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…