We only had a short time in Japan, so we were doubly fortunate to have friends willing to host us in their home and guide us (thanks, Akemi and Tsunemasa!). We arrived and went to their home outside Tokyo by high-speed bullet train. That in itself was so completely different from Thailand. While we often lump them together as simply “Asia,” Japan is as different from what I saw in Thailand as a hot dog is from ice cream: there is simply no comparison possible.
Japan was high-speed, orderly, neat and tidy. The cities were huge, but the traffic stayed within the lines, and the mass transit is a thing of beauty. Recycling containers were everywhere, and we oohed and aahed over a toilet that let you wash your hands with the clean water that was refilling the tank for the next flush.
Nature was enjoyed here. Parks and temples and shrines were crowded, as the fall foliage was near peak color. How did we get so lucky? We took another bullet train to Kyoto for the full shrine and temple garden experience, and again luck shone on us: the clouds pulled away and we had a magnificent view of Mt Fuji (but no picture, sorry. You’ll just have to believe me when I tell you how lovely it was.). Kyoto’s Higashiyama area, where we visited, holds six temples and shrines in close proximity, so it was a full day of walking, enjoying, and bliss.
OK, enough rhapsodizing. On to the photos. Click to enbiggen.