Two years ago around this time I took a trip to Japan with grad school classmates. It was an amazing trip organized by Japanese students attending Columbia (most of whom are back in Japan these days working for their government), which meant they organized and guided us through their home cities making sure we got to see, eat, and do as much as possible. Now that I work full-time, I find myself dreaming about my next trip to somewhere far, far, away, but while I plot that, I figured I should share some photos from Japan that I never got around to two years ago.
We started out trip in Kyoto — a city I hope to return to some day. Like the Japanese ladies below, we got dressed in kimonos (minus face paint) and walked around seeing temples, eating, and enjoying warm weather.
Kiyomizu-dera temple above Kyoto:
Kyoto’s Golden temple, also known as Kinkaku-ji:
The morning we arrived in Kyoto, we had the option of going to a Buddhist temple to hear some chanting. It was a really lovely way to start the trip as the sun rose.
Kyoto, and all the other cities we saw, have really modern interesting train stations.
From Kyoto we moved by high-speed train to Tokyo — another city I want to revisit at some point in the future. As part of Columbia subsidizing part of the cost of the trip, we met with government officials for the academic component. All I can say is Japanese government offices are the neatest and cleanest I have seen anywhere in the world.
A wedding ceremony in Tokyo:
One of the main highlights for me in Tokyo was waking up at 3 a.m. and going to the Tsukiji fish market, famous from movies including “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” It was very interesting to watch massive tunas being auctioned off and of course the sushi and sashimi we ate afterwards was the best I’ve ever had and will probably ever have in my life.
Our hotels were a mix of traditional and western. I really enjoyed sleeping on floor mats.
We also visited Japan’s Tohoku region, the area hit by the 2011 tsunami and earthquake. I don’t have any great photos (it was raining and snowing). It was fascinating to see both the recovery and the amount of devastation. We drove through one area where we could see just how high the water was, it was hard to fathom.
Japan Eats: Oh man, all I can say is looking at these photos makes me hungry. A girl can dream… Now where should I go next?