On being a tourist

Usually when I travel, I bumble around without much inclination to "do" tourist spots.  I'd rather just spend time in a place getting to know it or amble around with a tourist map and hope to chance about something cool.

For example, when I went to Aomori with my sisters a few weeks ago, we stopped over at Sendai on the way up and Morioka on the way back.  We jumped on the city loop buses and just took a spin around town.  By the way, both towns have excellent tourist buses.  In Morioka we found awesome shit like a ROCK SPLITTING CHERRY TREE and a rock with demon hand prints. 

Pretty low key stuff.

So, last Tuesday I set off for Nagasaki and Kochi but with a definite plan.  I wanted to do the full Sakamoto Ryoma tour.  I'd become fascinated after watching the Japanese drama, Ryomaden last year and, because the drama had a travelogue at the end of each episode, had complied a pretty long list of must see sites.

I don't think I'd ever been on a holiday with such a mandatory checklist of sightseeing before.

Nagasaki was fantastic.  OMG, it's one of the most beautiful cities I've ever been to.  Very easy to navigate too.  Well easy if you don't mind walking up and down extremely huge hills. 

Out of every city I've travelled to in Japan, it was the easiest to get around.  Heaps of sign posts to help you get around too.

Loved these handpainted signs to the Ryoma attractions
Most of the stuff I wanted to see wasn't on the English tourist map but I could cross reference it with the Japanese one and work things out.  I thought I'd need to do a lot of travelling in and out of the city centre to get places but could actually walk from one to the other.

Kochi wasn't so easy.  I had an English map with the sites I wanted to visit marked on it but it kinda didn't help. 

I think I need to do a whole seperate post about sightseeing maps and the issues with them.

 I had intended to go to Kyoto for a day to do more Ryoma stuff but after doing the Sakamoto Ryoma memorial museum and the Sakamoto Ryoma birthplace museum etc I was a bit Ryoma-ed out. 

Plus I had a monster hangover.  I am NEVER drinking yuzu-hai again!

So I came home a day early instead. 

I'm not sure if I'll post up some specific touristy location posts or not.  Is that stuff intesting to anyone else?