Sunday Selections – Travel Surprises

Japan was never a country on my visit list. However, when I received an invitation for a paid work trip to Kyoto, Japan, I thought, “What the heck?” And what a brilliant adventure it was!

Detailing on Higashi Hongan-ji Temple, Kyoto Sunflowers in Higashi Hongan-ji Temple, Kyoto

I had never been to a country where I did not know the language, for starters.
Thankfully, being a work trip, I had excellent hosts.

Shinkansen train ticket

I had lived in Asia before so aspects were not totally foreign, like food,
but even I have to say, rice and fish for breakfast were not my cup of tea.

Japanese Food Display

I found maps and was game to do some of my own exploring. I just hoped
my sense of direction (which my hubby says is faulty – hey, I still get left and
right confused), would get me back to my hotel safe and sound.

Map of Imperial Palace Park, Kyoto

The cultural attractions were enlightening. Japanese culture is so deeply
ingrained in the lives of its people. Ancient traditions have a strong foothold,
despite the easy embrace of hi-tech modernity.

I also found the historical intersection with China quite fascinating especially
in how it’s impacted the language.

Munakata Shrine, Imperial Palace Park, Kyoto

The 100 yen, think $2, shops were a treat and the gorgeous ceramics and
pottery so very affordable.

Japanese ceramics and pottery

The country is dotted with interesting temples and shrines. I was told the best
way to remember if a place was a shrine or a temple was to remember
“Shinto Shrine, Buddhist Temple”. After the first dozen or so visits, however,
I’d had my fill.

Kinkakuji, Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoto

I have had the pleasure to go back again since my first visit and would no
longer hesitate putting Japan on my future visit list!


I’m joining with Kim from Frogpondsrock for her Sunday Selections. Anyone can join the fun. There’s no caveat that you be a brilliant photographer. The motivation is to just share your old photos. All you need to do once you’ve found your selection is to write your “Sunday Selections” post, add your photos, link back to Kim, and then add your name to her Linky list at Frogpondsrock.


7 thoughts on “Sunday Selections – Travel Surprises

    • Yes, I was truly surprised by my trips to Japan. Was even brave enough to travel on my own the second time too. Just researched everything online in English before hand so I knew what to expect. Got to Nagoya, Osaka. Also ended up at Sendai and briefly in Tokyo. You do need to visit.

    • Thank you and thanks for visiting. I know. I love them. I bought quite a few different ones, as well as received some as gifts. Thankfully, none cracked on my way home. I’ve been tempted to buy more locally, when I see them, but I just can’t get myself to part with my money knowing how cheap they are in Japan.

  1. We had many Japanese students stay with us as I grew up, so I have long wanted to go. Although I have never been there I do feel it is a piece of me. I would have the same worries as you though, especially the language and getting around.

    Surely having those pigeons sit on your arms would be distracing! LOL

    • Hi! Thanks for visiting. I work with Japanese universities and students so have been around snippets of the culture for some years but being in the country itself was such an eye-opener. It is amazing how much you can pre-plan on the internet before travelling but having at least one person who knows English in the country (a colleague) helped tremendously. Also using university websites for visiting foreign exchange students was a great help. Japan is a wonderful travel memory. I am glad that Providence let me go despite my own lack of intention. BTW, I see you love Pinterest on your blog. I’ve become quite addicted myself!

  2. I would like to visit Japan so thank you for the pleasant daydream as I spent time looking deeply at your photos. I am sorry it took me so long to get over here this week but I am still tired from my weekend away. Thanks :)x

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