stuff :Grin: Yamanote Line is a subject of an old-school game I found later: Densha de Go. Each train line is unique and each station has a different melody playing. I guess this helps if you are sleeping and about to miss your stop. Great idea!
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    FInally, Shinjuku. Massive shopping district, busiest train station in the world and ... Godzilla peeking from above a building in the middle of it all.
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    Wrap up the day with a fancy car park, 3D glasses with Gran Turismo 6 in electronics store and watching Super GT live in hotel room.
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    - - - Updated - - -
    @Nels - maybe this could help? :Smile:

    @Ichiban - NSX was on Friday so will upload those probably in the next 2-3 days :Wink:
     
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  5. Nels Moderator Staff Team

    Brilliant !
     
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  6. FirstHonda Premium Member Club Supporter

    Fantastic shots @bijomaru . Looks like the trip of a lifetime :Smile:

    ^^ I want an "N Box"

    Amazing to hear that the cars are all unlocked for the public. We can't even do that at motor shows in the UK any more :no:

    Would love to go to Japan. Jealous now :Pinch:
     
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  7. bijomaru Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Rob Swindon
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    Monday, 13th April - Ginza, Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku

    On Monday it has started raining. We've had a trip plan that we wanted to stick to, so despite the rain we went to see the Imperial Palace. The tour tickets were booked months in advance so we knew we'll just have a look from afar. It was hidden little bit more than we expected ... Still nice view and a massive green lawn in the middle of the city. And more taxis ...

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    Akihabara, amazing place. As the weather was crap, there wasn't a lot of people around. Still, loads of game arcades, game shops, manga, anime, electronics, car models, etc. We came out of the station and as I was getting my bearings, a guy walks up and asks if he can help. Asked for Chuo-dori, and he stars leading us for a minute to where the road is. He was soaking wet, but took to where we were headed, then went back his way.
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    Lots of places with old arcade machines, old console games (bought few for my PS1). Also a massive shop we found with die-cast models of everything plus RC section. We came back here later but that's another story for another post :Wink:
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    Despite the rain we've spent 2-3 hours there. Not nearly enough. But we moved on to Asakusa and a SkyTree booking we've made. Asakusa is a huge temple with a lot of souvenirs stands and it was packed with tourists.
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    As we went to the ticket counter they said that because of the weather we won't be able to see much even from the first deck. The tickets were booked for a specific date and time, but we could come any other day and use them. So we took that option, and went to nearby aquarium with penguins enclosure.
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    Oh, and during the visit to Honda HQ we've caught the end of ASIMO show. He just waved us goodbye ...
     
    Last edited: Wednesday 13th May, 2015
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  8. bijomaru Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Rob Swindon
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    Tuesday, 14th April - Sword Museum, Shinjuku Gyoen, Odaiba

    Another rainy day. Sword museum in Shinjuku is quite small. One room with lots of swords on display, and one security guard with watchful eye. So again, no photo from inside :Frown: From then we took a walk through central Shinjuku, went to the top of the Metropolitan Government building (free viewpoint) and then went towards a huge park in Shinjuku as well.
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    In the park, in the rain, on a small wooden bridge, I proposed to my girlfriend. I was planning to do it later in Odaiba, but the park was beautiful and I decided to do it there.
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    Odaiba is this artificial island just off the shore of Tokyo. Filled with event places. Must be awesome in the summer on a sunny day. We took an unmanned elevated 'train' there. First off was Panasonic's showroom, some electronics exhibitions, audio-visual museum etc. Took us a bit longer than expected :Smile: so by the time we came out it was getting dark. But that's when the ferris wheel a on Odaiba is switched on, and you can see if from loads of places in Tokyo.

