Japan is a beautiful country. That isn't breaking news. I don't think I'm wrong when I assume that the country is on most people's wishlists. It's not hard to see why. The culture is rich, complex and everywhere. Nature is wild, pure and easy to access, even in big cities like Osaka or Tokyo. There's always something to learn about, or discover be it modern or ancient. People are wonderful. Everywhere you look is worth taking a picture. Had I not been in love already, Japan would have stolen my heart when I first visited 4 years ago.
Whenever people ask me what my favourite place in Japan is, or what was the most beautiful city I have been to I cannot choose. I want to pick Kyoto over Tokyo for its amazing architecture and peacefulness, yet Tokyo is intriguing, charming and addictive. I cannot get over Kamakura, nor ignore the beauty and history of Hiroshima.
Even in Kyoto alone, you could choose different areas, prefer temples to museums, Gion to the more modern streets and little shops... And you could even take the train for a few minutes, and arrive in Arashiyama. Your choice would be then made even more difficult.
The day was hot and extremely sunny. Way too hot for an April day. With no map or plan in hand, we just walked around the city making our way through the rather impressive crowd of tourists. As we were heading towards the river, I noticed a man about to take a selfie with his mobile phone and moved aside to avoid photobombing him. Just when I walked past him he moved closer, took my arm, smiled at me and took a picture. He left as quickly as it all happened.
That isn't rare in Japan, my pale skin combined with my green/blue eyes and hair apparently make a very picture worthy combination. But usually people ask politely, with a big smile and a few giggles. This took me by surprise but it was quickly forgotten when the emerald blue ribbon appeared in front of us. The hills surrounding the river were a myriad of greens, some teenagers and couples were laughing in blue barks, families were walking in the shade.
A few kms away, the bamboo forest was a wonderful picture of lines and shades, rays of light in which parcels of dust were dancing.
That's one of the many charms of Japan; every leaf, every drop, every cloud and every stone whisper a poem of beauty and delicateness.
In one deep breath, in one glance, one can hear it, being hummed, oh so gently.