Japan Day 4 : Shimizu (tea ceremony and furry dogs)

Our first (and only) tour during our Diamond Princess Cruise last May took place in Shimizu. We didn’t sign up for any of the other tours because we wanted to explore the places ourselves. But we did join a tour in Kobe after we got off the ship because we had some time before our flight back to the Philippines.

Our Shimizu tour started really early that morning. We had a quick breakfast at the Horizon Court before heading off to the Princess Theater to wait for our briefing. We were placed in the Yellow group:

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There was a little bit of light rain that day

Our first stop was the Miho Shrine. On the way there we spotted this Kanjani8 ad. Hello Ryo-chan!

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At the shrine, our guide taught us the proper steps to pray and make offerings

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One reason why we don’t like joining tours is because we like taking pictures of everything, and there’s usually not enough time to do that when you’re with a group. In fact, since we hung around to take pictures at the temple here, we got left behind. But our guide told us to just follow the boardwalk if we get separated

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Ezra hates boardwalks because she fell off of one in Alaska. Not that it was the boardwalk’s fault – she’s just really clumsy.

The path lead us to Miho no Matsubara (Miho Pine Grove)

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We saw this huge pine tree while walking

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Behind us is the legendary tree where the angel hung her feather robe while she took a bath in the sea

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Supposedly this is one of the places in Japan which offers a clear and unobstructed view of Mt. Fuji. Unfortunately it was raining that day so the clouds blocked our view.

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Where are you Mt. Fuji? 😦

This was our guide’s solution:

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Ta-dah! Pretty clever! I have to give her props for being prepared XD

We made the most of the situation. Here’s our obligatory family portrait with “Mt. Fuji”:

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We tried XD

Here are some more touristy pictures we took around the area before we headed back to our bus:

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It was extremely cold that morning, and as usual I was wearing a flowy dress with thin stockings. Brrr

After this we went to the Tokaido Hiroshige Art Museum:

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We walked around and tried our hand at some ukiyo-e paintings, but we weren’t allowed to videotape or take pictures inside. I suppose it’s a good thing because mine came out horribly.

We  also went to this little house next to the museum for the tea ceremony:

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Upon entering they gave us these little red bean buns, which were yummy

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My dad really liked it

The tea master showed us the proper way to prepare and drink tea

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There were a lot of steps involved – rotating clockwise, then counter clockwise. Having to praise the tea after 2 sips, then make slurping noises after 6 sips, etc. Ezra and I vlogged while we were inside, so you can watch the video at the end of this entry if you’re interested.

We were given our own cups of tea so we could try it

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It was bitter, but if you’re used to drinking tea you probably won’t mind

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After this we had to wait for the rest of our tour group to finish their tea ceremony. (We were split into two groups since we couldn’t all fit inside the house.). To pass the time, we walked around the area and took pictures.

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We also went outside the play with the turtles near the entrance

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Hello cuties

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My mom really wanted to touch them. I tried to stop her (because I was worried that she would fall in the pond), but she refused to listen.

The art museum was our last stop for the day, so we headed back to our bus which drove us back to the pier.  On our way there, I took these pictures from my window:

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Back on the ship, we grabbed a quick lunch at the Horizon Court before making our way to the Princess Theater to catch the geisha performance

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I love their colorful outfits 😀

After the show Ezra went back to our room to take a nap, but my parents and I went to the 7th floor deck because we wanted to watch the ship leave the port. I really wanted to go back down to the pier but my dad kept reminding me that we had less than an hour left before the ship was scheduled to leave. But look at all the festivities happening below, who wouldn’t want to go?

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Since this was the first time the Diamond Princess docked in Shimizu, the residents prepared a welcome/farewell party for us. Lots of people came, and many of them brought their beloved pets:

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Not sure what those are – ferrets?

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This furry guy was quite popular

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I wanted a picture with him too so I convinced my mom that we should go down to the pier, despite only having a few minutes left before we had to board the ship again. We had to run like crazy because the gangway was on the 4th floor and on the opposite side of the ship. We were worried that the crew wouldn’t let us get off the ship anymore since we were getting ready to leave.

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But it was all worth it because I got to hug this furry cutie 😀 The owner was really nice and you could tell he loved the attention his babies were getting.

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This is my current Facebook profile photo 😀

I took pictures of my mom with the cutie bear too:

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This one’s a different dog. But they have the same owner (and they’re obviously the same breed).

My dad decided to stay on the ship to save our spot on deck.

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Hi Daddy!

After getting our pictures taken with the furry dogs, my mom and I looked around for a bit

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Mama with the beautiful Diamond Princess

We found these drum sets so we decided to pose with them:

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One of the female drummers saw us and she let us borrow her drumsticks. At first I thought she was going to tell us to leave their drums alone, but she was super nice. She even helped me get into the proper pose for my photo:

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Yay!

There were plenty of yummy treats being sold on the port, unfortunately we didn’t have any Yen with us so we couldn’t try them. Such a pity, they looked so yummy too. Like this green tea taiyaki:

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And these wasabi chocorolls:

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Interesting…

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We found these students setting up their instruments

Soon the ship started signalling that it was time for us to return on board. My mom and I headed back to the 7th floor deck to watch Shimizu’s farewell performance for us

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The performers were very energetic and we could tell they really enjoyed putting on a show 🙂 They also prepared a short fireworks display for us.

Soon, the Diamond Princess had to leave. As we sailed away, we waved goodbye the kind people of Shimizu

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We had a wonderful time Shimizu! Thank you! 😀

As I mentioned earlier, I made a vlog of our activities from this day, which you can watch below if you’re interested:

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