Leaving Japan


Our last day in Japan…waking with Maki at 6am she goes to feed her horse, we finish our packing then Kev treats her to a last scrambled egg breakfast when she returns. She runs us up to the station in her van and as usual we are running close to the wire to catch our train. Maki has written all our stops and trains out for us. We give her a big hug and say su ki Makichan (we love you Maki) before we have to dash for our train. We will really miss her she has been such a good friend to us, she made her friends become our friends.
Once on the train we have to get used to the fact we are foot tourists for the day albeit carrying crash helmets we are making one last detour to Kyoto to visit Byodoin temple the one featured on the 10yen coin.
We have to catch a local train then walk through town a bit, it’s lucky we get the last locker to put our dry bags and crash helmet in. We had to pack enough stuff for a month but make it light enough to carry, not having a rucksack we used a drybag each.
This part of town is quite picturesque but we cannot linger too long we have a plane to catch. We head straight for the temple. It does not disapoint apart from the hoards of people (it is a Saturday).
Surrounded by water it has a slightly magical air and the sun today makes it look almost like a watercolour painting. I get Kev to take a photo of me holding the 10yen coin with the temple as a backdrop. There is a museum as well, inside this no photos are allowed because it holds the original carved figures floating on clouds from inside the main hall about 13 in all, all different and breath taking.
All too soon we have to make our way back to the train, this time to Osaka then catching the airport express. We have the chance to eat a quick sushi on the platform.
We make good time to the airport, unusal for us but it is a blessing as when we go to check in they ask us for proof of onward travel. We explain we are not sure of the date as it may be up to six months time but rules is rules, as we have to hop to it the other side of the airport, find some change and a computer and book a flight to Australia!!! A couple of tense hours later we face the same lady, we needed to print out a copy of the flights but explained the only two computers with printers were in use. She looks it up on her computer and arranges for a printout to be sent to the final boarding point.
Now short of time we race through all the necessary check ins and flump exhausted on the plane, relief it is virtually empty. We have a really good flight being able to stretch out across the seats and get some shut eye. We stop over in Australia for a few hours and get some breakfast also a handy hint on how to get our Japanese phone charger to work so our phones get charged too.
This plane is rammo but we are only on it for  two and half hours arriving in New Zealand about 3pm.
It is bad timing, five planes have arrived at once due to a fault with the runway lights. We are lucky most were diverted but this backlog means we queue for 2hours to get through passport control alone, heading for customs we strike lucky there are four lanes but the fourth isn’t obvious, after checking it on foot we wheel the trolley round and are dealt with next. Having ticked various declare boxes we thought it would take ages but a cursory glance at the soles of our shoes and we were away.
We wonder if Rhondda our saviour will still be waiting?
Kev spots her almost instantly, hugs all round and then we’re off in a new country.

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