Tiny Hippo Goes Leaf Viewing

Tiny Hippo heard tell that there is a wonderful temple in Kyoto called Kiyomizu-dera where one must go to truly appreciate the autumn leaves, he hopes he is not too late to see them!

Kiyomizu-dera

He is in luck! The autumn colors are bright and ready for spectacular show!

Tiny Hippo Kiyomizu-dera

He can hardly sit still, there is just so much to look at

Tiny Hippo Examines the Fall Leaves

Do you see how amazing these bright leaves are? Tiny Hippo wonders how they get so very red and wonders if his fur will ever change to such a fabulous red color

Red Maple Leaves

Tiny Hippo has invented a game where he must not step on any of the leaves, it is very slow going

Kiyomizu-dera

There are many paths to explore around the temple

Pond at Kiyomizu-dera

The ponds are very pretty, but swimming is frowned upon. It took all of Tiny Hippo’s willpower to keep from splashing about!

View of Kyoto from Kiyomizu-dera

The views from the temple looking out over Kyoto are quite wonderful

Kiyomizu-dera at Night

Tiny Hippo had so much fun looking at all the pretty leaves that he lost track of time; the next thing he knew, it was dark out and all the trees were illuminated!

Kiyomizu-dera Pond at Night

Alas, he was still not allowed to swim in the pond

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!

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

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

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!

 

Tiny Hippo Makes a Friend in Yoshikien Garden

Yoshikien Garden, Nara

Yoshikien Garden in Nara was my favorite garden in Japan.

Yoshikien Garden in the Fall

This garden is so peaceful, as an added plus, it is free to all foreign visitors!

Tiny Hippo Gets Lonely

Despite being in such a beautiful garden, even a Tiny Hippo can get lonely…

Tiny Hippo in a Garden

Don’t worry though, you are bound to make friends anywhere! While posing for this picture I heard people giggling and chattering behind me. That is to be expected, you know, I am often a great source of interest.

Tiny Hippo Meets another Travel Companion

What i didn’t realize was that I was about to meet someone just like me! This is a mouse from Singapore.

Travel Companions

He travels the world just like I do, acting as a travel companion for his human friend.

Photo Shoot in Yoshikien Garden

The mouse travel companion also tends to be rather clumsy, just like a certain Tiny Hippo.

Making Friends

We made sure to get a photo with our humans so no one felt left out. It was a glorious chance meeting.

Tiny Hippo at Yoshikien Garden

Even after the mouse and I parted ways I took the joy of meeting a kindred spirit in such an unlikely place with me for the rest of my visit.

Tiny Hippo White Flower

My one regret about my meeting the mouse and his human was that I did not get their contact info, it was all too exciting to think of such a trivial thing! If you know the mouse traveling companion or even his human please let them know I am looking for them!