February 26: Kanazawa, Snowy Morning

Our final day as a group together leaving Kanazawa in Japan by three-hour bullet train for Tokyo. Our train left at 11:30 a.m. from the Kanazawa train station and we arrived in Tokyo at 2:30 pm. We are back at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel and will have a group dinner with all the Santa Fe Workshop participants in a traditional Japanese restaurant. Tomorrow, we say goodbye and head back to our North American lives. We awoke to a beautiful snowfall-added gesture in the image I am adding to this post.

 

February 25: Kenrokuen Gardeners, Kanazawa

The highlight of today was spending the morning in the special Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa. We awoke to new fallen snow and departed early from the hotel by foot to walk about ten minutes to the gates of the garden. This garden is one of the most famous in Japan and incredibly beautiful with a large pond in the central area. The garden is maintained meticulously.

February 24: Japan, Traditional Dress

Kanazawa, Japan. We took the bus early in the morning through mountain tunnels and passes to the charming and wonderful small city of Kanazawa located on the Sea of Japan. We had the day to wander through the tea district with traditional old wooden buildings and many restaurants and charming sights. Many Japanese young women dress in traditional clothing and travel in the country to see the sights.

February 23: Shirakawago, Japan – Snowy Mountain Day

We left Takayama today and headed by bus to the magical village of thatched roof farm houses which is designated a Unesco Heritage site called Shirakawago. We had futons on the floor in our designated farm house with kerosene heaters and electrical plugs to heat our bedding. It was much warmer here than in the monastery in Koya-san where we also had kerosene heaters in our rooms. Our meals in Shirakawago were traditional Japanese for dinner and breakfast. A bowl of white rice is a staple served at every meal. We had some time in the afternoon to wander the local streets. The next morning I took this image after an overnight snowfall which blanketed the hills

February 22: Takayama Morning

This is a beautiful smaller city of many artisans and friendly inhabitants. I spent hours and hours wandering the traditional streets photographing people and whatever caught my eye. This is a country of contrasts of old and new; nature and industrial wires; young styles and older traditional attire. There is a notable red bridge which was the guiding marker for returning to our traditional “onsen” hotel. It was up a steep hill overlooking the town so the walk to and from was terrific exercise. I loved photographing near the river and bridges in the central area of the city.

February 21: Snow Monkey

February 20: Koyasan Temple Entrance.

An early start with a walk in the cemetery. I saw a man doing calligraphy on a sign and next door was a small room with slippers lined up in a typical Japanese orderly fashion. There is tradition and order in this country of supreme politeness. It is all very lovely.

February 19: Walking in Koyasan

Koya-san is the centre of Buddhism and located high up on a mountain. There is a very large and special cemetery just steps from the monastery where we stayed for two nights. We had an evening cemetery tour and also viewed a fire ceremony one morning.