Temple aglow at night at Asakusa
Can you imagine why? Below, some views from along the winding and often surprising journey through this beautiful place…
This was my first gong spotted in a Japanese temple, but by no means my last. Temples abound! This one in Ueno Park in Tokyo.
Did I mention that there are lots of temples? This one in Kamakura overlooks the ocean.
Big Buddha.... (Kamakura)
.... little Buddhas! (Kamakura)
Kanji: Chinese characters imported into Japanese language, usually with different pronunciation and often with different character pairings or even some different strokes. Result: I can almost read.... sometimes. This is something something flavor room, I think....
... and finally, night. This view from the top of the Metropolitan Building in Shinjuku. (free! open till 11pm! FREE!)
This is my favorite sign in all of Japan. (Arisugawa Park, on my way to the Tokyo Central Library to search for my grandfather's name and political group in a language I don't speak. Results: 3 newspaper articles in Japanese, 1 academic article in Chinese (!!), and several copies of beautiful historical Tokyo photographs. Mood: beyond exhausted.)
And now, for some traditional scenes in Kyoto. I went tripping here with a good friend from Tokyo who has been once or twice before, so she was my guide!
At Kyomizudera temple, the springs of long life flow in the fresh, clean water. Tourists line up to sip from the ancient springs, with cups sanitized in an ultra-modern ultraviolet light machine. Japan: where traditional culture and technological prowess come together in good hygiene!
You too, can dress like (and/or hire) a geisha for a day! (24 hour parking not included)
Kyoto style food: both beautiful and delicious! But remember to eat these delicate shapes slowly and carefully, savoring each flavor and texture. Chinese family-style cooking this is NOT.
Our two days of traipsing through Kyoto's temples, preserved traditional streets, and beautiful natural settings were absolutely magical. Get away from the city and lose yourself in the beauty of historical Japan...
Just before sunset, we found the elusive "Philsopher's Path," tucked away up in the high hills... winding its way next to a small river, and past many little well-preserved Japanese houses. And while two cats played in the brilliant orange glow, we took a moment to contemplate deep questions as the sun set on a long day of exploring Kyoto.... And, cut. print. that's a wrap. (no this was not a movie, we just had a really great day!)
At Arashiyama, two mountains frame a gorgeous green river-- in the distance, a lone temple nestled into the mountainside offers amazing views of the city of Kyoto and its surrounding scenery. Well worth the short if steep climb!
Back in Tokyo, temples at night are even more dramatic than temples by day (at Asakusa).
This goes out to anyone who watches Arrested Development (there's money in the banana stand!). Enough said.
Japan, it was an amazing first visit. You may have won this round, but I will be back: mark my words. For now, Arigatou gozaimasu. ありがとうございます (so long, and thanks for all the fish).