Mt. Koya - the history of the Koyasan and Kobo Daishi who brought esoteric Buddhism from China to Japan. We also visited Okunoin, an amazing old cemetery where Kobo Daishi is thought to be in eternal mediation. This is a major pilgrimage site for Buddhists and a very sacred place. It has over 200,000 tombs and anyone can be buried there, even you or me! The ones that have a red bib represent children that died :( Some of the cedar trees are over 1,000 years old. It was a very peaceful, beautiful place.
Mt. Koya - we got up at 6am to watch the morning Buddhist prayer ceremonies. We even got to participate by placing a prayer into the fire.
Mt. Koya - exploring the cemetery at night and during the day. The temple there has the largest zen rock garden in Japan!
Mt. Koya - a beautiful place in the mountains that is a big center for Shingon esoteric Buddhism. We stayed in one of the temples! There are over 100 Buddhists temples there currently and about 50 allow guests. It was an awesome and unique experience!
25 November 2017
Kyoto - Part 7 - Shorenin Temple also lite up at night. This one was cool as we got to go inside and they had a little bamboo forest outside.
Kyoto - Part 6 - Chionin Temple. During the fall foliage season they light up several temples at night - they were amazing! Chionin’s gate was astoundingly large. It’s hard to capture it in photos, but it was awesome! Also, the bell weighs 70 tons and is run on New Year’s Eve!
24 November 2017
Kyoto - Part 5 - including more monkeys, delicious tofu hot pot lunch, and beautiful ceramics at the restaurant.
Kyoto - Part 4 - Monkey Park!!!
Kyoto - Part 3 - Arashiyama neighborhood including a zen rock garden and the famed bamboo forest!
Kyoto - Part 2 - including the temple Kiyomizu dera, known for its beautiful views of the fall foliage and ending with the temple at Arashiyama.
22 November 2017
Beautiful Kyoto - Part 1 - including a small zen temple near our Airbnb, then Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavilion), Chris in Pontocho Alley, me drinking a Tully’s latte from a vending machine, and ending with Fushimi Inari Taisha (shrine with thousands of vermillion tori gates!)
21 November 2017
More stunning Naoshima!
Magical Naoshima! This place was amazing. It’s an old fishing island that was declining. To help boost the economy they turned it into an art island with 3 galleries and many large scale installations throughout the island. The landscape of the island itself was stunning and the the whole place felt truly magical.
Traditional Japanese room in Naoshima!
20 November 2017
Naoshima - delicious dinner and breakfast!
19 November 2017
Hiroshima Peace Park
Hiroshima Museum - Part 3
Hiroshima Museum - Part 2
Hiroshima Museum - Part 1
18 November 2017
Noodles!! And then. . . You knew it was going to happen - cat cafe in Tokyo! Look at these fluffy beauties!! 😍😍
Sushi in Tokyo Station & participating in a Japanese calligraphy in the Tokyo National Museum. Everyone was impressed with Chris’s Fuku kanji, which means happiness/good fortune.
17 November 2017
Golden Gai in Shinjuku - an awesome area full of teeny tiny bars (~10 people) and a shrine festival we stumbled upon!
Amazing 7 vegetable plate, Hachikō statue, me at the famed pedestrian crossing in Shibuya, outstanding dinner and drinks at a izakaya (gastropub), and madness in Shinjuku!
Shinto shrine ⛩ in Harajuku!
16 November 2017
Delicious handmade rice crackers, card explaining in Japanese that I am a vegetarian 😆, yummy veggie tantan soup, and sake tasting!!
Suitengu Shrine in our little neighborhood in Tokyo that is dedicated to safe childbirths and children. There were cute little kids all dressed up in traditional clothes!