Don’t kill yourself visiting every temple in Japan. There are over 1600 of them of in Kyoto alone and ‘temple fatigue’ can set in. I liked the secret ones we found round the corner from crowd pleasers. Often we had them all to ourselves.
The floating tori gate at Miyajima island is said to be one of Japan’s three most beautiful places. Everyone on the ferry flocked to the front deck to take their best photo of it. I’d be sceptical about this part of the journey, did we really want to visit harrowing scenes at nearby Hiroshima? Would it be too quiet on an island?
How wrong I was. Temples built on stilts over the shoreline appear to shift with the ebb and flow of the tide. I enjoyed their altered beauty throughout the day without killing myself to get round all of them.
On Mount Fuji;
The fact is Mount Fuji is frequently shrouded in mist, so you are considered very lucky if you do see it. This does not dampen Japanese enthusiasm for the eternal quest for the mount. There are no end of cable car rides, pirate ships and funicular trains offering a view- if the weather is on your side. Great ‘Aaaawwwww’s’ were heard in my cable car as we shot past the (faint) snow capped mount. A blink and you miss it moment. I tried not to look as terrified as I felt, dangling from that great height.
On animals and pets;
I always though we Brits are the top nation of animal lovers. But the Japanese take it to the next level. Lots of them live in apartments too small to own their own pet, which might explain why cats seemed to decorate everything. From makeup to table settings and handbags. Little dogs get dressed in outfits for walkies and then there were the deer on Miyajiima island.
They roam freely, eating luggage tags from my Mother’s suitcase and stealing picnics. You can forgive Bambi’s bad behaviour when he’s sun bathing sweetly next to you. Their presence on the island in such close proximity to humans is a sight to behold.
After two weeks, I felt as if we'd only just scratched the surface of Japan and it was already time to fly home. I'm already dreaming of my next trip and seeing more of the countryside. Japan you are a little bit bonkers but truly amazing.