Tuesday, May 8, 2012


We say goodbye to Hiroshima
and MyLittleSister travel guide expertly gets us on board the Shinkansen,
the Bullet Train, to travel to Kurashiki.
Actually we find ourselves on the Nozomi Super Express Shinkansen
and maybe we were not meant to be on this particular express train, but nobody notices us
and we travel fast and comfortably using our Japan Rail Pass.

The Shinkansen trains are wonderful.
I love the way the Guard bows low when he enters the carriage
and turns and bows low again  as he leaves.
There always seems to be time for politeness and order..
and unlike NZ trains.. the trains are always on time.. exactly!

And so.. we arrive in Kurashiki.
It is late afternoon and we set out walking in the older part of this town.
Kurashiki I am told, is a place Japanese love to visit,
a place of beauty. 

We wander along the the most beautiful canal in the moonlight.
There is one star in the indigo sky, 

and  there is one handsome swan swimming in the canal
under the cherry blossoms.
It is all so romantic and beautiful
I imagine the swan is maybe some lost
Japanese prince
waiting for his rescuing princess.

We dine in a very special eating place.
The food is so delicate and tasty. 

We eat slowly savouring every morsel. 

We decide to call this our birthday dinner.
Our birthdays are months away but.. so?
It is so special we feel honoured to be here.

After our meal we walk again along the canal
and the moon high above is reflected in the still water. 

The reflections of houses look as real as the houses above 

and the whole place is a wonderland.

The next day we set off to explore the shops,
and to roam the streets just absorbing the ambience...

and there is plenty to look at.

Many people have come to walk and admire the cherry blossoms,
and the swan is there to enjoy the adulation too. 


Swan swims the canal
Stealing the attention from
the cherry blossoms 

Swan and cherry blossoms are much photographed. 

Then .. surprise surprise... we discovered the Ohara Museum of Art.
Such a surprise.
Kojima Torajiro was a Japanese artist in the 1920's.  He travelled to Paris to explore
the essence of art, and he bought works of art for his sponsor.
These works of art are exhibited in this wonderful museum.
We gasped as we came across works by Chagall, Gauguin, Miro, Picasso,
Monet, Matisse, Modigliani and more.
In one room stood The Annunciation by El Greco.
We felt we had personally discovered a treasure house!

Local artists set out their works along the canal. 

The weather was perfect and everywhere spring was welcomed in the loveliest ways. 

Our visit to Kurashiki was a happy one
and looking back now
seems dreamlike.
I always have the feeling I am on a pilgrimage,
so spiritual is this country.

Like everywhere we went in Japan
we met only kindness and calm.
During our time in Japan we saw not one piece of litter.

Living as I do in a small island country like Japan,
but with less than 5 million people,
I am astonished how 170 million people can live such an orderly and calm life
as the people of Japan live.

Is it because there is one culture here.
The Japanese culture.
I hear the words of Emperor Meiji
"We will take your Western technologies
but we will keep our Japanese culture".

I am learning very much from these people.
Posted by Picasa


  1. Joan, It even feels dream-like in the reading of it. There's a hushed sound in your writing that comes across so poetically. What a wonderful discovery in the art museum. The food looks divine.

  2. So much beauty - spring, canals, order, decorous behaviour, and exquisite looking food. Thank you for sharing this pilgrimage Joan.