Fifa Club World Cup 2016

As a terrible soccer player but self proclaimed master of FIFA I was extremely excited to find out that the club world cup was beings held while we were in Japan. With only one game being played while here tickets were grabbed to see the Kashima Antlers, winners of the Japan Cup, face off against Auckland City FC. 

Front row seats

Supporting the home team against New Zealand like any good Australian proved to be a smart decision. The Antlers ended up winning 2-1 with an 88 minute goal to secure the win. While the stadium didn’t look packed out, due to this being one of the first games of the cup, the crowd was in full football mode and kept the noise up all game. Although I will miss the rest of the games I hope the Antlers come through with a few more victories. 

Snow Monkeys!

A long daytrip to see the Snow Monkey Park was definately worth it. Making full use JR Passes we had for the trip. After struggling to get seven guys out of bed and a few hours of travel we started the hike towards the monkeys.

Forrest walks

While walking through the dense forrest, small snowflakes started to fall down and I witnessed my first snow. Excitememt filled my body at the thought! 

This aussie is enjoying snowflakes in the air

Finally arriving at the hotsprings the monkeys the first sight was two baby monkeys shooting past us to jump into the hotsprings. These monkeys were one of the highlights of the trip and I highly recommend checking it out. Tips for visiting in winter would be to bring multiple layers of clothes!

Snow monkey see, snow monkey do

Ghibli and Shibuya

Today we got up early to head to Studio Ghibli Museum. Our first train went the wrong way, the second train went the right way and then changed direction and the third train was a charm and set us off in the right direction. Our walk from there took us to a park hidden within the city streets. 

A lake in the park

After a scenic stroll we ended up at the museum to have the Ghibli experience. Getting tickets for this place requires some pre-planning as they sell out months beforehand but if you can get yout hands on some it is worth it. 

Robots in disguise

After spending the morning exploring the museum we heading over to Shibuya to see the crossing. Taking the chance to grab a photo from the Starbucks Cafe overlooking the street. 

A quiet day

Hakone, Lake Ashi and Mt. Fuji

Yesterday’s travels involved us heading from Tokyo to Hakone to see Lake Ashi and views of Mt. Fuji. After more struggles with the railway we eventually found our way to the right platform. 

Everyone eager for the train

From the station we travelled by train up the mountain to the ropeway to see the high life. The views from these were breathtakingly beautiful and offered an excellent view of Mt. Fuji. Unfortunately, the clouds wanted more attention than the mountain and blocked our vision.

Mt. Fuji hidden away

The ropeway ended at Lake Ashi were we hopped aboard a pirate ship for a scenic cruise. 

If you could see me now

With the help of one of the deck hands we tried to spot Mt. Fuji from the boat but we had no luck. 

On the lookout

We ended the day with some sake and karaoke in Shinjuku. After a few drinks everyone had the voice of an angel and was giving it their all. 

Tokyo here we come!

Today was the final day in Kyoto and we managed to spend an hour inside the Pokemon Center playing arcade games. With plans to visit another three Centers in Tokyo everyone is excited to go back. 

Pikaaaachuuuuuuuu

After navigating our way through the station we found ourselves lining up to catch the bullet train to Tokyo. These trains speed is matched by their beauty as they seem to gracefully shoot through the countryside. So far the sights from the window have been filled with a mixture of city streets, green fields and mountains. 

Zoom zoom.

If all goes to plan we will be in Tokyo tonight and be ready to take on the big city! 

Rainy Days

After overshooting our station and getting a little lost we finally made it to our accommodation in Kyoto. Instead of heading out we decided to have an early night and go sight seeing in the morning. 

After grabbing an umbrella while most the guys picked up raincoats arguments started over which option would keep us more dry. Luckily for me, that option was the umbrella. 

Should have got an umbrella

Due to delays at the train station we chose to spend the day walking around kyoto instead of waiting for the train. After a two hour stroll we finally made it to the temples of Kyoto. The walk was definately worth it as these temples were beautiful. 

Towering Shrine

The Golden Temple was the hightlight of the day. Surrounded by a still lake on a rainy day the temple stood out in all of its glory. 

Golden views

After deciding not to walk for another two hours we took train back and everyone purchase an umbrella for the rainy days ahead. 

On top of the world!

After another brief confusion of trains this morning we found ourselves at Universal Studios Japan. 

Thumbs up!

We started off by heading straight to Harry Potter world and checking out Ollivanders wand shop, the merchandise shop and then headed to the rides nearby. The 4K ride was easily my favourite of the day and also offered a small tour of Hogwarts Castle. After a quick butterbeer we headed off the to next section of the park. 

A quick pitstop

The Hollywood dream and the Jurassic Park Flying Dinosaur Ride were the largest roller coasters at the park and offered plenty of butterflies in our stomachs. 

Hollywood Dream

The regret of the day was not spending 400 yen on a raincoat for the Jurassic Park boat ride. Most of us walked around soaked for the rest of the afternoon and immediately regretted our decision. 

The Flying Dinosaur

Here is hoping the rest of our trip ends up just as amazing as today!

Fine Dining

Matt’s face after realising he ordered a raw egg

We’ve safely touched down in Osaka and decided to head straight out to try some of the local dishes. The highlights of dinner were sliding a door that said push, finding out English menus available actually doesn’t mean English menus available and getting told they didn’t have what we all ordered. 
Even though we didn’t know what we were ordering the meals turned out to be delicious and the locals next to us commented  how we used our chopsticks with the hand gesture 👌 so we ended up doing something right.
Lets hope the rest of the trip turns out like our chopsticks 👌

All abroad!

Travel tip #1 for those heading off overseas. Pack a towel! I was the only one to throw in a towel out of the seven travelling.

Always bring a towel.

Travel tip #2: Never pass up free alcohol. The duty free at Cairns airport had free taste testing on almost all of their stock. We all took full advantage of tasting a few drops outside our normal price range. 

Getting on it early