Thompson Travelers

Travel is a way to be lost…and found…all at the same time

Category: Japan Page 2 of 5

Osaka Castle

We’ve moved to a different hotel,  27 miles from Kyoto to Osaka, the third largest city in Japan, after Tokyo and Yokahama.  Historically, this city is the commercial center for Japan, along with having a busy nightlife.  As fun as it was to stay in a Japanese ryokan, wearing kimonos around the hotel and sleeping on tatami mats on futons on the floor, we are thrilled to be back in a western style hotel and have a fluffy bed again!

Yes, that’s a cherry tree on the right…

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Sakamoto is eight miles from Kyoto, or 20 minutes by train.  We found a brochure in our hotel and based on a recommendation in broken Japanese by the concierge, we took a chance on the unknown today and headed for the Sakamoto cable railway.  The eleven minute tram ride is the longest in Japan which takes us straight up the hill into Mt Hiei, a hidden mountainous community which has been the home of  an entire network of ancient temples and shrines.

Enryakuji Temple – main hall entrance

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Kyoto, Japan

We said Sayonara to Tokyo and headed 360 miles southwest to Kyoto on the bullet train. The ride seemed short because that train is so smooth and quiet. We just love the bullet train!!

Kyoto is a smaller city than Tokyo with a population of 1.5 million. It was also the capital of Japan for more than 1000 years until the capital was moved to Tokyo. Kyoto was spared from bombing during WWII, so luckily, it still has many of its prewar buildings, made of wood with shiny, tile roofs.

Kyoto house

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