I have been intrigued by the island country of Japan for a very long time. Lush, mountainous and botanically diverse – I’ve dreamed of visiting their gardens. Culturally and religiously very different from my own – so interesting!
These pictures are from July 2019. There are so many because everywhere I looked there was something beautiful or unusual or both!
Japan is easily navigated with the right travel plan in place – the size of the island and the efficiency of the train system make it a pleasure to move around.
In Kanazawa I visited the world-famous garden of Kenrokuen. While strolling the peaceful grounds, my guide for the day taught me about the “garden of six elements”. These essential elements are extensive space and quiet seclusion, human artistry and old-fashioned elegance, flowing water and distant views.
Mt Fuji is a spiritual site, cultural icon and a geographical wonder. I visited the lovely resort town of Hakone catch a glimpse of it and was not disappointed. Formed approximately 100,000 years ago by repeated volcanic eruptions it is responsible for five lakes at its base and an abundance of mineral-rich hot springs. The region surrounding Mt. Fuji is naturally beautiful, blanketed with lush forests – it is a paradise for anyone seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. A morning boat tour around Lake Ashinoko and an afternoon visit to the Hakone Open-Air Museum finished off my time in Hakone. It was such a pleasure!
My next stop in Japan – Tokyo. And, what a contrast from the relative peace and calm of Kanazawa and Hakone. Tokyo is a burst of neon. Once checked in to the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo’s 38th floor lobby I relished the view that could take your breath away – a fascinating, forever city skyline. There is of course much to do in Tokyo, I enjoyed visiting the famous Sensoji Temple and shopping the enormous shoe selection in Tokyo’s oldest department store, Mitsukoshi.
The old imperial capitol and the cultural heart of Japan, Kyoto is known for its grand temples, shrines, palaces and gardens. Just a short bullet train ride from Tokyo I found Kyoto magical. In addition to its own beauty Kyoto is nestled amongst Japan’s most attractive rural areas – Amanohashidate one of Japan’s three most scenic places, Miyama is one of the last towns with thatched-roof farmhouses, and the teas region of Uji.
My final stop on the island country of Japan was Osaka. I found it filled with delicious food options, friendly locals, and the memorable neon lights of the Dotombori Bridge area. Osaka is a great stop before embarking on your return flight home.
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