Just got back from our trip to latest Japan yesterday morning. On previous trips, I ate really great Yakitori, ate Blowfish and lived to tell about it, celebrated the new year, , learned about ritual suicide and played around with sharp swords, visited a temple in the midst of old Tokyo, and visited the hotel from Spirited Away.

PalaceThis trip was mostly a relaxing affair consisting of eating good food and lying around doing as much nothing as we could muster. Unfortunately, travelling with a 15 month old child meant that the amount of actual relaxation to be had was certain to be capped.

The most exciting part of the trip was my first ever visit to Kyoto, a beautiful city full of Shinto shrines and beautiful temples. It is also the namesake of the Kyoto Protocol.

Japan Trip
763I’ve uploaded a fair amount of photos to FaceBook, but I thought I’d share a few here along with a brief commentary. These first two shots are of a stunning building covered in gold leaf. The leaf is very securely fastened to the building. Don’t ask me how I know that.

Apparently, there’s a silver temple in Kyoto as well, but the guy building it ran out of money before it was ever covered in silver.

While in Kyoto, we stayed at the Westin Miyako Kyoto. They have two types of rooms, the traditional western style you all know and love, and the Japanese style as seen in this next photo, exquisitely modeled by my son. These consist of a single large simple room. At night, they put away the table and chairs and lay down tatami mats.

Japan Trip

Thankfully, the toilet was western style because I’m not so talented at squatting.

The landscaping and natural beauty of many of the shrines and temples were simply astounding. And it’s no accident. We saw one guy painstakingly hand picking out tiny little weeds on a huge lawn.

Japan Trip
674One of the highlights of this trip was meeting Cody’s cousin, Rio, for the first time.

Japan Trip

 Japan Trip
802 Japan Trip

As you can see in the photo, she’s already learned the fine art of giving a Wet-u Wirry (Wet Willy in English). Perhaps that’s payback for all the bear hugs Cody attempted to give her which ended becoming football tackles.

In any case, if you’re ever taking a long trip to Japan, be sure to try and fit Kyoto into your itinerary. I really love Tokyo for its Blade Runneresque hyper neon modernism, which makes a visit to Kyoto so complementary for its ancient feeling.