I’ve been back a few weeks, I should probably mention the second half of the trip!
Last time I put up some photos with no explanation. Kudos to BrownieGuideLeader for correctly identifying the temples.
After that, we went to Ise, to the grand shrine there, which is in a forest which has trees which are wider than I am tall.
Which is awesome. In the actual technically correct meaning of the word.
As in, I was filled with awe at the sight.
They rebuild the shrine to exact specifications every 20 years – something to do with death and rebirth and the impermanence of nature.
On the way we stopped at a ninja museum. Because when you’re in Japan with a group of martial artists, why would you not?
I loved Okinawa. It was warm (think shorts and tshirts and lots of sweating). The people were friendly. The sights were varied and interesting.
I would very much enjoy going back.
One of the entertaining things about the trip was the hire car. Which had sat nav. The sat nav had “English mode”, which meant that it gave directions in English. Unfortunately you still needed to read Japanese to be able to program it!
It was certainly educational.
Anyway, we managed to use it well enough to get places.
We went to a castle – the royal palace of the Kingdom of the Ryukyus. Which is what Okinawa was before the Japanese invaded.
We also visited “Okinawa World”, where there is a long cave full of stalagmites and stalactites, and a bunch of touristy historical stuff.
The museum was great – I learnt a lot and the displays were interesting. Shame we didn’t have a little longer, really.
Back on the mainland, we discovered our hotel had an onsen built in. Proper traditional set up, which was interesting but meant I got bored very quickly – segregated by sex due to nudity, and by this point in the trip I was the only girl.
Still, the bath was gorgeously hot and very relaxing. Well worth trying if you ever happen to be in Japan.
Our flight home was as boring as any 11 hour flight would be, but did have some stunning views. I’ll leave you with this vast desolate lesson in just how much of our planet most of us never see.