Day 69, July 18: Nagoya, Japan to the Island of Sakhalinsk, Russia (765 NM)

Nagoya to Sakhalinsk, Russia

Flight out of Japan

Nagoya, Japan to the Island of Sakhalinsk, Russia. Our customs experience was serious in Russia with 5-6 serious Russian military around our airplane. On a positive note, it was nice to open our door to cooler temperatures (18 C)


An interested young man greeted us at the airport and took photos of airplanes and pilots.



These are the best looking of the housing buildings we saw.
Gray, run down housing buildings are common.
Temple ….not sure what type.

IMG_3399 IMG_3400 IMG_3394

This is a stark looking place and there are so many people smoking.

The half-hour drive to the only “decent”  hotel gave us an overview of the town. Reported, there are two oil companies (Exxon and Shell) with large portion of business in Sakhalinsk. The housing buildings are austere, very old and run down, resembling housing projects. Very depressing until we came upon a small, but nice green park near the Pacific Plaza Hotel.

Very basic accommodations! We actually only had time to eat, sleep and dress for next day flight.

Day 68, July 17: Rainy reminants of typhoon Nangka. Day of relaxing in Nagoya.

Second day of rainy weather in Nagoya due to reminants of current typhoon Nangka which hit parts of Japan. This was a great day to catch up on rest, email and blogging.  Unfortunately, being in our room proved dangerous to Diann: I acidently smashed my right foot into furniture and limped the remainder of our trip.  Urgent care at home (July 24th) diagnosed 4th and 5th toe displaced fractures! Happy to pass on walking around Airventure with Tom the day after our return home.

We are fortunate to stay at the Marriott adjacent to the train station and a major shopping mall.  Time to pick up our Japanese gifts or just window shop at the high-end shops.

Below our window the multiple train tracks. The white pointed nose train on lower left of photo is one of the “bullet”, fast speed trains.
Gray day looking out at city…rain, rain, rain…
Thick dark overcast clouds…..all day.

Dinner was entertaining at an Hibachi restaurant — tasty and fun with our group.

Day 66, July 15: Hiroshima Tour

Tom, Jaysen, and Warren took Bullet train 1 hr. 45 min. (230 miles) to view Hiroshima.

Central Dome
Hiroshima Prefectural Industrual Promotional Hall–One surviver in basement. The dome was 160 meters from hypocenter of the atomic blast. Temperatures reached 4,000 degrees C and everyone inside the building was killed instantly.
History of Aioi Bridge.
From the Hiroshima Castle…a Samauri Warrior
Tom taking a moment for his prayer for peace.
Paddle boarding on the Motoyasu-gawa River
View of Dome from Hiroshima Memorial Museum
“Memorial Momument for Hiroshima City”
Hiromi Kurihama (most excellent tour guide) with Warren.
Burial mound for unknown victims
Red circle represents the atomic bomb detonating 1,800 feet over city.
Kimono pattern burned into victim’s body.
Human shadow etched in stone.
Victim with burns over whole body.
Let there be PEACE.

IMG_0925 IMG_0916 IMG_0917    IMG_0903 IMG_0913

Day 65, July 14: Tour Kyoto’s Temples; Geisha girls with a traditional Japanese dinner.

The Arnolds love Kyoto.

Kinkaku (Golden Pavilion)/ Rokuon-ji Temple, Ryoanji Temple (Zen rock garden), Arashiyama district, and Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Golden Pavilion: Kinkaku is a shariden, a Buddhist hall containing relics of Buddha. Rokuon-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple, in the Shokokuji School of the Rinzai Sect.  The area was originally the site of a villa called Kitayama-dai and owned by a statesman, Saionji Kinttsune Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the 3rd shotgun of the Muromachi period.

After Yoshimitsu died, in keeping with his will, the villa was converted into a temple by the priest Muso-kokushi, who became the first abbot.  The gardens and buildings, certered on the Golden Pavilion, were said to represent the Pure Land of Buddha in this world.

IMG_3228 - Version 2
Gold foil on lacquer covers the upper two levels of Kinkaku, a shining phoenix stands on top of the shingled roof.


Photo proof…we were there at the Golden Temple
Heron cooling itself across the pond.


