Snippets of Japan

I love visiting Japan. If there is one country I would recommend to anyone, Japan would have to be it: somewhere between temples and pachinko parlours there is sure to be something for every taste.

I have been to Japan twice now, and visited the well-known cities of Honshu (Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara) as well as a few smaller places in the countryside. I was going through my photos from these trips the other day and thought I’d post a few here, of random things that to me are just so… well, Japanese.

Firstly, presentation. Everything is carefully (double or triple) wrapped in cute boxes and bags and harmoniously laid out with make every shop look like a candy store.

DSC04495 Japan 141Meticulous attention to presentation particularly applies to those numerous shops that specialise in one product only, such as kitchen knives or chopsticks.

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Food is naturally presented in the same careful manner. Occasionally it looks as even the noodles in a noodle soup have been placed in a specific way.

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Hotel breakfast.

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Green tea ice cream and some… balls and jelly. A typical Japanese dessert.

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The last photo above is from a little eatery near a one of the famous temples of Kyoto (don’t ask which one, I lost count which one was which). In fact, it is practically impossible to visit Kyoto without ending up in a temple at some point.

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Temple of love.

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Temples I have visited elsewhere too, but something I have never seen anywhere else was people crawling through holes carved in temple beams or purpose-made structures. Brings you good luck apparently.

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On certain days of the month some temple grounds get taken over by street markets. We went to a huge one in Kyoto, and it was one of the highlights of my trip. There were hundreds if not thousands of stalls selling practically everything, and there was certainly no shortage of snacks either. Many cities and towns also have general morning or night markets that are also worth checking out.

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Kimono seller in Kyoto.

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These hotcakes were selling like hotcakes.

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I love Japanese design.

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Juice merchant at Takayama morning markets.

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Markets are a good place to “meet the locals.”

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Takayama markets in spring.

Regarding other “things I didn’t know before I visited Japan”, one thing I certainly didn’t realise is how keen the Japanese are on cycling. Even in Tokyo you see people whizzing past on two wheels all the time. I reckon it’s also a good way to do some sightseeing.Japan 006DSC04551Japan 087While cycling around and seeing the sights you will definitely see some posing and there are always people to help you in case you’re not sure where you’re going.

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The only thing I wish is that I would’ve bought one of these signs, I really don’t understand why Australians want to wear their shoes inside the house.

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