Writing about beautiful places I have travelled to, looking at holidays pictures and remembering all those interesting, fascinating, intriguing places I travelled to, gives me such a fabulous feeling that I thought I should start a new section on my blog (any excuse to think/envisage/talk about travelling). I love travelling and I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen quite a few countries in this beautiful world. So, I’m going to share some travel inspiration here and some beautiful pictures to make us all feel great.
Drumroll to one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities I’ve visited... Kyoto (Japan). If you’ve never been to Japan then you must add it on your list, it’s a country out of this world hence I call it ‘planet Japan’.
Kyoto is an amazing city which holds some of my favourite soul pictures (these are the pictures I take in my mind, then store in my soul). It has been Japan's capital for more than 11 centuries and it is full of beautiful temples, shrines, pottery shops, wonderful gardens.
We (that’s me and my husband who, luckily, is as mad about travelling as I am) had a daily bus pass which I highly recommend. The accommodation was booked in a traditional Machiya townhouse located in the Higashiyama area of Kyoto (excellent location btw). Machiya is a traditional Japanese style home and if you want an authentic Japanese experience then booking this type of accommodation is a smart choice :)
Let me take you on a tour of my favourite temples you must visit if going to Kyoto:
Kinkaku-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple with a stunning garden and kind of my favourite. I’ve been to Kyoto twice and I had to visit it each time, it's breathtaking!
Kiyomizudera, a very close second in my temple preferences, was founded in 780 and has a remarkable beauty to it. The road leading to the temple is packed with nice crafty shops, so don’t hesitate to buy some beautiful pottery.
Ginkaku-ji is another Zen temple which has a famous sand garden; the pile of sand seen in this garden is said to symbolise Mount Fuji. This is the type of place you could easily spend a day taking hundreds of photos, so make sure you take an emergency charger for your phone/camera when you go sightseeing!
Ryoan-ji is a Zen Temple listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its garden is considered one of the (if not the) finest surviving examples of kare-sansui ("dry landscape"), a refined type of Japanese Zen temple garden design generally featuring distinctive larger rock formations arranged amidst a sweep of smooth pebbles (small, carefully selected polished river rocks) raked into linear patterns that facilitate meditation (Wikipedia). And hand on heart, you cannot not be peaceful when you look at this garden's perfection. I could've stayed a whole day there meditating...
When in Kyoto you must experience the local food, it won’t be that hard to find something you like. Traditional restaurants will have plates will foods displayed in their window, so it’ll make your choice a bit easier.
One of the trip highlights was the Japanese Tea Ceremony which was such a beautiful and peaceful experience. Masumi (the lady who performed the ceremony) explained the meaning of each object and tea practice, it was truly fascinating. Not only that you completely relax and forget about everything else, but you get to learn so much about this special ceremony...plus you nourish yourself with some high quality matcha tea :)
If you ever go to Japan, Kyoto is a great place to start your trip. There are so many shrines and temples to see that you might be inclined to visit as many of them as possible. But my advice is to take your time and enjoy them, don’t rush from one temple to the other, as long as you see the four ones I’ve mentioned above, you can consider yourself rich (in beautiful travel memories that is).