Japan – Day 11: Kiyomizu & Osaka

Day 11, we left the ryokan, braved the crowds, and biked to a shrine.  We rounded it off with a trip to Osaka for their famed okonomiyaki and takoyaki with a good friend.

Two days at the ryokan really went by very quickly, and we were already to our last morning.  We packed up our things and headed down to our last fancy breakfast.  I was surprised to find they weren’t expecting us; the 7am memo must have gotten lost this time.  I felt bad as they raced to put everything out, nearly tripping in their haste. Continue reading

Japan – Day 9: City Hopping

Day 9 was a transitionary day, marking the end of our time in Tokyo and the introduction of a new city.

With a train leaving earlier than the hotel’s restaurant would open, we instead ate our Cup Noodles made the other day, along with some snacks purchased at the convenience store the previous night.  It was a measly breakfast compared to the mackerel to which I had grown accustomed, but it served its purpose. Continue reading

Japan – Day 5: Asakusa

Day 5 saw some gentle wandering through Asakusa, our first shrines, mouth-watering food, and cats.  Every day brings new adventures; there’s no opportunity to get bored!

We began the day with a train ride to Ueno.  Our priority was to get postcards out as soon as possible (knowing they’d likely arrive after we returned to the States), so we sought out a post office, passing the line to pachinko and wandering the Ameyoko Market in the meantime. Continue reading

A Taste of Japan: Nighttime Shrines

I only have a few more of these highlights before I get into the real meat of our trip.  This week has understandably been busy catching up from our vacation and preparing for another over Thanksgiving.  I know you’re anxious for the full daily accounts, but I’m afraid I’ll have to tease you for just a short while longer…

When you visit Japan, unless you try explicitly not to, you’re bound to wind up at a few shrines.  Fortunately, that’s ok, as every one is unique in their own way.  If you really want to mix it up, try visiting them after dark.  Check to make sure they’re accessible after hours, but if they are, this can provide a great opportunity to beat a lot of the crowds at some of the more popular destinations. Continue reading

A Taste of Japan: Shrines

It’s difficult to visit Japan without tripping over at least a dozen shrines and temples.  While most of the Japanese population wouldn’t consider themselves particularly religious, many practice the standard rituals of visiting shrines, saying a prayer, and drawing fortunes.  The young go hoping for favorable test scores or new love; others simply wish for good luck and good health.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015 Continue reading