After the epic trip in 2013 I already knew that I had to come back to Japan at least one more time in life. When my husband and I were planning our honeymoon in 2014 we were tempted so hardly to return, but in the end we decided another destination, completely different from the place where he asked me to marry him. After many travels together, if someone asks me which destination has been my favorite one, I cannot help to say Japan.
Thousand times Japan again.
Someone asks me why.
First of all, Japan is a land full of contrasts: you can see extreme modernity side by side historical past, and find them perfectly balanced. It is a land where people of every age dress in traditional cloths and go visiting temples and shrines while they don’t loose a chance to take thousand pictures with their selfie stick and mobile phones. Japan is the land where modern skyscrapers coexist with shintoist and buddhist temples old of hundred years, maybe in the same city or district. It is the land where not so many people can speak a good english – and many of them cannot speak it at all – but everybody try to help you to find a place to visit, a road to take or something to eat. Japan is the land where everybody feel so stressed as well – getting the public transportation to go to school or to the workplace – and still you can see how they’re so polite with kids and elderly people offering the free spot to them immediately. Japan is the place where nobody will welcome you with a hug or with an hand-shaking, but you can feel the deep respect they give to you, just for having choose their shop or restaurant, or for the appreciation you give to their work, food and traditions. It is the place where you can eat for hours so many kind of food that you couldn’t know before, and never get tired of it.
Japan is all of that, and much more.
Less than a month ago we had the chance to realize our dream: visiting Kansai and Kyoto during momijigari season. Momijigari is the Japanese tradition of going to visit scenic areas where maples, ginko and cherry trees leaves have turned red in the autumn. It’s like a pilgrimage searching for beauty – and then you can find it almost everywhere in this region. I still can’t explain the pure, struggling, colorful, psychedelic beauty of these days. Even now, I feel like we’ve been dreaming all of it… But fortunately there are 1500 pics in my hard-drive to confirm the reality of this journey.
I’m going to start with our first day in Kyoto, when we went visiting Kiyomizu-dera temple and others temples and shrines in southern Higashiyama district of Kyoto. Sunday 8th november was a rainy day, but japanese people don’t loose a chance to visit this amazing temple with their best kimonos, many cameras… And colorful umbrellas. We had lunch with hot noodles in a picturesque alley near the temple and then we join to all the people rising the road to Kiyomizu. Then we proceeded to explore the district until late afternoon. We went for dinner in Ponto-cho, and we find a delicious place where to drink beer and eat many kind of skewer made of chicken, pork, unknown vegetables and shitake mushrooms.
Please, don’t mind our tired faces and bags under the eyes in some pics: 11 hours flight from Europe is really challenging… But, just like the first time, it is worth at all.
Enjoy the pics!