Today marks the first Friday of 2019. I’ve been enjoying a rather peaceful week of rest in Tokyo. 2018 was a busy work year for me. I moved to Tokyo in May and started working for a new company.
This was quite a big change as I switched from freelancing to regular employment, and I switched from UK culture to Japanese work culture.
As a freelancer I was able to take a lot of time off over the years to indulge in amateur and (a little) professional photography.
As a regular employee in Tokyo time has been much more limited.
However I am hopeful for the year ahead. Now that I’ve completed eight months I feel more settled and I should be able to make better use of my free time.
During this weeks holiday I had the chance take some photos and spend some time browsing through my old pictures.
I was reminded of many happy memories, especially during visits to temples and palaces around Asia. I’d like to share some of my favorite spots.
Up first is a familiar picture from my last blog post. I live quite close to Tokyo tower which is right next to Zojoji temple (増上寺).
Next up is perhaps one of the most well known temple complexes in Tokyo, located in Asakusa you may recognise Sensoji (浅草寺)by the huge lantern in the gate. Just to the west of Sensoji there are a lot of traditional restaurants; it’s a very old fashioned area. And Tokyo Skytree is also nearby.
The next three photos are from Nezu. This temple complex is famous for the red Torii and is a favourite spot of mine. It’s a little out of the way so there are way less tourists. It’s also a short walk to Yanaka; another traditional area which is famed for the number of cats. If you ever visit Yanaka keep an eye out for cat ornaments on the rooftops.
I’ve included some of my favorite pictures from Kyoto below. Kyoto has so many temples. The biggest challenge there is it can get very busy and photography becomes a challenge.
Rather than naming each of these, if you are interested in temples I would suggest having a browse through the complete list on Kyoto’s own travel website – https://kyoto.travel/en
Thailand is a beautiful country for a cultural tour, there are so many temples. I think Wat Pho may be the most popular spot in Bangkok, but I enjoyed Wat Arun. The next two shots are taken around the ordination hall rather than the Wat itself.
I spent a couple of weeks walking all around bangkok. I can recommend an excellent book written by a journalist and a true culture / history lover – https://www.tuttlepublishing.com/authors/barrett-kenneth/22-walks-in-bangkok
While on these walks I spotted many small temples and back street areas where I could see locals and monks going about their day to day life.
The follow was taken at an interesting Chinese temple complex in Bangkok
From China I’d like to include Jing’an temple (Shanghai). This is a beautiful temple complex and I had a great time walking around here. I also really enjoyed watching people throw coins into the central ornament. I imagine it’s a way to pay respects.
Seoul is where we switch from temples to palaces. The royal palaces in Seoul are strikingly beautiful. I recommend at least Gyoengbokgung and Changdeokgung, but time permitting it’s good to visit them all.
An honorouble mention to Taiwan. I’ve only been around Taipei. It’s not the prettiest city; due to a period of history with little building regulation, but it’s improving and most importantly I found the Taiwanese to be among the friendliest of Asian people I’ve met. I spent a bit of time at the temple of Confucius. Not only was it nice to see this temple, it was interesting to learn a lot about Confucius whose teachings I think are still meaningful today.
I haven’t had a chance to see a lot of temples in Hong Kong, but I normally stay nearby Man Mo and it’s full of beautiful lights. It’s an excellent spot to catch the vibe of locals paying respects.
If you have any favourite temples, palaces, or churches etc. around the world I would be happy if you would share with me.