When you think of Japan, I bet the following things come to mind – sushi, Geishas and cherry blossoms, right? I’m sure you have a picture in your mind of the blanket of pink and white blossoms dotting the landscape with their gentle beauty. Well, there is another turning of the seasons in Japan that is just as beautiful – Japan autumn leaves.
As the weather starts to cool in November, the maple and gingko trees become ablaze with shades of red, orange, and yellow. On our recent Something for Ladies tour through Japan we were treated to this wonderful display of ever-changing colour as we toured from Tokyo; north to the mountain towns of Hakone and Takayama, through to the north-western coast of Kanazawa and then south to Kyoto and Hiroshima.
What a fascinating country and what a lovely group of ladies to share the experience with. The modern metropolis of Tokyo surprised and delighted from the hustle and bustle of Shibuya and Shinjuku to the peace and quiet of the parks surrounding the Meiji Jingu Shrine.
She is known as a shy mountain, but we were lucky enough to see Mt Fuji in all her glory and bathed in sunlight on our drive into the mountains for our stay in the hot spring town of Hakone. Our rooms in Hakone were lovely and complete with a private Onsen (hot tub) on the balcony, which promised us anti-aging effects, fingers crossed!
The gardens of Kanazawa, Kenroku-en, are regarded as one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens and they did not disappoint - the autumn colours were simply stunning.
I must admit, Kyoto was my favourite town and I look forward to returning in the future. Once the capital of Japan, Kyoto is as idyllic as one could ever imagine Japan to be and when you take the back streets you soon begin to discover the history, culture and traditions that live on in Japan to this day.
A real highlight of the trip was our dinner with a Maiko and Geiko (Geisha) where we could ask them any candid questions and they were very happy to answer. It was a real insight into this Japanese tradition. Kyoto is also home to the famous Fushimi Inari Taira – an incredible shrine of thousands of red torii gates that line the 4 kilometre stretch to the sacred Mt. Inari.
Onboard the Bullet Train to Hiroshima we had an origami lesson where we each made a paper crane to leave at the Children’s Peace Monument with our wish for lasting peace, a really moving moment that I’m sure we will all remember for a long time to come.
What an absolutely amazing journey we had, I’m sure all the ladies will agree!