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Mike’s Next Adventure

Oh No! Where’d Kyoto Go? (Right Here, in 18 Photos)

Kyoto I realized the other day, as I was writing a Japanese-flavored article for a local mag, that I never wrote a blog post about Kyoto from my trip last year. Murmuring and grumbling, calling myself a lazy bastard, I suddenly remembered why I never completed a piece whilst rifling through the following photos — I was still processing Kyoto.

You see, Japan was a whirlwind trip. It was hard to pluck Kyoto from the onslaught of 12-day sensory overload; the trip sort of blended together. But looking through a massive file of photos helped categorize my time there – the sights, colors, sounds, smells – ultimately blossoming a dormant appreciation.

A year plus later, with much-delayed discernibility, Kyoto has become —not only my favorite place in Japan —but one of my favorite cities I’ve ever visited. It’s a stunning place – the perfect place to get lost, collect your thoughts in a bamboo forest, or just outside the boundaries of a shrine, or, in an actual Zen garden. photo-33 photo-30 The Golden Pavilion DSC_0272 Meditation room, run by rev. Takafumi Kawakami, where I learned new methods of relaxation, pins and needles, and the art of consuming too much matcha. DSC_0282The Silver Pavilion (not silver – rumor has it, the shogun who built it back in the late 1400’s ran out of money before being able to coat with silver leaf)
DSC_0327 Fushimi Inari Shrine photo-37 Kitty photo-36 View of Kyoto from Kiyomizu-dera temple walk-up. photo-29 Ryoan-ji (Temple of the Dragon at Peace, aka House of the Sleeping Trouser Serpent) DSC_0305 Tourismo DSC_0262 Shadow/Color splash contrast. DSC_0255 Sleeping quarters. The tatami mats were actually quite comfortable barring the gentleman above’s affinity for man snuggle. photo-35 Kiyomizu-dera temple (burned down and rebuilt multiple times, but the original was established in 778. 778!) photo-2 Canal along Philosopher’s Path, with cherry blossoms. Wabi Sabi?photo-38Hands down, the Best Sushi I’ve ever had. photo-32Mmmm squishy edibles.

Temple Drawings

Kyoto StationKyoto Station.

Bamboo ForestBamboo Grove at Arashiyama.


Hope you enjoyed this virtual through Kyoto – ’tis a calming place; a place I’d love to revisit sometime soon.

Stay Tuned to Roam About, I’ll have posts about the following places within the next month, tickets booked already: Phoenix/Sedona, Arizona. Negril, Jamaica. Nashville, TN.

Let me know of any ‘must see’ places from the above, and I’ll make sure to check ’em out, snap some pictures for you, and of course, give you props.



39 comments on “Oh No! Where’d Kyoto Go? (Right Here, in 18 Photos)

  1. Coyote says:

    Man that sushi made me hungry! All I have at my desk is Chipotle Chips…I don’t think thats gonna replace the glory that is that sushi. I also like the Kitty shot! And of course the rest of the pics are stellar…man that meditation room looks amazing! Great post as always:)

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, Coyote!
      Funny, while visiting Japan I had sushi for breakfast a couple times – turns out, it’s a much better way to start the day than with Frosted Flakes. Who knew!

  2. Brigitte says:

    Hey Mike–good to see you around again! Was this the trip where a few of us guest-blogged for you? That was one of my all-time favorite fun posts to do.

    As always, your pictures are beautiful and put us right there. Though that squishy edible thing–uh-huh, wouldn’t want to eat that. But the sushi must be fresh and authentic! Love the bamboo and those weird faces on what appears to be wooden somethings. I loved to walk along Philospher’s path and well, you know, philosophize.

    Look forward to more travel stories and hope you and Marti are great.

    1. mabukach says:

      Hey Brigitte – good to hear from you as well.
      Yep, that was the trip – I know it’s been a year, but thanks again for writing that.

