Welcome to October's New to Me link party.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram will already know that I spent the last three weeks enjoying the sights and tastes (!) of Japan, so there have been lots of travel New to Me's this month, and not a single sewing N2Me :)
My first ride on a bullet train, followed by several more over the course of the three weeks. They were a very pleasant change from the usual service here in the UK, I can tell you. Immaculate inside and out, punctual and fast what more could you ask for?
Our first introduction to Japan was the Senso-ji Temple in Tokyo, which was just across the road from our first hotel. As it turned out visiting the Temple was a great start to the holiday as it is Tokyo's oldest temple and is, apparently, the most widely visited spiritual site in the world. The temple sits at the centre of a complex of buildings that included a five-storey pagoda and an avenue of small stalls selling assorted snacks and souvenirs. The stalls are apparently handed down through generations and began when the street cleaners outside the temple were granted the right to sell goods to the visiting pilgrims. A steady stream of pilgrims willing to part with their money is always going to be too tempting isn't it?
Everywhere that we visited there was a fascinating juxtaposition of old and new and nowhere is that more evident than here in the Hama-rikyu Gardens in Tokyo, which are surrounded by the towering skyscrapers of the modern city. The Gardens were originally created for the hunting lodge of a wealthy potentate in the 1600's but now stand as a tranquil space for the public amidst the hustle and bustle of a teeming city.
Equally tranquil but very different was another New to Me, the stunning Zen Rock Garden at Ryoanji Temple. It is apparently the most famous Rock Garden in Japan and it is not hard to see why, it was absolutely beautiful. In a trip that took us to lots of amazing places, this Rock Garden was my favourite of them all. Even although we were surrounded by other tourists there was a real sense of peace at the Rock Garden. It was not difficult to see how easy it would be to spend hours just contemplating the meaning of life here! The Rock Garden is even older than the Hama-rikyu garden as it is reputed to have been created around 1500, that is a lot of contemplation!
The trip wasn't all about ancient structures though, we also took a trip on the quirky Dotonbori Ferris Wheel in Osaka. The stretch across the top was a bit nerve-wracking but the views across the city more than made up for the tense time :)
Fortunately, there was always a tempting snack to be had! We loved the food all over Japan, and even had a cookery lesson in Kyoto, where we made all of the elements of our own Bento Box (another New to Me), and you can see the results above! Chicken Teriyaki, Spinach Salad with Sesame Dressing, Prawn and Pumpkin Tempura and Sushi we were very proud of ourselves :)
So, that's my New to Me for this month, now it is your turn to link up and share any new experiences that you have had this month, successful or not. The link party will remain open until the end of the month and I would love it if you included a link back or the blog button at the top of this post in your post too.