Best of: Japan 2013

April 2, 2014

Looking back, Japan was my favourite destination of our trip around the world. It was just the right amount of exotic, foreign culture, vibrant cities and innumerable historic places with the kindest people we met.

We bought our traintickets in advance and started our trip in Tokyo where we soaked up the bustling city-atmosphere.
The Japanese people were incredibly friendly. We only had to look helpless and immediately somebody tried to help us regardless of the language barrier. It even ocurred that we were invited for lunch or got a gift in a shop.

imperial palace tokyo

The Imperial Palace in Tokyo

tokyo sky tree

View on Tokyo Sky Tree from a backstreet

paper lanterns at sumidagawa

Paper lanterns during a boat trip on the Sumidagawa river

umbrella locks

Smart idea: Umbrella locks in front of a hotel

view over tokyo

View over Tokyo. If the sky was really clear you could see Mount Fuji right next to the dark skyscraper in the middle

maman in roppongi

Maman in Roppongi

shibuya crossing

Shibuya Crossing – one of the most crowded and famous crossings in the world

When we arrived in Tokyo, the cherry blossom was already over but we had enough time to travel further north to Hirosaki, to see it elsewhere. The good thing about Japan’s geography is, that the cherry blossom slowly marches from south to north which makes it easier to book flights in advance as a tourist, especially because there are some helpful prediction maps.

cherry blossom in hirosaki

Cherry blossoms in Hirosaki

Hirosaki

Hirosaki

cappucino in hirosaki

Tea & Co in Hirosaki: a typical japanese level of attention for detail

duck in fujita park hirosaki

Beautiful duck swimming in a pond in Fujita Park in Hirosaki

cherry blossoms in hirosaki

More cherry blossoms in Hirosaki

hirosaki castle

The park around Hirosaki castle is supposed to be one of the best cherry blossom spots in whole Japan

After Hirosaki we went to Nikko, a small town north of Tokyo, known for it’s rich history and countless temples and historic sites.

japanese garden in nara

Dreamy japanese garden in Nikko

wood carvings nara

Ancient wood carvings on a temple

woods of nara

The woods of Nikko

Temple in Nara

Spring in Nikko

temple in nara

One of the most beautiful temples we’ve seen in Nikko

smoke coming out of a temple

Smoke coming out of a temple

On our way further south to Mount Fuji and Kyoto we stopped a second time in Tokyo to spend a little more time in the city.

plastic food

A restaurant in Tokyo showing off plastic food

grill in ikebukuro

Grill in Ikebukuro. I accidentally ordered beef stomach but it wasn’t that bad at all

rush hour in tokyo

People queuing up during rush hour in Tokyo

mount fuji

Mount Fuji

sundown in kawaguchiko

Sundown in Kawaguchiko

After a brief stop in Kawaguchiko, where we admired Mount Fuji, we spend the rest of the time in Kyoto before we had to leave Japan for California.
Kyoto is a nice contrast to Tokyo and while the latter is the modern nucleus of Japan, Kyoto is a lot more quiet and feels more traditional with a higher density of historic sites.

nishiki market kyoto

Nishiki Market in Kyoto

pyramid cake

I share the japanese obsession with pyramid cake. On the left is a pyramid cake with green tea powder that can be found in chocolate and cake and even as a topping for french fries at Mc Donalds (which I ordered once because i confused it with herb salt)

knifes nishiki market

The knifemaker at Nishiki Market is supposed to be one of the best worldwide. We got ourselves an insanely sharp knife for the kitchen

45rpm kyoto

45rpm was my favourite store in Kyoto. If I had the chance I would instantly move into that place because the interior design is so beautiful

sake barrels

Sake barrels at a temple in Kyoto

fushimi inari

The way to the Fushimi Inari shrine is an impressive long alley consisting of thousands of red archways (Torii) that are donated to the shrine from companies and private persons

tea house uji

We had a tea ceremony in a tea house in Uji, a little town in the region of Kyoto, known for it’s first class tea

japanese garden in uji

Japanese garden in Uji

oldest tea shop in uji

The oldest tea shop of Uji

feeding deer in Nara

Feeding deer in Nara

todai-ji temple

According to Wikipedia, Tōdai-ji is the biggest wooden building in the world with enough space in it to fit the massive 452t bronze buddha inside

train driver from nara to kyoto

Train driver on the line between Nara and Kyoto

sweets in a shopping mall in kyoto

Beautiful sweets in a shopping mall in Kyoto

street in kyoto

Street in Kyoto

nightlife along the riverside in kyoto

Nightlife along the riverside in Kyoto

geisha in kyoto

We spotted 5 geishas (Meiko actually) during an evening stroll in Gion, Kyoto. They are like beautiful ghosts, shooing through the streets of this traditional district of the city

golden temple in kyoto

Golden temple in Kyoto

shinkansen train in kyoto

We really enjoyed travelling with the Shinkansen in Japan. In comparison to german trains they are not only faster and completely reliable but it was also quite easy to book tickets at the stations

temple in kyoto

Temple in Kyoto passing by in front of a Shinkansen window on the way to Fukuoka

muji in fukuoka

I completely fell in love with Muji department stores in Japan. Unfortunately they have not much in common with the small and expensive branches in Germany