there are a lot more photos from japan that i want to post than i had originally thought and there will definitely be a third post for this series. who knows, maybe even a fourth. these first few are from tokyo. we spent four full days there before we starting moving across the island to the west coast.
we slept in tokyo on the fourth night and on the fifth day we took a day trip to nikko which is about an hour north and boasts the nikko national park, a UNESCO world heritage site. it houses a great deal of impressive temples and shrines. the drizzle that day didn’t get in the way of the beauty of this place – it was only a little annoying trying to keep our cameras dry the whole day.
the next day we packed up and took the train west to takayama, where we spent two lovely days exploring the small town, tasting absolutely everything there is to taste at their market (in other words, getting full off samples) and drinking sake the way it is meant to be drunk (in wooden, square cups and with salt on the side). in takayama i learned how generous and welcoming the japanese can be. the owner of the guest house we stayed at was so genuinely excited to meet us and enthusiastic about giving us tips about how to plan our days and where to eat. takayama is famous for their beef, hida beef, and tasting it was kind of a highlight for me. it was our first time sleeping in a traditional japanese room, with tatami floors and futons for beds. it was also our first time exercising what we had read about japanese etiquette, taking off our shoes before entering a home or a certain part of a home and keeping our voices down – a difficult feat for israelis, even courteous ones such as ourselves – since doors are, quite literally, made of paper.
the day after that we took a bus to shirakawa-go, a historical village with the most incredible houses – they built them with angled rooftops to keep snow from collecting during the harsh winters. they were truly breathtaking. also breathtaking was the abundance of gigantic spiders in this village. i say breathtaking because i found myself out of breath when i realized i was surrounded by them. daniel, on the other hand, enjoyed taking close-ups of them that actually make me shiver and scrunch my face in disgust. shirakaway-go is also a UNESCO world heritage site, by the way. there are about a billion total in japan – we visited at least half of them.