Adventures in Japan

Adventures in Japan

After Tokyo we hopped a train and began exploring other regions of Japan for the next 12 days.  We visited the onsens (hot springs) in the countryside of Yudanaka, slept in a Ryokan (a traditional Japanese Inn), walked the ancient streets of old world Takayama, visited the temples of Kyoto and worked at sunrise on a soybean farm in the village of Asuka.  Some highlights from our adventures in Japan...

travel day
travel day
Yudanaka, located in the Nagano Prefecture
Yudanaka, located in the Nagano Prefecture
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Laura in our traditional Ryokan bedroom!
Laura in our traditional Ryokan bedroom!

Everyone walked the streets in their yukata, a casual Japanese summer kimono usually made of cotton or synthetic fabric...

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Sean trying not to fall in our traditional wooden shoes
Sean trying not to fall in our traditional wooden shoes

Enjoying a night on the streets with locals...

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locals teaching Sean
locals teaching Sean
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Later in the evening we grabbed dinner and took a night dip in an onsen, a traditional Japanese hot spring and bath facility used by many locals to both bathe and relax.  Men are separated and secluded on one side of the spring, women on the other - important, as all are required to strip off all clothing in order to participate in this traditional experience!

mmm mmm
mmm mmm
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The following morning we walked up the mountain to a spring particularly famous in the winter where monkeys bath often in the snow...

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monkeys at the spring
monkeys at the spring
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Laura's new friend
Laura's new friend

From Yudanaka we caught a train to Takayama, a city in Japan's mountainous Gifu Prefecture (a prefecture is a district).  Its narrow streets are lined with wooden merchant houses dating to the Edo Period (1600's)...

Laura strolling
Laura strolling
many women and children wear kimonos
many women and children wear kimonos
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shaved matcha on ice cream!
shaved matcha on ice cream!
caught in the rain
caught in the rain
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an ol

From Takayama we took a train to Kyoto, famous for having some of Japans most beautiful temples.

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the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine
the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine
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bamboo forest
bamboo forest

We ended on a soybean farm in the village of Asuka, located in Nara Prefecture.  We were up at 4am and headed to the fields, where we were worked with locals to support the soy...

our Ryokan home
our Ryokan home
dawn in Asuka
dawn in Asuka
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our final meal
our final meal
great memories in Japan!
great memories in Japan!

Such an incredible time was had in our first Asian country.  We loved the people, the culture, the food, etc... everything about Japan!  A country we hope to once again visit in our lifetime.

 

After 12 days in the quieter side of the country it was off to a city known for it's incredible skyline and great nightlife... Hong Kong!!!

5 Comments on “Adventures in Japan

  1. Again, you never disappoint. Your pictures capturing your experience are so beautiful. I actually felt the tranquility coming through with your photos.

    Missing you both,

    Mom

  2. You guys are awesome, I’m loving these updates! Why am I not surprised that Laura has found and made friends with all those monkeys?! xD I hope you had an awesome birthday, Laura! Sean – I’m totally not jealous of your epic mountain-man beard.

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