All posts filed under: Travel

My Days in Hiroshima 「広島への旅」

I recently spent three days in Hiroshima, in western Honshu, the main island of Japan.  I enjoyed visiting Hiroshima but for me it was a bitter-sweet trip. Visiting Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome (Genbaku Dome) and the Peace Memorial Park deeply affected me. I won’t start a discussion about the reasons behind Hiroshima bombing but I deeply believe this should never happen again. The atomic bomb not only killed thousands of people in Hiroshima but also caused unspeakable suffering to survivors. The sad story of Sadako inspired the Children’s Peace Monument. Children from all over the world still send folded paper cranes to be placed beneath Sadako’s statue.  They make the same wish which is engraved on the base of the statue: “This is our cry, This is our prayer, Peace in the world”. The iconic Dome pays tribute to the events of August 6th and also reminds visitors of Hiroshima’s efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons.  Because human spirit is so resilient, Hiroshima has managed to revive and become a city of culture and prosperity. If you want a peek into Hiroshima’s past, you can visit Hiroshima Castle in the middle of the city. …

My Days in Kyoto PART 2「京都への旅」

Kyoto offers a rich culinary tradition, that ranges from super exclusive and expensive Kaiseki course dinners to simple and delicious food you can get on the streets. If you want to experience new flavours, go for it! The Pontocho area is one of the places to find good fusion restaurants along with traditional ones. Gion district and the area around Kyoto station also have an interesting offer of restaurants. Matcha Matcha and Matcha! Green tea cakes are light cakes that are not too sweet and have a refreshing green tea fragrance. Matcha is used for a lot of sweets, pastries and desserts. The matcha powder gives then a delicate green hue too. Dango is a traditional sweet dumpling made from mochiko (rice flower). It is often served with green tea. Dango is eaten all year round but there are different flavours eaten given the Season. It is usually served on a skewer. One of traditional tastes in the fall is “Waguri” (chestnut). Japanese people love them and have incorporated them into many dishes.  “Kuri Gohan” (chestnut rice) is a very simple and full of delicate flavours dish. Roasted chestnuts are a good …

My Days in Kyoto PART 1「京都への旅」

If you ever travel to Japan, you must stop a few days in Kyoto and enjoy its magic. Kyoto has a countless number of temples and gardens, a beautiful scenery, refined traditions, great food and a unique beauty with each Season.  Personally, I love Kyoto in Fall.  “Kōyō” (“fall colors”) adds a magical touch to everything. There’re lots and lots of things to do and see so walk walk walk! At the end of the day, you’ll barely have any energies left but it’s totally worth it! Here are a few of my favourite places to visit when I’m in Kyoto. Kiyomizudera Temple (literally “Pure Water Temple”) is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan. It was founded in 780 and it’s best known for its wooden stage that offers a wonderful view of cherry and maple trees below, as well as of the city of Kyoto in the distance. Walk around any temple and you will see “Ema”, small wooden plaques on which people write their prayers or wishes. The ema are then left hanging up at the shrine where the spirits or gods receive them. And origami …

My Day in Shirakawago, Gifu/Toyama Prefectures 「白川村への旅 岐阜県/富山県」

Last Sunday, I visited Shirakawago, located  in the mountains that span from Gifu to Toyama Prefectures. The easiest way to get to Shirakawago is by bus from Kanazawa Station.  Tickets should be reserved beforehand as Shirakawago is a popular tourist destination for Japanese and foreigners alike. There’s an office close to the station where you can get your return ticket. The bus ride takes a bit over 1 hour (this may vary depending on traffic and weather conditions) and it’s quite picturesque. If Kanazawa was like walking into the past, Shirakawago is like walking into a Hayao Miyazaki‘s movie (Studio Ghibli). Shirakawago was declared a UNESCO world heritage in 1995 and once you get there, you’ll understand why. This village is famous for its traditional and rare gassho-zukuri farmhouses. Gassho-zukuri means “constructed like hands in prayer”, as the farmhouses’ roofs resemble the hands pressed together in prayer. This unique architectural style evolved over many generations.  Designed to withstand the heavy snows during winter, these large houses have steeply pitched thatched roofs that are strong and also provide a large attic space used for cultivating silkworms. The Shiroyama observation deck is a cool spot for a panoramic view of the village. …

My Days in Ishikawa Prefecture 「石川県への旅」

If you are in Japan for the first time, I’m sure you’ll end up traveling to well-known touristic destinations like Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima, but Kanazawa, on the West coast of Japan (around 2.30 hours from Tokyo station by bullet train) is a beautiful destination with several points of interest worth checking out. If visiting a night or two, it makes sense to book a hotel close to the station, and avoid having to carry bags and suitcases around with you more than necessary. It also saves on taxi fares and at lunch/dinner time there’re plenty of food choices in the area. And… Kanazawa Station is awesome too ↓↓ Kanazawa was one of the few major Japanese cities to be spared from fire bombing during WWII, so most of the architectural heritage has been preserved.  Walking near the Asanogawa Ohashi Bridge is like stepping back in time with its narrow lovely streets, wooden tea houses and old temples. Nature’s colours are so beautiful! Have I told you how much I love moss? I do! In the Higashi Chaya Teahouse District, there are tea houses that were constructed 200 …