When I visited Japan in the fall of 2010, the first things that stood out were the ubiquitous vending machines. Our tour guide informed us that there is a vending machine for every 4 people in Japan. From technology, we stepped into the world of spirituality in the Buddhist monastery at Koyasan. You are farthest from technology when you can wake up to the sounds of nature and the monastery lived up to that experience.

Hiroshima brought visions of a gloomy chapter from the past. The only surviving building from the atomic blast is the bomb dome.

But by the end of the day, the gloomy past was replaced by a romantic sunset enveloping the Torii gate in the neighboring island of Miyajima.

But, there were several temples and pagodas in Miyajima, that were equally breath-taking

Kyoto (the ancient capital city) is a bridge between the past and the present. It hosts the Imperial Palace, the Golden Temple and the famous Gion district, where you are most likely to bump into a Geisha.

The high point of the stay at Kyoto was the visit to the Fushimi Inari shrine and the unending walk up the countless steps through the countless Torii gates.

Having 14 plates of sushi for a total of US$ 20, at Kyoto Sushi Train, was equally satisfying to the palate!

Tokyo’s bullet trains which raced against time and won, were the foray into technology. But the trip was most memorable for the people and the spirituality!