Saturday, April 20, 2013

April in Japan

We just spent seven nights in Japan on the floor.  We stayed in Ryokans:  Japanese-style accommodation with tatami-mat rooms and futons instead of beds.  At night, the futons were laid out. Japanese breakfasts were served in our rooms on low tables and we sat on mats or on low chairs. Ryokans provide hot baths in separate communal tubs.
Homeikan Ryokan in Tokyo

 Many wear their Japanese robes or yukatas throughout the Ryokan.

We flew to Tokyo from Shanghai, and spent two nights in this modern yet classic city.

We appreciated the Japanese Pines as well as Sakura,
(cherry blossoms)

Cherry blossoms in peak season at Imperial Palace Park

Imperial Palace, home of Japan's Emperor
We loved the sculpted pines in the middle of Tokyo

We then took the  bullet train (Shinkansen) to Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park for one night. 

Mt. Fuji view from bullet train

The highlight of our trip was spent in Kyoto, ancient capital of Japan.  According to Lonely Planet Guide Book:  "Kyoto is one of the world's most culturally rich cities.  Kyoto ranks with Paris, London, and Rome as one of the cities that everyone should see at least once in their lives."

Narrow streets of Kyoto
Geisha District in Kyoto

Blossom-lined street in front of our Ryokan
Jeanie along the path of philosophy

Pagoda in Chion-in

Many women dress in Kimonos
during Spring Cherry Blossom Season

 The gardens, temples, and blossoms were breathtaking.  Japan is an extremely clean country:  the air, streets, neighborhoods and cities.  We really appreciated the freshness and blue sky!

View of Kyoto and surrounding mountains
 from Nanzen-Ji Temple
Ken in bamboo grove

Drinking green tea in bamboo grove

Jeanie's favorite garden in Tenryu-Ji
Ken's favorite garden in Okochi Sanso
Pagoda at Kiyomizu-dera

Japan is a beautiful country.  It consists of 3,900 small islands (a few of which China claims to be theirs) and four major islands:  Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. Japan  is also one of the most earthquake prone countries in the world. The Japanese are meticulous, efficient, industrious, and very polite. We enjoyed interacting with the Japanese and getting to know more about this beautiful country just east of China.

"His Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light onto my path.."
Psalm 119:105

Continuing to walk in His light,  
Ken and Jeanie

Next Time:  The Streets of Shanghai