Friday, May 11, 2018


Hello, and good afternoon!

pseudo kimono

Though I normally try to keep this blog quilting related, today I'll take you on a tour of Japan, our travel destination last week.

I had always wanted to visit Japan, and with hubby finding a great round trip airfare out of LAX, we decided to go. Though it was Golden Week, when everyone there is on vacation, we had a great time. And, yes, we would go back! 

So, the picture above is the closest we got to dressing in kimono, though one can rent kimono for around $35/day, like these tourists did.

tourists in kimono

Of course, these aren't the expensive embroidered kimono that geiko and maiko wear, but they're pretty just the same. These ladies were in Gion, the geisha district of Kyoto and home to a geisha school, where it's very popular to wear kimono.

To get to Kyoto, we used the Japan Rail pass - their rail system is the world's envy. With that pass, we easily visited several cities to see the sights. On the western side of Kyoto, there's beautiful scenery such as the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest,

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

lovely Japanese maples in a nearby World Heritage Garden,

Japanese Maples

and the Katsura River. 

Katsura River Kyoto Japan

Back in town, we visited Nijo Castle, with it's ornate gate,

Nijo Castle gate

and after all that sight-seeing, we collapsed in our hotel-apartment. Check out this multi-function toilet/bidet/sink. Seems that all bases are covered, though this one didn't have a music function. Those were in the train stations!

toilet in Japan

One day, we took a side trip to Osaka, taking advantage of the Free Walking Tour. Our guide pointed out Ichiran, supposedly a good place for ramen. We went back later for lunch, where we sat at a 'partitioned' counter, with no view, and only hand views of the server. Felt a bit impersonal and lonely, eating with little walls between us, our neighbors, and the staff. Strange, but the ramen was good! 

Ichiran ramen

Heading back to Tokyo, we stopped at Lake Ashi, with Mt Fuji in the background. The pirate ship goes around the lake, but we didn't partake, as I was a bit green from the winding bus ride down to the lake.

Lake Ashi and Mt Fuji

Once in Tokyo, we drove Mari-Car go-karts around the city,

Mari Car go karts

which I found to be stressful, as it was scary to make it through the intersections on the lights. You have to have an International driver's license for this, and I probably should have gotten a ticket for running a red light. Going 35 mph 1 foot above the ground in busy Tokyo didn't give me much of a tour of the city!

But we walked around later, visiting the lake at Ueno Park,

Ueno Park Tokyo

the outside of Tokyo Station,

Tokyo station

and eating sushi. My favorite was kinmedai or red snapper.

kinmedai sushi

The last day, we got out of town to a beautiful mountain town called Nikko. There's the famous Shinkyo Bridge,

Shinkyo Bridge

temples and shrines in the park, azaleas that grow like weeds,

azalea bush

and beautiful paths.

rock path

A perfect ending to a quick tour of Japan! So why would I go back? Because the people were very polite, places and people were clean and orderly, and even though we spoke no Japanese, we were able to communicate. And can't beat that train system!

Though my internal clock is still somewhere over the Pacific, I hope to be back to normal soon. Just need to get rid of a nasty chest cold first. Then let the quilting resume!

Have a great weekend!

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  1. I hope your chest cold eases and you adjust back to your time zone quickly. It looks like an excellent vacation!

  2. Thanks for sharing your tour! Oh the toilets. They are definitely different in other countries. We were surprised with the ones in Europe as well!

  3. Japan looks wonderful. Our son and his wife and half a dozen friends were there recently and also enjoyed some of the scenes you showed - thanks for sharing your great trip!

  4. thank you for sharing the pics of a lovely trip. I have a blog friend that lives in Japan and I am always amazed at the beauty and honor the Japanese have for their country.
    xx, Carol

  5. Looks like an incredible experience. That small mode of transportation looked terrifying, but the sights and train experience looked and sounded fabulous. Hope you feel better soon.

  6. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. The pictures are beautiful.

  7. SUSAN!! Here I was thinking you were doing just a little traveling, here and there. But to JAPAN! How long was the flight? That bamboo forrest - wowee. And the azaleas - OMG they are so beautiful. I have always wanted to go there. Did you feel safe - would you recommend two (old) women travel there alone? I would love to ride on Japan Rail . . . and see some of the cities. And to hear that you were able to get along okay without knowing Japanese - well that just makes me want to go all the more. {{Hugs}} I am so glad you had a fabulous time and all those pictures! Lovely memories and I am so glad you shared with us today. ~smile~ Roseanne


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