      You are my favorite blogosophizer. 🙂

      More stories coming soon – hope all is well in your world.


  3. Laura says:

    Lovely tour, Mike. I like the way the architecture mimics the landscape, particularly in that third photo with the limbs/rooftop. The bamboo groves are also amazing! What the hell kind of job do you have that you get these amazing travels all the time??!

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, Laura. I really want a house/yard that captures the mimicry element. It’s so calming and beautiful – will probably have to make some serious scratch to replicate.

      I head up the marketing dept of one of the coolest companies in the midwest. AZ, and Nashville are work trips – but I also have to travel to the likes Orlando…*grumbles

      Jamaica is vacation – I need some beach time. And rum drinks. Have you been?

      1. Laura says:

        Nah, never been to Jamaica. When do you go? The closest I’ve been is Haiti, which isn’t really close and was the most difficult place on earth that I can imagine ever being. That’s a really weird sentence.
        My daughter and I are going to Paris next month on a trip she started devising when she was 12 for unknown reasons. Thinking of trying to post from there, but sometimes it feels like pressure… and there’s just no time!

        1. mabukach says:

          Heading there end of May. Did you go to Haiti during the earthquake clean-up?

          That’s amazing! Have you ever been?

          1. Laura says:

            No, I was there for business reasons (started a cooperative with 6 papier-mache artists) in 2011. Still a lot of devastation, obviously.

            I was in Paris once but for only a day in my 20s. I have a friend who lives near Geneva, so we’ll split our time between the two places. Really looking forward to it!

            1. mabukach says:

              Wow – interesting business venture. Are you still involved with the artists?

              So cool – take lots of pics!

              1. Laura says:

                Unfortunately, no. You can see some pictures and get a feel for the project here
                It was part of a four or five post travel series on Haiti that started here
                Why it ended is a whole other story but much of it has to do with the fact that Haiti is… well, Haiti, and one of the most difficult places on earth I can imagine living.

                Will do in Paris, same for you in Jam-mamm-ma!

  4. susielindau says:

    This is so cool, Mike. Great shots. I do feel that tranquility.

    Why isn’t Colorado on your list??? You’ll have to come back to take more pics…

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, Susie!

      Colorado is always on my list!
      Would love to come back in the summer, get some hiking and camping action in, take pics, fishing. I might be taking another international trip in Sept, though. Have to save up!

      Hope you’re well!


  5. My wife lived in Negril many (58) years ago…she still remembers the clear blue beach and white sand there…like nowhere else. Bon voyage!
    – Jim H.

    1. mabukach says:

      Hey Jim,

      Do you ever travel back to Negril?

      Thanks for stopping in!


  6. Holy crap that place is gorgeous. Up until now I had no idea that I wanted to go to Japan. Now the country is going on my list with Kyoto taking top priority!

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, Brantley.
      That’s the highest compliment I could get – much appreciated, and I hope you can make it to Kyoto soon.


  7. dynomike1991 says:

    Definitely family friendly and culture oriented. Great shots. Your trip embodies a bright side of Japanese culture.

    1. mabukach says:

      This one was definitely PG – thanks very much, DynoMike.

  8. Maggie O'C says:

    Sure, the photos are beautiful and I am so happy you share them but um, Sleeping Trouser Serpent??? What?! hahaha

    1. mabukach says:

      I’m guessing you’re the only person who caught that…you win!

  9. swo8 says:

    We were in Osaka a few years ago. Of course we went to Kyoto as well. Your pictures were very familiar to me. Brought back some good memories. I wrote some songs about it on my album “Osaka Time”. You can have a listen to them if you go to my web page and click on the album cover. That will take you to iTunes. Click on the album cover again and you can sample the music for free. The last piece is called “Buddhist Temples and Shinto Shrines”. I usually have a story about our travels and that is the story song.

    1. mabukach says:

      Hey Leslie,
      Glad I could reunite.
      Will definitely check out your tunes – that’s so much for stopping in!


