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Old 05-11-2009, 08:46 AM   #1
arjandevries
Dojo: Ima Juku
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Iwama or Tanabe

Hi all,

What is more interesting: Iwama or Tanabe? I think we have to make a choise. (Schedule: Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Kyoto, (Tanabe), Tokyo, Hombu, (Iwama).

We will be for 10 days in Japan.

Cheers,

Arjan
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:52 PM   #2
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

Quote:
Arjan de Vries wrote: View Post
Hi all,

What is more interesting: Iwama or Tanabe? I think we have to make a choise. (Schedule: Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Kyoto, (Tanabe), Tokyo, Hombu, (Iwama).

We will be for 10 days in Japan.

Cheers,

Arjan
If I were you, I'd skip Tokyo, go directly to Kyoto, then visit region Nara and Koya and stay there for 10 days.This is a Real Japan. Tokyo in not an interesting place. 10 days is too short to travel around Japan

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:55 PM   #3
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

10 days is too short (that was the length of my trip) but I wouldn't pass up those 10 days for anything!

While I found Tokyo to be a general pain in the @$$, I don't like NY either! I wouldn't necessarily say to skip it though. I think it is important to understand both where a place was, and is...and Tokyo, like or it not, is Japan, as much as it is not.

Best,
Ron (personally, I really like Nara, Kyoto, and the area where the pearls come from whose name I can't be sure of any more...Mikimoto???)

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 05-11-2009, 01:35 PM   #4
Garth Jones
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

I haven't been to Iwama, but I think that Szcepan is correct - skip Tokyo and go directly to Kyoto. You can get between the two in 2.5 hours on the Shinkansen, but it's a pricey ticket. Nara is an easy day trip from Kyoto and well worth the time. Himeji Castle is a little farther, but can be done in another day trip.

Tanabe is a small city with nothing much to recommend it except, of course, for O'Sensei's grave. That being said, I would highly recommend traveling further into the Kii Pennisula. The scenery is fantastic (mountains, hot springs, etc.) and the area is the home to many ancient Shinto shrines. One of the main shrines, Kumano Hongu Taisha (in Hongu) was considered by O'Sensei to hold the 'spirit' of aikido. Hongu is a short trip from Shingu, and I think there is a bus you can take. My favorite was Tamaki Jinga, but that's a 90 minute drive up a steep windy logging road (paved) - you'd need a car and GPS!. Shingu is on the coast and there is a train that goes all the way around the penninsula from Kyoto (passing through Tanabe). There is a lovely shrine in Shingu, as well as Kamikurasan (a shrine by a huge bolder at the top of a bluff), and Nachi Falls is a short drive.

Cheers,
Garth

An itinerary with 5-7 days in Kyoto (with possible day trips) and 3-4 days down on the Kii Penninsula would give you a good taste of modern and ancient Japan, along with some aikido related stuff. If you go to Shingu, you may be able to visit the late Hikitsuchi Sensei (10th Dan)'s dojo. They have a full schedule of classes, both evening and morning, and have had many non-Japanese visitors. Call or write, however, instead of just showing up at the door.
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Old 05-11-2009, 01:41 PM   #5
Garth Jones
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

Here's a taste of the Kumano Mountains:



This is Tamaki Shrine. Hard to get to, but worth the effort!



And this is Kamikurasan, on the outskirts of Shingu. The walk up is about 650 stone steps. Back when Mary Heiny Sensei and others trained with Hikitsuchi Sensei they used to run up this before morning class.....

Cheers,
Garth
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Old 05-11-2009, 01:46 PM   #6
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

Nice Pics!

Best,
Ron (those steps remind me of doing Notre Damme before training in Paris!) [only did THAT once]

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 05-12-2009, 09:58 AM   #7
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

Beautiful pix!! That's Real Japan LOL
You can buy a special train ticket, ONLY outside of Japan, for 1 week, that is valid for all trains(and subways) belongs to Japan Railways I think, without distains limit. Good way to economize on tickets.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 05-12-2009, 10:56 AM   #8
raul rodrigo
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Beautiful pix!! That's Real Japan LOL
You can buy a special train ticket, ONLY outside of Japan, for 1 week, that is valid for all trains(and subways) belongs to Japan Railways I think, without distains limit. Good way to economize on tickets.
Yes, the JR pass. My wife used it last year to visit Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Yokohama and Tokyo. It's a great bargain.

