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The Oriental Caravan's 

Postcard from Nagasaki...

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click here to see more photos from the trip

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7th April 2002

Dear All,

Greetings from Nagasaki! After once again arriving in perfect time to catch the full glory of the cherry blossom The Oriental Caravan is now nearing the end of another fantastic journey around Japan. 

Shinto wedding bride and groom copy.JPG (75793 bytes)

Inari Torii 1.JPG (47944 bytes)

Bride and Groom dressed for a Shinto wedding on Miyajima island

Tunnel of torii in the Fushimi Inari 'Fox' temple, Kyoto

Nara Deer Park Bridge.JPG (78345 bytes)

Kimono girls on the Philosophers Path.JPG (61329 bytes)

A bridge beneath the maple trees of Nara Deer Park

Girls dressed in kimonos stroll beneath the cherry trees on the 'Philosophers Path' in Kyoto

Miniature torii.JPG (51875 bytes)

Fox silhouette.JPG (29472 bytes)

Offerings of torii at a Shinto shrine

Silhouette of a 'guardian' fox at the Fushimi Inari temple, Kyoto

Maurayama Cherry tree.JPG (39030 bytes)

Lantern.JPG (27722 bytes)

This huge, floodlit  cherry tree is the focal point of 'hanami' cherry blossom revellery in Maruyama Park, Kyoto

A lantern in the Gion geisha district of Kyoto.

From the exquisite temples of Kyoto to the virgin forests and smoking volcanoes of Kyushu the sun has shone and the saké has flowed.
This is a fascinating time to visit Japan, a land truly in transition, as it struggles to meet the demands of a changing world. Although in many ways the country seems ultra-modern, many of its institutions, particularly its financial ones, are deeply entrenched in the past.

Daibutsu, Nara.JPG (59053 bytes)

Miyajima Ferry.JPG (31782 bytes)

Daibutsu-ji, Nara - the largest bronze Buddha in the world

On board the ferry to Miyajima island

Walkers on Daimonjiyama.JPG (169283 bytes)

Imp holding up an incense burner, Nigatsu Do.JPG (82849 bytes)

Hiking in the hills above Kyoto

An imp holds up an incense burner at Nigatsu Do temple, Nara

Zen Tempura.JPG (41010 bytes)

Mother and baby fox, Fushimim Inari, Kyoto.JPG (68802 bytes)

Intrepid travellers aboard The Oriental Caravan dine out on Zen tempura in an old Geisha house in the Gion district of Kyoto Mother and baby fox at the Fushimi Inari temple in Kyoto

Shinto Bellrope.JPG (50164 bytes)

Moss garden.JPG (67379 bytes)

Shinto bell rope

Temple moss garden, Kyoto

Away from the hustle and bustle of its exciting cities Japan still has areas of great natural beauty - and some of the finest gardens in the world.

Japanese culture is possessed of a unique and refined sense of aesthetics. Her most famous artist is perhaps the prolific woodblock printer Hokusai.

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Fuji.JPG (56353 bytes)

Woodblock print (the Wave by Hokusai)

Woodblock print (Fuji by Hokusai). Click here for a more risqué woodblock print by Hiroshige.

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Yarrow sticks.JPG (69228 bytes)

Picture of a picture of a parasol in sunlight

Yarrow sticks used for divination, Nigatsu Do, Nara

A Bomb Dome (former Industrial Promotion Hall).JPG (44215 bytes)

Hiroshima before.JPG (47869 bytes)

The Industrial Promotion Hall, now known as the A-Bomb Dome, is the only building that remains from old Hiroshima.

A model of Hiroshima before the bomb was dropped - hold mouse over image for a few moments to see the after effects or click here for clearer comparison

Monument to Sasaki Sadako, Hiroshima.JPG (40103 bytes)

Hiroshima Peace Park.JPG (38843 bytes)

Children's Peace Monument. Around 140,000 people died when the Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, including tens of thousands of children. Around 80,000 died instantly, another 60,000 of lingering illnesses in the decades to follow. Today's nuclear weapons are hundreds of times more powerful then those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The epicentre of the blast is now a Peace Park. One of the monuments is to the 20,000 or so Korean forced labourers, anonymous victims of the Bomb, whose deaths were scandalously not commemorated by the Japanese authorities for over 20 years.

The Peace Museums in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki serve to deliver the clear message that nuclear weapons should, under no circumstances whatsoever, ever be used again. 

The two best seasons to visit Japan are in the spring, to catch the cherry blossom, or autumn, October and November, when the maple trees explode into a riot of brilliant hues.

Kenrakoen Cherry Blossom, Okayama.JPG (94519 bytes)

Blossom.JPG (95012 bytes)

Orchard of cherry trees in Korakuen Garden, Okayama


Senjokaku blossom.JPG (79282 bytes)

Cherrl Blossom Viewing.JPG (94276 bytes)

Senjokaku temple, Miyajima

Photographing the ephemeral blossom is not a matter to be taken lightly!

Yufu Dake.JPG (66861 bytes)

Shitan yu onsen, Yufuin.JPG (40263 bytes)

The volcanic landscape around Mt. Yufu Dake on one of the many excellent day hikes possible on the trip.

After climbing the (now dormant!) volcano of Yufu Dake what better than a hot soak in the idyllic outdoor spa at Shitan-yu in Yufuin!

Today's paper.JPG (35742 bytes)

Zen - or the art of getting back to factory settings!

Reading today's paper overlooking Nagasaki harbour!

Positioned as a lotus, with petals of cherry falling like snow, The Oriental Caravan's Chief Caravaneer and legendary vegetarian Phil Colley sits and contemplates his laptop!

That's about it for now. The next e-postcard will be from the little-visited Tohoku region of North Japan, scene of the wanderings of Matsuo Basho, 'founder' of the haiku poem. Anyway, all is well here as we hope it is with you.

Wish you were here!

With very best wishes,

from Phil, and all aboard The Oriental Caravan.

p.s. Please forward this postcard to your friends!


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             Revised and last updated: November 20th 2013. Links