Cherry blossoms in November 🌸 No joke, we found some trees in a park in Tokyo, that bloomed with winter cherry blossoms at the end of November. Against the yellow autumn leaves, they were incredibly beautiful to look at.
Railway tracks at sunset 🌇 There is probably no other country in the world where trains travel as punctually as in Japan. Japan’s bullet train - the Shinkansen with up to 300 km/h - was the most pleasant and fastest way for us to travel through the country.
Thousands of Origami paper cranes - Known as a symbol of peace, they are folded by people from all over the world as they wish for peace around the globe. 10 million paper cranes are offered each year to the Children‘s Peace Monument at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. The monument was built originally after a young girl named Sadako Sasaki, who witnessed the atomic bombing, died years later of leukemia. She believed, that folding paper cranes would help her recover eventually. She kept folding over 1,600 cranes until the end. Today the monument is a place for remembering all the children that had died after the horrific atomic bombing on August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima.
Hiroshima by night 🌃 Despite of it’s terrible history, we found Hiroshima to be very vivid, modern and relaxed - quite different than other cities in Japan. We felt very comfortable here and simply enjoyed ourselves, while walking around the streets.
Of course we had to visit the Universal Studios when we were in Osaka ... guess why 🤓 A little childhood dream came true when I walked into Hogsmead and could catch a first glimpse of Hogwarts 🤩 We had a great day, we even tried a Butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, met some Minions and walked through Jurrasic Park 🦖
Dotonbori - the bright heart of Osaka with it’s famous Glico sign 🏃🏻♂️ It is one of the most colourful areas in the city. Flashy neon lights and an enourmous number of restaurants and bars make it an absolut must-visit location.
Early morning on Kumano Kodo 🌄 On the pilgrimage route across the Kii peninsula we enjoyed the first rays of sun in the calm woods. After the busy cities of Kyoto and Tokyo, this was a lovely change. Kumano Kodo is just like the Way of St. James (Jakobsweg) a UNESCO World Heritage site and it‘s history goes back more than 1000 years. In two days we hiked nearly 40 km on the pilgrimage route through forests, little villages and past a number of small shrines.
Ohh deer 😍 In Nara, a city close to Kyoto, we did not only find many major shrines and temples, but also came across lots and lots of tame, freely roaming deer. In Shinto they are considered to be messengers of gods, which is why they have become a symbol of the city and have been designated as a natural treasure. 1200 of them stroll around Nara Park, follow visitors in the hope for some deer crackers or peek between stone lanterns.
We‘ve met this friendly Japanese Buddhist monk on an early morning stroll to Arashiyama, the famous bamboo forest in Kyoto. But the moment we would remember, was less another sightseeing spot in the city, but rather this fortunate coincidence. Even though he did not understand a word we were saying, he was so kind to let us take his picture.
Autumn colours of Japan 🍁 Similar to cherry blossom season, autumn is just as beautiful and much admired by the Japanese people. Crowds of people visit the temple and shrine gardens just to take the perfect picture of the beloved Japanese maple leaves.
A geisha on her way to an appointment 👘 Kyōto is the heart of Japan‘s geisha world. Still, we felt incredibly lucky to see a true geisha in the streets of the city. Nowadays there are only about 200 geishas in Kyōto and if you are fortunate to meet one, you only catch a short glimpse of her as she goes her way to work. They are skilled entertainers who appear on high-end dinners and have trained for years in traditional Japanese arts. A truly magical and memorable experience.
Walking through thousands vermillion red torii gates ⛩ They belong to one of the most famous and most beautiful Shinto shrines in Kyōto - Fushimi Inari Taisha. The gates on the trail to the top of the sacred Mount Inari are donations by individuals and companies, praying for success in business.
Matsumoto castle at sunset 🌅 Also known as „Crow Castle“ due to its black exterior, it is one of the oldest and most historic castles in Japan. To preserve its interior, you have to take off your shoes inside and go in socks 🧦☺️
Snow monkeys bathing in hot springs🐒 Troops of wild Japanese macaque live naturally in the northern part of Nagano, enjoying their very own Onsen. They are the only kind of macaque that live that far up north. However they really grew accustomed to the raw weather with their little SPA 😇