KYOTO - Japan's Treasure Box; and a side trip to NARA

Oh my God, I'm such a tourist: Visiting Japan, I had all these iconic motives in my head that I wanted to ban on....well, there is no celluloid anymore, so on a storage chip.


Geishas at Kyoto
Yes, this is such a stunning sight. However, according to my experience, every Geisha under the age of 55 is prone to be a
Chinese tourists in disguise. Sometimes stunning just the same.

Interestingly, quite a few of them are to be found in the former capital Kyoto, practically Japan's Treasure Box.
Although after over a thousand years, Kyoto lost this political status in 1868, it is still considered the country's cultural capital and a major tourist magnet. It is home to numerous Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, palaces, and gardens, many of which are listed collectively by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

TAKAYAMA - a travel back in time; and a side trip to SHIRAKAWAGO

Ready for a trip back in time? For narrow alleys lined with old wooden merchants’ houses dating to the Edo Period? For a dozen fascinating museums? For platters of Hida Beef that just melts in your mouth?
If so, Takayama, nestled between the mountains of the Gifu prefecture, is the perfect place for you.


Shirakawago view of the village and bye:myself
Once in Shirakawago, you absolutely have to walk up to the Ogimachi observation deck.
There is already a photographer with a couple of props waiting for you - say cheese!

And although it might be already challenging enough to fit all the landmarks downtown Takayama into your itinerary, you should, nonetheless, by no means miss a little side trip to Shirakawago village - which even made it to the World Heritage Site list in 1995.

NAGOYA - enjoy the ordinary

Tourist attraction wise, Nagoya has by far less to offer than Tokyo or let alone Kyoto.

I would say that brands like Mitsubishi, Toyota, and even Shinkansen - all settled in Nagoya - sound more familiar than the city's own name.


bye:myself at Nagoya Castle in Japan
Shogun for a day.

I guess that's the reason why most foreign visitors just skip Japan's fourth-largest city located on the Pacific coast in favor of the more glamorous metropolis.

Honestly, I don't even remember why I squeezed a day in Nogaya in my bursting itinerary.

However, I appreciated Nagoya as a relaxing break from the pressure to see and visit as much as possible in one day. I took the time to devour all those overwhelming new impressions and just enjoyed an ordinary day at an ordinary city in Japan.

KAWAGUCHI-KO - taking a shot at Mount Fuji

I've heard that there are people travelling periodically to the region west of Tokyo just to take a good shot of Mount Fuji.

This is the picture I wanted to shoot.
I didn't.
The person credited below did.
(Photo: Kpravin2, Mount Fuji Japan with Snow, Lakes and Surrounding Mountains, CC BY-SA 4.0)

This majestic, perfectly shaped volcano - that erupted lastly in 1707 - seems to be hiding behind clouds most of the time so that it can be a challenge - or a hobby - hunting the best view. Or at least a glimpse.

No, I won't spend my leisure time travelling periodically to the region west of Tokyo. However, after my trip to Hakone had been Fuji-wise a wash-out - literally, I decided to take another shot - and this time hopefully not only at, but also of the mountain.

HAKONE OPEN AIR MUSEUM - at the height of beauty

Mount Fuji is certainly one of Japan's most mesmerizing and iconic sights: A perfectly shaped cone, its top coated by a hood of snow - no wonder this sacred mountain is on top of every visitor's list.


Sunnyside up: At Hakone's outdoor gallery, visitors are invited to become one with the art - literally.

Although on clear days, you can be lucky to spot it all the way from Tokyo, most people take a day trip either to the Fujigoko Fuji Five Lake region at the northern foot of the mountain or to Hakone, a hot spring region with many grand places to experience....like the Hakone Open Air Museum, an outdoor gallery at the height of beauty.

TOKYO - introduction to 10 extraordinary neighborhoods

Tokyo - my first encounter with Japanese everyday life and culture - left a good impression and prepared me for more to come.


Students at Tokyo in Japan
A warm and fun welcome to Tokyo by these sweet ambassadors.

Tokyo - the first cut is the deepest, but this one didn't hurt at all - so let me introduce you to 10 extraordinary neighborhoods.

BRUSSELS'n'BEYOND - day trips to ANTWERP, BRUGES, and GHENT

I'm a busy body with a chronic case of FOMO and Belgium got the cure: Belgium is relatively small, actually, the fifth smallest country of the European Union. It slumbers there nestled between Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Luxemburg pretty much undisturbed in the middle of the continent, not bragging with its beauty. And beauties it has all right!


Bruges - Historium
Dreaming of being a princess? Well, I go all the way and become king!

During my stay in Brussels, Belgium's and secretly also Europe's capital, I actually managed to visit three other beautiful cities, one more intriguing than the other so that I list them here fair and square in alphabetic order: Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent.