Page 2 of JenniferInternational Travel Blog Posts


Asia » Japan » Tokyo November 8th 2019

Our last day in Tokyo we visited Meiji-jingu Shrine, Tokyo’s grandest Shintō shrine dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken. Constructed in 1920, the shrine was destroyed in WWII air raids and rebuilt in 1958. There is an iris garden in the area as well, designed by the Meiji emperor himself to please the empress, which is supposed to be lovely in June. Despite the lack of antiquity this shrine has lots of atmosphere and many visitors, and we were fortunate to be visiting at the same time as a lovely chrysanthemum exhibition, which gave me a new appreciation for the flower. The sprawling forested grounds and the forested path leading to the shrine is a big draw after the hustle and bustle in this part of Tokyo, which admittedly was not our favorite. Clement ... read more
Ramen Nagi
Ramen Nagi
Torii Gate at Entrance to Meiji-jingu

Asia » Japan » Gunma November 7th 2019

Takaragawa Onsen (https://www.takaragawa.com/english.html) was one of the highlights of our trip. We were picked up from the train station and whisked through the hills to the onsen; we got to pick our our own yukatas and slippers to wear for the duration of our stay and shown to our beautiful room overlooking the river. The baths themselves were magical, the air clean and cool and the autumn foliage gorgeous. Dinner was exquisite and they were able to accommodate with vegetarian dishes. There was sake. And when we returned to our room they'd set our futons out for us. Truly one of the nicest places I've every stayed. Of course when you're staying at the hot springs you need to take an after dinner dip to look at the stars, and an early morning swim to watch ... read more
Takaragawa Onsen
Takaragawa Onsen
Takaragawa Onsen

Asia » Japan » Yamanashi » Fuji Five Lakes November 6th 2019

Mount Fuji! From our first glimpse out the train window it was with us all day. Gorgeous, majestic, atmospheric. Admiration for the mountain appears in Japan's earliest recorded literature, and it's easy to see why. I recommend staying overnight at Lake Kawaguchiko if possible, so you can view Mount Fuji both early and late. Our first stop was the hike to Chureito Pagoda, most beautiful in the spring over top the cherry blossoms or in the autumn for the foliage. The pagoda is part of the Arakura Sengen Shrine and was built as a peace memorial in 1963, so it's not quite historical but does provide beautiful photographs (if you can find space for yourself among the crowds). After this little hike we grabbed a tempura lunch in town at Idaten - recommended - and made ... read more
Horse Mackerel Sushi Ekiben
Mount Fuji
Freight Train

Asia » Japan » Tochigi » Nikko November 5th 2019

Our second full day in Japan we caught an early train (they're all early trains!) to Nikko to visit the Tosho-gu Shrine. Nikko itself was also quite lovely, cool and forested, and the town was super cute. Tōshō-gū is a lavishly ornate Shintō complex within which Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616), the first shogun and founder of the Tokugawa Bakufu (Japan's last feudal military government) is enshrined. Tokugawa Ieyasu played a pivotal role in unifying Japan and, a year after his death, Tokugawa Ieyasu was enshrined at Nikko, elevating his status to divinity. Tōshō-gū's vibrant colors and flamboyant carvings stand in stark contrast to much of Japan's more spartan design. The Yomeimon Gate is Japan's most lavishly decorated gate, covered with 508 detailed carvings of children and elders and mythical beasts and a masterpiece of Edo-period craftsmanship. The ... read more
Tōshō-gū Shrine
Tōshō-gū Shrine
Tōshō-gū Shrine

Asia » Japan » Tokyo November 3rd 2019

Tokyo, modern yet traditional, so large, so busy, so easy to navigate. All that they tell you about this bustling metropolis is true. Our first stop in the city was the National Museum of Western Art in Ueno, so low key that it wasn't even featured in the Lonely Planet guidebook. I love art museums, though, so I had to go. Worth an hour of your time, and you get to walk through the lovely Ueno Park nearby. Nearby the neighborhood of Yanaka also deserves a bit of attention for snacks and perhaps a drink at the Yanaka Beer Hall For this leg of the trip we stayed at the wonderful Guesthouse toco (https://backpackersjapan.co.jp/toco/english.html), which I highly recommend. Located in a 100-year-old traditional Japanese house with a tiny garden in a quiet but convenient area of ... read more
Main Hall, Sensō-ji
Purification Fountain, Sensō-ji
Main Hall, Sensō-ji