To answer the original post, I would definitely prefer to visit the Shingu and Mt. Koya area, or the Nikko and Kamakura areas, than go to either Tanabe or Iwama. In terms of aikido, I have some specific shihan I would like to see--Nakao, Endo, Miyamoto, etc--and visits to their classes would be more than enough for me.

Last edited by raul rodrigo : 05-12-2009 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 05-12-2009, 11:35 AM   #9
Garth Jones
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

I'm pretty sure the railroad line down to Shingu is not JR. The pass may be no good on that trip. However, those tickets were not that expensive. It's a slow local - about 4 hours from Kyoto to Shingu.

Cheers,
Garth

PS Tokyo is 'real Japan' too, I guess, but much less appealing.
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:57 PM   #10
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

If you get a chance, stop in to see Nakao Sensei...I think he is near Osaka?

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:53 PM   #11
M. McPherson
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

Quote:
Garth Jones wrote: View Post
I'm pretty sure the railroad line down to Shingu is not JR. The pass may be no good on that trip. However, those tickets were not that expensive. It's a slow local - about 4 hours from Kyoto to Shingu.
If I remember this correctly, JR West manages the Kiseihonsen train route down the Kii Peninsula, from Tennōji in Ōsaka all the way back up to Nagoya. I would check the JR West site to be sure, but the relevant passes should be valid to Shingū. Although your estimation of time is about right, that four hour trip is actually a limited express - the local is slower than that. That just goes to show you how slow it can be to wend your way along the coast in Wakayama by train (it gets even slower once you pass Kushimoto to head north).

And just because I lived a couple of hundred meters from Kamikura (and had this number drilled in my head by neighbors proud of our mutual proximity to the shrine), I feel as though I should share that although it may feel like 650, there are 538 steps up to the jinja. But as most of those are set at about a 40/45 degree angle, it feels more like a thousand. Anno Sensei would lead classes at the top of the shrine each year during kangeiko when I lived there, and some of us were stupid enough to run up for exercise otherwise. If anyone is planning on visiting Kamikura, I would strongly recommend doing so on February 6, as this is when the annual O-tō-matsuri (fire festival) is held. It's great fun to see, and even more fun to participate in if you're able. Anyhow, it would be great to hear from anyone who lives there now (or is even just passing through) to see if kangeiko is still held on the grounds of Kamikura.

As for "real Japan," it would seem that it exists either contiguous with Brigadoon and Shambhala, in the fertile and misguided imaginations of anime fans, or as a product of the marketing offices of the Japan Travel Bureau. Caveat emptor.

btw: Howdy, Ron.
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:58 PM   #12
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

Dude! Where you been!?!? Hope grad school is treating you well. Let me know when I can call you "Doctor"...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:28 PM   #13
Garth Jones
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

Murray,

Yep, we took the limited express. And I had forgotten the exact number of steps. When I visited Anno Sensei climbed up with us, in spite of his bad knee, so we didn't go too fast.

Cheers,
Garth
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:53 PM   #14
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

I really like Tokyo! Course I like all them other places too!
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Old 05-12-2009, 05:44 PM   #15
Randy Sexton
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

My son Andrew (college Junior majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Professional writing and Japanese) arrived in Tokyo yesterday with his college group and their college Japanese Sensei for a two week trip around Japan! He will celebrate his 20th birthday there. Wish I could go. Never been overseas yet.
Doc Sexton

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will"
Gandhi
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Old 05-12-2009, 06:16 PM   #16
raul rodrigo
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
If you get a chance, stop in to see Nakao Sensei...I think he is near Osaka?

Best,
Ron
Shingo Nakao lives in Kobe, and teaches at Seibukan dojo and other locations.
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:49 PM   #17
M. McPherson
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

Quote:
Garth Jones wrote: View Post
Murray,

Yep, we took the limited express. And I had forgotten the exact number of steps. When I visited Anno Sensei climbed up with us, in spite of his bad knee, so we didn't go too fast.

