Japan was amazing, the cherry blossoms, stunning! We returned last week yet I needed another week to recover from jet lag and the typical cold you pick up when traveling. Plus, it was nice to have a solid weekend at our cottage with no phone or computer with looming deadlines over our heads. I know you've been waiting to hear about the trip! We timed the cherry blossoms perfectly in Tokyo and Kyoto. I had no idea there were so many cherry trees in Japan. I'd been before but in the fall (which was amazing in itself) when the leaves were so many beautiful colors. This was a particularly amazing tree and most Japanese were busy photographing it but I loved its' relationship to the building behind with the red trim.
And here in it's full glory ...
One of the things that always surprises me about Japan is how many bikes there are in the big cities. The bikes, pedestrians and cars all seem to be a well choreographed art. In Kyoto, pedestrians share the sidewalk with bikes ... and it works! I wanted to rent bikes but no tandems could be found for my daughter to ride along with us. The other nice thing is you don't have to worry about having your bike stolen so nobody locks theirs up.
We visited quite a few temples and shrines, this was taken at Kennin-ji temple in the Gion district of Kyoto.
It is the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto (founded in 1202). We happened to visit it on a Sunday, which was the perfect day to go as a lot of locals were visiting, many of the women wearing kimono. I snuck this shot below. I love how modern the ladies are with their Iphones and peace signs. Everyone was happy that day as it was sunny and warm for a change.
Everything is so beautifully thought out. I loved the material transition in the temple between the tatami to the outside walkways. So much history lies in those scratches and marks made over the years.
We strolled past an antique shop, which I regret not spending more time looking through. Look at all these amazing dolls. They were tiny, most not more than 4" high.
And missing my garden, I fell in love with this one. If you're a gardener, you'll do anything to make a garden. The owner was lovingly tending the other half of her garden wedged in a 1' wide space between her car and a wall.
We did a bit of shopping too. Z found her favorite treat of the trip, this strange somewhat soft, brightly colored candy that comes in tiny little pieces. Apparently, it's a traditional Japanese treat for kids and my friends from Japan got all nostalgic on me when I showed them the picture. ps-she's actually wearing a dress I made for her!
No trip to Kyoto would be complete without a visit to Teramachi Dori, one of the popular covered shopping arcades. We kept visiting it in the early morning for some reason, before the shops opened.
This was my favorite shop, only because of the signage.
I mentioned earlier we stayed at a ryokan in Kyoto. If you visit Japan, at least a couple of nights in a ryokan is a must. It's such a treat. My daughter loved wearing her perfectly sized yukata the owners left out for her.
I have so many more pictures of Kyoto that are soon to come. I think those were just from two days!