Kyoto (again)

I went back to Kyoto today, to see more of the Kyotographie exhibitions, especially the photographic exploration of Mars, as well as some interesting images of Japanese landscapes and homes, called ‘Where we belong‘.   However, it was a bright sunny day with blue skies, so I went to see one more temple, Kinkaku-ji, the Golden […]

Shitennō-ji flea market

I wanted to go to a flea market. And ended up in a temple. The Shitennō-ji Buddhist temple, the first Buddhist temple in Japan, dating from the 6th century (albeit rebuilt), holds a flea market and produce market on the 21st and 22nd of each month. I love flea markets and it wasn’t far, so off […]

Kyoto, with a difference

Honestly, after seeing temples and shrines in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nara, I wasn’t that keen on seeing Kyoto anymore. Call it temple fatigue. If JR had announced a major breakdown of their lines and I could not have gone, I wouldn’t have fussed about it…. But I went, nonetheless, and I have spent a whole […]

Osaka night life

I spent a bit time roaming around Osaka at night over the weekend, through the shopping arcades, the restaurants and the bars… Minami is one of the main areas to go out, and is crawling with people. I walked through what felt like the longest shopping arcade in the world, in between countless stores. You can […]

Slowing down in Osaka

I need to slow down. Seriously. Who thinks after six months and three weeks I’m relaxed as can be should ask my feet. Or my back and shoulders. I need a massage… I am mostly so tired right after breakfast I want to crawl back to bed…. I’ve been traveling too much and doing too […]

Temple overload

The old (and first) capital of Japan, Nara, is only 50 minutes away on a JR line that I can ride free with my rail pass, so it’s ideal for a day trip. I arrived around 11 and walked up to the main park, following the tracks of my Lonely Planet guide, with so many […]

Lost in (no)translation

I make slow progress in saying more than three words in Japanese…. Basically I can say arigato, arigato gozaimasu (the more polite form – I just discovered there is actually a ‘u’ at the end) and konichiwa. It probably won’t go much further than that. I want to include please, till the end of the […]

Osaka Castle

Osaka’s castle is right around the corner, so it was an easy first target. The castle grounds are massive, several huge moats, immense defense walls, a huge garden… and in the middle this gem of a castle. It played a major role in Japanese history, notably in uniting the island, and in the fierce fight […]

Late night Hanami

I was a bit tired on the first night, and actually just wanted to cross the river to have a look at the castle, in preparation for the visit tomorrow. But then, right on the river bank, I saw a few stands, and people, and then more stands, and many many more people… Another Hanami […]

Osaka

These two weeks in Tokyo have passed way to fast. I do regret a bit that I did not stick with my initial plan to stay four full weeks in Tokyo. I had feared I would be lost in translation (and I am!) and be bored like in the movie… What a big error. There’s […]

Shimokitazawa

Today I went to Shimokitazawa, often simply referred to as Shimokita. This is yet another side of Tokyo, only two train stops from the Shibuya craziness. The houses are small again, yet the whole area is full of shops. You won’t find any international chains though. Second hand, mostly – one shop appropriately called Ashbury Haight – then record […]