RUNDUMDENGLOBUS – AROUND THE GLOBE

about traveling around the world

Tuesday August 25th, 2015
by Wolfram Mechelke
1 Comment

Miyajima – the shrine island

The once holy island of Itsukushima (厳島) is popularly known as Miyajima (宮島).

In the past it was not allowed to be born or to die there. Both was concidered unproper for the holy island.

The Gate (Torii) and the Itsukushima Shrine

The Gate (Torii) and the Itsukushima Shrine

The island is one of the most beautiful landscapes of Japan and the Torii of the Itsukushima Shrine is a famous landmark of Japan. At high tide the Torii stands in the water. A Torii marks the entrance of a shrine. The Shinto shrine belongs since 1996 Itsukushima UNESCO-Worldheritage. The shrine has existed since the 6th century and was built in its present form in the 12th century under General Taira no Kiyomori.

tourists on route to the torii of the Itsukushima Shinto Schrine

tourists on route to the torii of the Itsukushima Shinto Schrine

Many tourists stroll to the gate at low tide. The shrine is one of the most exclusives spots to get married on traditional japanese rites.

Torii of the Itsukushima Shrine low tide

Torii of the Itsukushima Shrine low tide

 

From Hiroshima you can get on a train and then get on the JR ferry. If you travel with a Japan Rail pass, the train and ferry are for free.

Ferry of the JR line going to Miyajima

Ferry of the JR line going to Miyajima

At your arrival you get good information at the counter of the local Tourist Information.

friendly and helpful staff at the Tourist Information

friendly and helpful staff at the Tourist Information

At the promenade you will encounter beautiful deers everywhere.

street deers get food

street deers get food

But tourist get good food as well. There is a big variety of dishes available. But only if you pay cash.

a big menu with a lot of image of a vast variety of meals

a big menu with a lot of image of a vast variety of meals

If you have enough time, you can a the top of the island with the Miyajima Ropeway.

view out of the cabin

view out of the cabin

The cabins bring you up Mount Misen and you can a panoramic view on the Hiroshima Bay.

View of the Hiroshima Bay from Miyajima

View of the Hiroshima Bay from Miyajima

On my way back to Hiroshima I met a group of nice sisters on the train. They had much fun on their daytrip to Miyajima.

5 sisters from Kagoshima on a daytrip to Miyajima island

5 sisters from Kagoshima on a daytrip to Miyajima island

Sunday August 23rd, 2015
by Wolfram Mechelke
7 Comments

Japan Otsu – Airbnb meeting point for travellers

Prior to my arrival in Japan, it was clear to me that I would stay in a Japanese private home. I had rather thought of a typical Japanese apartment with futon on the floor. I knew I would try to find an accomodation with Airbnb. I looked only at ads with instant booking, as I am a late booking a room for the night. So I had to leave the vicinity of the Tokio airports to find such accommodation, however it was but more american than I had anticipated. There was a large bed instead of the mat on the floor, a cozy living room with a couch and coffee table. I was very pleased to stay there.

Kyoto is full of foreigners. So I looked for a room outside the city. Otsu you can reach after two trainstops. You might be the only tourist on this local train and you will not meet many englishspeaking japanese.

I was glad that my host Yukiko was a very friendly japanese woman, speaking an excellent english, due to her marriage with english native speaker. Our conversation was cheerful and pleasant. On the same day another traveller from Brazil arrived late, so we were surprised about the very warm invitation for dinner at a typical japanese restaurant. This evening will be remembered as one of the best of my journey.

many dishes at our invitation

many dishes at our invitation

The possibility of meeting new people is far greater in such a location as in a typical hotel or guesthouse, where everybody stays for himself. I liked the good atmosphere as I got acquainted with a group from Taiwan. We went to Kyoto together.

family tour to Kyoto

family tour to Kyoto

joint effort to get a ticket

joint effort to get a ticket

And most grateful I was to meet Rachel Heller, an inspiring blogger from the Netherlands. She gave me very valuable new clues how to make my blog bilingual.

