After a week of staying in her home and touring the Kyotamba area together, my friend Kyoko drops me off at Sonobe Station. Now I’m rocking toward Kyoto on the JR Sagano Line, heading back to the city for a little solo adventure. Kyoto, one of my favourite Japanese cities, is a perfect place in which to be at ease and relax. (Reasons will follow in my next post.)
An article in Japan Today (online) listing five worst places to visit in Japan prompted a reader to suggest that visitors stay away from cities if they wished to relax. The comment which followed wryly observed, “That’s true but I’ve yet to meet a person who comes to Japan to relax.”
That took me by surprise. (Perhaps the poster is younger or more driven than I.) Though relaxation does not apply to all my experiences while in Japan, I find it’s a great place to relax. Then again, perhaps I should qualify that: It’s a great place to relax if you’re not Japanese or working in Japan.
Of course, it helps if you already know how to relax before you get here as you likely won’t learn how during your stay. If you’ve come for zazen (seated meditation), I’m sorry. Zen is not relaxing.
However, Japan’s outstanding attention to detail and superb levels of customer service make it the perfect place to place yourself in someone else’s capable and selfless hands. Japan will take care of you. It doesn’t get more relaxing than that.
I lean back in my seat, breathe deeply and savour the scenes as the train passes over one gorge after another where a few hardy kayakers navigate the churning turquoise waters between the flaming autumnal hills. No white water challenges for me. As I said, I’m off to Kyoto to relax.