For my friend, EJ's birthday last month I made this mini album of a trip we took together. We were both living in Japan at the time and we went on a little trip to Iwakuni, Miyajima, Hiroshima and Dogo Onsen over her birthday weekend. That was four years ago and although I have been meaning to put some of the pictures together for her for a while this year I managed to get it done for her birthday.
I used a small 6"x6" album with cream colored pages to make the gift. I came up with a simple teal and gold color scheme that seemed to work well with all of the photos and then pulled a few items from my stash that matched: some teal cardstock, gold textured paper, gold flower rub-ons, gold punched borders, cream letter stickers, gold gel pen and a teal colored pencil.
On the cover I kept things simple. I added a wide strip of teal cardstock, using a hole punch and a slit so that I could lay it down around the button closure. For an accent I punched a circle from an extra cream page from the album, added a flower rub-on and matted it with some of the gold textured paper.
For the opening pages I made a little map of where we went. I printed out the area from Google Maps, traced it with a gold gel pen and then colored it in with a teal colored pencil. I cut arrow tags from teal cardstock, added the location names with letter stickers and then had the tags point at the locations we visited on the map.
For the interior pages I continued to keep things simple by having only two different layouts for the pages. On every page I added a strip of teal cardstock to set off the photos and then on some layouts I added a strip of the textured gold paper and a gold flower rub-on and on the other layouts I added the gold punched border. For the first picture for each location I added a title with the cream letter stickers.
On the Saturday of the weekend our first stop was to Iwakuni which is famous for Kintai-kyo (錦帯橋), a historic five arched bridge over the Nishiki River. Originally built in in the 17th century, it was washed away in a typhoon in 1950. A reproduction was built in 1953 which is what you can see today.
The steep arches and intricate wooden construction was very impressive and we walked over and underneath the bridge to see it all.
We also hired a boatman to take us out on the river for a closer view on the water.
It was such a pretty setting with the bridge elegantly spanning across the river with the historic boats lazily paddling about.
Next we headed to Miyajima (宮島) which is the popular name for Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社). The view of the famous "floating" torii gate is considered one of the three famous views in Japan.
The torii gate only appears to be floating at high tide which we were lucky enough to see when we first arrived.
There have been shrines on the island since the 6th century, however the current buildings date to the 16th century.
Once the tide started going out, people began to walk out to the torii gate.
We also headed up Mount Misen a bit to see some of the other shrines.
I couldn't resist getting a picture with these speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil statues.
Japan is full of warning signs so EJ had to get a picture with this cartoon sign warning that the deer on the island were dangerous.
We spent Saturday night in Hiroshima and the went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial on Sunday morning. The memorial is built around Genbaku Dome which was the only structure that survived the atomic bomb blast in 1945.
We visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum which was a somber experience. In addition to chronicling the events leading up to the bombing as well as the devastating aftermath, there were also a lot of expressions of hope and peace for the future like these displays of origami peace cranes.
From Hiroshima we took a ferry to Mastsuyama to visit Dogo Onsen which is one of the oldest hot springs baths in Japan. We paid to have a small private room for changing which also included some tea and a sweet before we went for our lovely bath. It was a relaxing way to end our weekend trip.
To close the album I added this picture of cherry blossoms that I took on the trip for the final page.
The album was quick and easy to put together and put the emphasis on the photos. It was fun for me to relive the trip as I was organizing the pictures and I am so happy that EJ enjoyed it!