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    Pallette Town is a joint Toyota park-museum-store, and large amusement center.
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    Amongst the bus, train simulators and hundreds of other arcades, we've found this VR simulator with NSX ride. It was an in-car recording of Super GT race, and I have to say it was brilliant.
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    As we were leaving the Palette Town, by sheer luck we've found Toyota's Historic Car Museum. Lots of Toyotas, which I will spare you here, but also some Honda models on display. Basically the whole museum has rooms of cars, section with die-cast models of all brands, drivers section .. and a DeLorean.
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    Next stop ... Sega Joypolis. Something like this used to exist in London years ago, Trocadero Sega World. I remember seeing this in TV when I was maybe 15. By the time I had a chance to visit London it was shut down :Tongue: So I was pleased this still existed in Japan. My fiancée here decided she will let me explore the inside on my own, and she went shopping :Smile: The main thing I wanted to see there are the Initial Arcade machines where you sit inside an actual car and it moves as you drive. There's also a roller-coaster inside, and again a ton of arcades.
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    Google's video of the day:
     
    Last edited: Sunday 17th May, 2015
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  9. SpeedyGee Administrator Staff Team

    England Speedy Birmingham
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    Hey man, many congrats !!
     
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  10. bijomaru Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Rob Swindon
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    Thanks! Right let's get to the more interesting for you guys days tonight.

    Wednesday, 15th April - Sky Tree, Ueno Zoo, Sumida River Cruise

    Finally a good weather to go up the SkyTree and see Tokyo from above during the day. Truly amazing even from first deck at 350m. but even better from the Tembo Galleria at 450m. You can really appreciate the huge size of Tokyo here.
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    Quick trip around the Zoo in Ueno Park, with the panda being the main reason behind it.
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    By the time we were done with both, we had few hours wait for the night cruise on Sumida River. What I expected to be a boat like on of those on Thames, turned out to be a modern yacht ... with unlimited supply of champagne. Needless to say we've made a good use of it :Smile: Monorail taking us there and back.
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  11. bijomaru Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Rob Swindon
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    Thursday, 15th April - Honda Collection Hall

    Ok there's a lot of pics here. The journey there wasn't the easiest. First an hour on Shinkansen to Oyama, change for JR local line to Shinodate, then change to a Moka Railway service which we barely managed to find. Once we got to Motegi, we got stuck. I knew there will be no bus service to the Twin Ring on that day, so Taxi was the only option. But as it is very remote and small town, there was none outside. The man at the ticket counter was a saviour here. We managed to communicate to him where we're going and that 'basu ga arimasen'. He called local taxi company and they showed up taking us right to the front gate. Short walk from there and a very ordinary looking building of Honda Collection Hall was in front of us. First thing we saw was the car we wanted to take us to our wedding :Smile: Really amazing old-timer. More oldies on a display in the main lobby.
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    The complex has 3 floors.

    Section 1: Honda robots and new technologies.
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    Section 2 - Store, library and Sounds of Honda (found a book for @Ichiban :teasing:) We'll come shopping later. Decided I won't Honda chocolates since I would be too distraught eating them). In the library there was a book about BMW so I've hidden the title so it doesn't spoil the view :Grin:. Oh and the last pic, my fiancée has told me it's where I will be chained if I am trying to spend too much in the shop :lol:
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    Section 3 - History of Honda, bikes
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    Section 4 - Honda cars ... almost all of them, in one huge room! Heaven:Aghast:
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    Section 5 and 6 in a moment ...
     
    Last edited: Monday 18th May, 2015
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  12. bijomaru Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Rob Swindon
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    Section 5 - Race bikes
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    On the way to the last section some trophies and a view of Twin Ring circuit
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  13. bijomaru Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Rob Swindon
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    and Section 6 - race cars
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    We went for an Asimo show. They do 3 of those in a day even if there's only a few visitors.
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    There's a piece of art signed by Soichiro Honda in the lobby, as well as a plaque just outside
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    On the circuit we've caught Honda S660 being tested, just going around on the oval track.
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    After we've finished, we had the problem of getting back to Motegi again. We went back to the reception in the Honda Collection Hall, and the lady there has called us a local taxi. Same guy that took us here appeared, so he knew where to take us back to :Smile: After a little wait we had the bus to Utsunomiya, and there jumped onto a Shinkansen going to Tokyo.
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    So here's the loot from Honda shop. Some of this will be donated to the club, so I suspect there will be some sort of give away soon. I guess keep your eyes opened for details :Smile:
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  14. FirstHonda Premium Member Club Supporter

    This is such a great thread @bijomaru - thanks so much for sharing the photographs (and making me, and I'm sure some others, very jealous in the process!!)

