Martin's Japan Pages

Our Man In Japan

15 May 2007

Golden Week - Martin's Tour of Japan's World Heritage Sites

We had Golden Week two weeks ago. This week is 'golden' because there are four public holidays in one week of May (this year, Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). So, taking Tuesday and Wednesday of as paid-leave, I spent nine days on a massive tour of Hiroshima and Kyoto to see some of Japan's World Heritage sites. I've wanted to do such a tour since I came to Japan but it's been difficult to find the time to do it. I'm at school even when the students have holidays and my own paid holiday leave has been used to mainly to travel back home three times. I always had Golden week every year, but I've always been put off by stories of overcrowded public transport and motorways and the neccessity to get hotel reservations weeks in advance.

But this year I took the plunge, made the train and hotel reservations and braved the crowds. Here's a brief overview of the tour until I sort out all the photos I took:

  • Day 1 (Sat 28th Apr) - Himeji Castle

    Built in 1593, Himeji Castle is one of the oldest original castles in Japan. Became a World Heritage site in 1993.

  • Day 2 (Sun 29th Apr) - Genbaku (Atomic) Dome

    Marking the site of the world's first atomic attack, the American bomb detonated above this building, now known as the Atomic Bomb Dome . Became a World Heritage site in 1996.

  • Day 3 (Mon 30th Apr, Showa Day) - Itsukushima Shrine Gate

    This unique shrine gate on Miyajima Island is one of the "Most Beautiful Sights in Japan". Became a World Heritage site in 1996.

  • Day 4 (Tue 1st May)) - Hiroshima Carps

    The Hirashima Carps Baseball team were established in the 50's to boost the moral of Hiroshima citizens as they rebuilt their city. A fairly average team with massively loyal and passionate fans. A bit like Niigata Albirex then.

  • Day 5 (Wed 2nd May) - Kyoto Station

    Took the coach to Kyoto and spent the rest of the day around the very modern Kyoto Station.

  • Day 6 (Thurs 3rd May, Constitution Day) - Kinkakuji and Ninnaji

    First of the World Heritage sites in Kyoto; Kinkakuji, which is covered in gold leaf, and Ninnaji, a large Buddist temple which had close ties to the Emperor. Both are World Heritage Sites.

  • Day 7 (Fri 4th May, Green Day) - Kiyomizu Dera and Ginkakuji

    Second sightseeing day in Kyoto. Kiyomizu Dera and Ginkakuji. Both are World Heritage Sites.

  • Day 8 (Sat 5th May, Children's Day) - Nara

    The first capital city of Japan is home Todai-ji, the temple which houses the huge Daibutsu (buddha statue), and Kasuga Shrine. Both are World Heritage Sites.

  • Day 9 (Sun 6th May) - Nishi Hongan-ji

    Nishi Hongan-jiis the founding temple of Shin-Buddism that was once the most influential in Japan. The main temple made from Chinese teak and marble became a World Heritage Site in 1996.

So that was my tour. Lots of done in nine days, so I could do with a break to recover and sort all the photos I've taken.


kate said...

hey! wish we had been more organised/ communicative and we could have met up.....we went to hiroshima on the sunday and miyajima on monday too!! : (

16 May, 2007 22:01  
MartinMc said...

No way! I guess it's my own fault. I've been a bit hermit-like since March hoping for one last big dump (that we never got :-( )

What did you think of Hiroshima and Miyajima? Did you hike to the top of Misen?

18 May, 2007 15:50  
kate said...

ah well, fuji rock it'll be then! (got your tix??)

i'd been to hiroshima before this trip, i love the place. miyajima...well its just another torii, right. not hugely spectacular but i liked the rest of the island it was on. x

21 May, 2007 10:46  
kittykat said...

cloudy! love the pictures! love hiroshima! looking forward to seeing you this saturday!

28 May, 2007 16:04  

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