Japan – Final impression

Okayama, Japan

And today, the Japanese series on my blog ends.
I hope you like posts from March and maybe I even surprised you with some Japanese facts. 🙂
This time, I basically didn’t mention Tokyo. I showed you some pictures from Tokyo, but there was no post strictly about the Japanese capital. One day, in future, you’ll read here about Tokyo. 🙂

Tomorrow, we’re starting a new monthly series about…
Stay tuned! 🙂

Japan – Sumo

Tokyo, Japan

Sumo is a national Japanese sport. However, a sumo wrestler doesn’t look like a typical Japanese person… 😉

When I was in Tokyo, I wanted to visit a sumo stadium and museum. Unfortunately they were closed. Well, it was still interesting to walk along nearby streets and find so many “sumo statutes” (like the one from today’s picture).

(The other famous Japanese sports are of course judo and karate.)

Japan – Sushi

Sushi in Tokyo, Japan

Sushi is probably the most popular Japanese meal, however it doesn’t mean that Japanese people eat it everyday.
The way it looks like, is other common misunderstanding about sushi. Sushi, it’s not only sashimi nor “maki”. Sushi, in total, consists of variety ingredients, e.g., cooked vinegared rice, seafood, seaweed, vegetables, meat, fruits, etc. Sushi is often served with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce.

While being in Japan, definitely try sushi as well as other traditional Japanese foods!
Enjoy not only the taste; the way it’s served is usually very interesting. 🙂

Japan – Kamakura

Great Buddha, Kamakura, Japan

If you’re planning to spend some time in Tokyo, try to also visit nearby places.
Kamakura is a nice, small, coastal city, located about 50 km from Tokyo.

Kamakura is a popular tourist destination.
You’ll find here many temples, shrines and historical monuments together with the large bronze Buddha statue presented on today’s picture (it’s possible to go inside the statue!).

Japan – Coastline

Coastal town Kamakura, Japan

Japan consists of almost 7,000 islands, so it has to have a very long coastline. Actually, Japan is within the first 10th countries with the longest coastline!

Unfortunately, the Japanese islands are located in a volcanic zone on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire. Because of that, earthquakes or tsunami are not unusual here…

Japan – Kabuki

Tokyo, Japan

Have you ever heard about Kabuki?

When I was planning my trip to Japan, I wanted to experience something typical Japanese. So, watching kabuki performance was on my list.

Kabuki is a classical Japanese dance-drama.
To watch it, I visited a theater in Tokyo. It was very interesting and colorful.
What surprised me the most, people weren’t elegant, and during the intermission, they’re eating meals while sitting inside the theater!

Japan – Nara

Nara, Japan

Nara is a beautiful city with very old temples. Definitely, you can spend there busy days visiting all sites.

In Nara, you’ll also meet many deer. They can be cute as well as aggressive (I couldn’t resist with this photo 😉 ).
Deer can be also quite persistent to get some food, so play with them on your own risk. 😉

Japan – Matcha tea

Tea Ceremony, Kyoto, Japan

Matcha is fine powder green tea.
To prepare this tea correctly, you need a special whisk, spoon and bowl.

While being in Kyoto, you have to try matcha tea. But not only tea! Variety of desserts are flavored with matcha. I love green tea (matcha) ice cream. 🙂

Japan – Torii gates

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan

I found in Kyoto many interesting places so I could easily prepare a full month in my blog about Kyoto. Maybe one day…

Today, I want to show you a very unique Shinto shrine from Kyoto, called Fushimi Inari Taisha. It’s famous for thousands torii gates. The path between two buildings of the shrine is covered with these red torii gates. It’s a lovely hike (takes about 2-3 hours to walk), however, for the next few days, I could see only torii gates when I closed my eyes. 😉

Japan – Kyoto

Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), Kyoto, Japan

If someone asks me what’s the most beautiful city in Japan – my answer is Kyoto. 🙂

Kyoto is a lovely city with many temples, shrines, other nice buildings, etc. Just everything makes it so special!

Kyoto was so charming for me also from one more reason – I was visiting Japan in winter and Kyoto was covered with a tiny layer of snow. It looked like from a fairy tale; I have to admit it was a bit muddy and slippery, but still delightful! 🙂

Japan – Shinto & Buddhism

Kyoto, Japan

There are two main religions in Japan (Shinto and Buddhism) that coexist together and complement each other.

Buddhism was introduced in Japan in the 6th century, but Shinto is the indigenous faith of the Japanese people. At the beginning, there were many conflicts between both religions. These days, it doesn’t seem to be a problem any longer; what’s more, some ceremonies (e.g., weddings) are often held in Shinto style, the others (e.g., funerals) in Buddhist style.

Apparently, Shinto is more popular in Japan. However, it looks to me like Shinto and Buddhism are “mixed” and people don’t really follow any of these two religious, but rather “follow the traditions”.

Japan – Kimono

Kyoto, Japan

Kimono (literally a thing to wear) is a traditional Japanese outfit, for women and men.
Kimono is rather a very formal clothing for special occasions, so you won’t see Japanese people wearing it everyday.

I was lucky to be in Japan during holidays, when many Japanese were wearing kimono. It was also great to observe weddings with all of these beautiful, traditional clothes. Moreover, I met a person fascinated with a Japanese culture who let us try kimono on; of course without her help I wouldn’t be able to “tied” it correctly (it’s like an art…).
I heard, there are also stores that offer renting a kimono, dressing you up with all make-up; I guess it also can be funny.

Japan – Sakura

Himeji, Japan

Sakura is the name of a Japanese cherry blossom. Of course, beautiful spring flowers can be seen in many places around the world, but in Japan, watching them, painting, etc., it’s part of the culture.

The most spectacular trees you’ll see somewhere in March, however, even in December it’s possible to spot cherry blossom (depending on the region).
I was visiting Japan in winter and still had a chance to see “a few” flowers in different cities. Today’s picture was taken in Himeji, close to the great castle.

Japan – Parks & Gardens

Okayama, Japan

Japan is a modern and high tech country. However, the tradition (in total) still plays an important role in everyday life (at least it’s my impression…). What’s more, in fancy cities there are always nice parks and gardens, so people have places to relax and enjoy nature while still being in a city.

Today’s picture was taken nearby the Okayama Castle, but easily could be taken in any other Japanese town. I think it’s very important (and positive) to keep “a small piece of nature” in cities. 🙂

Japan – Itsukushima

Miyajima, Japan

Miyajima is the name usually used while referring to this small island. However, its official name is Itsukushima.

Besides the beautiful giant torii gate you can find there many cute deer. 😉 And many other attractions. Of course, while being in Itsukushima island you should also visit the Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And simply take a walk exploring this small romantic island. 🙂

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