So my last post was made more than a month ago in 2009. I’ve been having a pretty enjoyable holiday just being a bum and more :)

Anyway I went on a trip to Japan with my family from the 4th till 14th of january and took about every form of transportation available in the country. Please call me train navigator extraordinaire, thank you. I think my Japanese skills seriously improved from all the traveling and searching we had to do between cities and random towns.

Brace yourself for an offensively long onslaught of photos.

The Nishiki market in downtown Kyoto. Nothing much to do but it was still an interesting walk looking at the unique produce they sell. Many eateries and restaurants line the area as well and we bought a knife from Aritsugu, the most popular brand in Kyoto.

I’m not kidding when I say there’s a shrine on every other corner in this city.

room with a view

During the first four nights we stayed at the Hotel Granvia Kyoto. Best location in the city hands down. It’s located right in Kyoto station so you can basically get to anywhere else in the region by just stepping out of your lobby.

the ubiquitous oden. good stuff

We visited quite a few temples and shrines but I’m pretty sure this place was Nanzen-ji (南禅寺). There are no shortage of beautiful sightseeing spots but I think my favourite was the Fushimi Inari shrine (伏見稲荷大社), the one with thousands of red torii gates lining a long winding path in a hill. So surreal and lovely.

On our last night in Kyoto, I opted to stay in a traditional ryokan within the scenic mountainous area of Arashiyama. Someone we know based in Osaka recommended a family-run inn called Hanaikada.

random noodle house

We first headed to the Awatayama monkey park in Arashiyama, right next to our ryokan. It was a demanding 20min climb up flights of stairs and steep mountain paths before we reached the top, where an observatory is located. Very fun experience though :)

feeding the monkeys with peanuts and dried apple

another monkey

While on our way out of the park my bro decided to scoot down this slide. Then I heard the group of kids nearby comment:

「僕も遊びたいなぁ。でもウンコがあるからだめだ。。。」

“I want to play too. But there’s poop on the thing so I can’t…”

Hahahaha friggin funny.

There were several rickshaw pullers in the town area who will give you a ride complete with running commentary on the main tourist spots too. So cute.

An old, traditional doorway fitted with an electric lock

Arashiyama is also well known for its bamboo forests. Super pretty place to stroll through wide paths amidst groves and groves of ancient bamboo.

cute puppy in a tiger suit

We also went into the grounds of Tenryu-ji temple (天竜寺), one of the most famous Zen temples in Japan if I remember correctly. Gardeners in Kyoto are truly like artists combining craft and culture.

chillin'

one of the many stores lining the picturesque streets

on the iconic togetsukyo bridge (渡月橋), with river rapids on either side

Later in the evening I went into the outdoor onsen with my mum (always an interesting experience to boil yourself in the winter cold) and had our kaiseki meal brought into the room. The food and service was exquisite, with about ten courses or so but the ryokan itself was a little drab.

Hanaikada ryokan

There were heaps of other places out of Kyoto that we traveled to as well but I couldn’t be bothered to carry my slr out everyday. Most of those moments were captured instead by my lomo lca+.

I’ll put up photos from the Osaka part of the trip in the next post since this one is already disgustingly lengthy :p

With love.

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