A Travellerspoint blog

The Morning Train to Kyoto

sunny 25 °C

Hiroshima wakes crisp and alive to another day – a phoenix has arisen.
The early morning station with its gleaming floors is as fresh as the unbreathed air.
The concourse is an orderly crossroads of well worn commuters as a myriad of freshly washed faces look only forward and leave the past behind. Their horrific history is gone, but must never be forgotten.
The reverent bow of the ticket man and the smile of the coffee girl greet us without a common word. They know we came only to bear witness, and we know that we are welcome …
And then the stealthy Shinkansen slithers silently to a stop at our feet with the precision of a metronome and we say a fond farewell to Hiroshima – we wish you good fortune.

Like a wingless Boeing our sleek Shinkansen slips out of Hiroshima and skims across the surface, leaving towns and cities in its slipstream and the fields and mountains just a verdant blur. There is no clickety-clack to suit Betjeman’s poetic meter; no snorting steam to fuel Stevenson’s fantasy: just the quiet purr of pure power. But as the Japanese race into the future they have kept faith with their past. Beautiful kimonos still adorn elegant women on high days…
…and they happily pose for our camera...
While the giant torii gate at the Itsukushima shrine on Miyajima island has stood with its feet in the sea and beckoned worshippers for fifteen centuries come typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis and the atomic bomb…
While Buddhists and Shintos still play their role, excellent service is the true religion of this ancient land today. Attention to detail is all.
A street cleaner plucks scraps of litter with chopsticks and tongs with the pride and precision of the man who has woven bamboo blinds on a family heirloom since childhood …
Trains, trams and buses appear as if by magic at precisely the appointed hour; hoteliers, waiters and chefs greet us joyfully, treat us regally and charge us minimally – and never, ever, accept a tip. We buy miserly bric-a-brac and are treated with royal deference. A two bit plastic cabbage slicer is tenderly boxed and carefully wrapped then handed to us with both hands and a deep bow – we could weep with joy. But nothing is more tear-jerking than being welcomed by the store’s entire staff at the stroke of ten each morning…

With Hiroshima and Typhoon Phanfone behind us we face a bright new day and head northwards towards Japan’s crowning glory – Mount Fuji.

Posted by Hawkson 17:49 Archived in Japan

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I remember that train so well - truly a wonder. Onwards and upwards you go on your adventure!

by Joyce

Methinks Japan is winning your hearts - you're sharing it beautifully. I hope you get the perfect silhouette of Fuji-san. Genki de ne...

by Pam

Beautifully written, an opening of the heart, and I always say: we become our environment :-)
your photography compliments your writing in the way an {piano}accompanist enhances the performance of a singer.
Looking forward to more

by gottfried

Lovely shot of the Torii. I'll look forward to the Gabriola recreation of the prawn and tofu dish!

by Tom

Where are you right now? Have you hunkered down for the typhoon?? Stay safe!! love to you both

by Sharron

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