All posts by Janet

Japan: Days Six and Seven

Day 6:

We traveled from Hakone to Tokyo in the morning. Janet spent the afternoon exploring Harajuku, a trendy neighborhood with shops selling girly and goth styled items. We enjoyed cocktails at the Westin lounge before a life-changing sushi dinner. The chef described each piece of sushi to us, and even showed us the fish it came from!


Fancy shopping street, Harajuku


Necklaces, Harajuku


Outfit on display, Harajuku


Takeshita Street, Harajuku


Sushi menu



Tokyo at sunset


Enjoying an amazing sushi dinner


The chef at work


Sushi art!


Day 7:
We began the day with a trip to Tokyo’s famous fish market. What a chaotic and busy place! We explored the Akihabara neighborhood, then changed hotels (to a traditional Japanese-style ryokan. We visited the Shibuya area. It reminded us of Times Square! Then we went out for a nice dinner for Janet’s last night in Tokyo.

These carts were darting everywhere around the market! We thought we would get run over!    
This one had a bit of a large load!
The expensive fish!
A market stall    
Still swimming!
Fish for sale
The Tokyo Sky Tree and the Golden Poo 🙂
“The Scramble” at Shibuya station — about 1000 people cross the street each time the light changes!



Japan: Day Five

We climbed a mountain! Mt. Kintoki, to be exact. At the top, we had an amazing view of Mt. Fuji. Then we went to a beautiful onsen (hot spring) for a nice soak to relax. 

Climbing Mt. Kintoki


Not a gentle hike…
Beautiful tree cover for half the hike
Our halfway there shot…it only got harder from here

The view of Mt. Fuji!
Happy to be at the top!

Japan: Days Three and Four

Day 3:

We explored the Nishiki market, then had lunch in the department store basement (where there are many counters each selling a different type of food). In the afternoon, Nuri visited Nijo-jo Castle, and Janet went on a quest to buy some better shoes…not an easy task as all the Japanese women’s shoes were too small! For the evening, we had arranged a Nagomi visit — dinner with a local family in their home. Eiko prepared a delicious meal of sashimi for us, and we enjoyed sharing conversation about Japan and the US. 

Octopus balls!

Shoes worn with summer kimonos, Nishiki Market
Nijo-jo Castle
Good food, conversation, and a cute baby!

Day 4:

We spent the morning visiting Fushimi Inari-taisha, a very popular Shinto shrine. Then we were headed to Hakone, a small mountain town near Mt. Fuji. To get there, we took the shinkansen (a super-fast train, 300 km/hr!), followed by a local train, then yet another train that took us up the mountain through a series of switchbacks! We enjoyed a relaxing evening at our guesthouse, chatting with fellow travelers from Germany and Australia. 

Fushimi Inari-taisha
Fushimi Inari-taisha
Fushimi Inari-taisha (It was a bit crowded!)
Fushimi Inari-taisha
Fushimi Inari-taisha
The shinkansen train!
Local train to Hakone (a bit different!)
Enjoying the beautiful views on the way to Hakone

Japan: Days One and Two

Day One:

Our flight from Korea was delayed… Another typhoon! We arrived in Osaka in the afternoon and caught a train to Kyoto. We got settled in to our room and walked (in the pouring rain) to have sushi for dinner, then to a craft beer bar. 


We’re in Japan!!!
Crazy ticket machines for the metro
Enjoying some conveyor belt sushi

Day Two:

No rain today! We visited the Tenryū-ji  Temple in Arashiysma. It has a beautiful Zen garden dating to the 14th century! Then we headed over to Higashiyama, for a visit to the Nanzen-ji Temple. We wandered through the Higashiyama and Gion neighborhoods, and ended up having Spanish tapas for dinner! 


Lotus flower
Zen garden, Nanzen-ji Temple
Moss in the Zen garden
Nanzen-ji Temple
Engraved stone tablet, Nanzen-ji Temple
The bamboo forest


Bamboo selfie?
Gate at Nanzen-ji Temple
Zen garden, Shoren-in Temple
Restaurant entryway
Cars are tiny here!
Yasaka Shrine
We saw a geisha!!
Evening in Higashiyama

Korea: Day Six

We needed a rest day. We took it easy in the morning, had Chinese food for lunch, then traveled by KTX train 30 minutes to Busan in the afternoon (first class!). We visited Shinsegae, the world’s largest department store. It has a spa, an ice skating rink, many restaurants, a movie theatre, and, inexplicably, dinosaurs on the roof! We relaxed at Spaland… the baths and saunas felt amazing for our sore muscles, and finished our evening at the fancy Westin with some cocktails overlooking the beach. 


Laundry day!
Mascots of Gyeong-ju
Gyeong-ju Station
First class selfie!

Shinsegae store directory
Looking down from the top of the store
The cocktails were stupid expensive… but the view was pretty awesome.

Korea: Day Five

Our day began with morning chanting in the temple at 4:30, followed by seated meditation outside on the deck overlooking the mountains. We loved meditating with all the bird and insect sounds around us. Next, walking meditation, then finally it was time for breakfast! Then Sunmudo training again, this time focused on yoga, followed by tea with the Grand Master of the temple, then a Sunmudo demonstration. A temple day is busy and full! We really enjoyed our time there, but we are SO SORE! We stayed the night in Gyeong-ju at a charming guesthouse, and went out for an amazing vegetarian Korean dinner followed by a walk in the town.  


Sunmudo demonstration
Sunmudo demonstration
Sunmudo demonstration
Sunmudo demonstration
Sunmudo demonstration
Sunmudo demonstration
The temple
The temple
Art decorating our dormitory building
The Bellus Rose, Gyeong-ju, a bit different from the temple!

Just part of the damage from a seven course vegan Korean meal
Waiting, waiting, waiting for the bus after dinner

Korea: Day Four

Travel day! First, off to the train station to catch a train to Gyeong-ju. We easily found our bus to the city center, where we changed to yet another bus, which dumped us off on the side of the road on the middle of nowhere! After a nice walk, we arrived at our templestay — Golgulsa Temple, a Buddhist temple that is headquarters for Sunmudo, a meditative martial art. After a delicious vegetarian dinner, we participated in the bowing and listened to the evening chanting of the Buddhist teachings. Then it was time for our 90-minute Sunmudo training! Wow, what a workout! Fun, but extremely challenging!


Sidewalks? Not here! Mountains, streams, and fresh air? Plenty.
Walking to the temple
The temple gate
In our training clothes
The 1500 year old stone Buddha at the temple.
The view from the Buddha – we understand why it was built here!
Preparing for evening chanting
After Sunmudo training!
Our beds: thin pads on the floor

Korea: Day Three

We visited the National Folklore Museum, the Coex Mall (maybe the largest underground mall?…it was huge!), and walked around the Gangnam district. Janet got to buy cute stuff!!


Our lovely guesthouse, Mansion 126
Korean breakfast
Folklore Museum (Nuri is tall!)
Looking into the comic shop, in an oldtime street at the Folklore Museum
Star Wars poster, oldtime street at Folklore Museum
Kimchi making day!
The Kimchi Information System!
The museum was deserted
Our favorite meal so far, sprout bibimbop. So many veggies!!

In the Seoul metro — so clean and efficient, and great signs!
The Hyundai department store…so fancy!
Don’t Gangnam Style??
Gangnam District
Gangnam District
Gangnam District
Gangnam District
Metro trip during rush hour…reminded us of New York!
Some of Janet’s bounty of cute stuff