From December 2010

Christmas at Marsh View

On Christmas Eve I made the 18 hour journey from Shenzhen to my hometown in the UK; Norwich in Norfolk to spend the festive season at my parents home a little way outside the city center. Unlike last year they knew I was coming so there were no big surprises, only the inevitable jet lag brought on by the 8 hour time shift. Read more

9 hours Designer Capsule Hotel

I’ve been lucky enough to stay at some very nice hotels over the past couple of years but in Japan I was on a tight budget and determined to try something a little different. Originally created for businessmen who worked too late to catch the last train home, capsule hotels (カプセルホテル) have developed as an economical alternative to normal hotels in a country where space comes at a premium. Read more

Northern Higashiyama Photo Walk

After visiting Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari Taisha earlier in the day my next stop in Kyoto was Northern Higashiyama (東山区) for an afternoon stroll through some of the idyllic gardens and temples there. Without wanting to repeat myself too much I’ll leave you to marvel at some of the well-preserved heritage and natural beauty on show here… Read more

Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Stone Buddhas

As you might have already guessed from my previous posts Kyoto has a huge number of temples and shrines. In fact there are over 2000, both large and small, which makes choosing which to visit a bit tricky – it’s well worth picking up the Kyoto (Lonely Planet City Guide) to work out where you want to go. If temples aren’t your thing then you might want to skip todays post or Kyoto altogether… Read more

Life Without Language

Undoubtedly one of, if not the, hardest things about living in a foreign country is dealing with the language barrier. Unless you’re a natural linguist then life suddenly becomes a blur of indistinguishable sounds which can be quite disorienting at first. In the past I’ve equated this with going deaf but this is a poor analogy since tone and volume can also be valuable indicators of what someone is trying to express. Read more

Arashiyama Tenryū-ji Bamboo Forest

On my second day in Kyoto thick clouds hung in the air as I made my way to the north-west outskirts of the city to explore the districts of Arashiyama (嵐山) and Sagano. After a fifteen minute journey on the Sagano Line from Nijō Station (near the hostel I was staying at) I arrived and made my way through the quiet streets to my first destination… Read more

Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine

After a rather wet afternoon exploring Southern Higashiyama I headed towards the city center to find the guest house I would be staying in that night. To be perfectly honest I don’t usually like hostels but this particular place got excellent reviews and considering how expensive hotels are in Japan it seemed like a good option. Read more

A Wet Welcome To Kyoto

I spent the second half of my recent trip to Japan in Kyoto (京都); formerly the imperial capital of the country which carries the reputation as its most beautiful city. Having taken an early morning Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo I arrived a little over two hours later at what must be one of the most magnificent stations I’ve ever seen… Read more