Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Golden Week in Nagoya

Having settled down to life after the earthquake, a get-away plan for Golden Week was quickly put together. Left any later, we would be sitting in the apartment in Tokyo blogging. Fortunately tickets on the Nozomi Shinkansen to Nagoya and back were available. The journey took one hour thirty minutes, merely a bento lunch and nap away.

Airlines and hotels make a killing at this time as prices are at a premium and rooms are limited.

We almost spent the holidays here at the the World Heritage Site of the thatched-roofed villages in the western part of the country.

Two near misses for hotel bookings at Shirakawa-go and Kanazawa was painful. We were on line with the Kanazawa hotel site and had just opened another window to check train times when a sign flashed that the last room had been taken. OMG.

View of downtown Nagoya from the JR Station open-air podium.

Nagoya JR Station is massive and bustling with visitors at all hours. It is linked to the Marriot Hotel, Takashimaya, Tokyo Hands and two other shopping malls, Esca and Meitetsu. All the famed local eateries are located here as well.

Check-in for all hotels in Japan is at 3 pm. Miyuki Station Hotel was chosen for its location, directly in front of the station. Our non-smoking room, as requested, was ready on time. On line bookings were prompt. It was a surprise to discover that bookings were transacted through the Agoda Company, Central World, Bangkok, Thailand. That's the internet making the world smaller as we speak.

Dump the bags and out again. First stop, Osu Kanon Temple, by subway. This is the most revered temple of the Shingon-Buddhist sect.

A shrine of the Japanese Goddess of Mercy is housed here and the Nio, muscular and fierce guardians of Buddha, make their presence felt.

Beyond the temple complex, you find yourself grid-locked in a network of shopping streets. I'm not complaining.

You can find anything from wedding gowns (used or new) to toys, small restaurants and an abundance of isakayas (casual dining establishments).

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