Niko-jo Castle

The castle was completed in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu who was the first Shogun. Many important events took place in this palace including, in 1867, the power was handed over to the emperor from the Shogun. That ended 200 years of Japanese isolation from the outside world. This was the beginning of the modernization of…

The Philosopher’s Walk

There’s a 2-3 mile walk from the Silver Pavilion towards Kyōto. What a pleasant walk that was! There is a canal lined with Cherry trees and the breeze is blowing the petals into the water which carries them away. There are many interesting cafes, galleries and shops along the way to make the walk even…

3 Beautiful Gardens

We have arrived in Kyōto and are visiting 3 world known gardens. Ryoanji Temple The pond garden has many beautiful views through the trees. Because of the Cherry trees blooming now this is the best time too see the garden. Ryoanji is most noted for its rock garden which is totally enclosed by a wall….

Nara: A Temple and a Shrine

The Great Buddha Temple (Todai-ji Temple) This is the entry gate to the Great Buddha Temple in Nara with a fierce guard on each side. This is the temple which was until recently the largest wood structure in the world. It is 160’ tall and 187’ wide and 165’ in depth. It was built in…

Gardens in Kanazawa

The cherry trees are in full bloom here in Kanazawa – what an awe inspiring sight. Everywhere you go the blossoms add accent to the gardens. The first garden we visited is Kenrokuen Garden. The Cherry trees cover the paths and the wind carries the petals as if they were snow. The Japanese garden is…

Gold in Japan

Kanazawa is a large city in Japan with a population of 500,000. Here is produced 99% of all gold leaf in the country. Hakukokan Gold Leaf Center Gold leaf is used for many ornamental purposes and some electronic uses. The process starts out with an ignot of gold which is flattened into a ribbon which…

Thatched Roof Cottage Village

On the way to the thatched roof cottage village in Shirakawago we encountered a lot of snow but by the time we got there it had stopped.     Shirakawago There are 114 of the thatch roof houses in the village which became a World Heritage site in 1995. These type of houses have existed…

A Walk Through Takayama

Takayama is the largest prefecture capital city in Japan but is has the smallest population – 80,000. It is located up in the mountains which are now snow covered. It has been very cold here – in the 30’s in the morning and up to 45 in the afternoon. Snow is forecast for tomorrow. Today…

Bullet Train

We took the bullet train from Hakone to Nagoya a distance of about 200 miles in just over an hour. The speed was 300 km/hr which is 180 mph. Inside of the train: The following are a few video clips of our ride: After the bullet train we took a much slower second train from…

Mt. Fuji

Mt. Fuji is the most climbed mountain in the world. Every year over 100,000 people make the ascent. It is a volcano that is still active about every 300 years. 1707 was the last time it erupted. It is a tradition in Japan that one time in your life you must climb Mt. Fuji. It…