Thursday, March 27, 2014

Osaka, Kyoto & Nara, Japan 2012

Rewind back to September 2012. After spending a month backpacking around Europe, I crossed the Atlantic Ocean and made my way back to Vancouver for a quick pit stop (and much needed laundry session). Within 24 hours it was back on the plane heading over the Pacific Ocean enroute to Japan. Well, it was first to Narita Airport then a quick connection to Kansai Airport in Osaka and a long bus ride to the final stop: Kyoto. Looking back, I do not know how I had the energy to do all of that traveling.

This trip marked my 3rd time in Japan but first in the Kansai Region. I was a bit disappointed with Tokyo in 2009, indifferent about Fukuoka in 2010 but really looked forward to Kyoto in 2012. The plan for the week was Kyoto, Osaka and Nara with my favorite being the City of Kyoto, a nice glimpse of the ancient Japan we all imagine.

Strolling along the streets in Kyoto

Random alleyway in Kyoto
Many Shinto Wishing Charms at one of the many local Shrines

Shinto Charms
Kamo River in Kyoto

Gion at night Kyoto

Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto
Getting my zen on at the Ryoan-ji. The mind truly wanders when you're staring aimlessly....

Took the train over to Osaka for a couple of days. En route to Osaka Castle

A closer glimpse of Osaka Castle

Sake Galore

Quick stop in Nara, a worthwhile quick visit if you're in the Kansai Area. The only place where deer is as common as a squirrel here in Vancouver.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. Also known as the red gates made famous in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha.  The absolute highlight of my trip was running through these gates like the young Chiyo in the movie.