Japanese Jizo

Jizo are ubiquitous in Japan. They are lovely little statues, usually made of stone, and many have knitted bonnets and shawls of red wool. In Japan it is believed that when a baby is miscarried or dies early it has not had an opportunity to build the good karma required to enter the afterlife. In…

The Only Gaijin in the Village (Or, How the Onsen Changed my Life)

On my recent trip to Japan, my fourth, I finally tried an onsen. We stayed in a traditional, and very beautiful ryokan on Lake Chuzenji, just out of Nikko. We spent three nights eating, sleeping and bathing in the traditional way. All the traditional ways of living in Japan are surrounded with layers of etiquette…

Autumn beauty, Tokugawas, Jizo and The Abyss….. Nikko

Friday morning we woke early, again, and decided to take a walk before breakfast to the local falls. Kegon Falls was literally a 10 minutes walk from the ryokan, which was good. It was pretty chilly in the morning. The falls height is around 97 metres, but the ferocity of the water falling made it…

Edo Wonderland, at last.

Thursday morning we woke up really early. We lounged around a bit, waiting for our designated breakfast time. Breakfast was kaiseki set menu, and very traditional Japanese. Rice, miso, grilled mackerel, pickles, tomagoyaki (omelette) and hojicha tea. I like Japanese breakfast, and this was very yummy. The yuzu juice accompaniment was particularly delicious. We then…

All the Tradition…..

Wednesday morning we were up, a little worse for wear after our sake day, and a little hard to motivate (me), which is always the case when leaving Kyoto. As much as I feel I am coming home when I arrive, I feel I’m being dragged away from a friend when I leave. A reasonably…

Super Sake Saturation

Tuesday morning we woke up early….. no reference to pensioners allowed…. don’t want to upset my Dad. We had a hearty bacon, egg and sausage breakfast, with some really good, Maki coffee, and headed off early to Fushimi. Kyoto’s famous sake precinct. We thought we would pop into the National Museum on our way past,…

Historical Heaven

On Monday we woke up super early again, pensioner hour…. and got ready quite quickly. We were out the door and on our way into the city before 8am. This was a bizarre experience, as the last time we were in Kyoto we had four children to wrangle out the door, and it would never…

Kyoto…. Like Coming Home

Yesterday morning we woke up really early, one because Book and Bed was quite warm and I was feeling a little overheated. Two, the two hour time difference means we have suddenly become early risers, and we haven’t really clocked in, body clock wise….. we had possibly the best coffee I have ever had, then…

Looking for the Master

As a follower of Japanese culture, if you have never seen Midnight Diner on Netflix, you need to stop reading this blog for a moment and queue it up. It is one of Nihonshu Girl’s and my favourite television shows – ever. It is set in a diner in the backstreets of Shinjuku which opens…

Have a Book Night

Book and Bed Tokyo is a very well Instagrammed place. I have been admiring the concept of a hostel in a book shop for quite some time. So, last night, as we only had one night in Tokyo, and because Super Sake Boy had vigilantly checked second party booking sites, we stayed. Winding our way…

Five Things in Japan I am Most Looking Forward To

Sitting on the plane, about two and half hours from Tokyo, I am contemplating what I am most looking forward to, and what I have missed most since the last time I was there. Sake, sake, sake…. Sake is super cheap in Japan, around a third the cost of what we pay in Australia. The…

“How long do I need in Kyoto?”

This is a question people ask me on an almost weekly basis. “I have four nights booked in Kyoto. Is this long enough?” I find this question really difficult to answer. For a number of reasons. Firstly, I have spent around a month, all together, in Kyoto. I am about to return for just 3…