Japan: Castles, Temples, and Okonomiyaki.

We stumbled on the coolest graveyard outside of Kiyomuzi temple.

We stumbled on the coolest graveyard outside of Kiyomuzi temple.

Last fall’s excursion to Everland was definitely a great time, but I decided to ramp up my Chuseok break this time. Japan was on the ticket for this vacation. After Tokyo this spring, I heard that Kyoto is the next place to go. My brother was visiting for the week, so I had some company this time around. We split the five days between Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, and a brief excursion to Himeji.

Kyoto

It was surprisingly large... this was about a quarter of it.

It was surprisingly large… this was about a quarter of it.

Kyoto is one of the most relaxing cities I've been in.

Kyoto is one of the most relaxing cities I’ve been in.

Okonomiyaki. Mmmmm...

Okonomiyaki. Mmmmm…

Bamboo garden. Also much bigger than I expected.

Bamboo garden. Also much bigger than I expected.

Frogger McHopperson.

Frogger McHopperson.

The Japanese make the best gardens.

The Japanese make the best gardens.

Kinkakuji. The Golden Pavillion.

Kinkakuji. The Golden Pavillion.

Two roads diverged in an orange wood...

Two roads diverged in an orange wood…

The tori gates at Fushimi Inari.

The tori gates at Fushimi Inari.

Nara

Todaiji Temple. One of the largest wooden buildings in the world.

Todaiji Temple. One of the largest wooden buildings in the world.

Dressing up as a Geisha is the hip thing to do in Nara and Kyoto.

Dressing up as a Geisha is the hip thing to do in Nara and Kyoto.

The building on the right is a model of the Todaiji temple, built in the 18th century. The building on the left is a model of the 8th century building, which 30% larger.

The building on the right is a model of the Todaiji temple, built in the 18th century. The building on the left is a model of the 8th century building, which 30% larger.

Sunset over Nara.

Sunset over Nara.

Nara is known for the massive amounts of deer that roam freely through the town.

Nara is known for the massive amounts of deer that roam freely through the town.

Osaka

The Osaka Castle.

The Osaka Castle.

From the Floating Garden observatory, Osaka at night.

From the Floating Garden observatory, Osaka at night.

The other side of the observatory.

The other side of the observatory.

Himeji

From the Himeji Castle.

From the Himeji Castle.

The emblems of the clans that built the castle.

The emblems of the clans that built the castle.

And finally, a peaceful walk through another garden before a stressful trip back to the airport.

And finally, a peaceful walk through another garden before a stressful trip back to the airport.

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