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


The city of Takayama is located in Gifu Prefecture in Japan’s Northern Alps, a little less than 200 miles WNW of Tokyo, although by going to Nagoya first we traveled a little over 300 miles by train to get here. Takayama’s sister city in the USA is Denver, Colorado, but it should be Jacksonville, Florida. … Continue reading

Getting to Takayama

Getting to Takayama

The afternoon of Monday, April 9, we flew from Hanoi to Tokyo on the same plane as Bob and Annie, arriving late and discovering to our dismay a long line to clear immigration at Haneda International Airport. Finally clearing customs around 11:00 p.m., we made our way to an airport hotel, grabbed a bite just … Continue reading


Tokyo is a very high-tech and modern city. Technology and electronics are everywhere and in everything and no more so than in the Shinjuku ward near its highly-trafficked train station. We took the subway there Sunday morning and had breakfast at the Starbucks there, sitting next to a young couple from California here in Tokyo … Continue reading

Sky Tree

From our hotel, there’s a nice view of the Sensō-ji Temple, and off in the distance, the tallest free-standing tower in the world, the Tokyo Sky Tree. From the moment we checked in, getting to the top of the Sky Tree was on my list of things to do in Tokyo. The rain we had … Continue reading

Where’s Waldo?

To get our bearings and learn how to use Tokyo’s public transit system, we decided to limit our travels on Friday to a simple ride on the Ginza Line to see the Tsukiji Fish Market and a Kabuki play. The Tokyo subway and train system can be a bit overwhelming, although they do a pretty … Continue reading

Land of the Rising Sun?

We’re off on another adventure, this time to Asia, our first visit. Departing Vancouver International Airport at 2:00 Tuesday afternoon, we flew for 10 hours and landed at Tokyo’s Narita Airport at 5:00 Wednesday afternoon, gaining 7 hours by time zone, but losing 24 hours crossing the International Date Line. I think. Here’s what it … Continue reading