A Week in Japan

[The corner of a white house with a black roof withe a bush taking up the lower right side of the picture and a tree peeking out above it.]

Over spring break this year, I went to Japan from April 14th to April 21st. My family and I went to many different places over the island and I took a lot of pictures of our adventures.

photoset by: Alexis Daigle

April 14th
Some of the sites from our drive from Tokyo Haneda International Airport to the Yokosuka naval base, where my family and I stayed with family friends for most of our trip!

[A picture of a forest, with greenery and grey trees without leaves in the whole frame. There are 3 telephone wires running through the middle of the picture horizontally.]
[A white store sits on the left side of the picture. On the front of the building, there is a blue sign that says something in Japanese with a phone number on the bottom. The edge of a parking lot is visible on the right side and trees are visible behind it.]
[A red house takes up most of this picture. There is a tan house beside it and trees visible behind it.]
[A tan apartment building with identical doors is shown. There is a white staircase running up the building.]
[A cherry blossom tree with the sky and a large hill of some sort behind it is shown.]
[A sign with the Japanese 7-11 logo on it is shown. The sky is blue behind it and there are telephone wires running in front of the sign and beside it.]
[A bicycle sits with other objects in a driveway. There is a fence surrounding the building and a tan house to the left of it.]
[The American and Japanese flags wave side by side with houses in the background.]

April 15th
We didn’t do much tourism wise this day; we went up to watch our friends’ daughter play in a soccer game and we went to Yokohama station to activate our JR train passes.
[Lots of cherry trees in blossom are shown in a residential area. There is a telephone pole on the right side of the picture.]
[An off white house is shown behind a line of bushes with red flowers on the top.]
[A Japanese storefront is shown. The sign looks like it's a neon sign and there are plants in the front of the doors.]
[An alleyway with plants running up and down both sides. There are houses lining the alley and a white building at the end of the alley.]
[Bushes and a flowering tree full of pink flowers. The peak of a house is visible just behind the plants.]
[A street in Japan. There are dark green signs with something written on them in Japanese. They are in front of a few white buildings..]

April 16th
We went into Tokyo this day and had a ton of fun exploring and seeing tourist sites (like Tokyo Tower)! We also tried out a driving experience called MariCar where the adults rode around Tokyo in street legal go-karts for 2 hours while the other under 18 kids and I rode along behind them in a tuk tuk. It was an amazing experience! After that, we went to the beach for the sunset so that we could see Mt. Fuji in the distance.
[A street in Tokyo lined with tall buildings, most of white are white. There are a few signs hanging off the buildings. The top halves of most of the buildings are shown and a skyscraper is visible in the background.]
[A restaurant with a brown awning (not made of fabric) and a sign saying 'Karakusa Diner'.
[A highway and orange structure take up the left side of the photo. The right side of the photo is just the clear blue sky.
[A picture of Tokyo Tower. There are trees at its base. The tower itself is made of metal beams. The bottom half of the tower is orange, and the rest of the tower is painted orange and white in large, interchanging blocks.]
[A view of Tokyo from Tokyo Tower. There are many different buildings and lots of trees throughout the picture.]
[A picture of the sunset. The ocean is visible in the bottom half of the picture, and the top half is taken up by a small island and Mount Fuji in the distance. The sky is  smoky red and pink.
[A picture of the ocean during the sunset. You can the waves as they roll up on the shore. Neither the sky or the sand is visible.]

April 17th
We went into Kamakura and to the Kotokuin temple and saw the Great Buddha of Kamakura, a massive (and hollow!) statue of Buddha that has withstood centuries of natural disasters. We also went to a shrine, but I cannot remember the name. Afterwards, we walked around a bit and did some souvenir (and candy) shopping.
[The Great Buddha of Kamakura, a large, green statue of Buddha, is in the middle of the picture. Visitors are in front of it and trees are behind it.]
[A close up of the head of Buddha in the front of the nearly white sky.]
[A large stone tablet with something written on it in Japanese sits, surrounded by various leafy plants and trees. It rests on a rough stone slab.
[The entrance to a shrine. The gate and fence of made of wood. A large red lantern with Japanese writing on it hangs down from the gate. A tree leans in front of the entrance and there is a forest in the background.]
[A stone Jizo statue (a small statue of the Buddhist god, Jizo, who watches over dead children and is depicted as a monk) is adorned with a red bib. There are colorful flowers are the base of the stature and greenery behind the stature.]
[A building in a Japanese shrine. It is white with a black roof and black accents and there are trees behind it.]
[A gold-colored statue of a Buddhist state. It a man with 16 arms praying with this eyes shut.]
[The candy isle of a convenience store, with colorful packaging lining the isle.]

