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Sensoji Temple with geisha

Crikey! Has it really been two whole months since I last posted? That’s a record, even for me.

When I returned from my three week tour of Japan, it was Thanksgiving. And then I blinked and it was Christmas. I barely caught my breath and it had become a new year! Know what I mean?

I’ve been receiving requests for photos from my trip. What a treat to sift through them and recount the lovely people we met; the art, architecture and culture; the unique and mind-blowing experiences of a foreign country. One more foreign than I could have ever imagined–it was my first foray out of the western world and into the ancient eastern civilization. What an inspiration.

We visited galleries and museums, temples and shrines, toured castles and royal residents, experienced both pottery and paper-making studios. We were treated like rock stars in our sister city of Toba, hiked five miles on the Nakasendo Trail, slept on futons on tatami mats in both a traditional ryokan and a small inn called a minshuku. My best friend John ate fried crickets.

We viewed Lake Suwa and Mt. Fuji, hiked through a bamboo forest, experienced an onsen (traditional baths) and ate an amazing vegetarian Zen Buddhist temple meal in Kyoto amid fall foliage. We watched Ama Divers off Mikimoto Pearl Island, shopped at a temple sale and rode the high speed Shinkansen bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo. We even spent a perplexing evening at DisneySea and one at the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku as well as witnessed the frenetic energy of Shibuya Crossing.

We made new friends, marveled at the heated toilet seats and were even treated to the famous Japanese honor when a complete stranger stopped us on the way to the Kabuki Theater in Tokyo, to return a wad of cash that had fallen from John’s pocket.

And so, here are a few of my faves for your touring pleasure…


Sensoji Pagoda, Tokyo


Matsumoto Castle & warrior


Nagoya Tower & fountain


Sensoji Buddha, Tokyo


Sensoji Temple


Tree-hugging on the Nakasendo Trail


Fall flowers in Tsumago


Teahouse & volunteer, Nakasendo Trail



Kongoshoji Temple God, Toba


Kongoshoji grave with keepsake, Toba


Our Toba host family dressed us in kimono


Oharaimachi souvenirs


Oharaimachi cat


Tenruji Temple


Arashyama bamboo forest



Fushimi Inari tori gates


Evening falls on our hike of the 1,000 tori gates of Fushimi Inari mountain shrine