Cheers,
Garth
Don't ask me why I remember the number of steps (and I never actually counted - the damn steps are arranged so pell-mell that I've always doubted an exact count, but that's what the neighborhood biddies were sticking with, and who am I to doubt Japanese women of a certain age?), but that's one of the things that stuck with me about Kamikura. It's good to hear Anno Sensei went up with you - he's one of the things that made Shingu worth it for me.

Ron! Grad school is all I've been doing, sadly. I've been accepted into Stanford's language program in Yokohama next year, but I'm waiting to hear about funding, so nothing's certain. I hear you've been very busy; Mark Murray sent me a p.m. on youtube (an email, not a video, obviously), and might be up this way soon. We should try to find some time to train together (which for me would be close to starting at step one again), although I realize scheduling can be a bear. Let me know.

Best,
Murray
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Old 05-12-2009, 08:39 PM   #18
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

Arjan,

If you want to do some sightseeing, then Tanabe (= Kumano Hongu and Koya-san) is preferable. If you want to do aikido training, then you should visit Isoyama Shihan in Iwama.

Best wishes,

PAG

Quote:
Arjan de Vries wrote: View Post
Hi all,

What is more interesting: Iwama or Tanabe? I think we have to make a choise. (Schedule: Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Kyoto, (Tanabe), Tokyo, Hombu, (Iwama).

We will be for 10 days in Japan.

Cheers,

Arjan

P A Goldsbury
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Old 05-12-2009, 09:17 PM   #19
Chris Farnham
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

While I believe Isoyama Shihan is not currently teaching due to knee surgery, I fully concur with Peter. In the 9 months that I have been in Japan, I have spent 10 days of my 20 annual leave training in Iwama, and don't regret a single one of them. In my opinion there is no other place in the country, where you can feel the spirit of o sensei and Aikido quite so profoundly. Plus at 1500 yen a day for training and lodging, you won't find cheaper accomadations in Japan unless you go to an internet Cafe. Atago san, which is in walking distance from the dojo, also has a small but nice temple where O sensei( I believe) supposedly had a meeting with a tengu.

Last edited by Chris Farnham : 05-12-2009 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 05-12-2009, 09:57 PM   #20
sisley
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

I agree with Peter. My trip to the Tanabe was beautiful and relaxing, and my boys loved playing in the ocean, but I didn't have a chance to train there. I can always find a place in Tokyo and I enjoy training at Hombu if nothing else.

I believe that Tokyo can offer quite a bit of sightseeing for a tourist (or even an ex-pat). Shinjuku continues to amaze me the more I explore it. Sensoji in Asakusa is a must-see, and Kamakura isn't that far out of the way. Lots to do and lots to see!

If you're really trying to hit all those cities (Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Tokyo) in just ten days, you might be disappointed and exhausted.

--jimbo
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:41 AM   #21
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

I was exhausted, but not disappointed!
Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:53 AM   #22
AnhXanh
Dojo: Oslo Aikido Dojo
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Re: Iwama or Tanabe

Quote:
Arjan de Vries wrote: View Post
Hi all,

What is more interesting: Iwama or Tanabe? I think we have to make a choise. (Schedule: Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Kyoto, (Tanabe), Tokyo, Hombu, (Iwama).

We will be for 10 days in Japan.

Cheers,

Arjan
This seem to be too much for a 10-day trip! If I were you, I would either extend the trip or cut down on the number of places. Which place I would recommend depends on what your priorities are: Do you mainly go to practice or will you mainly be a tourist?
For a ten-day trip I would recommend to skip both Tanabe and Iwama. Fukuoka, Hiroshima (possibly with a two-hour stop in Himeiji to see the castle), Kyoto and Tokyo/Hombu dojo seems more than enough for ten days. Iwama is of course a very special place, but if you are going, you should spend a couple of days at least and sleep over in the dojo. Actually, I don't really see why Fukuoka is on your top-five list of places to visit in Japan either, but I guess you want to visit Shohei Juku and Suganuma sensei, right?
Anyway - enjoy your trip, and don't try to do too much. Remember that you need to save something for your next trip
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