Friday, 29 November 2013

Monday, 25 November 2013

Tokyo window displays

I still have so many things I havn`t blogged about yet from my trip to Tokyo in October. Here is a quick post with some photos I took of window displays along Omotesando. I love looking at how different stores arange their windows, unfortunately it is really hard to take pictures because of the reflections on the glass. The Coach window display caught my eye because of all the gold origami cranes. The Tommy Hilfiger window had an amazing arch of books, it looks like lots of separate books but surely it must all be one instalation for it to stay together? The Tod`s window was my favourite because it is so simple but it really stands out. I like how the Louis Vuitton display looks like a corridor of a fancy hotel. The final photo is a shop display I liked with a camper van.

Coach window display

Tommy Hilfiger window display

Tod`s window display

Louis Vuitton window display

Shop display

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Tofuku-ji`s 'Hasso' Garden

After battling through the crowds viewing the momiji at Tofuku-ji it was nice to retreat to the calm of this garden. Although there were quite a few tourists it was less hectic and most people were just sat down enjoying the garden. Designed in 1939, the garden is a mix of modern art and tradition. It is regarded as a fine example of contemporary Zen garden.
The southern garden represents the four Elysian islands.

In the western garden these five moss covered mounds symbolize the five sacred mountains.

The northern garden uses stone and moss to embody the falling autumn leaves. 

The names of the monks at the Temple this year.

In the eastern garden some of the temple`s foundation pillars make up the Great Bear constellation.

Tofuku-ji Temple

Today I went to Tofuku-ji temple to view the momiji (Japanese Maple.) One very important piece of advice: arrive at 8:30 as soon as it opens. We arrived at 9 and it was so busy. The first bridge you cross on the way to the temple is free and you get a wonderful view of the momiji, so of course everyone stops to take photos. But it leads to the entrance of the temple so there were traffic officers shouting 'one photo, two photo' over and over again.  Basically to try and get people to take two photos only and then leave. But that bridge was nothing compared to the one in the temple grounds. The queue was long and packed all the way across the bridge but one area was particularly crowded, a special viewing balcony. Since I was there I thought I should see the view so I stood and waited and eventually got to the front. Anyone who has experienced the mayhem of Tokyo at rush hour will understand how I felt. I had people pressing against me on all sides which meant I had to grab onto the wood to stop myself from being pushed over the edge. Was the view worth it though? Yes.
We fought our way out of the crowds on the bridge only to be confronted with a huge crowd in the garden queuing for something. After my experience on the bridge I didn't feel like entering this crowd. Turns out I didn't have any choice, this was the only route out. Anyway the queue moved reasonably quickly and we were soon into a beautiful valley full of momiji. I hate to be cheesy but it really was breath-taking. Out of all the places I`ve been to see momiji, this was definitely my favourite, despite the crowds. I loved that it wasn't all the same colour; there was red, orange, yellow, green and purple. Then to top it all of, bright blue sky. At the exit everyone just walked out but I stopped, looked up and took one last photo of the contrast between the red leaves and the blue sky. When I turned around to leave everyone else had stopped and was taking the same shot as me. Below is just a selection of the many photos I took. 

The queue leading up to the second bridge.

The view from the bridge.

The only way back to the other side!

The stream at the bottom of the valley.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Is this the place I`ve been dreaming of...

So, this week`s song is something to get you into the Christmas mood. Lily Allen`s beautiful cover of Somewhere only we know. It was made for this year`s really cute John Lewis advert.

Saturday, 16 November 2013


On Friday I went to Tenryu-ji Temple in Arashiyama. Tenryu-ji (temple of the Heavenly Dragon) is a World Cultural Heritage Site and was established in 1339. The site of Tenryu-ji had earlier been occupied by Danrin-ji, the first ever Zen temple in Japan. Since it`s founding the temple has been ravaged by fires eight times so many of the buildings are not the originals. However the landscape garden behind the main hall is one of the oldest in Japan. When we went, the leaves were just starting to turn red so it looked very beautiful. One of the main features of the temple is the painting of a dragon on the ceiling of one of the halls. The painting is actually very new, it was completed in 1997 and is called the Cloud Dragon. The dragon is painted so that it appears to be looking at you wherever you view it from. This illusion is due to the fact that the left eye is located exactly in the centre of the nine metre wide circle surrounding the painting. Unfortunately, like most temples in Japan, you are not allowed to photos inside. But I made up for this by taking many outside! Below are just a few I took during the day on the way to the temple and in the temple gardens.


Friday, 15 November 2013

Don`t tell me our youth is running out, it`s only just begun

Ok so I might have forgotten to upload a song last week, oops. Anyway today we went on a school trip to a beautiful temple called Tenryuji (more on that in another post.) On the way back an old Japanese man suddenly appeared next to me asking if I was from England and if I had been to the Olympics. He said that he went to the Olympics opening ceremony and the Paralympics. Then he bounded away like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. Remember you don`t have to be young to be youthful. So on that note this week`s song is Youth by Foxes.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Yokohama day trip

While in Tokyo last month I went for a day trip to Yokohama china town. After arriving at the station we walked to the harbour through a small park with lots of pretty flowers. Unfortunately it was quite a cloudy, rainy day but it was still nice to get away from the busy streets of Harajuku and Shibuya for a change.


After walking to the harbour we headed towards China Town, along with lots of kids on school trips. Below is a picture of the beautiful gate we walked through.

Of course there was panda everything! The shops were filled with various panda souvenirs; soft toys, sweets, stationary, socks etc. I bought some tiny panda rubbers in a cute bottle as I am a sucker for interesting stationary. I love the shop entrance above which is a panda`s open mouth! Also since this is Japan there was Hello Kitty dressed up as a panda!