First day in Japan

I am in Japan, on behalf of the Open Spaces Society, for the 14th global conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons, which is being held at the foot of Mount Fuji.  I travelled with John Powell and Chris Short from the University of Gloucestershire Countryside and Community Research Unit.

We arrived at Narita airport at 9.30 on 30 May 2013 and took the Narita Express to Tokyo.

Narita Express

Narita Express

The train arrived a few minutes early and was given a thorough cleaning inside.  As it was turning around at this point the seats were swivelled round to face the direction of travel.

The seats are swivelled round

The seats are swivelled round

Tokyo station is fairly chaotic.  We had to find the bus station and the bus to the Fuji area, which was not easy.  When at last we did find it we discovered that the next bus was not for two hours.  We managed to work out how to put the bags in left luggage and wandered out into the grey Tokyo morning.

Hibiya-Koen Park

Hibiya-Koen Park

It did not take us long to find a park, Hibiya-Koen, with stunted trees and chattering birds which looked and sounded much like tree sparrows.  The park was surprisingly empty.  It is closed at night though I don’t think it is physically shut.

Three don'ts

Three don’ts

We wandered back and found the tiny Ichigokan Square, with sculptures by Henry Moore and Bernard Meadows.

Itchigokan Square

Itchigokan Square

Moore's Seated Woman, 1957

Moore’s Seated Woman, 1957

Field, Lovers 1971

Field, Lovers 1971

To our delight we came across a noodle bar with a kind attendant who had spent some time in the US and spoke good English and guided us through the menu.  The udon noodles were delicious.

Noodle bar

Noodle bar

Then it was back to the bus station, past the museum (1894), a late Victorian building among the modern office blocks.

The museum is dwarfed by office blocks

The museum is dwarfed by office blocks

The bus to Fuji Highlands took two and a half hours, in a grey humid landscape, the hills shrouded in mist.

Our bus is the 14.40 to Kawaguchiko Station

Our bus is the 14.40 to Kawaguchiko Station

We arrived there and took a taxi to our hotel, Fuji Calm, where the Japanese bedroom, with its rush mat (tatami—shoes off at the door) and futon were a welcoming sight.

A welcome sight

A welcome sight

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About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
This entry was posted in green spaces, International Association for the Study of the Commons, Japan and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to First day in Japan

  1. Ross-Barry Finlayson says:

    Welcome to Japan.Enjoy your time here. If you plan to venture down Kyoto way, let me know. If I am free,I would be more than happy to meet you.

  2. Bob Coles President of Northamptonshire Ramblers says:

    It sounds very clear to me that you are definitely having a mixed experience in Japan with state of the art trains and alongside that a very similar rural experience to those of us in England who live in the countryside.and are almost” busless” Great to receive a running commentary,with pictures
    We are learning to expect nothing less from you Kate Look after yourself your countryside needs you back Best Wishes, Bob Coles

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