During my trip to Japan this November, I was surprised at how many Christmas decorations I saw throughout my travels. I did not expect to find Christmas in Japan.
The graceful curves of a Geisha wearing a kimono. The rotund shape of a groaning sumo wrestler. The stately orange beams of a torii gate. An artistic plate of freshly caught sushi. The large eyes of a manga cartoon charter. The serenity of a perfectly raked gravel rock garden. I don’t know if there is another country that has so many single identifiable images associated with its culture. All of these images speak the word Japan as clearly as if it were yelled from the mountain tops. But if there is one iconic image that stands high above the rest when it comes to symbolizing the soul of Japan, it is Mt. Fuji.
The shrines and temples of Nikko, one of Japan’s 21 UNESCO listed sites, are an easy day trip from Tokyo. You can do a day in Nikko either as a tour from Tokyo, or you can go there independently. Either option has its pros and cons. Read my recommendations for a complete Nikko trip experience.
The centerpiece and most visited attraction of the Nikko UNESCO World Heritage site is the Toshogu shrine. This final resting place for Tokugawa Ieyasu is like a peacock among the pigeons, an extravagant and elaborately colorful showpiece dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan for almost 300 years.
Mt. Mitake in Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park is a green and peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of nearby Tokyo. Only 90 minutes away, it is easily accessible and provides a non touristy cultural experience as you hike with the locals past shrines, waterfalls and a natural moss covered rock garden.
Original Quilt Design – This design takes it’s inspiration from the many beautiful Kimonos I have seen on my trips to Japan.
Japan is one of my favorite travel destinations. The unique mix of east and west in this culturally rich country continues to fascinate me. I am sharing my 25 favorite Japanese experiences in photos to inspire your next trip to this amazing country.
The setting sun glows off the gold leaf on Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto, aptly named the Golden Pavilion. Continue reading “PhotoPOSTcard: Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion – Kinkaku-Ji Temple”
The Island of Miyajima is best known for the large floating tori gate in its harbor and for the Itsikushima shrine which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the buildings that make up the Itsikushima compels is the Toyokuni Shrine which has the nick name “Hall of One Thousand Tatami Mats” because of its large size.
Most photos of Mt. Fuji in Japan show clear blue skies and cherry blossoms or autumn leaves in the foreground. This photo is probably more realistic though.