    Many congratulations on the proposal too, well done :Smile:
     
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  15. bijomaru Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Rob Swindon
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    Thank you :Smile:

    As I browse those pictures when I am adding them, I am being jealous of myself for being there. I wish I could just go back :Frown:

    Will be uploading the NSX ride today :Smile:
     
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  16. Ichiban Founder Staff Team

    England CJ Leeds
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    Making this thread a sticky so people don't miss it.
     
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  17. Nels Moderator Staff Team

    Warmest congratulations to you and the future Mrs. Bijomaru.

    Superb thread Rob!
     
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  18. bijomaru Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Rob Swindon
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    Thank you!

    Right, here comes the big day ... and the NSX ride!

    Friday, 17th April - Honda NSX, tour of Hakone area, Fuji-san

    Those few days in Tokyo were amazing and I enjoyed each one of them, but understandably I was excited about Friday. After all, I was about to drive the car I always wanted.


    We set of from Tokyo early, catching a Shinkansen to Odawara. Then a local train to Hakone-Yumoto. From there the terrain changes, and you get some steep hills. We took the Hakone Tozan line to Gora. The smell of sulphur is almost too much :Smile: But you get used after a while. Then a bus to Sengoku, then a 15 minute walk to the car rental place. The whole journey was about 3 hours. I saw the first sign of the things to come: Tōge - Mountain Pass :jumpy: Once we got there I've noticed some race related manga, magazines, as well as games. Sadly the TV wasn't set-up for the PlayStation. Instead it was showing drift competitions :Smile:
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    At fun2drive we've met Yoshi. I immediately asked about the goPro and GPS that I noticed, and decided to rent that out, instead of recording with phone and relying on printed maps for directions. After all we had a road trip planned! While we were sorting out the paperwork, they started to bring out the cars :Wub:
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    Test (assessment) drive
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    Last edited: Sunday 24th May, 2015
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  19. bijomaru Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Rob Swindon
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    Let's hit the road!

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    First destination, Fuji Speedway. Sadly, we haven't found any souvenirs shop, despite our efforts and a wasted 20 minutes walk towards the main stand. Few cars on the track, but I guess shops only open on event days. Was a bit annoyed, but mostly because of the lost time that I could have spent driving. :Angry:

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    I swear there's Mount Fuji behind us. We could see it, but obviously didn't come out as well on the camera. It was a very cloudy morning, so most of it was covered up anyway.

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    Second destination - Lake Yamanaka. We got there by going through Myojin Tōge (first part of the video I will link up at the end of this post). Myojin Pass had some faster, wider roads, so it was nice :Smile:

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    :sparta:

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    Now this, wasn't fun. Pulled up to the petrol station. Couldn't figure out the mini-computer to tell it how to pay etc. Some dude came over to help us. Filled up, paid, happy days. Also, 147 yen = 0.78p per litre of high-octane petrol! :shock:

    Coming out of the station, obviously not used to low cars, and I scraped the bottom at the exit ... My fiancée at that moment is starting to go into panic mode. But I got out ... it's all on the video. Not gonna lie, I was mildly panicked myself in case I did some damage.

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    On the way back to fun2drive, we still had some spare time, so the moment I saw a sign for Hakone Pass, I took it. And I have to say, if I haven't I wouldn't have as much fun as I could, and I would probably be a little ... meh ... on the whole drive (not the car). But Hakone Pass was AMAZING. A lot slower, more narrow roads, more twisty tight bends, than Myojin Pass, but so much fun! The last half of the video will have most of Hakone Pass.

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    So, without further ado, here's the video. I've had mixed opinions. Some love it, some say it looks slow. But thinking about it, the GoPro changes the view angle slightly so it will look slower. And in a rented car of my dreams, I was going at a comfortable pace, while having so much fun, I had a grin from ear to ear for most of the time. (First few scenes are sped up to but then the rest is at normal speed).



    :gohonda::gohonda::gohonda::gohonda:

    We had one hairy moment. In the tunnel you can see in the video, when I saw the 90 degrees sharp turn at the end, and realised the surface was wet. I had to break as hard as I could but was worried I will lose the grip. Managed to break just hard enough to make that corner without crashing into the barrier and rolling down the hill. :boast:

    Obviously relieved to be alive :Grin:

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    The rest of Hakone tour coming soon. And we finally saw Mount Fuji!

    Bonus: :dribble:
     
    Last edited: Tuesday 19th May, 2015