  10. No we don’t go back to Jamaica…my lifge left in the 60’s…it wasn’t the nicest of places then…although it is today. Have a great trip

  11. HRH says:

    Bravo, Mike! I have never been to Kyoto, but it looks not only interesting, it looks intriguing, and inspiring. I would visit simply for the nature and the “way of things” as they are done there.

    The “squishy edibles” photo is perhaps my favorite, although I do not like sushi. I tried something with eel once. And of course, I’ve tried salmon and tuna. However, I do not like even the best-grade seafood raw. I feel the same about oysters. I tried one. ONCE. The man I was trying to impress (learned my lesson on that one) told me not to chew it but simply swallow it. First, why not chew it? I’m not a dolphin, I don’t just swallow my food. And second, why just swallow it? Is it just that bad to chew? I do love Ceviche, though, but I guess that doesn’t count as raw since the acid in the lime juice “cooks” the seafood.

    So, no to sushi, but that picture of the squishy edibles is so interestingly beautiful that I kept scrolling back up to it to look at it again and again. It’s frame-worthy, art. That’s a big not-so-subtle hint to do that and hang on your wall.

    My other favorites of the bunch are the bamboo pictures. I hope one day to have marbled bamboo (red and cream color), golden bamboo, red bamboo, black bamboo, and Bergamboes Bamboo (green that changes to sort of white/gray gradually). Bamboo is peaceful. It also sounds peaceful and soothing when the wind is blowing through it. I also keep thinking if I plant the panda bamboo (yes, there’s a panda bamboo, what they eat I assume) that I will somehow bring all the “local pandas” (that would be from the local zoo) to my back haven of a retreat. Yes, that’s a dream.

    Thanks for the virtual,

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, HRH – highest compliment I could get. It’s definitely a place you go to just absorb, and settle in. We were traveling so much around visiting Kyoto, not sure I got to soak it all up until returning home.

      Was this man impressed with your chewing of the oyster? 🙂
      Mmm ceviche. Word is the acids do cook it – tried making it before, came out pretty well.
      I will definitely hang the picture in my kitchen.

      I did not know there was a red or black bamboo – interesting. The bamboo grove was one of the more peaceful places I’ve ever been.

      You’re quite welcome – thanks for coming along.


      1. HRH says:

        I did not chew the oyster as he said raw oysters are meant to be swallowed. So, I swallowed. Go on about it…I’m sure you want to muck it up with some innuendo. I freely admit the analogy is not lost on me of trying to impress a man who wants me to swallow…an oyster. I’ve heard it all from my girlfriends long ago. Thankfully, that man did not make the cut. 🙂

        1. mabukach says:

          I wasn’t even going there! Scout’s honor. 🙂

          1. HRH says:

            Well, I’m happy to hear that, thank you. I’m so used to it, though, that I assume. My apologies.

            1. HRH says:

              Just in case, I’m going need to see your Scout’s current membership. And just to be completely sure, I’m going to need to see a picture of you in the uniform. 😉

              1. mabukach says:

                Uhhh, I’ll have to get back to you on the Scout’s thing. I was in marching band in high school, does that count for a uniform?

                1. HRH says:

                  Yes, I believe it does.

  12. johnnajay says:

    Its always fun to see things about Japan posted :))

    1. mabukach says:

      Would you say you’re a Japan fan?

      1. johnnajay says:

        Haha I suppose so! I was born and bred here ^^ Its always fun to see a different perspective from a travelers eyes ^^ Did you only get here once? I highly recommend Nara next time 🙂

  13. Gotta love Kyoto – Frankly anything Japan. It was one of my favorite places – I went during Cherry Blossom season and kyoto was on fire with flowers!

    I think it’s time to plan a longer trip back – I always wanted to see it in the fall.

    1. mabukach says:

      Very cool, Joseph. We were there during the tail end of the cherry blossom’s; philosopher’s path was amazing.
      Safe travels!

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