My name is Lisa and I'm a crafty girl with wanderlust working as an engineer by day. My blog chronicles projects in my home as well as pictures and stories from my travels.




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Entries in Asia (165)


Visiting Hieizan Enryaku-ji

Whenever I come to Japan for work I usually make the most of my weekends by traveling around and this trip was no different.  I decided to spend my Saturday by visiting Enryaku-ji, which is a Buddhist monastary on Hieizan (Mt. Hiei) overlooking Kyoto. Founded in 788, Enryaku-ji is home of the Tendai sect of Buddhism and one of the most important monastaries in Japanese history.

To get to Enryaku-ji I took the train to Sakamoto and from there caught a cable car up Hieizan.  When I first arrived it was a little misty, but within about 15 minutes a steady drizzle began and a heavy fog rolled in.  On the one hand I was a little dissapointed because you had to be nearly on top of something to see it, but on the other hand the fog lent a serenity to the mountain top and drove away some of the other visitors.  It was enchanting to be walking along and see a gorgeous, ancient temple materialize from the fog as I walked toward it, almost as if it appeared from thin air.

My favorite temple that I saw was Kaidan-in, which is where aspiring Tendai sect priests are ordained by receiving the commandments of Buddhism. I was particularly struck by the beautiful but simple doors and I loved the worn patina that the paint had developped over time. No one else was in the grove where the temple is located when I visited which made it even more special. 

On a side note, the walk through Sakamoto between the train and cable car turned out to be a beautiful, unexpected surprise.  The main road was lined with lovely Japanese maple trees that were at the peak of their color making it a lovely walk and adding to my trip.

If you are interested, check out the rest of my December 2011 Japan Trip here: Kobe: Luminarie + Beef, Autumn in Kyoto, Favorite Eats in Toyota-shi, Centrair Airport Bath


Picture of the Day: Boat Woman on Halong Bay

Halong Bay, Vietnam


First Trip to Kyoto

Today I am heading back to Japan for a work trip. Japan has played a pivotal role in shaping who I am. It is the foreign country that I've visited the most and the only country outside of the US that I have lived.

My first trip to Japan was back in early April 2006 for a business trip a few months after I had started my job.  I had never been anywhere in Asia before and I was thrilled at the chance to go. Being a work trip I didn't have much free time, of course, but I did have a Sunday off that I used for sightseeing.  With just one day available for a mini trip and already being in Central Japan I decided to go to the obvious choice, Kyoto.

Kyoto is a magical place, full of amazing ancient temples and shrines.  The fact that it was cherry blossom season only enchanted me even more. I visited some of the more famous sights of Kyoto including Nijo-jo, Nishi Hongan-ji, Kinkaku-ji, Sanjusangen-do, Heian-jinja and Kiyomizu-dera, soaking everything in and taking pictures.  

After leaving Kiyomizu-dera I slowly wandered down the hill through the maze of shops and stores back to the road. I saw a trio of Maiko (apprentice geisha) and was impressed with their poise and beautiful kimono. I also had a chance to try Kyoto's famous sweet, yatsuhashi, which is a soft sweet rice flour wrapper with various fillings like sweet red bean. Ever since it has been a favorite special treat for me.

As I rode the Shinkansen from Kyoto back to Nagoya that evening I didn't know that I would eventually live in Japan or even that I would be back on several trips, but I did know that I had a special day and seen some amazing, beautiful places. I'm looking forward to going back...


Picture of the Day: Torii at Miyajima



















Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社)
Hiroshima-ken, Japan


Picture of the Day: Figures at the Grand Palace

The Grand Palace (พระบรมมหาราชวัง)
Bangkok, Thailand

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