Japan in 7 days – Part Two

In the spotlight

This post follows on from my previous post, Japan in 7 days.  We spent less than 24 hours in Kyoto, which was far too brief. The ancient city cast her spell and I’ve made a pledge to return and explore her cobbled streets, wander through the temples that breathe colour into the monotonal city, dine at the shoe box-sized restaurants and absorb the Japanese way of life – so different to my chaotic life. Under the cloak of autumn (we were in Japan in November), the Japanese gardens were burning with colour.

It was the same situation with Tokyo: a miso soup sniff of the shiny, new city was all we had  time for. With a busy toddler in tow, I didn’t have the inkling nor the head space to wander into any over-priced boutiques, which was probably a blessing for my bank account.

I can vouch for the following hotels in Kyoto and Tokyo, who over-delivered in service at every turn.

Hotel Granvia, Kyoto

The Shiodome, Royal Park Hotel, Tokyo – we got special rates here, so it was within our budget.

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This was the first temple we visited in Kyoto and we were blown away with the intricacies of this hidden garden in the heart of this ants’ nest of a city.

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Buttercup yellow leaves fringe one of the lakes in the temple garden.

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Between visiting art galleries, shops and temples we had to take time out for Miss Finn so she could play, explore, run and tumble by herself without being strapped into a pram. I felt so safe in Japan with Finn, I could comfortably sit at a park bench and watch from afar. Or I could run after her leaving the pram with my handbag knowing it wouldn’t be flogged. This was a refreshing change compared to other countries where we’re watching a toddler and our personal belongings.

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I love how quickly children make friends regardless of language, cast or creed. This little girl took a real shine to Finn, the parents were lovely and we giggled together as we watched the children play.

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An ancient pathway leading to shrines that sat cheek-to-cheek. With a lot of the temples that we visited in Kyoto I felt we could only appreciate the beauty of our surrounds and missed out on the historical or religious significance as the signage and brochures were predominately in Japanese. I would hire an English speaking guide next time we visit.

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Run, run, run. Trying to wear this little girl out at the Emperor’s Palace Gardens in Tokyo. Do you like her jacket? We bought it in a shopping centre that has an entire level dedicated to children’s clothing. I underestimated the chill factor, so this was an emergency purchase.

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A perfect juxtaposition of old-world Japan and new-world Japan.

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This little globetrotter is a magnet towards drains, which makes me nervy. Plop, she drops pebbles into the narrow cracks time and time again. Better entertainment than the Wiggles on her iPad!

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Finn loved this concrete playground in the heart of Tokyo, she would throw the leaves up in the air and watch them flutter to the ground.

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I yearned to be treading through this grove of trees astride a horse when I took this.

 

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