Our last day in Japan started off with an amazing brunch on the 30th floor of our spectacular hotel - The Portlandia Hotel in Kobe. The room itself was enormous and had many amenities. Rachel and Abby's favourite feature was the toilet with a seat warmer and a bidet. But the brunch was really something else and the view from the 30th floor of the old tower in the hotel was phenomenal!
After dining in style, we boarded the bus and our first stop was the Herb Garden Ropeway, a gondola ride up Nunobiki Mountain in Kobe. Not only did the view from the top offer some spectacular views of the city of Kobe, but the beautifully manicured gardens lining the path all the way down the mountain made for some great photos.
When we arrived at the top, one of the ladies from our tour group ran up to us and grabbed Rachel and Abby by the arm and dragged them over to this statue for a picture. She gestured to us something about the girls being like angels. In fact, many of the folks on our tour bus were quite taken with our girls and would often rub their arms, pat their heads and even buy them gifts. The lady pictured here presented each of our girls with a little something at different points in our travels which was completely unexpected and caught us by surprise. To be honest, I really don't think the girls minded all of this extra attention and, at times, might have even played to the extra attention that they were receiving ;-)
Although I snapped many macro shots of the flowers adorning the gardens on the way down the hill, the following flower was my favourite. I've never seen a flower that looked like this before and was very intrigued by the vivid colours and detail in this flower. While I have no idea what kind of flower this is, I've now officially dubbed it as 'the coolest flower in the world'...
From the Herb Garden Ropeway, we headed over to Kitano Village in Kobe for a walking tour of the district that, literally translated, means the village of 'different looking people'. This hillside neighbourhood was home to one of the first batches of foreigners in Japan and many of the Asian tourists who come to visit are amazed by the architecture. For us, it was no big deal ;-)
We left Kitano Village and made our way over to Ikuta Road for our last meal in Japan. The sushi restaurant we stopped at proved to be the perfect send-off (for Jennifer and I, maybe not for our kids)! Nice variety and everything was very fresh and flavourful. While we enjoyed our meals, Rachel and Abby's highlight of this restaurant was being required to remove their footwear at the door. Not only did we have to remove our shoes, by we also got to lock them up in individual shoe lockers with wooden keys. We think more restaurants should have features like this!
After lunch, we had to catch a high speed passenger ferry from Kobe over to the Kansai Airport in Osaka for our flight back to Seoul. The weather was nice so it was a pretty smooth ride, but I was still surprised by how little impact the large swells had on our boat ride. I was prepared for being tossed around a lot more.
The flight back to Seoul aboard Jeju Air (or the 'Mr. Winky Planes' as Abby calls them) seemed short and we arrived at the Gimpo Airport (not the Incheon airport which we flew out of) before dark. We hopped into a bus for the hour long ride back to Seongnam City then a short taxi ride later we arrived safely back at Jonathan & HJ's place around 9:00pm.
Auntie HJ prepared a wonderful beef bulgogi for dinner which we devoured before calling it a night. Although it was only a few days and a few cities, we can now scratch Japan off our bucket list. And now we're going to continue this little adventure of ours on Korean soil for the next little while...
To those of you who are reading our blog posts, thanks for following along with our travel tales!