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Laurie Britt

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Caroline Davis

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Geishawavingsmiling

Japan

Japan Tour Description   SO . . .  July 10th we boarded a plane for Tokyo and arrived groggy but ready to see the wild weirdness that is Japan. I have to say this is one of my best trips ever and definitely the most unique "civilized" country I have ever visited. The Japan Alps are rugged and home to  really great hiking that will take your breath away,  not just from the steepness of the trails but from the beautiful tucked- away Shinto Shrines  along the way and the vegetation that looks like something out of a cartoon.

The Lantern Festival happened to be in full swing while we were in Kyoto.  (It gives Mardi Gras a run for it's money on the grandness scale.)  It was unbelievable!  The night before the big parade, the  route is lined with white paper lanterns, booths selling food, and carnival games.  Cars are forbidden and the revelers take over the streets.  In America we have the Elephant Ear . . . in Japan it's Octopus Dumplings.  There are still the usual fair games but the Japanese dress in their best summer kimonos to come out and play.  So  traditional and formal,  yet they are for all intents and purposes wearing pajamas.  We saw two geisha at the parade and one in the old town on a rickshaw...My day was made! 

Japan is neon lights and bustling city as well as land of wonder and nature - the perfect mix if you ask me.

Jessica Berg July 2007