Arriving in Kyoto late afternoon meant quickly checking into our hotel, dumping all our luggage and heading out to explore what the city had to offer. Formerly the capital city of Japan, with one of the country’s highest number of Buddhist temples in its vicinity, Kyoto was a perfect mix of old and new. While in Kyoto we explored the majestic and magical bamboo forests of Arashiyama though on the way there we got off at the wrong stop at Namikawa, which turned into an impromptu picnic and a nice change of pace to our other hectic days in Japan’s major cities. Walking through the bamboo forest, exploring around town and seeing the Shinto shrines could only be described as magical and peaceful.
Another highlight of the trip was visiting Nara – where deer play a huge role in the town’s livelihood both monetarily and spiritually. The deer are seen as messengers of the Gods or as some believe are in their Shinto form, tourists and Japanese alike flock to see, touch, feed and walk among these majestic, adorably cute creatures. You can buy these special biscuits which you can feed the deer – any other food is prohibited and probably really unhealthy for them anyway. We had deer following, pushing, nudging and stalking us for more!
Visiting Japan really awakened my love for my ancestry and culture – there’s still so much I need to learn and I honestly cannot wait to go back and see more of the country; this trip only touched the surface of what Nihon has to offer. From the culture, the people, the food, the amazing shopping (more posts on the amazing things I’ve bought soon!), the lifestyle and the surrounding natural beauty – Japan I will see you soon!