Japan Trip Part II

During the second half of our trip, we explored some of the main attractions of Kyoto, and wandered around the shopping areas of Kobe. Toji Market had hundreds of vendors, selling everything from hot food, to wood products, to antique cameras. Kyoto Station, being one of the busiest transportation hubs in the country, was bustling with people making their way between platforms. We got to visit Nishi Honganji, which is main chapter of our family's temple back home, and it was humbling to see such a huge structure built from wood. Fushimi Inari, home to the famous red torii, was one of our highlights of the trip. There are over 3,000 torii, all in varying sizes, and it was really awesome to be able to walk through the tunnel walkways that they created. Ume flowers were in bloom while we were there (we were too early for sakura), so we made to take lots of photos of them.

Himeji Castle was a treat to the eyes, given its graceful architecture (it's supposed to resemble a white heron), and its age (it's survived multiple wars and conflicts). We got a taste of the morning commute chaos on the train, with people cramming and pushing their way through. In Nara, we visited Todaiji, the largest wooden structure in the world, which houses an enormous Buddha statue. The deer park proved to be a magnet for tourists, and never in my life have I seen so many Chinese tourists in one spot.

After doing some last minute shopping in Kobe, we left on an airport shuttle which took us on the expressway, allowing us to the see the gritty industrial side of Kobe before we left the country.

All in all, a very memorable and eye-opening trip to Japan...thanks for reading!


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