10 August 2011

Love Japan

Our holiday in Japan is absolutely wonderful; it's so different from China.
There's nothing like a stroll through Tokyo's Ginza, one of the most luxurious shopping districts in the world. The department stores have basement food emporiums like nothing we've seen, with all the bowing staff dressed in black uniforms.
Even the sake barrels look appealing, although we haven't quite acquired the taste.
We heard the sound down the street, followed the crowd, and ended up at a traditional drumming festival  ... 
... eventually joined by dancers of all ages.
Then to Kyoto, a city renowned for its temples; this is the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji), a Zen Buddhist temple founded in the late 1300's. That's real gold leaf.
And we marveled at beautiful dancers, the tea ceremony, and Ikebana (traditional flower arranging).
The phrase 'City of the Dead' came to mind when we saw this hillside Buddhist cemetary, where each headstone comes with containers for flowers and incense.
And you know you're in a great place when you discover long-hair dachsunds are one of the most popular breeds; one day we counted 8 of our furry friends and had our picture taken with Andy and Jiang.
A day in the coastal resort of Kinosakionsen soaking in the hot spring baths was a real treat, where we joined the tourists wearing yukatas (cotton kimonos)  and went spa-hopping.
We stayed in a traditional inn and enjoyed a full course dinner in our room on tatami mats, although getting up after dining was a bit of a struggle. 

Even the manhole covers are works of art!