I just got back from my three week trip to Japan and wanted to share it with the TA%26#39;s because most of my research was done in these forums! And the advice and research from the threads helped me so much - the trip was AMAZING (im so sad to be back at home!)
Over the three weeks I crammed in quite a few places; Tokyo, Nikko, Yunishigawa, Takayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Nara, Shikoku, Hakone and Osaka.
The basic stuff first;
- At Narita Airport I bought a suica and n%26#39;ex combined for 3,500 yen - very helpful - you can use your suica for travel in the subways and also in vending machines and some shops.
- I spent the majority of the first week in Tokyo, and activated a 14 day JR pass on the 8th day of my trip. The JR pass is a must - we used JR almost every day in the last fortnight, even up to taking the n%26#39;ex back to the airport. Not only is it worth it - you dont have the hassle of finding out how much tickets cost, having cash on hand etc etc. It made it all easy, even reserving seats was simple - most of the JR staff are used to travellers.
- I went to Nikko/Yunishigawa Onsen on the second day of my trip, I recommend getting a Tobu Rail World Heritage Pass. It costs 3,600 yen and gives you a round trip to Nikko + use of tobu buses and shrine entry. If you are planning to look around Nikko it is worth it - also much easier than catching a JR train to Nikko (with the pass) as you have to do a few transfers whereas tobu goes direct. This pass is available from Asakusa Station at the TObu Travel Agency located outside.
- Another useful pass was the Hakone Tozan Railway Pass. A two day pass costs 3,900 yen and gives you unlimited usage of the tozan railway, boats, cablecar, ropeway etc. If you are going to do a round course of Hakone it is worth it. This pass is available from Odawara and any rail station in Hakone.
- When booking hotels - always print out the map of where the hotel is located, it is also useful to print out a japanese version as once you get lost - theres not much use showing a local your english map!
- Print out as many maps as you can of the Subway, JR Rail, Towns you are visiting, Sites you are visiting. Chances are there will be tourist maps at the site - but most chances are it wont be in english.
Ok - Onto the actual travel!!
Day 1 - We arrived pretty late at Narita, 6.30 - so we just got our suica %26amp; n%26#39;ex, walked to our hotel, found some food and went to bed early to prepare for the next day...
We spent the night (and many more to come) at a Toyoko Inn in Shinjuku. Great location (although might be a bit risque on the streets for some) close to Shinjuku %26amp; Higashi-shinjuku stations. Very cheap (9,240 a night for two), however you get what you pay for. The beds are like slabs of concrete and the rooms are very small. However we stayed in a lot of these in the major cities as it meant we could spend more at Ryokans out of the city. If you are like me and dont really care about staying at a nice western hotel in japan it can help to stay at these for your budget. The Toyoko Inns also give you a simple free buffet breakfast in the morning (miso, rice, coffee etc) and there are free PCs for internet browsing in the lobby as well as rental laptops for 1,000 yen a night. Although my back wont forgive me, I did find the hotels handy.
Day Two. We got straight into it and headed for Yunishigawa Onsen - past Nikko. We caught the subway to Asakusa Station, bought a Tobu World Heritage Pass and got on the train to Nikko. The trip was about 2 1/2 hours to Nikko, however we had to stay on the train to Yunishigawa (another hour) and then catch a bus to Yunishigawa Onsen (half hour). Although the pass we bought only covered our travel to a few stations past Nikko it was easy to buy a fare readjustment. You can either get it from a guy on the train if he walks past - or at the station you get off. Note that when catching buses you pay when you get off, not before.
The bus trip to Yunishigawa was both beautiful and sad. The river and mountains are breathtaking, but slowly creeping around the river is massive construction of a dam, train line and a lot of bridges cutting through the valleys for the train. We also saw what looked like developers looking around the town and taking pictures which makes us think that it will change dramatically soon.
But for now Yunishigawa Onsen is incredible. It seemed fairly untouched (compared to other places), the people were beautiful and the scenery was amazing. We stayed at Honke Bankyu Ryokan which was a beautiful old Inn, sitting beside the river with a vine bridge and a view of mountains. I wont go into too much details of the stay (no spoilers!) but our room was huge - we had a view over the river and vine bridge. Dinner was an event - it is held in a building across the river over the fire pits. There was a samisen performance on an ice stage. There are lovely public onsen %26amp; private onsen. We booked a private one %26amp; it snowed while we were in there - ultimate! The next morning we also used the public baths - first time for public nudity! For those who are scared, it is actually quite liberating. Noone looks at you, half of the other bathers are probably 80 so theres nothing to worry about.
