Besides the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, there wasn’t much in Hiroshima of interest to us, so on Saturday we went on an excursion to Itsukushima Island, a short train ride along the coast to the southwest. Itsukushima Island is popularly known as Miyajima, which translated means “Shrine Island.” We scooted over to the JR Ferry … Continue reading


We left Kyoto on Friday for Hiroshima, a port city near the southwestern end of Honshu, the largest of the four main islands that make up Japan. Hiroshima’s sister city in the United States is Honolulu, symbolically linking the beginning and end of the Pacific theater of World War II. In Hiroshima city, we had … Continue reading

The Last Samurai

For our final day in Kyoto, we decided to visit the main tourist attraction, Kinkaku-ji, the Zen Buddhist Temple of the Golden Pavilion. The original Golden Pavilion was created in 1408, but it was burnt to the ground by a mad monk in 1950. A reproduction was built in 1955, complete with gold leaf covering … Continue reading

Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha

After leaving the Inari Shrine, we visited the Rengeō-in Buddhist temple, commonly known as Sanjusangendo, a short distance to the north. “Sanjūsan-gen-dō” translates to “33-interval-temple” which relates to the building’s architecture of 34 columns, creating 33 intervening spaces. The number 33 has special significance with regard to the goddess Kannon, to whom this temple is … Continue reading

The Shrining

Sunday, April 15th, was a travel day. It was raining in the morning and when we tried to arrange for a taxi to the train station we were told that road closures due to the Spring Festival meant no cabs would pick up on our side of town. Fortunately, our landlord, Hiroto, graciously offered to … Continue reading

Spring Festival

Our purpose for coming to Takayama was to attend the Spring Matsuri, one of two festivals held each year: the Spring Festival, every April 14-15, and the Autumn Festival, every October 9-10. Dale had read that there could be as many as 200,000 visitors for this event which is why we booked everything in advance. … Continue reading