Blogger meet and exchange experience

Blogger meet and exchange experience

Rachel Heller covers Japan and other parts of Asia with style. Her blog has been awarded. She has posted a fine post about the rule to enter the house without shoes. You can find her post on rachelheller.org:
a-bumbling-fool-in-japan a post where to wear shoes and which ones in a japanese house.

Being on route for a long time, you appreciate the little daily things in life. To be able to make just a coffee or tea or making a sandwich is very helpful. We could use all of Yukikos kitchen and her laundry machine. I could clean all my belongings and I had everything fresh when I left.

everything clean again

everything clean again

For me this was the perfect Traveller Meeting Point in the Japanese suburb.

Tuesday August 11th, 2015
by Wolfram Mechelke
15 Comments

Japan Hiroshima – 70 years after the atomic bomb

On my journey around the globe, I had no device for checking radiation in baggage. And my decision to travel to Hiroshima was spontaneous, because I wanted to visit the island Miyajima, which is located very close to the Japanese metropolis.


Hiroshima Bay with the islands of Nanoshima, Onasabi, Itsukushima (Miyajima)

Hiroshima Bay with the islands of Nanoshima, Onasabi, Itsukushima (Miyajima)

I happened to come across a surprisingly good offer of a hotel with panoramic views over the city and booked it. Since I arrived late at night in Hiroshima, I enjoyed the city lights.

The next morning I had a quick breakfast and I could make some nice photos from the great location of my hotel with a perfect view of the Bay of Hiroshima.

What is left from the fallout after 70 years in this city? How Hiroshima will affect me? These were the questions I asked myself. As far as I know now, the radiation exposure in and around Hiroshima is very low. According to statements of the website Atomwaffen A-Z especially short-lasting isotopes have been part of the atomic bomb in 1945 and the long-lasting radiation was washed away by a typhoon in 1945.

For a common tourist without historical background Hiroshima would be just a port city, easily forgetting the fact that here is a great tragedy occurred. Almost nothing makes you aware of the past, as tidy and neat Tidy this city looks.
Hiroshima is easily accessible for tourists. From the train station you can take several sightseeing buses that run in a circuit every 15 minutes through the city center.
There is a green and an orange bus line in operation. These bus lines are in the Japan Rail Pass included. I did not even need to get a ticket.
On the website: http://www.chugoku-jrbus.co.jp/teikan/meipurupu/en/ you will find a description of the lines:

I took the green line bus to the Memorial Park. There I got off the bus and took some pictures of the A-bomb Dome. It is a very quiet setting there, next to the river.

Memorial Site A-Bomb Dome Hiroshima

Memorial Sie A-Bomb Dome Hiroshima


The memorial is almost to small for the size of the tragedy that took place here. So many civilian lives blown away in one blast. Without this memorial you wouldn’t notice it at all. Not like the vast grounds in Europe, like at Omaha Beach in the Normandy, where you get a feeling of the horror of war.
Next to the memorial I saw for the first time a sign Drones forbidden.
Drones forbidden

Drones forbidden


More on the history of the city and the victims of the bomb you could find in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

I really felt a bit strange with the daily life around me. It seemed you could forget even a big tragedy very easy. Could an atomic event be so easily neglected. It certainly was a very stunning experience for me.

Friday July 31st, 2015
by Wolfram Mechelke
26 Comments

Kyoto – Palaces – Kyoto Imperial Palace (京都御所, Kyōto Gosho)

The Kyoto Imperial Palace (京都 御所, Kyoto Gosho) was the residence of the Japanese imperial family until 1868, when the emperor after the resignation of the last shogun the capital was transferred from Kyoto to the center of Shogun power the city Edo. Simultaneously Edo was renamed Tokyo, meaning as much as eastern capital. Since then Tokio is the capital of Japan.