After check out we headed to Nikko and used the pass to explore the Shrines. You only need to catch the bus (from the front of tobu station) to the first shrine and then walk the rest - all of the shrines are incredibly close to each other, and then catch the bus back to the station.
We visited a fair few Shrines in Japan and Nikko %26amp; Nara are at the top of my list. Toshogu is incredible. Note though that even with the pass, the shrines here can end up costing a lot more as they try to charge you extra entry fees for certain sections. We just went to the sections we were allowed entry to, and it was still excellent. Its good to check out the three wise monkeys carving at Toshugu as you will see merchandise of these monkeys all over Japan!
Next few days coming in a second!
March 09 Trip Report - three weeks :)
Day Three. TOKYO DISNEY. We had spent the night at Shinjuku Toyoko Inn again and in the morning headed to Disneyland. Everyone knows that Disney is great so there not much need to give too much of an overview. However if you are finding it hard to get the train there just follow the children :)
Disney was great - took literally two seconds to get our ticket and get into the Park (Universal could learn from these guys), however the queues here were unreal. I think we queued for an hour and a half to get into the Haunted House, our fastpass ticket to Splash Mountain told us to come back at 9.30pm, and we were lucky to get into thunder mountain, it had been closed all day and we just happened to be walking past it when it opened so we didnt have to queue at all! I would recommend staying for the night lights parade, it is excellent.
Day Four. TOKYO SHOPPING. Day four was a failure. It was POURING all day, we panned any sightseeing or going to DisneySea and spent the day in shopping malls in Shibuya for warmth. The problem was we got drenched on our way to the malls so it didn%26#39;t help too much! Shibuya malls are amazing - the Tokyo youth are so fashionable and Shibuya is one of the %26#39;it%26#39; places to shop at the moment. The clothes are beautiful, but the price tags can be unbelievable. We also went to Tokyu Hands and had a look around. This store was great for finding any little nik naks that you need - and also pointless cute things (my favourite kind of things!).
Day Five. TOKYO SIGHTSEEING. Today we planned for a volunteer guide to show us the sights in Tokyo. Our guide was a lovely guy with great english who showed people around quite often. All you need to do is offer to pay for their travel while they show you around, and offer to pay for lunch (make sure you offer, the japanese would be too polite and embarrassed to ask!) We went to Edo-Tokyo Museum, Asakusa, Tokyo Metropolitan Tower and our guide helped us organise our JR passes and with some of our itinerary. It is very handy to ask the guide any questions you may have about travelling, customs, where to find food etc.
Asakusa was lovely, there are quite a few shop stalls on the walk to the temple, but a LOT of tourists. I think even on the quiet days it is very crowded. We had lunch opposite the entry to Sensoji, upstairs in a Tempura restaurant which was very popular and full of old japanese ladies constantly taking off their slippers as they went in and out of each room to serve the customers :P
Not too sure if I would recommend Edo-Tokyo? We spent an hour and a half there with an english guide who talked us through the exhibits. It was interesting but I probably would have preferred to skip it.
Tokyo Metropolitan Tower is great for a view of the city, especially at night (just make sure its not a weekend as most of the office lights will be off around the city) It is free and located at the west exit of Shinjuku Station. There is an underground walkway that goes directly to it.
Day Six. TAKAYAMA. We activated our JR Rail pass and reserved a seat on the train to Nagoya, then the hida to Takayama. Our first Shinkansen trip was excellent - so fast! so efficient! so clean! so polite! Nothing like our rail network in australia. I especially liked the way the snack ladies would bow before leaving each car. It took about 4 hours to get to Takayama and I will admit I wasn%26#39;t very impressed when I stepped of the train. My mind had conjured up images of a quaint little village, isolated from Japan and filled with cute buildings. It was actually fairly built up and there were the usual ugly concrete hotels everywhere. We stayed the night in Tanabe Ryokan. Hmm - not the nicest ryokan I stayed at. The owner was lovely, location the best and a lot of the food was excellent, but the building itself %26amp; the cleanliness weren%26#39;t up to the standard of the rest of the places I stayed at.
