Tiny Hippo Arrives in Kyoto, it Rains

Kyoto in the Rain

I have arrived in Kyoto, a lovely city, but it is raining!

Kyoto Workers in the Rain

At first I found the rain rather depressing


Little Ones with Umbrellas

Then I noticed all the bright and cheerful umbrellas that people were carrying!

Woman on Bike with Umbrella

They were even riding bikes with their smashing umbrellas.

Little Kids with Umbrellas

I had to find an umbrella suited to my specific needs, if they make them small enough for these wee children there must be Tiny Hippo sized ‘brellies.

Tiny Hippo with Umbrella

Eureka! I found an umbrella just my size, and it has little elephants on it too! Rain here I come!

Neko Danbo Makes S’mores

Neko Danbo gathers all the ingredients he needs to make the ultimate S'mores!

Hello all, I am Neko Danbo, please join me while I create the ultimate S’mores.

Graham Cracker and Neko Danbo

First, we arrange the graham cracker base.

S'mores Neko Danbo

Next, some fine dark chocolate.

Bacon S'mores

A piece of bacon to liven things up!

Marshmallow Neko

Top with a homemade marshmallow, so gooey.

Neko Danbo Needs Help

Now, I need an adult!

Melting Marshmallow

Yes, toast that marshmallow!

Toasting Marshmallow

Perfectly crispy.

Neko Danbo Feasts

At last, we feast!

Neko Danbo Noms

Nom nom nom…

Neko Danbo is Full

Don’t judge me.

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Tiny Hippo Stays at a Temple

Tiny Hippo in the Fall

If you are spending the night on Mount Koya, you will need a place to rest your Tiny Hippo

Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin Shukubo

While there aren’t any hotels on the mountain, there are shukubos which are temple lodgings run by monks. This was our shukubo: Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin

Inside temple lodgings

We enjoyed the tradition architecture complete with tatami mats and shoji doors

Garden at temple

The meticulously designed gardens were a thing of beauty

Gravel design in rock garden

Just be careful where you tread, only the leaves are allowed to venture onto the intricate patterns

Koi pond

Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin was the only lodging on the mountain that had its own hot spring for bathing, as it would be indecent for me to photograph such things, here is the koi pond

Tiny Hippo and the Buddha

As evening falls, you may wish to expand your mind with the teachings of the enlightened one

Dinner at Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin

The vegetarian feast provided by the monks is served in your room. Some of the dishes come with their own fire to keep them toasty warm

Tiny Hippo Feasts

Each dish holds new surprises for the adventurous Tiny Hippo

Dinner in Japan

Don’t worry though, it is all delicious!

Tiny Hippo in the Moss

I left my wonderful temple lodging in Koyason relaxed and rejuvenated. Onward to Kyoto!

Welcome to Koyasan

The next stop on my tour of Japan is Koyasan!


Koyasan is a small temple town atop Mount Koya, it is the center of Shingon Buddhism.

Koyasan Pilgrim

Koyasan welcomes pilgrims and visitors alike.

Koyasan Building

This mountain top sanctuary is full of hidden gems just off the beaten trail. We found this building hidden at the end of an old path.

Seated Buddha, Mount Koya

The giant cemetery of Koyasan is a mixture of old and new, this Buddha seemed fairly new…

Koyasan Lanterns

while these stone lanterns seem to be disappearing into the mountain.

Koyasan Monks

We were lucky enough to witness a chanting meditation taking place in the extremely cold river. It was an awe-inspiring experience. Onlookers joined in the chanting, I only wish that I had known the words.


Koyasan is a wonderful place where centuries of religious devotion can be witnessed and honored.

Johnny’s Take Away, Nara

Johnny's Take Away, Nara

There is a tiny restaurant in Nara, Japan called Johnny’s Take Away. This place is a gem, they make the BEST karaage (Japanese fried chicken).

Wee Dog at Johnny's Take Away, Nara

Not only is the chicken amazing but there is also this wee dog who sleeps in a baby stroller!

Papillon at Johnny's Take Away

This little guy will wait in his stroller until something of note happens, then he will emerge in his finest jumper to investigate (note he has easy access to all his toys, stored in the bottom of the stroller).

Papillon Dog, Johnny's Take Away, Nare

This little Papillon is eager to please and has a wide variety of flawless tricks that he will perform under the careful watch of his owner.

Tiny dog at Johnny's Take Away

The food at Johnny’s is amazing the company even better, you will be happy you went.

Johnny's Take Away with Dog

So when you are in Nara, check out Johnny’s you will take away new friends and full tummies!