We’re Going to Japan!

I’ve been so busy getting ready for our trip to Japan that I’ve forgotten to post about it! We’re leaving TOMORROW and I’ve been having a hard time sleeping lately because I’m so excited. It’s going to be a pretty epic trip.

First, we fly into Tokyo and do the city sights: Meiji Jingu, Yoyogi Park, Akihabara, the Ghibli Museum, cat cafes, Sengakuji, Sensoji, the Imperial Palace and palace gardens, Ueno Park, etc. We’re also taking a day trip up to the Fuji 5 Lakes area and going to Fuji-Q Highland, and amusement park, at the base of Mt Fuji. We should get some great views of Mt Fuji if it’s clear enough.

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Pink cherry blossom Yoyogi Park, Japan

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Then we head down to Kyoto, the old capital of Japan. Kiyomizudera, Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji, Ryoanji, Fushimi Inari, and Nijo-jo Castle are all on our must-see list. We will take a day trip to Arashiyama and see the bamboo forest as well as some cool temples.

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Next, it’s off to Mt Koya. Mt Koya is the center of Shingon Buddhism, an important Buddhist sect which was introduced to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daishi, one of Japan’s most significant religious figures. It’s a small, secluded temple town has developed around the sect’s headquarters. We are staying at Ekoin, a 1,000 year old Buddhist temple built by one of Kobo Daishi’s disciples. They will serve us shōjin ryōri, traditional Buddhist vegetarian cuisine and we will participate in their morning services and Goma fire ritual. We’ll also see the Okunoin Cemetery, Kongobuji Temple, and walk the pilgrimage trails.

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On our way back to Kyoto we will stop in Nara to see the deer and the Kasuga-taisha Shrine.

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After a few more days in Kyoto we will finally go up to Hakone. Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and is less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo. It is famous for its hot springs and natural beauty. We are staying at the luxurious Gora Kadan and enjoying all of the comforts that a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) provides. Meals in your room (shōjin ryōri, of course), public and private baths, and a serene atmosphere. We’ll probably do some hot spring hopping as well as see the local temples. Hakone used to be an important checkpoint along the Tokaido highway and linked Tokyo and Kyoto during the feudal Edo Period. Now there is a reconstruction of a Tokaido checkpoint that I am pretty excited to see.

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We will spend our last day back in Tokyo. We have a reservation at Daigo for dinner, a two Michelin star restaurant in Tokyo that serves pretty fancy shōjin ryōri, and then we will spend the night at the Park Hyatt which is the hotel from Lost in Translation.

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Anyway, I need to pack! Enjoy these photos for now and like us on Facebook to get updates throughout the trip. I’ll be posting photos of what we’re doing and where we’re eating the whole time. See you when we get back!!!

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