April 18th
This was a super busy day for us! We went to Kyoto and visited the bamboo forests and a temple. After that, we went towards the city’s center to Nijo Castle (which was closed, so then we went to the Kyoto Imperial Palace, which was enormous and dazzling). After we saw the palace, we went to the Fushimi Inari Shrine and saw the thousand torii gates, which are usually orange or red gates that mark the entrance into a Shinto shrine (that were amazing and also had several cute cats wandering around). After that, we headed to Hiroshima, where our hotel was.
[Green, leafy plants with bamboo trees behind it.]
[The picture is taken right up the trunk of a bamboo tree, so the base of the tree is blurry, but the top of the tree and the surround trees are all in focus.]
[A blue and white vase with flowers is shown within the home of a poet, whose property was a shrine. It is inside an open building with mats on the floor and white walls.]
[A wooden sign with Japanese writing and the drawing of a woman. Green plants surround the sign.]
[Small stone statues, all wearing red bibs with flowers, sit in a line. They are surrounded by stacked stones. The statues represent children who have died and the stacked stones are monuments to them.]
[A tile mural of the city skyline of Tokyo in the sunset with Japanese written across the sky in orange tiles. The mural is on a tan wall and the cloudy sky is visible above it.]
[A guard tower at the Nijo (or Nijojo) Castle in Kyoto. It is white with a black tiled roof.]
[An orange and white wall or hallway at the Kyoto Imperial Castle. Through the open doorway, another similar wall is seen.]
[A picture of a grey-blue lake with different plants framing the picture.]
[A large orange and white building at a shrine. Two statues of creatures resembling dogs and adorned with red bibs sit on either side of the building.]
[Several torii gates, one after the other with Japanese writing on each one at the top of the picture.]
[Another statue of a dog with a red bib holding something in its mouth.]

April 19th
Hiroshima was a very busy day, too. I went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and the Peace Memorial Museum with my family and it was an emotional experience. Reading about what happened to adults and children my age and younger than me put the tragedy into a perspective I had never really seen, as we never spoke much about the dropping of the A-bomb in history class. We also saw several monuments, including the Prayer for Peace stature and the memorial dedicated to Sadako, a Japanese girl who survived the bomb but developed leukemia later in her childhood because of it. We went to the A-Bomb Dome (the Peace Memorial), which was a well-preserved building that was directly under the bomb when it exploded, so the outside structure was still standing. After that, we went to Hiroshima Castle and explored the area around there.
[A statue of a woman holding a baby, standing on top of a golden crescent moon (the Prayer for Peace Statue).]
[The top of the monument for Sadako. A metal girl stands on top of the monument holding a large paper crane on her head and another metal girl with a paper crane is on the side of the monument.]
[The A-Bomb Dome, an old brick building. The structure is the only thing left. The top of the building is a dome. Only the metal structure of the dome is left on top.]
[The entrance to Hiroshima Castle, a white building stretch around the perimeter of the property with wooden shutters (of sorts) and wooden accents.]
[A komainu, or lion-dog statue is shown. The sky behind is blue and almost totally clear.]
[A picture of Hiroshima Castle, a thin, 5 story building made of wood.]
[A picture of the moat surrounding Hiroshima Castle. The city center surrounds the moat and there are buildings everywhere.]

April 20th and 21st

We didn’t do anything the last few days of the trip except return to Yokosuka and get ready to leave, but it gave me time to reflect on the trip. Going to Japan was an amazing experience that I am never going to forget. It was an eye-opening and mind blowing trip and has set the bar for future vacations incredibly high.