First is getting there. The planes that take you to the closest airstrip in the town of Jomsom, are little 10 seater prop planes that feel very very small compared to the VERY VERY large mountains you are flying through. Thankfully, they come equipped with a very very skilled pilot! The trip is extremely windy; a white knuckle that is not for the faint of heart. Our plane could not fly straight most of the flight; it was sort of blown up the valley in a diagonal position. Sort of like a Labrador who’s hind legs are faster then their front, and they run with their body a quarter turn from true. Now make that dog a plane and put yourself inside with the smell of gasoline and the ground way below, the wind screaming in your ears and the mountains looming all around … I have a vision burned in my mind of our pilot, a large Nepalese man in a crisp white shirt, smart blue jacket and aviator shades, arms ram-rod straight, hands clamped, eyes forward, rock solid … his stoicism gave me confidence in our survival.
Kanazawa is a tourist destination for the Japanese. International tourism usually heads south to Kyoto and its plethora of temples. For a slightly different experience, head west and enjoy Kanazawa. This intimate city is home to the edo era Higashiyama Higashi Chaya District, the superbly maintained Kanazawa Castle, the best of Kenroku-en gardens and the lovely 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art.
above photo © 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
Daigoji is a Shingon Buddhist temple in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto. In a city over-flowing with such sites, it might be a thought to skip Daigoji as it is a bit distant from the usual tourist areas. Daigoji is truly worth the trip. It holds one of the most beautiful gardens in all Kyoto; The perfect place to contemplate the colors of fall and the blooms of spring.
The temple complex was founded in 874. After Emperor Daigo abdicated in 930, he entered the Buddhist priesthood at this temple and died here. He was also buried on the temple grounds and it now bears his name.
The Daigoji complex holds eighteen national treasures and is laid out in three parts: Sambō-in, Shimo-Daigo (Lower Daigo) at the base of the mountain, and Kami-Daigo (Upper Daigo).
Kyubey is a restaurant you may be better off never going to.
Since our meal, over a year ago, we have yet to be truly satisfied and happy at any other eatery. Kyubey was that good.
Everything about this flagship location is perfect. You feel at home at the sushi bar. It somehow remains intimate, even though 8 chefs line the bar and 10 private rooms co-exist over 5 floors above you. It is a t once high-end and relaxed; perfectly crafted and slightly debauched. Kyube proves that when you reach the highest perfection, you don’t have to put up any front.
If you are in Japan, GO to the International Robot Exhibition at Tokyo Big Sight!! You are witnessing the future of humanity (and not-humanity) at the beginning of its era – perhaps one day to get its own scientific classification? The Robotolithic age ?
Check the website for dates, as these change every year. In 2015 the show ran Dec 2nd – 5th. It was held at Tokyo Big Sight (Tokyo International Exhibition Center) on Tokyo Bay waterfront. The complex is worth the visit just for the experience of being in a futuristic city on the set of a Sci-Fi movie. It reminded us of Caprica from the modern Battlestar Galactica !