Day Seven. TAKAYAMA. We kept our bags at the ryokan and left to check out the morning market across the river. My attitude towards Takayama immediately changed. The morning market is a MUST. We only managed to see one market near Kaji-Bashi bridge because it was impossible to leave! As soon as we started to walk past the stalls it was like we put on 10 kgs. We just constantly bought food, tried samples, bought more food, tried more samples..... The hida beef buns at a stall here are to die for. The nuts covered in candy are great, the hida beef in miso is great - everything is great! These markets %26amp; also the stores lining the river are a great place to buy souviners, gifts and trinkets. I found my favourite purchases here. Leaving the market you walk down streets full of Old Private Houses, museums, more shops and of course, more food. You could spend the whole day exploring this area but we didn%26#39;t have enough time so we made our way up to Shiroyama Park. It was quite an upward trek for my lazy legs, but we made it to the top where the site of Takayama castle once was. There are incredible views from here. We then went back to the train station to catch a bus to the Hida Folk Village. The village is a must, and a step back into time - the history of the museum is quite sad though - a lot of the houses there were saved from entire villages being sinked by Dams. After this we went back into town, got our bags and caught the train to Kanazawa.
This day was really packed, and Takayama is REALLY worth more than one day of looking around - there is so much to do here, we only scraped the surface. In hindsight I would have scrapped Kanazawa altogether to have spent another day in Takayama. But I might be biased because of my love of the Hida Beef Buns!
March 09 Trip Report - three weeks :)
Whew this takes longer than expected!
Day Eight. KANAZAWA. Arrived at Kanazawa at around 6pm and headed to our hotel - another Toyoko Inn. Discovered we could rent a laptop for 1000 yen and caught up on things online/ cleared the camera. For the first time during the trip we decided we wanted McDonalds, and i discovered the Japan Bacon Burger - which is far superior than any aussie McDonalds burger. We also succumbed to Starbucks because the rumours are true. The coffee in Japan is TERRIBLE. I have never tasted anything like it! Starbucks was actually likeable here - as long as you ask for double shots, otherwise you just get some milk with a bit of caffiene in it.
In the morning we headed to Kenrokuen Garden, because it was the end of winter the start of the park - around the plum blossoms etc was not as beautiful as I expected, but once we got to the ponds and centre of the park it really was quite lovely. The sun came out and my bf tried to pat the curious fish in the ponds - they would come right up to you expecting food. Right next to the gardens there is the Kanazawa Castle site. This is free admission, but besides looking at the outside of the castle there is not much to do here (yet). I think the site has only just been changed from a University to heritage site so there hasn%26#39;t been much preservation of the gardens %26amp; grounds. The Nagamachi Samurai District is also worth looking around, but to be honest my mind was still thinking of Hida Beef Buns and I couldnt really concentrate :P
That night we headed straight for Kyoto %26amp; another Toyoko Inn.
Day Nine. KYOTO. We headed to Nara for a little day trip from Kyoto. It was very easy to get to and the staff at the information desk at Nara station are very helpful. We were wondering if we had to catch a bus to see the shrines, but she drew a route on a map even with time estimates of how long it would take us, which were the must-sees and which were good for if we had extra time. You pretty much just have to walk down the main street from the station and then you hit a series of Shrines %26amp; Deer. The Deer were hilarious, if you hold their food above their heads they will bow to you! Watch out though, if you have anything in your pockets or hold the biscuits within their reach they will practically chase you and snatch stuff off you. I got a lovely photo of one of the deer headbutting my bf while he looks terrified. Its funny to see all the other tourists squealing and being chased as well.
The Todai-ji Temple is excellent. The sheer size of it is amazing, as is the buddha inside. Further along the path of lanterns is also beautiful. Deer are just absolutely everywhere as well, popping their heads around lanterns and in the shops.
To sum it up - Nara is a great day trip, highly recommended!
Thanks for your great trip report so far.
I am really interested in what you did a Shikoku and how much spending money you used?
We are off on our 3 week trip on 3 April and I have not been able to get a lot of information on Shikoku. We have booked a hire car at Sakaide and plan to drive down to the Iya Valley where we have a night booked at Iya Binji Ryokan that has views over the valley.
