Adventure, Escape, Wanderlust


Japan Remembered
November 25, 2008, 5:55 pm
Filed under: Adventure | Tags: , , ,

By Karina Khechoyan

300 Year Old Garden and Local Temple in Kanazawa

300 Year Old Garden and Local Temple in Kanazawa

As part of our trip, we spent a couple of days in Kanazawa, a small picturesque town one hour away from Tokyo by small plane. The Japanese call Kanazawa “Little Kyoto” because of its beautiful 300 year old garden, the samurai castle in the center of town, geisha district, many restaurants, art shops and numerous shrines. During my time there, I saw a tea ceremony, drank sake, and even experienced beautiful geishas entertaining dinner guests.

Karina in her Kimono and the Geishas

Karina in her Kimono and the Geishas

 I stayed in a wonderful Ryokan (small country inn) in the mountains, an easy one hour bus trip from Kanazawa.  Upon entering the Ryokan, you must remove your shoes and they will disappear until it’s time for you to leave.  Kimonos are provided in every room, as well as little socks and slippers to replace your everyday footwear.

In the morning, everyone put on their kimonos for the walk to the hot springs bath (which is what the region is famous for) and undressed completely to get into the same-sex bath.  The Japanese tradition requires you to be in the bath sans bathing suit to preserve the purity of the bath water.  It was like nothing else I have ever experience and was absolutely amazing.  After emerging from the long bath, your skin will feel as smooth as silk.  A typical Japanese breakfast followed after and it consists of seafood, raw or cooked.

Japanese Outdoor Bath

Japanese Outdoor Bath

Regardless of how expensive the Ryokan of your choice might be, you will find that the bedrooms have very little furniture. Each room has a small table with pillows on the floor for sitting and at nightfall, the table will then be replaced with a very comfortable mattress on the floor, in the middle of the room.

Staying in a Ryokan allowed me to experience how the local people live, how they eat, and how they sleep. Contributing to the magic of the trip, spending a few nights at a Ryokan is like escaping the 21st century, sending you back hundreds of years to a time of peace and tranquility. 

Japan is an amazing destination filled with rich traditions and customs, beautiful art, spectacular scenery, and unforgettable dining experiences .The most special thing about Japan is the hospitality of its people, it is truly a unique and very warm experience.

 

Karina Khechoyan is a Mexico Specialist and a destination expert on Japan, Italy, France, and South America.  To book travel with Karina, please email her at kkhechoyan@lindentravel.com or visit our website for  additional information about Linden Travel, www.lindentravel.com.

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