I just got back and it was an amazing trip! I accomplished a lot. I a couple didn’t plans didn’t happen which I don’t like, but it is what it is.
Quick run down
Day 1 – as soon as I get to Osaka, I was met with Okuni and Iishi-san. Then Maeda-san met us. We then went to my rental and dropped off stuff. Explored Den Den town and Namba Parks.
Day 2 – I explored Osaka a bit more. A few shopping arcades, more Den Den town, Dotonbori and also rode Hep5 wheel. Unexpectedly, Uchida-san wanted to meet after work, it would be late. Nonetheless, this trip is always about meeting with friends. We had dinner and had a great time.
Day 3 – It was the day I was heading to Hakone. Sugiyama-san wanted to meet in Aichi for breakfast. We had breakfast and caught up. I was then on my way to Hakone. Took the Shinkansen and local trains to get to Gora station. Kuze-san would pick me up and bring me to Forest Hakone hotel where the leopard meeting was at. I walked the Little Prince Museum. Also was planning to meet with Daiki-san, but timing was off. I couldn’t get out for the night.
Day 4 – Carshop Friend cruise from around Hakone. We went to a few spots, but lunch at Izu Fruit Park. We cruised to Atami Beach line. Kuze-san and I had to leave. After saying good byes, Kuze-san dropped me off at Atami station. I then reached Tokyo and then Shinjuku. I went around Tokyo and went to Nakano Broadway.
Day 5 – Explored Shinjuku (waterfalls and Tokyo Metro gov building), then went to Meiji Shrine, then went to Odaiba. Met with Kimura-san and we explored Toyota Web and history garage. Then went to Saitama to meet with Suenaga-san.
Day 6 – Went to Tochigi to meet with Itabashi-san. He took me to Gunma to Toy/Doll and Yokota Car collection museum. Also stopped by a GTR shop. Went around Isesaki area. Also Oinuma-san said he wanted to see me, but it would be later after his work (around 10pm). I would stay the night in Tochigi. I also missed time to go to Otaku Bar with Rholfi.
Day 7 – I would head to Takamatsu, but before that I met with Adail, my wife’s friend, very briefly. Upon arriving in Takamatsu, I was met with Noguchi and Miyama-san. We went around a few shops and had dinner. Since it is weekday, they both had to work, so our evening ended at 8pm. I went around Takamatsu at night taking pictures.
Day 8 – I woke up early and headed to Fukuoka. I haven’t heard back from my group there and in Kumamoto. Our meet up didn’t work out and I ended up executing plan B, explore Fukuoka more. I stopped by Kushida shrine (Shinto), Hakata station city and City Canal. I also went around experience the food.
Day 9 – Woke up early and headed to Nagasaki. I met with Noguchi-san and this time, we drove a couple hours to see the long nose leopard. I tried to see this last time, but I didn’t have enough time. We also visited his secret garage. After he dropped me off, I explored Nagasaki at night.
Day 10 – Woke up and headed to Hakata station again (Nagasaki is 2 hours away by Sonic Express). I then took the Express to Usa station, where I met with Dustin of Excite Video Magazine. After stopping by his place, he drove to Beppu (as I wanted to see the Hells of Beppu). He picked up a friend and we went to a Coco Curry spot. I then headed to Shunan City to meet with Taguchi-san. I changed my plans of staying in Shunan city to getting back to Osaka (my flight was earlier). We took a chance to go to his place (30mins away) to see his Leopard. We rushed back to the station after a car switch and I was just 2 minutes before the train arrived! This was the last Shinkansen. In Osaka, I checked in to the rental I had from the first trip and walked around until 230am trying to find stuff.
Day 11 – Woke up early to find stuff. Nothing nearby. Checked the station and left for the airport to check in (by 11am). 4 hour layover in Taipei and back in the US by 5pm.
Wandering Leopard 2019 Japan – May/June
- Day 1 – Osaka – Arrival and Kansai brothers
- Day 2 – Osaka – Wandering around Kobe and Osaka, meet with Uchida-san
- Day 3 pt 1 – Nagoya – Breakfast with Sugiyama-san
- Day 3 pt 2 – Hakone – Arrival to Carshop Friend meeting
- Hakone Touring Information
- Day 4 – Hakone Touring – Leg 1 – Ashinoko Skyline Rest house
- Day 4 – Hakone Touring – Leg 2 – Ashinoko Skyline toll plaza
- Day 4 – Hakone Touring – Leg 3 – Izu Fruit Park
- Day 4 – Hakone Touring – Leg 4 – Atami Beach line
- Day 5 pt 1 – Shinjuku Niagara Falls, Tokyo Metro building observatory, Meiji Shrine
- Day 5 pt 2 – Odaiba, History Garage, Toyota WRC and Megaweb Toyota with Kimura-san
- Day 5 pt 3 – Saitama, Truck Shop Jet and VANkulture Japan with Suenaga-san and Taguchi-san
- Day 6 pt 1 – Gunma – Ikaho Toy, Doll and Car Museum
- Day 6 pt 2 – Gunma – Ikaho Toy, Doll and Car Museum – Kei cars
- Day 6 pt 3 – Gunma – Ikaho Toy, Doll and Car Museum – Initial D
- Day 6 pt 4 – Gunma – Ikaho Toy, Doll and Car Museum – Classic JDM cars
- Day 6 pt 5 – Gunma – Ikaho Toy, Doll and Car Museum – Race Cars collection
- Day 6 pt 6 – Visit to Craft Z sports, GTR shop
- Day 6 pt 7 – Toy hunting, Tochigi dinner with Itabashi family and Oinuma-san arrival
- Day 7 pt 1 – Takamatsu meeting up with Miyama and Noguchi-san
- Day 7 pt 2 – Takamatsu nights and VANKulture
- Day 8 – Fukuoka Nights – No meet ups.
- Day 9 – Nagasaki arrival, Stage 1: secret base, and Stage 2: Red Kaido Leopard
- Day 9 – Drive between stages and Nagasaki Nights
- Day 10 pt 1 – Hells of Beppu with Dustin (Excite Video magazine)
- Day 10 pt 2 – Shunan Rush with Taguchi-san
- Day 11 – Toy hunting.