4th July 2009

Japan, 1st week

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From Australia’s autumn we jumped into Japan’s summer, beginning of the rainy season. We were quite lucky though and it didn’t rain that often. It’s actually easier to travel around when it is not hot all the time, the rain helps. Many Asians hate their summer as it is too hot. June was still very bearable.

In Japan, the handiest way to travel around the country is with the famous bullet trains, “Shinkansen”. Japan is an expensive country, and train tickets are also costly. The best deal for foreigners is to buy a 7/14/21 days Japan rail ticket. This ticket has to be purchased in advance from abroad. We bought our 21 day pass from Australia.

We started our Japan tour from the main island, Honshu. Our first destination was Kyoto, the home for 2000 temples. In Japan there is two main religions, buddhism and shintoism, and both religions temples can be found in Kyoto. We visited over ten temples during two days. Temples are different enough that you don’t get bored. Temples are often built in beautiful locations and they have plenty of forest around. Surprising in Japan was, that even though they are so many people, there is also lots of space for forests.
Interesting information for us was that many Japanese belong to both of the religions. People might stop by to pray in the middle of the day on their lunch break and for example ask to succeed in an exam. They start the prayer by ringing a bell in front of the temple, clapping their hands and throwing small coins in a wooden box reserved for donations. In Buddhism and Shintoism it seems to be a popular habit to buy a fortune telling paper at the temple, make a wish when picking the paper, and after reading it, attaching the paper in a tree or a wooden rack in front of the temple.

From Kyoto we also did a day trip to Nara. Nara has a huge temple, which is the biggest wooden building in the world, and inside there is the biggest Buddha statue in Japan.
Nara is a nice area with lots of parks, where food begging deers run freely.

For Kyoto and Nara we got a local guide to go with us. In Japan we tried first time a thing called couch surfing, where local people, or foreigners living in that country, offer over the internet travelers to overnight at their flat for free. They are interested to meet people from other countries, or in exchange they look for places to stay when they travel abroad. This is a great way to get to know the local culture, habits and people, make friends and of course to save money on accommodation. In our first couch surfing experience we stayed with a Japanese family. It was very interesting and we learned a lot about the Japanese way of living.

After Kyoto and Nara next stop was Himeji castle. Himeji castle is beautiful building with well-preserved walls and gates. It is very interesting, especially as its defense is organised as a maze forcing the enemy to spiral its way around the keep, completely vulnerable. It is certainly the most important castle in Japan.
Osaka castle was nice too, but it differed in that it is a replica rebuilt (Osaka castle has been destroyed few times), that hosts a history museum.

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 4th, 2009 at 20:38 and is filed under in English please !, news, voyages, worldtrip'09. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

There are currently 3 responses to “Japan, 1st week”

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  1. 1 On July 5th, 2009, Irma said:

    Kesäiset terveisemme! Olipa todella mielenkiintoista taas lukea kuulumisianne ja katsella kuvia kiitos! Voimme hyvin ja nautimme kesästä joka lämmön puolesta on aika vaihtelevaa välillä oikein hellettä ja nyt taas paleltaa mutta vielä on kesää jäljellä vielä tulee kauniita päiviä.. Oikein hyvää jatkoa matkallenne ja pysykää terveinä! Syd. terv. Irma ja perhe

  2. 2 On July 5th, 2009, Soile said:

    Ihania kuvia – voisimpa olla mukananne. Tosin ei taida olla teidän matkan varrella sellaista paikkaa, jossa en olisi halunnut olla teidän mukana. Olisi pitänyt tajuta tarjoutua teille matkamaskotiksi muumin ja kitin seuraksi.
    Täällä on grillikausi vasta avattu – laiska emäntä ei ole saanut aiemmin aikaiseksi. Ensi viikolla pitäisi koittaa laskeutua Rauman vesitornista köyden avulla, kiitos Petrin syntymäpäivälahjaidean. Mutta kosto on suloinen :)


  3. 3 On July 6th, 2009, Kotiväki said:

    Onpa ollut todella hienoa ja siistiä Japanissa. Ahkeria ihmisiä. Täytyypi katsoa kuvia ihan ajan kanssa. töissä ei kehtaa kuin vilkaista ja laitan aina jonkin kuvan työpöydän taustakuvaksi. Ollaan kotonakin maanantai pyykinpesussa ja ilmat on niin talviset, että voisi olla pitempäänkin, vaan kun mökilläkin on tekemistä aika tavalla. Älkää nyt vaan intoutuko sinne Pohjois-Koreaan matkallanne, ehtii sinne myöhemminkin. Palataan ja katsotaan illalla kotona kuvagalleriaa. Videot ovat nyt todella hyvät, pitäisi Manunkin viitsiä katsoa kaiken sen kiireensä keskellä. Oikein hyviä matkapäiviä ja mailaillaan. Terv. äiskä ja iskä

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