What do you think you spent on meals and transport other than your JR rail pass. We have 3 week JR passes that will cover most city to city transport.
Also did you exchange A$ to Yen here in Aus before you left or did you do it up there? Did you change any Yen back to Aus$ before you came home if so where and how was the rate.
Looking forward to the next instalment.
Day Ten. KYOTO. Today was scheduled for the basic Kyoto sightseeing - shrines etc.. But we felt a bit shrined out and decided to spend the day looking around, shopping %26amp; later in the afternoon going to the gion district. The Toyoko Inn we stayed at in Kyoto was right on top of Karasuma station and an easy walk to Gion so it ended up being a pretty good location. Also next to this (and pretty much in every city) there was a Diamaru Department Store. We had practically every meal at Kyoto from the foodcourt in the dept store! Not that we couldn%26#39;t afford to eat out - we were just obsessed with the absolute variety on offer - everything you could want you can find in one of those food courts! Each lunch or dinner we would by a selection of random japanese meals %26amp; treats and stuff ourselves silly. Given the amount of packaging the Japanese love, our hotel floor would end up with bags full of food packaging (sorry environment). If you do go to the food courts, try the strawberry cakes, (or any baked goods) and the mochi creams = delicious!
Ok so after stuffing ourselves and shopping (we bought a big duffel bag to fit all of our purchases from the last week in) we headed to Gion to check out the streets. Gion has lovely old streets and buildings, we didn%26#39;t come across any real geisha, just the tourists who had paid to dress up (being followed around by a woman to photograph them..) but it was nice to walk around the streets and take it all in. We went just around sunset - it would probably be a good idea to go a bit later, not much was happening yet and there wasnt much to do besides lurk around with a camera in case you did catch a glimpse of something. My bf was happy though because on our way back to the hotel we stopped by the food court again....
Day Eleven. TRAVEL - SHIKOKU. So day 11 was Friday the 13th. This has never really meant much to me but on this particular day bad luck came crashing down!!! We had planned to leave the hotel at about 8.30 - 9 to depart for Shikoku, but woke up at about 9.40! We ran around wildly getting ready, packing and checking out before catching a JR train to Okayama. From Okayama we caught the train to Marugame where I had organised to hire a car. At this point we were already running an hour late, I had planned to get the car by 12 at the latest. I had a sketchy map of where the car rental place and we went off in search of it in the streets of Marugame. Pretty much noone in this town spoke english or even understood hand gestures or anything we tried. We hadn%26#39;t had hardly any difficulty with the language barrier until now. We had come to Shikoku to get away from the main island and forgot to prepare for this! We circled an area in Marugame for about an hour looking for the car rental, we ended up asking a man for help who spoke a bit of english and he was just lovely, he took us into his shop, fed us green tea, rang the rental place and lo and behold it was about 200m away. We had walked past it about 3 times and thought it was just a garage. It was a mazda rental but there was no signage we could recognise so we learnt a bit of a lesson from that one... the map we had was pretty accurate as well so not sure how we missed it!! My advice would be as I said before and try to get maps printed with the japanese characters as well (most street signs have no english so the english maps are sometimes worthless...) Finally we got the car, and asked the guy working at the rental place to set up the GPS for us to direct us to where we were going. We were pretty flustered and stressed at that point and got on our way, when we should have asked him some more questions about using the gps %26amp; setting an end point. However we were still able to follow the directions and got to our hotel just in time. We used the expressways that headed to Matsuyama and then Kochi before heading down to Iya Valley along the river. There are toll ways on the expressways. THey are quite expensive (I think it might have been 1,700 yen?) And it can be a bit stressy driving on the roads simply because you are in a different country, but in the end we got there fine and it took about 2 1/2 hours from Marugame to our hotel, Iya Bijin.
Iya Bijin is pretty incredible. The outside of the Inn looks a bit tudor roadhousy and small, but once you are inside and go downstairs it all opens up. Once the door to our room was opened we pretty much cheered up after the bad day instantly - it was a lovely traditional room, with a balcony overlooking the valley %26amp; river. The balcony had a private shower %26amp; bath, and just inside there was a luxurious massage chair - perfect! We had dinner in a dining room next door with the fire pits, feet warmers and views over the valley. The dinner was traditional japanese - so about a gazillion courses served with sake, green tea %26amp; a plum wine. Delicious! Breakfast was also served in the room with another round of courses - also delicious :) Relaxing in the room after our day, having our hot bath and then sitting in the massage chair and sinking into the futon bed was lovely. Oh and did I mention the people were lovely and friendly?! I dont think it even needs to be mentioned I dont think I went anywhere where the service was impeccable.
