Japan Travel

Tourist guide me

I love showing off Japan, particularly Fukuoka. On my parents’ most recent visit, they had three days at the front of the trip where they couldn’t get a room at their preferred hotel, so we opted for an out of town trip. I suggested Kyoto, Okayama and Hiroshima, but realized really quickly that half a day for Kyoto was hardly enough. Heck, I’ve been there six or seven times and have still barely scratched the surface. So I suggested a day and a half in Kyoto and apologized to Okayama and Kurashiki that they would have to wait for another trip. My dad made the hotel reservations, and I set about planning an itinerary that would balance must-see sights with some I hadn’t been to before.

Only to toss it out the window when we actually got to Kyoto and shoved our luggage into a locker at the station. I decided, in lieu of Daigo-ji, which I’ll have to get to this fall, I opted for the visually stunning impact of Fushimi-inari, which I visited once before in 2005. I fell hard for the lovely shrine and its multiplicity of vermilion torii back then, and I think it went over well with my parents, despite the chilly weather and the teeming tourists. Last time I went nearly to the top going one way, so this time I took them a different direction (left around the main shrine) and up through a different section of winding torii. Was lucky to get a people-less shot, and wish I’d snapped the group of young men getting a selfie while they peeked around the columns. As my dad pointed out, it would’ve been a great album cover.

We had lunch at a little place just down the street from the shrine, and despite their misgivings, I talked my parents into trying grilled quail and sparrow. Not to their tastes, but I liked it, despite the many tiny bones. We talked briefly with an ex-pat American, living in Busan, who was visiting before heading back to the U.S. After dining, we took our time to walk to Tofuku-ji a temple famous for its lovely fall foliage. No crimson and gold this time of year, but the temple grounds were still lovely, and it was all but empty, which was nice, after the hustle and bustle of Fushimi Inari.

After Tofuku-ji, we headed back to the station, and from there to our hotel, which was far more posh than I’m used to.

Next up:  A castle, a lovely visit over tea and an amazing temple.

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One thought on “Tourist guide me

  1. What a great thing to be able to be a travel host for your parents. While I am only a visitor to Japan, I have chalked up nearly 6 months of visit time, so my travel companions often ask me to set up itineraries.

    But more importantly, I have got to be in Japan with my family on multiple trips – twice with my wife, twice with my brother, and on different trips with each of my two sons and my daughter. As the parent, I never thought I would be travelling overseas with my kids. I loved it, and so did they.

    I hope your experience is the same.

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