Image

Cherry Blossoms in Japan – In Photos

Sakura, as they’re known in Japan, bloom once a year all over the country and the Japanese go mad for it! There are festivals, decorations everywhere, sakura-themed food and everyone flocks to their nearest park to sit under the trees to admire the blossoms (or Hanami, as viewing blossoms are known in Japan), often with a picnic full of little plates to share and lots of sake!

For more info on where to see some of the best displays of cherry blossoms in Japan, check out this post Best Places to see Cherry Blossoms in Japan

But for now, take in the beauty of this little pastel flower that has the whole world watching!

japan-cherry-blossoms-sakura-2938

A cherry blossom lined canal near Nanzen-ji Temple in Kyoto

 

japan-cherry-blossoms-sakura-3149

Cherry blossom lined canals in Pontocho, Kyoto

Continue reading

Advertisements

Mt Fuji’s Hidden Kimono Museum

It took awhile to find, which was more a reflection of my inability to read a map than its hidden location, but the rise of stone stairs to a carved wooden door would indicate that I’d finally found the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum.

Itchiku Kubota Art Museum

Entrance to the garden

Situated in the foothills near the north shore of Lake Kawaguchi overlooking Mt Fuji, is a place worth a visit even if just to see the garden alone. From outside its walls, amber hues drape over the carved entrance created from multiple doors said to have come from Indian castles. Stepping over the threshold feels invasive like you’re intruding into some Japanese feudal lord’s private garden, but intrude I will!

While pretty all year-round, autumn is when the garden stands out with a profusion of foliage ranging from deep reds through to golden yellow. It’s spectacular!

Gravel paths meander through a small forest filled with purposely-placed rocks, ponds and waterfalls, all meticulously designed by the museum’s namesake, Itchiku Kubota.

japan-9835

Inside the garden

Continue reading

Top Tips for Tokyo

Tokyo has got to be one of my favourite cities in the world. It has everything you want in a destination; it’s ultra modern but peppered with pockets of old Edo, the food is amazing, it’s easy to get around and the city is one of the safest in the world.

japan-cherry-blossoms-sakura-3573

Star of the show, Ueno Park, Tokyo

If you’re heading to Japan and not really sure what to expect, here’s a couple of tips to get the ball rolling!

Public Transport

Tokyo has an excellent rail system and should definitely be your first choice in getting around, so make sure your accommodation has a station within walking distance.
One thing that is a bit confusing when you first arrive in the city is the trains and this confusion is mainly caused by the fact that there are separate rail companies, each with their own network. If you intend to travel around Japan and have a JR Pass, you can use this for JR’s local stations but you can’t use it on the other networks.

12n16k

Tokyo train coming into a station

Continue reading

Best Places to see Cherry Blossoms in Japan

There are many icons of Japan; sumo’s, sushi, weird sex robots, but my favourite would have to be cherry blossoms. Sakura, as they’re known in Japan, bloom once a year all over the country and the Japanese go mad for it! There are festivals, decorations everywhere, sakura-themed food and everyone flocks to their nearest park to sit under the trees to admire the blossoms (or Hanami, as viewing blossoms are known in Japan), often with a picnic full of little plates to share and lots of sake!

hanamismall

People enjoying Hanami in Maruyama Park, Kyoto

The blooms progress is reported nightly on the news as it builds up from the first opening (kaika) to peak bloom (mankai) when the whole tree is covered in tiny flowers in hues of white, pink, magenta and even red. The peak only lasts around a week or two before the wind blows them away in what is known as a hanafubuki, a cherry blossom storm.

giphy7

Hanafubuki at the Imperial Palace, Tokyo

Continue reading

Tokyo 2009

Video from my trip to Japan back in 2009…starting to see how my video making skills have become better over time haha…you don’t even want to imagine my first ones from 2003…enough to give you an epileptic fit!

Footage from Tokyo including, Asakusa, Ueno Park, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Yoyogi Park during the Children’s Day Festival etc

Kimonos in Kyoto

A brief glance through the car window, but I saw her, glistening black hair meticulously styled, a pale white oval face of porcelain skin with a hint of pink on the cheeks, eyes lined with black kohl framed by eyebrows shaped into perfect crescent moons and her lips, small, dainty and painted red.
She was sitting in the back of a black taxi cocooned in luxurious and very expensive hand-woven silk. For the briefest moment I saw a creature of fantasy, a woman of the night paid for her company, often the centre of attention in a group of Japan’s most powerful and wealthy business men.
Her night had just begun but she would be profit many times into the early morning for her services, entertaining clients with the skills she has perfected and been trained for. Continue reading