Sitting here on a sunny Saturday morning in Melbourne, writing this post and looking at the photos from my 3-week trip in Japan(I’ve probably done it an unhealthy number of times since May), I know that it really won’t be very long before I decide to visit again. I am way too in love with everything that Japan is, have way too many friends there and am way too close to miss out on another trip there, possibly in the next couple of years, not to mention that Japanese food changed my taste buds, like, forever.
My favourite part of Japan and one which is rich in local character and sights is definitely the Kansai region, and while I’ve already spent a while there getting to know Kyoto, Osaka and Nara, there’s still more to see and do. Because while these three spots would definitely be considered the super stars of this part of Japan, there is more.
Speaking of more, there is Ise. I actually visited Ise from Nagoya while staying with an Japanese friend, which means I had the pleasure of being there with a local, which to me is just the bee’s knees.
There are parts of Ise which are very, very photogenic, and let’s say that visiting on a sunny day helped. Come walk the streets of Ise with me…
The river-side street leading up to Ise Jingu is lined with traditional Japanese wooden structures, so you’ll find Seven Elevens, banks and even vending machine fitting this style.
You can easily spend a couple of hours just browsing for quality souvenirs and eating from one of the many restaurants, followed by tasting Japanese sweets, which for me, are still an acquired taste.
Frog statue at Meoto-iwa
Nearby Futami is also worth a visit because of Meoto-iwa. Meoto-iwa is a natural formation composed of a couple of rocks in the sea, one considerably larger than the other, with a heavy rope tying them together. The rocks represent the union between a man and a woman, with the rope tying the two together. On the larger and male rock, there is a Torii gate. Don’t let the pictures fool you. It’s not that the rope is giant. It’s the Torii gate which is tiny.
The Ema at Meoto-iwa
There are many statues and images of frogs around the shrine, and the word ‘frog’ in Japanese sounds very much like the word ‘return’. On the last day of my trip to Japan, the two Japanese friends who hosted us at their home for a few days in Nagoya, presented us with a tiny ceramic frog which they had bought on our visit together to Meoto-iwa, and explaining the significance, they said goodbye, expressing their hope that we would ‘return.’
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-Text and Photography by Denise Pulis @www.theartofslowtravel.com. All rights reserved. This is part of Travel Photo Thursday.