Imperial Palace Kyoto

Imperial Palace Kyoto

On the rectangular grounds of the Imperial Palace are also the Sento Imperial Palace (仙洞 御所, Sento Gosho), originally completed for the retired Emperor Go-Mizunoo and Kyoto Imperial Park (京都 御苑, Kyoto Gyoen) designed by the most famous gardener in japanese history.

Plan

Plan Imperial Palace

To visit the palace you have apply to the imperial household office. But make sure, you apply four or six weeks ahead. Therefore I choose an agency tour to get there.

formular for visit

formular for visit

At the gate we had to line up in pairs of two, as you might have done during school. The special guards of the security forces counted the number and let us pass. The time is only 30 minutes for the visit. You have to be on time otherwise the permit is gone.

Gate for visitors at Imperial Palace Kyoto

Gate for visitors at Imperial Palace Kyoto

Our Japanese guide explained to us our route through the outdoor facilities. The group had to stick together closely.

tour guide explains plan

tour guide explains plan

On this quick tour we just get a short sight of the Shinshinden hall sehen, where even the inthronation ceremony of the emporer took place.

Ceremonial Hall

Shishinden Ceremonial Hall

This hall is located in a courtyard that is accessible through three gates. The gates are decorated in a bright red.

Nikka-Mon Gate

Nikka-Mon Gate


 

I was fascinated by the strong ornaments everywhere at the staircase, roof, windows and doors.

Staircase Imperial Palace

Staircase Imperial Palace

strong ornaments

strong ornaments


Even the roofs are elaborately decorated.
ornaments on the roof

ornaments on the roof

The special peaceful setting of the imperial garden you could only enjoy for a very brief time.

Brücke und Insel im Garten Kaiserpalast

Brücke und Insel im Garten Kaiserpalast


bridge and island Imperial Garden Kyoto

bridge and island Imperial Garden Kyoto

At least we had a chance to see an interior room of the palace with very old wall paintings.

wall paintings interior room Imperial Palace Kyoto

wall paintings interior room Imperial Palace Kyoto

wall paintings Imperial Palace Kyoto

wall paintings Imperial Palace Kyoto

Even it was only limited in time and a short insight, I would recommend to go there.

Monday July 27th, 2015
by Wolfram Mechelke
4 Comments

Kyoto – Palaces – Ninomaru Palace inside Nijo Castle

In Kyoto I have visited two historic sites. The first stop was the Nijō Castle (jap. 二条城, Nijō-jō) . It was constructed during the reign of Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu starting 1601. With Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu the third era of Shogunate power in Japan was established. This period is known as the Tokugawa- oder Edo-Shōgunat (1603–1867). Under the rule of Ieyasu and his successors Edo, today’s Tokyo was expanded as the center of power. In this respect, Nijo castle served as the residence of the shoguns during their stay in the Imperial capital of Kyoto and was therefore a large estate. The residence consists of two centers. It has the inner Honmaru Palace and the outer Ninomaru Palace. However, but the palaces were rarely used and therefore mainly a symbol of power of the shogun in the imperial city. The regency under Tokugawa ended a century of civil war in Japan. Under his successors the union of Japan was completed and the country experienced under the 15 Tokugawa Shoguns the longest enduring period of peace in its history. The Shogune rule was strict on the preventing any foreign influence. Strong trade restrictions and an absolute ban on Japanese emigration and travel ban on foreigners drove Japan into isolation. This isolation policy ultimately led to the end of Schogunate. During the tour inside Ninomaru Palace the historical hall is shown, where the last shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu on November 9, 1867 announced his abdication and formally returned his title to the emperor.

Ninomaru Palace inside Nijō castle

Ninomaru Palace inside Nijō castle

The Ninomaru garden was designed by the landscape architect and tea master Kobori Enshu. It is located between the two main rings of fortifications, next to the palace of the same name. The garden has a large pond with three islands and features numerous carefully placed stones and topiary pine trees.