Day Twelve. SHIKOKU. We left Iya Bijin fairly early (not really early about 9.00 but they werent too happy because they wanted to give us more treats and green tea and chats :) But we had a deadline as we had some waterafting booked at Koboke Gorge for 10.00. It took about 30 mins to get from Iya to Koboke across the rivers %26amp; tunnel, probably a lot less time for locals but we are very wary drivers on those roads! We had booked our 2 hour rafting session with Happyraft. An absolutely lovely bunch of people - an aussie runs it and the other staff are japanese and extremely fluent in english. The night before the rafting, the rivers in the area were absolutely crystal clear and stunning an azure colour, most beautiful water I have ever seen. HOwever overnight it POURED down and when we woke up and I looked down at the river, it had turned into a brown swirling mass. We were already a bit intimidated by rafting, and the gushing water terrified us. However the rafting guys were super excited and told us we were so lucky - all the rafting was going to be even better etc etc... well they were right! It was such fun, not frightening at all. We jumped into the river at one point and it was just plain freezing but the whole experience was excellent! We spent the rest of the day in a hot springs to recover, and looked at the kazubashi vine bridge. The vine bridge was good (and frightening to walk over!) but there was this horrifying information centre with 100 levels of concrete multi level car parking built right on the river next to it.... WHY! Supposedly it it worth driving the extra hour to see the double bridges further down the river which are more untouched. We stayed that night in a little guest house one of the Happyraft guys runs, very cheap and backpackerish, but with amazing views and really out in the thick of it! THe locals are all pretty much over 70 and very friendly, while we were shopping for dinner some old ladies gave us mandarins :)
Do you mean how much did I spend in Shikoku or the whole trip?
How long will you be spending in SHikoku? It takes about half a day to get there so the days getting in and out of Shikoku, you wont have much time unless you are going somewhere close the next day on the main island.
We exchanged money before we left. We found it to be less of a hassle and were glad we did it. The rate was quite bad - 62 or so, and we brought about 400,000 yen over with us (no need to declare that amount), paid hotels if we could with credit cards and withdrew money from Post Office ATMS. I havent exchanged my left over Yen as yet.
Im only up to day twelve :(
Day Thirteen: SHIKOKU - HAKONE. Not the best planned part of the trip, the day was basically a whole day of travelling on a sunday timetable so we got to Hakone pretty late. We stayed at Lalaca which was a nice ryokan with a great dinner %26amp; breakfast in Gora - Hakone.
Day Fourteen: HAKONE. This day was pretty much my main event and what I had scheduled the whole trip around - a night at the Hakone Ginyu. First we put our baggage into the Miyanoshita staion lockers to avoid lugging it later and started the Hakone round trip. We caught a bus with our Hakone Tozan free pass down to Moto Hakone, caught the ship across Lake Ashi, Ropeway up to the volcano and cablecar back down to Gora. Its really lovely in Hakone but very very touristy - since it is only a short trip from Tokyo.
Hakone Ginyu. Wow. So this place is pretty much uber expensive, but I didnt think about the price once. It is extremely close to the station, just a walk past the busstop and you are there, but you would never know it. You walk through the doors and its like youve been transported. I love interiors and details so everything about Ginyu was just sublime to me. So many details, so immaculate. The service was incredible, the room was breathtaking. It was traditional japanese and there were two seperate toilets, a bar room, a sleeping room, a dining room, a bathroom, an inside bath, an outside bath on the balcony, another sitting room on the balcony - it was extreme. There was a bar on the first floor and a balinese bar on the ground floor. The public onsens were incredible - just everything was. If you can afford to stay here, do it! If you can afford two nights, even better! Dinner and breakfast was served in the room, and both were excellent.
Thanks for the detailed info on Shikoku.
I will send you a private message about some questions please and our plans.
I%26#39;m really enjoying your report. I can%26#39;t wait for the next instalment. I think you were brave to hire a car - I don%26#39;t think I%26#39;d cope with that too well.
