Autumn Weekend Getaways from Tokyo

Stepping out of summer and into autumn is one of the most exciting times of the year!

It’s inspiring to be outdoors surrounded by vibrant splashes of colour as the momiji turn from green into the most surreal shades of yellow, orange and red. I am constantly in awe of Mother Nature and the things she’s capable of. Continue reading “Autumn Weekend Getaways from Tokyo”

Spectacular Colours in Kyoto

Kyoto is incredible any time of the year. No two visits are ever the same, and there are endless places to explore. With its World Heritage temples and shrines, geisha district, traditional foods and ancient history, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular cities in the world. Continue reading “Spectacular Colours in Kyoto”

Relaxing Lakeside

Nothing says ‘relaxing’ to me more than being around water. When I’m hiking in the mountains, I love following streams and coming across waterfalls. When I’m at the beach, I love sunbaking on the sand and hearing the waves crash. When I’m in the sea, I love snorkeling among the fish and coral. Continue reading “Relaxing Lakeside”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant

It’s mid winter here in Tokyo and the days of late have been sun-less, rainy and dreary. Some people thrive in cold weather. The idea of cozy fireplaces, Ugg boots, snow angels and mulled wine sounds like the perfect dream. But in reality it’s more like struggling to get out of bed when it’s so cold you can see your breath, finishing work when it’s already dark out, and trying not to get sick as you go between overheated rooms and freezing outside temps all day. Yeah, I think it’s safe to say winter isn’t my favourite season!

This week’s photo challenge, Vibrant, came at a great time. I miss the colours of spring, summer and, more recently, autumn. In December, I went to Koishikawa Korakuen to catch the autumn foliage at their peak. I wanted to post about this city garden last month, but didn’t get the chance – so I’m hitting two birds with one stone today:)

Koishikawa Korakuen

Koishikawa Korakuen was created over 380 years ago, making it one of the oldest gardens in Tokyo. It’s one of 7 places in the country to have been designated both a ‘special place of scenic beauty’ and a ‘special historic site’, and is famous for its sakura in spring and momiji in autumn, as well as its bridges and water features. I’ve been at least half a dozen times since I moved to Tokyo, but nothing prepared me for the brilliance I saw this time!

 

Chasing Colours in Central Japan (Part 3): Takayama

You can’t go to Gifu without trying the local specialty, Hida beef. This premium, marbled steak, similar to the famous Kobe beef, is tender, juicy and oh so tasty. Seriously, I’m drooling just thinking about it.

While we were in Takayama, we chose a Hida-gyu specialty restaurant, called Suzuya, and ordered the most popular dishes on the menu – miso steak cooked on a magnolia leaf and shabu shabu. I loved the idea of cooking on leaves, which are collected from the neighbouring mountains. All of the vegetables – mushrooms, cabbage, onions, peppers, carrots, spring onions – are locally grown, too. It was delicious and hit the spot. Though, I have to say, nothing compares to a simple Hida beef yakitori seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper.

The red beef was almost the same colour as the red leaves outside! Of all the places we visited on this weekend trip, Takayama’s autumn colours were the most brilliant. Before hitting the road again on the Sunday, we went to the highest point in the town, to a park called Shiroyama where Takayama Castle used to stand. We were actually hoping to catch a glimpse of the town from above, but it turned out there were too many trees to see anything. But that didn’t matter at all. Instead, we were completely blown away by the colours. It looked like someone had gone and painted the leaves in neon yellow and red and orange. I don’t think I’ve ever seen leaves so brightly coloured before in my life. The park was small and we didn’t spend long there, but it was an absolute gem!

From Takayama, we drove up through the mountains to Toyama. The entire weekend was incredible. Japan is such a diverse, beautiful country, and there’s so much to discover.

Autumn colours Autumn colours Autumn colours

Hida Hida

In this series:
Part 1 – Kanazawa
Part 2 – Shirakawago