Part of our group…
Temple…incense and worshop Buddha.
Large lily ponds.
Tom’s “prayer” followed with ringing the bell twice.
Long stairway to upper level of grounds–wonderful shade on a very hot day!

IMG_3246 IMG_3248 IMG_3241

Ryoanji Temple: highlights include: the large main building of the temple, Kyoyochi Pond and the simple Rock Garden.  The Rock Garden is a simple and remarkable garden measuring only twenty-five meters from east to west and ten meters south to north. The rectangular Aen garden is completely diferent from the gorgeous gardens of court nobles constructed in the Middle Ages. No trees are to be seen; only fifteen rocks and white gravel are used in the garden.

This internationally famous rock garden was said to be created at the end of the Muromachi Period (around 1500), by a highly respected Zen monk, Tokuho Zenketsu.

View of Temple grounds.
The Rock Garden


IMG_3261 IMG_3260 IMG_3258 IMG_3257 IMG_3263 IMG_3262

Lunch stop…very good!
Lunch at a small local restaurant. First time removal of shoes was no option. Rack your shoes, sit , order and eat!

Afternoon tour of Arashiyama district with amazing bamboo trees.

Tom, Warren, Georgia & friends!

IMG_3300 IMG_3303 IMG_3306 IMG_3297

Fushimi Inari Shrine: the shrine of Inari, located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto. This shrine sits at the base of a mountain names Inari which is 233 meters above sea level, and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines which span 4 kilometers and takes approximately 2 hours to walk up.  (We did not go to the top.)

Inari is seen as the patron of business, merchants and manutacturers. Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha is donated by a Japanese business.  First, and foremost, Inari is the god of rice. This popular shrine is said to have as many as 32,000 sub-shrines (bunsha) throughout Japan.

IMG_3322IMG_3315 IMG_3309 IMG_3310 IMG_3312 IMG_3313 IMG_3314IMG_3316

Multiple red-orange frame-archways the long path toward the top.
The many torii donated by diffeerent business men.
Camie and Alex are always ready to smile.

Our evening at the Mishimatei Honten was a special Japanese meal enjoying the company of lovely Geisha girls’ music, dance and game. Removing our shoes at the entrance as routine.

Our Air Journey travelers with Geisha girls.
Dinner bibs on: Diann and Orlie with our geisha.

IMG_3334 IMG_3328 IMG_3329 IMG_3331

Day 64, July 13: Taipei, Taiwan to Nagoya, Japan (1050 NM). Transfer via Bullet train (90 NM) to Kyoto

On our flight at 31,000 ft. we encountered some serious cloud build-ups (we were tracking between two dissipating typhoons). Diverting around build-ups is part of the “game”.

IMG_3203 IMG_3200

Our flight plan.
The arrival which soon became vector to the approach.
Nagoya’s main airport- (on small island) is not where we landed.


Golf course near Nagoya.
Finding the airfield.

IMG_3220 Our most warm welcoming in Nagoya with Mickey-San and crew.    IMG_0946 IMG_0947 IMG_0948

Our flight crew awaiting the Bullet train.


The Bullet Train travels at 185 miles/hour and was wonderful way to reach our tranquil zen-like hotel. The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto sits serenely on the banks of the Kamogawa River and offers expansive views of the famous Higashiyama Sanju-Roppo (36 mountain range).   Our room has a great view of the Komogawa River.

IMG_3326 IMG_3323 IMG_3324 IMG_3325

Our first authentic Japanese dinner was in the hotel’s Muziki restaurant transitioning us to Japanese cuisine.

Day 63, July 12: Flight from Macau to Taipei, Taiwan (510 NM); Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial

After late-afternoon arrival in Macau (3 hour 15 minute flight) and one night rest, we started early: wheels up at 0841.

Departure track out of Macau….note red background showing terrain is over water, sea level.
Route to Macau—track up (northeast).


Tom and I selected the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall to witness the impressive 15 minute changing of the guards.  The visit included a museum showing the history of Taiwan.

Huge statue of Chiang Kai-Shek.
Ceiling in room honoring Chiang Kai-Shek.
Huge gardens on grounds of Monument Park

IMG_3162 IMG_3163  IMG_3168_2 IMG_3169 IMG_3189IMG_3178