Sorry about the delay, takes a while to write these things out :)
Day Fifteen. OSAKA. Headed to Osaka from Hakone. My schedule was a bit higgedly piggeldy because of certain things I had booked which were dates set in stone - therefore I had to backtrack every now and then. This wasnt too hard though as the train system is so good in Japan.
We had planned to go to Sumo in Osaka but ended up opting to go to Universal Studios - My bf was keen to go so I decided to let him have at least one day of the trip :P Universal was great. Easy to get to from Osaka station about 20-30 minutes. The queue to get in is ridiculous, about 40 minutes it took us to get in! Whereas in Disney, which was busier it only took a few seconds. However once we were in we were happier, we went to some of the rides and queued which took quite a while, and the times were starting to get to 80 minutes and over so we decided to go on rides as single riders. If you dont care about sitting next to your parter on the ride, i highly recommend doing this. We went on about 6 of the big rides, each one taking less than five minutes to queue in the single line (as opposed to the hundreds of other people who queued for over two hours) and most of the time we were in the same car anyway. We pretty much did all the rides we wanted to and were free to wander around in the park - excellent!
I might just sum up the rest of the trip; we spent the next night in Tokyo. We stayed the night at Keio Plaza after deciding we wanted some comfy beds for the last few nights. Keio is a really nice hotel, it is HUGE and right next to the Tokyo Metropolitan Govt Tower so is very easy to find. There is even an underground walkway directly from Shinjuku station that takes about five minutes. We stayed here on our last night as well and they upgraded us to a pricey room which was lovely.
We also spent one of our last days going BACK to Yunishigawa Onsen past Nikko, because we had enjoyed it so much. It was great to go back there but would have probably been a better idea to have just booked two nights there in the first place to avoid the extra travel and also we had experienced the whole thing a few weeks before so there was nothing really that blew us away the second time. However it gave me a chance to grab a few more sweets to take back home, and they also upgraded us to a corner room which had even better views than our last room.
On our way back home we arrived at Narita allowing ample time to check in etc.. however I do regret not going to the airport earlier now. Narita is an excellent airport and the shops there are excellent. If you dont want to spend your holiday buying too many gifts to fit in your luggage, now at the airport is a great time to do it and the selection is pretty good! I didnt notice if the prices were higher? But thats because I almost missed my boarding because I was so tempted by the shops!
So to sum up the trip, Japan is just absolutely incredible. Three weeks is a long time, but there is so much to do there that it felt like we only touched the surface. My favourite places were Takayama, Shikoku, Nara %26amp; Yunishigawa Onsen, and the best food I ate would have to be in Takayama (try everything!). Travel was easy, people were friendly, everything was clean and I miss it already! I would definitely recommend doing research before going on a trip here, lots of places dont require research before going, but I think it helps for a place like Japan. I think if I didn%26#39;t research as much, I would have missed out on a lot of amazing experiences.
I gave a few tips at the beginning, but thought of more to add while I was going;
- FOOD. In the cities, find any big department store and go to the basement to the food court. At first it might be a bit overwhelming with all the people, but you can grab a selection of amazing japanese food and eat it in your hotel room (or anywhere else you can find!) We ate from food courts quite a lot, and would just go nuts and buy insane amounts of food and desserts, but it was so much fun trying out all the foods, even if we got duds :) The cakes in those places are delicious as well. I got hooked on those strawberry cakes!
- TRAIN TICKETS. If you are buying tickets for the subway or trains, most machines have an %26#39;english%26#39; button. You can buy a ticket for the lowest amount, and then when you get to your destination, go to a fare adjustment machine which are everywhere. Then you put in your ticket and it tells you how much you owe.
If you have a suica card you can just scan it at the gates and it automatically takes off the amount.
- COFFEE. Ok, there is not much good to be said about coffee over here. It is horrible. Starbucks unfortunately is the best you might get. Another alternative is the hot coffee drinks from vending machines - they were quite nice!
- GOOD SOBA. If you are near Higashi-Shinjuku station, there is a small Soba place right next to the entry. The Soba is excellent and cheap :) Yum! The worst Soba I had was in Gora/Hakone, ahh that tourist trap food :(
Thats all from me for the moment. I hope some of this may have help someone have as awesome a trip as I did.
Does tokyo Disneyland have single riders line/queue also? Which restaurant did you try in Disneyland or sea?