I’ve just returned from two magical weeks in Japan with my Belgian friend Lut. What an amazing country. Forget every pre-conception. It is the easiest and safest place to travel around in, because everybody is so friendly and welcoming. We saw the cherry blossoms (just) and drank hot sake under the canopy of pink petals, saw Tokyo, Kyoto, Mt. Fuji and geisha in kimonos, rode on very fast trains, bathed in hot springs, ate raw fish and many other dishes that we have no idea what they were. In fact, everything in Japan is so beautiful and aesthetic that it was often difficult to tell the table decoration from the actual food (and I’m sure we occasionally mixed them up!). I urge anyone to go. It is not as expensive as you’d think and even the language barrier is not as tall as you’d assume.
For art lovers, the woodcuts and brush paintings were exquisite. The museums are well funded and stocked with lots of space to display their treasures and the hand-made and hand-printed paper is to die for. If only I had had a bigger suitcase… (and a bigger budget!) One of the highlights was certainly the Open Air Museum in Hakone at the foot of Mount Fuji. Imagine world class sculpture set amid gorgeous Japanese gardens. Even the rain did not spoil things. The other highlight was the temple mountain of Koyasan with its Buddhist minimalism and ancient moss-covered monuments.
I could go on like this, but instead I will place some photos below.