So the time has come for us to leave Japan, this wonderful and amazing place. We have honestly loved it here.
It’s a place with no bins, yet no litter! Where the sounds of birds tweeting and and chirpy music is played in every train station and every person greets you with a smile.
Everything you eat is a wild gamble. Could be octopus or it could just be bread. You really never know!
It really is an incredible place and we are going to miss it a lot. We have felt so welcomed, so safe and so full of joy here.
From all the beautiful cities we have visited and their temples and shrines, to just going to the 7eleven for some food.
Wherever we have gone we have been met with the utmost kindness and regardless of the language barrier we have always felt a real warmth from everyone here.
I recently did a post about how wonderful Hiroshima was Hiroshima, Prayers for Peace ✌️ but in this post I didn’t mention about the incredible day trip we went on whilst there. So let me just recap before I go on to Kyoto.
Ahhh Kyoto 😍
So we took a day trip to Miyajima and what a trip it was. The place was unbelievable. Just another gorgeous gorgeous place!
We again were able to get a ticket for all transport, train, tram and boat. Which is always great as there isn’t any time wasted trying to figure out ticket machines.
We got on the boat and again just had the most incredible views. Mountains, clear blue waters and then we spotted the huge shrine, seamlessly floating on the water.
What an introduction to this place.
Instantly we fell in love, again! When we got off the boat, along with about 100 school children. Yes, it seems this is a school trip for these guys…. not jealous at all. We were greeted by a handful of adorable deer. Pottering along the beach and the path.
They were super friendly and even more adorable.
The only one one that wasn’t eager to approach you for a stroke, was this guy. Who quickly became my favourite because of the way he seemed to wink at us and looked oh so wise.
After hanging out with the deer for a while, we explored this amazing little island. It was so beautiful.
Stunning sculptures all around, every little street had its own market feel to it, with all its little shops. Then beautiful mountains and lakes as far as the eye could see.
We headed to the shrine and that was just as wonderful as the rest of the place!
We spent all afternoon walking around this magical island, taking in its beauty. It was a lovely day. It was also the day Mel started to get into his photography. Something I am so happy about! He took this picture of the shrine ^^ and I think it’s amazing.
He even had me posing for obscure and edgy photos. Finally 😀
However near the end of the day I dropped his phone and the screen cracked, he puts this down to me being jealous of his art and new found brilliance as a photographer.
We had a great day, laughing and exploring and then as we headed back for the boat, just to top it off as the sun was setting. A single dear walked along the beach in the sunset. It was beautiful.
So after a brilliant time in Hiroshima, it was time to move on again to Kyoto.
We had very high expectations for Kyoto, as we had chatted to a few others who had been there by this point and it did not disappoint.
It was in Kyoto we really got into the Japanese culture and where we saw some of the most beautiful things either of us had ever seen.
We checked into another great hostel. Jam Hostel and set out to explore. Our hostel was in the great little area called Gion, next to a train station and walking distance from The market where we did one of our favourite activities so far… Samurai Training.
It was such a fun day. We got to dress up head to toe in all the gear (which is pretty damn heavy) and learned how to use the samurai sword along with the throwing star.
We also had someone there teaching all the history behind the samurai and it was a very interesting and fun thing to do!
The next day we set out to visit Fushimi Inari, this was a must on our tip. We just had to see all those beautiful Torii gates, 10000, to be exact but we notice two missing so we say 9998.
It was an exquisite site. Again, the sun was shining and walking through this magnificent scene, with all the different shades and lights passing through each gate was really a beautiful site.
We just wish we took the advice of many of our twitter pals and went a little earlier as it was pretty crowded.
Luckily though the masses of the crowds seem to dwindle the higher you get. It’s uphill you see, so many I guess, just turn back half way through.
So power through to the top and you are sure to get it to yourself in areas, for that solitary picture everyone wants 😂
And apart from the gorgeousness of all this, the surrounding area is equally beautiful.
Full of trees, ponds and greenery, which to our delight was just turning and had flecks of the amazing colours that accompany autumn 🍂
Day two it was time to get well and truly into the Japanese culture. We spent the morning at a tea ceremony and we really enjoyed this. It was amazing to see all the components that go into their tea making and to be part of a lovely peaceful ceremony.
Our certificates will arrive soon and we fully plan on hosting tea parties when we return!
Following the tea ceremony we headed over to Shorinji to take part in some Zazen Meditation. Another amazing experience. Although we both lost feeling in our feet sitting still for so long it was really a lovely, tranquil experience and something I personally will be looking to do again in future.
Mel even requested to get hit with the stick that the Buddhist monk has, you get hit on the shoulders if you feel like you are getting sleepy or restless… which I was but it sounded brutal so I did not fancy a go!
We loved this day and we love getting into the culture of each place we visit.
The next day we set out to see some monkeys in Arashiyama, another fab day. We always love seeing animals and when accompanied by beautiful scenery, what more can you want.
The monkeys, again were located on top of a hill. So it wasn’t too crowded up there as it is quite the hike to the top but well worth it when you get up there.
Up there, the monkeys roam free and they are a little intense. So we didn’t get to close but we had a great sighting of the cutest little one, roaming about, trying to find its feet.
After the monkeys it was time to check out Bamboo forest, it is a stunning place. We ended up there mid afternoon and again, the light coming through the tall stalks was perfect. I love me a glare of sunshine in my pictures and I got many, as did Mel.
Before that though we walked through the beautiful Kimono forest located in the train station and after we bathed our feet in the foot onsen also located in the train station!
We 100% think all train stations should be equipped with one of these!
Then on to our last destination of the day and in this case we certainly saved the best till last. Unknowingly as well. We only went here because we had some extra time!
We went to Kinkuji, to see The Golden Pavilion. This place was just unbelievable. We walked through the gardens, it was early evening and not too many people were there. The grounds were stunning and then we walked around a corner to see it.
The beautiful golden structure, floating on the lake. What a site. It was one of those moments you gasp in awe of how amazing this thing is in front of you.
Mel and I both agreed it was one of the most beautiful things we’ve seen.
It was shimmering as the sun was setting and just beautiful.
Accompanied by the white fluffy clouds that filled the sky. Just an amazing experience 💛
So ending our time in Kyoto on a massive high, we headed further south to Osaka. Our final destination for Japan.
Admittedly, we just chilled out in Osaka. Did some planning for Southeast Asia and relaxed.
We went out into the busy city areas for dinner and stuff but we mainly just reflected on our time in Japan and how awesome it had been!
We loved every single second of it and we will miss it dearly. It’s been up there with the best but now it’s time to re adjust, move on to our next destination and carry on with this amazing trip!
We love you Japan ❤️❤️❤️