3 nights in Nara, 5 in Kyoto, 1 in Hiroshima. I’ve been planning this trip pretty much since my first visit to west Japan in the winter of 2008, and other than a few minor improvisations it turned out to be a very finely tuned one.
I arrived in Nara on the 14th just in time for the Tokae Festival – tens of thousands of candles spread around the park, shrines and temples, up paths and staircases. It was a beautiful event, unfortunately not one my little cellphone camera could do justice.
I couldn’t have come at a more opposite time to the last I was here - mid-winter, freezing, and almost deserted, now steaming even at night and packed with tourists in a festive mood.
I would have liked to ride one of these boats but it seemed to be a couple’s activity… Though I usually prefer to be a Solitary Creature there are times, most especially at these sorts of festivals, when I think it might be nice to share.