Monday, July 3, 2017



Often it's the part of trip that we least plan that delight us the most, perhaps because our experiences aren't fraught with expectations, perhaps because it's an instance of all the stars aligning, who knows, but the little town of Nara was one of those surprises. Our time in Japan was running out, so we decided to take a detour on our last travel day and spend some of it in Nara, which we had read and been told was beautiful. Sometimes it can be a mistake to add on a destination in an attempt to suck the marrow, but this time it worked out, and we were able to see another little corner of this wonderful country in the time we had left.  Nara lies about an hour East of Osaka on a commuter rail spoke, and we headed there first thing in the morning, after we checked out of our hotel in Osaka,  We were able to store our luggage at the Tourist Info building just outside the Nara station.  It was going to rain off and on all day, but we found that the TI had loaner umbrellas, which is a great idea.  We each picked one, and headed out to the nearby temple park complex.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Osaka Food


We don't pretend to be the penultimate foodies--we've got far too many allergies and aversions for that. But when we heard that there is a place in Osaka called Dotonbori that celebrates all things food-related, we knew it was a destination we had to add to our list.  We had so much fun wandering around watching the animated food signs, people enthusiastically taking photos of their food, food trucks and walk-up food stands and street hawkers, oh my!

The legs on this crab move, like many of the signs on Dotonbori

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Signs in Japan


We're fond of interesting signs, and we encountered a number of them in Japan.  The text above appears to be "watch out for (or yield to?) pedestrians," though looks like the cyclist is running next to his bike, which makes it all the more confusing.

Google Translate interprets the text below as "pets are not allowed to bring in."  It's always interesting to see what specific dog breed is pictured in signs like this.


Saturday, May 27, 2017



The saying goes that while people from Kyoto will ruin themselves financially for fashion, people from Osaka will do it for a good meal. We came to Osaka to eat, but enjoyed the city for so many other reasons as well.  After dropping our bags at the hotel, and then switching rooms to one that hadn't been smoked in (there were No Smoking signs everywhere), we headed out to check out the area around the hotel. We'd chosen to stay in Dotonbori, because that is where the food stalls are, but also because it was said to be a very interesting area and close to trains and subways.


Saturday, April 22, 2017



We took a day trip to Miyajima  on Itsukushima island, just south of Hiroshima.  The island is covered in maple trees, has a large, historic shrine complex, and a massive torii in the bay, in front of Itsukushima Shrine.