Tall mountain.

Hello again! I have been home from Japan a week already but somehow have not gotten around to showing what happened after Kyoto. So we left Kyoto, a city with a population close to 1,5 million and headed for Takayama, a city up in the mountains with a population around one hundred thousand. It is best known for it's inhabitants' expertise in carpentry (we saw a lot of that) and the name Takayama translates as "tall mountain".

It was a two hour train ride from Kyoto, and the train that we took had panoramic windows (!). The view of the mountains that were colored pink and red and orange from the cherrytrees and the emerald green rivers (looked completely phoshoped!) were really like a spread from national geographic (maybe even painted by Monet). Wow.

We had a view over the mountains from our hotel window. It was a lot colder in Takayama and the second day that we woke up all the rooftops were covered with snow!

These small canals ran everywhere through the city, between houses and along the streets, leading the water (from melting snow) coming down the mountains. That was perhaps the most characteristic feature, the sound of water purling everywhere. I said that if I had been a kid in this town I would have made a fleet of bark boats and dropped them in one of these mini-rivers and then followed them through the entire city. 

We stayed in Takayama for four days and the last day we took a bus up in the mountains to visit this old village from the 1700s.

In the pond were these really beautiful carps that had very intricate patterns of blue and white and pink and orange, almost like they were dressed in expensive kimonos. But I only got a photo of this guy, who looks like any old gammelgädda (old pike?) dressed in his worn out winter coat.

I love these old paper-windows. Apparently one of the reasons that they used paper instead of glass was that the glass would break in the event of an earthquake.

I like them so much because the outside light and shadows make the paper look like the surface of the moon.

And the following morning we took the panoramic train back to Tokyo!



On Sunday last week we left Tokyo and took the train to Kyoto.

I am reading Britt-Marie Mattsson's book about the Kennedys at the moment (very good!).

In Kyoto we stayed at a traditional Japanese ryokan, slept on the floor and had japanese breakfast every morning.

When we arrived the weather was cold and rainy and grey,

but since it was colder in Kyoto than in Tokyo, the cherry trees were still in blossom in the gardens surrounding the old emperor's palace. I cannot tell you how many photos I have taken of cherryblossoms, but it's like a fever that comes over you, every tree that you pass somehow seems even prettier than the one previous. 

There is almost no garbage or litter on the streets here, only thousands of cherryblossom petals everywhere.

The next day the sun was shining again. The weather here is very unpredictable, very cold and raining one minute, and full summer the next. 

We walked through the city along the river to get to a trail called "the philosophers path".

But actually the path, that ran alongside a small canal, was so crowded that it was hard to get any good philosophizing done. Everyone were stoping to take photos of everything. About forty people (including me) stood around this white cherryblossom tree, because it had just one small branch of magenta-colored flowers in the middle of all the white ones (I'm telling you, it's a fever).

But I mostly photographed couples photographing each other. 

The next day we took a bus to the northern part of Kyoto to see this Golden Pavilion.

I bought some roasted chestnuts because I have always wanted to try.

Inside the shell is almost like a potatoe, only a bit sweeter.  

The streets and hills of Kyoto reminded me of San Fransisco, or the way I imagine it to be, I've never been there.

In the afternoon we took another bus to the western parts to look at a great view (this one!)

This is my mother, who I am travelling with. She has studied Japanese for a couple of years now and has impressed many people here with 1. her language skills and 2. her bear-strength when throwing up our 20 kilo suitcases on the luggage shelves in the trains. 

Next we had som green-tea ice cream,

and then we walked through a bamboo-forest and the following day we left for the mountains.


An afternoon in Daikanyama

On Friday we walked through the financial district and then took the train to a part of Tokyo called Daikanyama. I think it's my favorite part of Tokyo so far, it has a very different atmosphere than anywhere else where we've been, bohemian and sophisticated and very cosy. There are a lot of small shops where you can by fabrics, jewelery, antiques and art. In Daikanyama we also visited an old home turned museum (Kyu Asakura House) built in 1919.