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Japanese Favorites

January 23, 2013

Well after living in Japan for two years and having made 3 additional trips I think I can make a few recommendations about traveling there. These are just a few of the things that I thought about on my recent trip there. Keep in mind I have only visited the main island of Honshu, but these are my favorite examples.
Favorite Castle – Himeji. There are only 13 original castles left, of which this is the most massive and most gorgeous.
Favorite Temple – Zenkoji in Nagano. It has it all, great Buddhas, excellent landscaping, a cool gate, beautiful architecture, and a cool underground tunnel you walk through in complete darkness to achieve the key to heaven. The little market shops on the way up are also my favorites in Japan.
Favorite Buddha – Kamakura. He’s big, he’s bronze, he’s in a sweet little valley surrounded by trees. He’s also surrounded by pretty cool temples.
Favorite Shrine – Meiji in Tokyo. The massive torii (gates), the simplicity, the evergreens, the ambiance make it pretty amazing.
Favorite Tourist Trap – Kinkakoji in Kyoto. It is supposed to be a temple, but really it is just a beautiful golden building in a beautiful landscape. But let’s reiterate…it’s beautiful.
Favorite Small Town – Magome. Old, historically preserved town along an old road where you can hike to the next town of Tsumago (also really cool.)
Favorite Department Store – Mitsukoshi. I just like it the best, classy without being uppity.
Favorite Conbini (Convenience Store) – Family mart. They carried Snickers before anyone else and they have my favorite egg salad sandwiches.
Favorite Japanese Word – Honto. It means really. Usually used as a question. Honto? Really? Runners up include sugoi (awesome) and ooishii (delicious).

These are just a few of the things that I thought about on my recent trip there.

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