Japan - A whirlwind visit
Trip Start Apr 10, 2008
16Trip End Ongoing
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Our first view was of Mount Fuji from the air - as perfect as the poets proclaimed (Picture #1). The farmers fields were amazingly orderly (2), and they had many beautiful golf courses (3, for example). We were surprised at how green Japan is - not as built up as we expected.
Once on the ground, we decided to head up an old road to see the famous Shinshoji Temple, favoured by Sumo wrestlers and Kabuki theatre stars! Along the path, were many colourful shops just opening for the day - most offered bilingual signs - including English to our relief (4)
The Temple complex dates back over 1,000 years, with different parts reflecting different architectural styles throughout the ages. The Gate is the most recent (5). A famous lantern sits at the second gate and is several hundred years old! (6). We were able to see several beautiful pagodas (7 & 8). People were actively worshipping in the newest part of the Temple while we were there (9).
We were interviewed by Japanese schoolchildren who were there to study their history and practice their English with tourists.
The gardens were lovely. We thought that we had found a statue of Confucius (10), but we will never know. The trees had been trained into beautiful bonsai shapes (11), and a wild part of the garden had a peaceful waterfall where young students appeared to be contemplating great things (12).
We found some beautiful silk kimonos to remind of our lucky visit
We took a bus to a modern shopping mall, and were surprised at how international retail is. If it were not for the language of the signs, we could be anywhere. We were pleased to make it back to the airport in good time for our plane (with very little security hassle), with the feeling that we had a taste of Japan.