The days of fluffy rain are slowly coming to an end in the land of sushi, which means one thing, drunken parties in the park. These drunken park parties are more commonly known as Hanami and coincide with the blooming of the second most magical thing in Japan, cherry blossoms. Being a certified Japan expert, and having spent a total of one spring in Japan, I feel I am exceptionally qualified to give you all the insider hints as to the best cherry blossoms spots (how to see them and how to partake in a bit of public drinking). However, I’ve unfortunately only been qualified as a certified expert in the areas of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Himeji and Takasago. I wasn’t interested in taking the elective of Tokyo, so I only have information for there from google, which I trust you all know how to use. However ,despite from my lack of education in all areas of Japan, I do know about the best areas of Japan, so let’s jump right into Melissa’s Guide to Cherry Blossoms.
When it comes to Japan there is no greater symbol than the giant that is Mt. Fuji. Standing at 3776 metres tall, this monolithic volcano even has its own emoji (🗻). Not even Mt. Everest can make this claim to fame. For millions of people, this is a bucket list destination and, as I bought my bucket from the same 100yen store as those other people, it’s a place I’ve also wanted to visit. Well, 2018 is the year to make my dreams a reality, or some stupid resolution like that, so I went to see this mountain for myself. Here is Melissa’s Guide to Mt. Fuji.
A cooling breeze drifts through my open window, bringing with it the scent of the fragrant Kinmokusei trees and the distant strains of repetitive drum beats. This can only mean one thing, autumn has come to the land of the rising sun. Unlike the pictured Japan, autumn does not start with brilliant coloured leaves, but instead starts with something just as interesting, and just as worth seeing, Autumn Festivals (in Japanese – Aki Matsuri). For the first few weeks of October, instead of cars driving down the street, you can see massive Yatai carried by groups of scantily clad men. On certain days, you can watch elaborate religious parades, and if you’re lucky, you can watch a Yatai fight. Thankfully, I live in an area famed for its Autumn Festivals, and I consider them to be one of the best cultural experiences Japan has to offer. Therefore, I’m obviously going to provide you with a Melissa’s Guide to Japanese Autumn Festivals*.
As you may have gathered from my previous post, my parents came to visit me in Japan last week. I spent 8 days playing tour guide, giving them as much of a taster, of Japan, as I could cram into our limited time together. We managed to cover Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Arima and my current home town of Takasago, in that time. Also, while we were together, my parents brought me my birthday/Christmas present of a new DSLR camera. I therefore have a heap of photos of these places and I wanted a way to share them with you. I’m therefore going to be doing a series of travel related blog posts, highlighting the places I’ve visited while living in Japan. Hopefully these posts give you some ideas for your own travels to Japan, and also keep you updated about my life living overseas. And now all that’s out of the way, onto today’s blog post.
Characterised by its vermillion tori gates Fushimi Inari Taisha can be found a short train trip from the heart of Kyoto. This Shinto shrine is dedicated to the god, Inari. Primarily he is the god of rice, but also does a roaring side trade in being the patron god of businesses. Therefore, to get in Inari’s good books and to get business booming, many companies have donated tori gates to the shrine. Thousands of these gates now line trails spanning about 4 kilometres, on the mountainside above the main shrine.