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.
The Imperial Palace in Tokyo
View on Tokyo Sky Tree from a backstreet
Paper lanterns during a boat trip on the Sumidagawa river
Smart idea: Umbrella locks in front of a hotel
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
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 blossoms in Hirosaki
Tea & Co in Hirosaki: a typical japanese level of attention for detail
Beautiful duck swimming in a pond in Fujita Park in Hirosaki
More cherry blossoms in Hirosaki
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.
Dreamy japanese garden in Nikko
Ancient wood carvings on a temple
The woods of Nikko
Spring in Nikko
One of the most beautiful temples we’ve seen in Nikko
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.
A restaurant in Tokyo showing off plastic food
Grill in Ikebukuro. I accidentally ordered beef stomach but it wasn’t that bad at all
People queuing up during rush hour in Tokyo
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 in Kyoto
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)
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 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 at a temple in Kyoto
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
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
The oldest tea shop of Uji
Feeding deer in Nara
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 on the line between Nara and Kyoto
Beautiful sweets in a shopping mall in Kyoto
Street in Kyoto
Nightlife along the riverside 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
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 passing by in front of a Shinkansen window on the way to 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