Deeper into Nikko

As we wander further into the beautiful world heritage site of Nikko we’re overwhelmed by the decoration and religious details. Below is the Mizuya, a stone building sheltering the water basin used for purification before entering the temple buildings. Below are more details of the Kyōzō, the shrine’s storehouse for sutras or holy scriptures. I loveContinue reading “Deeper into Nikko”

Moss strewn and mysterious

The UNESCO World Heritage Site Shrines and Temples of Nikkō includes 103 buildings and the stunning natural setting around them. The buildings belong to two Shinto shrines (Futarasan Shrine and Tōshō-gū) and one Buddhist temple (Rinnō-ji) Above is Ishidorii, the imposing stone Tori gate at the entrance to the temple complex. Torii literally means BirdContinue reading “Moss strewn and mysterious”

Nearing Nikko

After the excitement of our first ever bullet train ride we arrive in the small town of Nikko. Nikko itself is a fairly average Japanese town, nothing too unusual (EXCEPT IT’S IN JAPAN!) We’re actually heading to Nikko National Park, a scenic place of natural beauty and ornate shrines. We meander through the town untilContinue reading “Nearing Nikko”

Biting the bullet

Finally it’s come to the defining Japanese moment that the train geek man has been waiting for for months . . .  our first bullet train!! These super slick, pointy nosed, high speed beasts criss-cross Japan at jaw dropping speeds. There’s no time for dilly dallying, hence the sight of cleaners lined up ready andContinue reading “Biting the bullet”

For Sakes sake . . .

Another of my Japanese obsessions is the beautifully ornate Sake barrels often found displayed close to shrines. There is a particularly impressive Sake barrel display close to the entrance of Meiji Jingu Shrine in Shibuyu. When displayed near a Shinto shrine, such barrels are called kazaridaru, which means “decoration barrels.” The barrels on display areContinue reading “For Sakes sake . . .”

High jinks in Harajuku

Next up on my must see list was the quirky shopping and sights of Tokyo’s stylish teens – Harajuku. So after watching the human chaos at Shibuyu crossing we head through the bustling streets towards the style mecca of Harajuku. We know we’ve arrived when we spot the cartoony flowers marking the entrance to TakeshitaContinue reading “High jinks in Harajuku”

Shibuya Scramble!

A quick hit and run post here folks! It would be a shame, nay a sacrilege, to come to Tokyo and not take a walk across the famous intersection outside Shibuya Station AKA the Shibuya Scramble! Rumoured to be the busiest intersection in the world (and definitely in Japan), Shibuya Crossing sends literally hundreds ofContinue reading “Shibuya Scramble!”

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen is one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks. Close to Shinjuku Station, the park boasts spacious lawns, ambling little walkways and paths and peaceful scenery that provides a welcome green oasis of calm in the heart of the relentless city. The garden has more than 20,000 trees, including approximately 1,500 cherry trees whichContinue reading “Shinjuku Gyoen”

Sayonara Shinjuku

Here’s one last neon whirl around Shinjuku’s flashing lights and garish nightlife. I’m missing the frenetic city again! The temptation to book flights and head back is increasing with every photo I post! A last look at Godzilla is a kitschy reminder of the wealth of cultural influences that Japan has gifted to the world.Continue reading “Sayonara Shinjuku”