Japan was the first stop on our almost 4 month round the world tour. It has always been one of our favourite countries to visit and an excellent way to start our travels. It was the first time I visited Kyoto. Donned by many of my friends as one of the most beautiful parts of Japan, and I have to agree.
The cover photo was taken at Kiyomizu-dera. We had been wandering through the Higashiyama District, getting lost through the many beautiful alleyways before rain started to pour. We had been ducking and weaving from shop to shop and somehow ended up here. It was the beginning of spring when I took this photo and the vegetation was green and lush. The bright red shrine was outstanding against the forested backdrop.
We were walking the crowded streets filled with school children, tourists and families rushing about in the rain. It was a challenge walking through the sea of umbrellas and trying not to get hit in the face with the rib. I remember seeing this Japanese man selling steamed buns on the side of the road with a pleasant smile on his face as he watched the chaos in front of him.
We walked past a store front offering traditional tea ceremonies. We participated in the ritual and was briefed about the origins of Japanese tea and taught how to make it, it requires a lot of wrist action.
Hundreds of toriis at Fushimi Inari-taisha and accessible by a 5min train ride from Kyoto main station.
I first read about Gion in the book Memiors of a Geisha. Gion is a popular place to spot geisha and within 15mins of arriving we spotted two geisha walking in Shirakawa area. Such luck! I can only imagine how annoying it must be to have cameras shoved in your face and to be stopped every 5 minutes because people want to take a photo with you. Unfortunately I was one of those people…
We visited so many shrines in Japan. We’d have to take off our shoes and wear slippers inside.
This is the main street of Gion, Shijo Avenue. The street is lined with red lanterns and there are free food samples at many of the stores. They even play cheery elevator music overhead as we strolled along the sidewalk. Jackson notes “this music is really putting me in a good mood”.
A bit outside of Kyoto, we visited Nara Park with hundreds of Silka deer roaming around. You can purchase Shika-senbei crackers to feed the deer and they supposedly bow after receiving one, although this wasn’t always the case for us. It was quite amusing watching children interacting with the deer. Sometimes they would run away in fear and other times they would aggressively poke and prod the deer.