Lights of the nighttime hikers on Mt. Fuji. (3-second exposure.)

Lights of the nighttime hikers on Mt. Fuji. (3-second exposure.)

Cafe in Kawaguchiko.

Cafe in Kawaguchiko

The sting of leaving Togari is alleviated a bit after a travel day to a room with this view.

Fuji San from Kawaguchiko hotel.

Wasabi chips are kind of amazing.

Some tears as we leave Rich, Meike, and Togari. 🥲

Our group in Togari

One more from last night of me and Takuya nailing Aerosmith.

Iiyama Aerosmith karaoke

Ended the night singing karaoke with the locals. Or as the kids said, “making a core memory.”

Visiting a minka (traditional Japanese farmhouse) under renovation to become a restaurant.

Flowers in Togari, Iiyama, Japan

House swallow.

Swallow through hole in house entryway

Today…was unbelievable. We climbed a mountain with the neighborhood, who open the shrine up once per year for a festival. We helped clean. The monks and neighbors refreshed the Shimenawa (ropes), including around a very miraculous tree. Then we celebrated, carrying a lantern in the procession.

Torii gate to shrineChanging ShimenawaPreparing to clean the shrineService in the shrineShimenawa around a miraculous treeSake celebration at the shrineHiking back down the mountainCarrying a lantern in the parade

Iiyama rice fields.

Iiyama rice fields

It’s bedtime in the storehouse.

Kura Japanese storehouse suite

Asahi in Togari, Iiyama, Japan.

Asahi in Togari, Iiyama, Japan

Post box in Kanazawa.

Post box in Kanazawa

When in Kanazawa one must have gold leaf ice cream.

Gold leaf ice cream in Kanazawa

Hitching a ride.

Hitching a ride at Kyoto Station

Travel day today. Hitching a ride, Omi-Cho market, when in Kanazawa one must have gold-leaf ice cream, various views from the streets of Kanazawa, and the lovely garden at the house of a samurai.

Today we were attacked by Nara deer, visited “big” Buddha at Todai-ji (including practicing cleaning his nostril), checked out the lanterns and wisteria at Kasuga Taisha Shrine, and the torii gates at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. Finding amazing bread while walking Nara’s small streets was 🧑‍🍳😘.

Nara deer attackTodai-ji temple“Big” Buddha at Todai-jiPractice cleaning “big” Buddha nostril

Today was a low-key break day. Walked to downtown Kyoto via Kamo River, hit the department store bubble machines, shopped Nishiki Market and surrounding area, randomly discovered a 2D Tea Room at the market, found a record store (with listening stations ❤️), and walked to all the stationary stores.

Family picture at the bridge over the river KamoGremlins 2 bubble machineNishiki Market and Sinkyogoku2D Tea Room Nishiki Market2D Tea Room Nishiki MarketPronto record store listening stations - in KyotoFlowers in the streets of Kyoto

French stoop art in Kyoto

We had a fabulous bike ride around Kyoto, seeing Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavillion), rice fields, and the no-crowd bamboo forest at Nembutsu-ji Temple. Oh, and then a tea ceremony, seeing the original Nintendo building a couple of blocks from our hotel, and finally landing at an izakaya with our kids. 😃

Biking Kyoto streetsRice fields in KyotoRice fields in KyotoRice fields in KyotoBamboo forest at Nembutsu-ji TempleTea ceremonyOriginal Nintendo playing card buildingTaking the kids to an izakaya

Today we said goodbye to Tokyo, rode the Shinkansen to Kyoto, visited Kiyomizu-dera, walked in the rain through Sannen-zaka, happened into a Gion Festival parade, and wrapped the night on the rooftop overlooking the Kamo River.

Tokyo near prince garden hotelWe’re riding the ShinkansenOur kids at Kiyomizu-deraKiyomizu-deraWalking Sannen-zaka in the rainGion Festival paradeKyoto and the Kamo River at night

Today we learned the way of the ninja, ran into an unexpected festival, gathered around the tiny ramen table, and visited teamLab Planets. (And lonely time with not-pictures friends.)

Gonna miss this view.

Ninja school pictureStilt dancers at Tokyo festivalThree of our girls at a tiny ramen shopTeamLab Planets group pictureTeamLab planets group pictureTokyo national stadium view from skyscraper