One of my favorite things about Japan is how easy it is to find tranquility within its urban metropolises. In Tokyo, it’s not hard to find ethereal shrines adjacent to winding highways and looming office blocks…
When I booked our holiday to Hong Kong, I was honestly most excited about the shopping aspect of our trip, and that aspect did not disappoint! There were Topshops (yes, plural!), Marks and Spencers (so many!), and funky Hong Kong-born brands like 2% HK (where I managed to grab some pieces from their Miffy collaboration ♥ON SALE♥) and Ki.La.Ra (which sells Sanrio-licensed clothes for fully-grown adults; I’m not sure if it’s a Hong Kong brand, but I’ve never seen it or heard of it anywhere else.) Anyway, I wasn’t expecting to do much historical or natural sight-seeing, but I’m so happy we did, cuz these places were gorgeous!
I have so many photos to share from our fab New Years holiday to Hong Kong, so I’ll start with the scenic stuff and work my way into the nitty gritty cityscapes!
Well, fall is nearly over, and though I’ve greatly enjoyed it, I’m already eager to unpack my tiny Christmas tree and start blasting Christmas tunes! Last year in Ulsan, autumn was pretty lame and uneventful; luckily, this year, we were able to visit two of Seoul’s most colorful fall festivals: the Jogyesa Temple Chrysanthemum Festival and the Cheonggyecheon Lantern Festival!
Thanks to Japan’s awesomely efficient railways, we were able to travel from Kyoto to Hiroshima, with a stop at Miyajima Island, within a single day (we got home just in time for dinner at Matsuontoko, too!)
We visited all of the grandest temples and shrines in Kyoto on our initial visit, but we overlooked Toji Temple: a UNESCO World Heritage Site founded in the 700’s! Luckily, it was located within walking distance from our hotel, so we stopped by for a gander.
Last year, we spent Buddha’s Birthday at Haedong Yonggungsa, a seaside temple in Busan. (Click here to check out the post!) It was an unforgettable experience, with the smell of incense combining with the scents of sea, and the sight of the brightly-colored lanterns hanging against the rocky coastline. This year, we spent Buddha’s Birthday in the midst of the bustling city, at Jogyesa Temple in Insadong.
This past weekend was one of Korea’s biggest (and by far the brightest) holidays: Buddha’s Birthday, also known as the Lotus Lantern Festival.
The Fushimi Inari Shrine is probably the most magical place we visited in Kyoto…
One of Kyoto’s super old areas, Gion, is a short walk away from Kiyomizu-dera. Gion is best known for geisha-spotting; we weren’t fortunate enough to see any, but we did appreciate the old-timey architecture.