S: Discover Japan: Trip with GAP April 11th-29th 2010
BC: The GAP part was surprisingly pleasant. Basically we were transported from place to place and housed in hotels and ryokans then given a map of the city and we were left alone to explore what was interesting to us. As many of the fellow travelers were not as excited about architecture, pottery and markets this was a good arrangement. They went to the pubs for beer and we ate sushi and drank sake. Sayonnara!
FC: Discover Japan Trip with GAP 11th-29th April 2010
1: Modern Tokyo, fantastic details and utter visual chaos but everything else is working like clockwork Cranes, construction fence with details .Old and new mix seemlessly.
2: Beautiful temples (this one dedicated to the Sake Goddess Inari). Man sweeping the leaves from the pebbles in front of the temple, ceremonial cleansing before entering the temple grounds... Yes this is in Tokyo, not in Rome! Rows of Isakayas. Tons of tulip petals decorating the streets for several blocks in ornate and fun patterns.. They gave the drab streets gorgeous colours and a lovely scent. | Both Yoko Harada and Wamiko Adachi were excellent guides showing us the secrets of their city.
3: Tokyo International Forum by Rafael Vinoly. We also visited Tange's Olympic Stadium which, together with Wright's Falling Water, inspired me to study architecture | Other buildings in Central Tokyo | Floor markings to indicate level and direction changes for the visually impaired
4: Though in theory it was the height of the Cherry Blossom time it was mostly grey and rainy.. View from our first hotel over the Shinagawa station, old and new everywhere one looked. Whenever there was a square foot of space it was transformed into a garden. Umbrella stand in front of the hotel.
5: We were grateful for anyone who spoke English and all the signs that tried to make life easier for non Japanese speakers. | But some things remained a mystery for ever. | This is to "remove horny skin on your foot". | We couldn't have survived without the hot drink dispensers which were literally at every corner.
6: Hida Folk Village Takayama
7: Takayama Japanese Alps | Spring Festival The Ryokan where we stayed: snow on the cherry blossoms Floats Sake display Decorated bananas at the street food fair
8: More Takayama Scenes Food! glorious and funny | McDonald has great architecture Exchanging plastic food display
9: Extremely efficient transportation punctual and clean. Every time food service people had gone through the train compartment they turned around and bowed. Toilet seats to "park" the baby while the parent used the facilities, brilliant idea!
10: Miyajima Island near Hiroshima Wonderful temples, statues and gardens. Famous for its delicious oysters.
11: More Miyajima pictures and a view over Hiroshima. The building over which the A-bomb exploded.
12: Arita- one of many fabulous pottery villages in the Saga area. Almost every house has a studio each with widely different pottery styles. Great museum too. | Chery blossoms stuck on concrete steps Catching seaweed | Hiroshima modern architecture,. Memorial in Miyajima Wishes pinned up outside a temple.
13: Yoko's friends very generously drove us around the area to see the pottery studios and treated us to the most fabulous lunch, in our own pavillion nestled in the forest next to a little stream. Koi sashimi was one of the many courses. Top left and bottom right are pictures from their garden. He is a businessman and a Buddhist priest and she owns a large kindergarten. Both the temple, the Kindergarten and the cemetery are on their property, close to each other.
14: Total chaos and wonderful details,. Drying laundry in the streets. The tightest spot at a fast food place, thousands of people streaming by right behind the backrest of the chair. Painted elevation while building is under renovation
15: Guard Station and Public Washrooms in Ueno Park, Highrise bldgs in Tokyo and the Cube in Kyoto | Ginza by Night
16: Great Markets this one on a large Temple Court in Kyoto
17: More scenes from the Kyoto market and typical handicraft from Inatori, where grandmothers make these intricate mobiles
18: The most beautiful gardens big or tiny, every shade of green, every shade of brown artfully arranged.. Rivers of stone.
20: The fabrics in Japan are sublime! The three flowers are a window display in Tokyo's Wako department store. The faceless dolls are traditional "wishing" dolls.
21: Our relaxing stay at Ginsuiso Onsen in Inatori. We enjoyed a 23 course of delicacies served-of course- in our spacious room and a wonderful pool.
22: Inari Shrine in Fushimi outside Kyoto Kyoto had the most interesting architecture, historic areas and markets.
23: Essentially japan: Gardens, Markets, Food, Architecture Efficiency Fabrics, Pottery warm toilet seats The worst: Nato, the most awful food we ever tasted!
24: The most unforgettable museum was in Kawaguchiko, from where we were supposed to see Mt Fuji. But it was raining and we went to the museum that featured the kimonos of Itchiku Kubata. About 40 shibori kimonos depicting the changing seasons. it was mind boggling beautiful (no photography allowed). | Garden at Kimono Museum in Kawaguchiko.. Poster of Mt Fuji. Along the lake Kawaguchiko. Comic play we watched in a park.
25: Mt Fuji as we actually saw it.