These little Good Luck Dharma dolls are so cute!!

A one eyed Japanese Good Luck Dharma

A Daruma or rather Dharma doll is a small Japanese paper-mache doll which is painted a bright colour according to the luck it represents. These little dolls that I came across while in Japan fascinated me and I just had to get myself one. There are seven different “Dharmas” of Good Luck so I had…

To dress up for Cosplay looks like so much fun!!

Anime Cosplay in Tokyo

Cosplay is the big Anime convention in Tokyo. Cosplay, short for “costume play”, is a type of performance art in which participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea from a work of fiction, in this case Japanese Anime. I would not be able to live in Japan and not attend one of these cosplay events. When I arrived…

Their costumes were beautiful and very elegant

Summer festivals and evening parades in Japan

Japan is the Land of gods and they are the reason cities and towns pulse with festival excitement. The intense spectacle and traditions of these renowned matsuri draw millions of people each summer. Matsuri is the Japanese word for a festival or holiday. In Japan, festivals are usually sponsored by a local shrine or temple and the whole community takes part…

Their costumes were beautiful and very elegant

Travel theme – Japan’s Summer festival Costumes

This weeks travel theme is costumes and I immediately thought of the colourful costumes the dancers wore during the Japanese summer festivals. I lived in Higashi-Rinkan, a suburb of Tokyo, Japan for a while and was fortunate enough to be there for their summer festival. Matsuri is the Japanese word for a festival or holiday and draws millions of people each summer.  Japan is the…

Just in case you were in a hurry, you could reach the rope way station in 7 minutes....if you run a little!!

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

This sign was along the path I walked through Miyajima Island while exploring some of its many shrines and temples. This shrine filled island is very peaceful and people were all strolling around and appreciating the peaceful atmosphere. I couldn’t imagine anybody being in a hurry while exploring this lovely island. But just in case you were,…

I was greeted by a huge iron spider as I arrived at the Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills

Foggy view of Tokyo from the 53rd floor!

Roppongi Hills in Tokyo is an expansive shopping and entertainment complex. It is very sleek and modern. I usually stay away from shopping centers but the Mori Art Museum is on the 52nd floor of the 54-story Mori Tower. Completed in 2003 and named for builder Minoru Mori, the tower is the centerpiece of the Roppongi Hills urban development. The…

The Prayer Wheels I got to turn all the way to the top!!

Fortune sticks and Prayer wheels in shrine filled Miyajima

Miyajima is a small island close to Hiroshima that I visited when things at the memorial service got to emotional; for me. This island’s real name is Itsukushima , and Miyajima is just a popular nickname meaning “Shrine Island”. While at the floating shrine, Itsukushima I really wanted to do the Chinese fortune telling sticks but unfortunately…

Memorial statue at the entrance of the park

Meeting atom bomb survivors at the Hiroshima memorial service

A visit to Japan is not complete without visiting Hiroshima the horrific site of the first nuclear bomb and when better than on the anniversary of that horrific event. The whole world knows about the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 where as many as 140 000 people were killed. Since then, thousands more have…

Disneyland parade!!

Toon Town and Roller-coasters at Disneyland Tokyo!!!

I don’t normally like theme parks as roller coasters scare me but I was beyond excited about going to Disneyland in Tokyo!!  I felt like a little kid in a candy store. I could barely sleep the night before and made sure that we arrived at the gate just as the park opened. My friend…

Lake Ashi

Pirate ships and hot springs at Lake Ashi in Japan

My friend Yvonne and I left on the Romance train from Tokyo to Hakone. Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo. Famous for hot springs, natural beauty and the view of nearby Mt. Fuji across Lake Ashi. It was a lovely hot sunny day and we could make out the tip…

Great Buddha Statue was bigger that I expected

Great Buddha and thousands of Jizo statues

Kamakura was Japan’s capital for more than 100 years beginning in 1192 and is filled with shrines and temples. It is also here that the Great Buddha statue is found. My friend Yvonne and I walked around the Kamakura area one sunny Saturday and on our way to the Great Buddha we stopped of at Hase-Dera…

Turning around to have a last look at the fireworks!

Stalking girls in Kimonos at Yokohama’s Firework festival

Grand-scale fireworks festivals are one of the most exciting events that represent summer in Japan, and are held in various locations across the country!! People get dressed up in their beautiful summer Kimonos and go to parks during the day and attend firework shows at night. These popular firework festivals generally attract from around 700,000…

The tea-house in the middle of the tidal pool!!

Drinking Japanese Green Tea at Hamarikyu Gardens

I actually planned on visiting the famous Tsukiji fish market but it turned out to be closed today for some or another reason. Not wanting the trip to be a waste I went to Hamarikyu Gardens just around the corner from the market. Hamarikyu means detached palace on the coast, I guess it got this…

The whole park was covered in sweet smelling blossoms

Cherry blossoms in Shinjuku Geyoen Park, Japan

I was lucky enough to move to Japan just before spring so had the chance to experience cherry blossom time in Tokyo!! Shinjuku Geyoen Park is one of the most beautiful cherry blossom sites that I visited while living in Japan. The streets and especially parks were all filled with these beautiful blossoms.  I loved walking…

Himeji Castle!!

Himeji, the oldest castle in Japan

While spending a weekend in Kyoto my friend Michael and I decided to visit Himeji Castle one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan. Himeji is just under an hours travel on the train from Kyoto and quite easy to reach.  Himeji castle is the biggest and oldest castle in Japan and dates back to 1333.…

The blessing circle in front of Hetsunomiya Shrine

Blessing circle on Japans’ Enoshima Island

  I loved living in Japan and exploring all the wonderful places it has to offer. One of my favourite weekend destinations outside of Tokyo was the small island of Enoshima. Enoshima is very small, about 4 km in circumference, linked to the mainland shore of Fujisawa city by two 600-meter bridges. As I cross one…

Fushimi Shrine

Walking through thousands of Red Torii in Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Shrine is the most famous of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari across Japan. This shrine ended up being my favourite one in Kyoto.  It had a very peaceful and spiritual atmosphere. Fushimi Inari Shrine is also famous for the countless torii gates, offerings by worshippers, which cover the hiking trails of…

This temple is covered in Gold leaf

Temples of gold and singing floors in Kyoto

Kyoto is a shrine and temple filled city and it was quite difficult to decide which ones to see and which ones to skip. My friend Michael and my first site for the day, while exploring Kyoto was Nijo Castle. Trust me it sounds better than what it looks. It looked more like a stately…

Kiyomizudera ("Pure Water Temple")

Healing water and Lucky love rocks in shrine filled KYOTO

Kyoto is a city filled with countless temples, shrines and other historically significant buildings. It was Japan’s capital and the emperor’s residence from 794 until 1868. Over the centuries, many wars and fires destroyed Kyoto, but due to its historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb…

Working Geisha in Kyoto, Japan

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color of Japan’s Geisha

This weeks photos challenge is colour, and what is more colourful than the bright kimonos of the Geisha in Kyoto!?Geisha are traditional Japanese female entertainers who act as hostesses and whose skills include performing various Japanese arts such as classical music, dance and games. I spotted a few of these beautiful women in Gion, Kyoto‘s most famous geisha district. It is…

The 5 level pagoda at entrance to Tōshō-gū.

Mist shrouded Nikko, shrines and hot springs.

Nikko is a small city situated about 135km North of Tokyo between picturesque mountains and waterfalls surrounded by lakes, wild monkeys, hot springs and hiking trails. It’s a 3-4 hour journey by train from Shinjuku station on the Tobu-Nikko line and cost me about ¥1320 one-way, ideal for a long weekend get away from the…