Kyoto (2)

Kyoto is considered the most beautiful city in Japan by many. It was Japan’s capital for a very long time, so there are lots of temples, pavillions and gardens that refer to that period. Kyoto is packed with unesco-heritage spots! Nevertheless, the atmosphere in the city is quite relaxed.

Kyoto geisha
Geisha vending machine

It’s only a 2.5h drive away. I have no idea why it took us almost one year to visit this magnificent place for the second time. Last summer it was in the midst of a heath wave. This time we took our umbrellas out. The rain definitely didn’t spoil the magnificence of the temples and gardens and probably freed us from the crowds.

Kyoto rain season
The rain probably saved us from the crowds

This time we would start in the south, stay the night in the center and visit the north part of town on the second day.

First day: south Kyoto

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TOKYO/東京 /とうきょう (2)

I still owed you the post on my second visit to Tokyo. Verrrrrry late, but here goes!

Tokyo Roppongi city view panorama with stroller

My second time in Tokyo. This time it was with the baby and without the husband. Three days just the two of us meant a lot of great moments, but also some tears of exhaustion. In this article you can read my new discoveries in Tokyo and my experience visiting this metropole with a baby.

Best things I’ve seen in Tokyo this time:

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– The exhibition ‘Catastrophe and the Power of Art’ in the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi with works of Ai Weiwei, Yoko Ono and even a Belgian artist. It’s strange to first spot the work of Helmut Stallaerts, who is based in Brussels, on the other side of the world!

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Een nacht in een capsule!

Capsulehotel in Tokyo
Capsulehotel in Tokyo

Yes! Het is gelukt! Overnachten in een capsulehotel stond op de wishlist, maar ik had de hoop al opgegeven aangezien kinderen er niet toegelaten zijn. Een weekendje weg met vrienden en een boys only-weekend voor vader en zoon, maakten het toch mogelijk.

Een capsulehotel is een typisch Japans verschijnsel. Oorspronkelijk waren de bezoekers ‘salary men’ die de laatste trein gemist hadden, of hun roes wilden uitslapen in een goedkoop en handig onderkomen vlakbij hun werk. Daar hebben we Kisho Kurokawa weer, hij bouwde het eerste in 1979 in Osaka.

Ondertussen is het publiek diverser geworden: de meeste capsulehotels hebben nu ook vrouwenvleugels en ze scoren ook bij de – iets avontuurlijkere – toeristen die op zoek zijn naar een budgetvriendelijke overnachting of een ‘unieke ervaring’.

Waarschuwing: niet voor claustrofoben

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De charme van Takayama. Een bezoek waard

Takayama bezoeken: huiten huisjes en gezellige winkelstraten
Takayama bezoeken: houten huisjes en gezellige winkelstraten.

Takayama, een traditioneel dorp in de Japanse Alpen, stond al een tijdje op onze verlanglijst. Van uitstel komt geen afstel deze keer. Wat een supergezellig stadje met prachtige traditionele houten huizen, kunstige winkels en leuke musea. Dat alles tegen een indrukwekkend berglandschap. Onze hoge verwachtingen werden meer dan ingelost.

Wat bezoeken in Takayama?

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TOKYO/東京 /とうきょう (1)


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A million pictures I’d already seen of this magical city. Now it was time to see it for myself. I spent a lot of time reading in order to organise the ‘perfect’ weekend trip. A babysitting opportunity popped up, so it was just the two of us (for the first time since he was born, about time!). A bit emotional, but it also opened doors to:

  • watching an act of traditional Kabuki theatre
  • karting the streets of Asakusa in Super Mario outfits
  • discovering the Shinjuku nightlife in Golden Gai’s tiny bars
  • Entering a maiden bar (and getting out quickly, nothing to see there!)
  • walking around the city for hours (without diaper changes, feeding pauzes, naps,…) looking for the best city views and amazing architectural buildings
  • having a seven-course birthday dinner at the amazing Craftale
  • visiting Intermediateque (great discovery by the way) and the Tokyo National Museum without having to entertain a kid



Ok, everybody that knows my birthday realises this is a post about last month. One month later I came back for three more days with the little one to discover how child-friendly the city really is. To be continued!








Toyota: the city, not the car

Nerd alert! :-b

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Yes, Toyota City (Toyota-shi) does exist! It’s close to Nagoya, the 5th biggest city in Japan. With 425.000 inhabitants, Toyota is comparable in size to the city of Ghent. Before housing the Toyota Motor Corporation the city was called ‘Koromo’. Koromo is Japanese for clothing, because back in the days the area used to be famous for silk production. As the demand for raw silk declined, the Toyoda family (that owned an automatic loom manufacturing business) had to look for alternatives. One engine led to another and they started investing in the automotive industry. People thought they were nuts! They almost went bankrupt, but they bounced back thanks to the 1950 Korean war (that boosted the demand for military vehicles). In 1959 Koromo changed its name to Toyota as a token of respect to its major employer.

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About last weekend

Belgium sent Brazil home on Friday

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Saturday: Visit to the castle and the art museum (great architecture by Yoshio Taniguchi) followed by a traditional tea ceremony.

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Afterwards, Stan ran the Toyota Relay Marathon.

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Sunday getaway to Otaki Valley:

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