Middle East » Iran March 14th 2017

In the sea there are countless treasures, but if you desire safety, it is on the shore. – Sa’adi After the Islamic Revolution in 1979 the country became the Islamic Republic of Iran, and this brought about many of the changes that people currently associate with the country, with bearded men and women covered in long black chadors, and concerns about anti-American sentiments and Iran’s nuclear program. Yet the nation is actually one of the oldest major continuous civilizations, and has as much history and culture as any traveler could desire, as well as amazingly friendly and inquisitive people. The US travel ban affected Iran the most, with nearly half the banned visitors of the original seven countries coming from this particular Middle Eastern nation. Living in California, I’ve been fortunate to meet many Iranians and ... read more

Middle East » Iran » North » Tehran March 13th 2017

A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.– Sa’adi Uneventful six-hour bus ride to Tehran. Arrived late afternoon and took a long taxi drive to the Markazi Hotel in central Tehran – fine rooms but an uninspired breakfast. One of the first things we noticed about the city, in addition to its size and the traffic, was the way that shops were set up in different parts of town by specialty, like a gigantic bazaar, with shop after shop selling similar items. We were staying the in the indoor lighting area ourselves. We were within walking distance to many of the sights – brave souls! – and thus didn’t have an opportunity to take the metro, reportedly very busy at all hours. We were also fortunate to have some good cafes in the area, and ... read more
National Archeological Museum
National Archeological Museum
National Archeological Museum

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan March 10th 2017

Roam abroad in the world, and take your fill of its enjoyments before the day shall come when you must quit it for good. – Sa’adi Arrived in glorious Isfahan, only a four-hour bus ride from Yazd, in the early evening. The jewel of ancient Persia and one of the finest cities in the Islamic world, according to the guidebook, and famous for its Persian-Islamic architecture. The most well-known Persian saying about Isfahan is “Esfahan nesf-e jahan,” or Isfahan is half the world. A wonderful city to explore at leisure, drinking tea and wandering the bazaars, if you can manage it. Amazing mosques, fabulous palaces and elegant bridges, and shopping which will empty both your days and your pocketbook. We stayed at the lovely and atmospheric Sunrise Traditional Hotel, a bit far from the Naqsh-e-Jahan Square ... read more
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
Imam Mosque
Bazaar

Middle East » Iran » East » Yazd March 7th 2017

My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there. - Rumi Passenger trains in Iran generally run overnight between major cities, a perfect travel solution when you’re on an independent journey because you save the expense of a hotel while getting to experience the best way humanity has invented to travel overland. When you’re on a tour you spend the day taking the bus, like we did – six hours to Yazd with one stop to stretch our legs. No tea for me, please. To be fair, the journey was lovely, passing through the eastern section of the Zagros mountain range where we experienced snow flurries, flocks of goats and sheep and distant snow-covered peaks on our way towards Yazd, the driest major city in Iran as well as ... read more
Bus Ride to Yazd
Bus Ride to Yazd
Tekiye Amir

Middle East » Iran » South » Persepolis March 5th 2017

Drink wine and look at the moon and think of all the civilizations the moon has seen passing by. - Omar Khayyam Our second day in Iran began a bit earlier, and we were picked up by our guide and his driver to make the journey outside the city to several ancient historical sights – particular highlights for Clement. We began at the Necropolis, the dynastic burial place of four Achaemenid kings, Darius II, Artaxerxes I, Darius I and Xerxes I (from left to right). There are bas-relief renderings of their palace facades carved above the tombs, and the openings lead to funerary chambers, where bones were stored after vultures had picked them clean. All the tombs had been ransacked by the Greeks – a common practice at the time for invading powers – but the ... read more
Necropolis
Necropolis
Necropolis




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