from antique finds to sacred temples

As my sister stepped into my home, her eyes widened. “Your house starts to feel like a museum,” she exclaimed, her gaze darting from one unique artifact to another. It was the ultimate compliment, a testament to our shared love for collecting authentic souvenirs from our travels.

Just a few days prior, I had returned from a whirlwind adventure through Southeast Australia, where every moment seemed to be captured in vibrant hues of adventure and exploration. Yet, it was a short layover on the way home in Kyoto, Japan, that left an indelible mark on our journey.

After landing in Tokyo, our anticipation peaked as we boarded the Shinkansen. With each moment, the landscape outside transformed, seamlessly shifting from the vibrant energy of Tokyo to the timeless charm of Kyoto. Like getting in and out of a time machine.

Our adventures began with a simple Google search for “antique,” leading us down  Antique Street, the TripAdvisor-ised name for Shinmonzendor. Nestled within the historic geisha district of Gion, you’ll find this haven of antique and bric-a-brac shops, stretching from end to end.⁠ Tea sets and delicate ceramics, vintage toys and paintings, rare comics, old books, and captivating furniture – you name it, and they have a store dedicated to it.⁠ While language barriers posed a challenge (as most of the owners don’t speak much English), it only added to the thrill of the experience. 

But our exploration didn’t end there. With each sunrise, beating the crowds, we found ourselves drawn to Kyoto’s temples. With over 1,600 temples to discover you could easily spend 4 years visiting a temple a day and not even see them all. Each temple offers a unique glimpse into Japan’s rich history and culture. It’s hard not to feel a sense of awe as you wander through these sacred spaces, surrounded by centuries-old architecture and beautiful natural landscapes. 

Packed with memories – and some nice antique finds – we returned home after being abroad for a month. As the artifacts found their way into my home, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement for the next destination, where we could continue our quest for gems to add to our collection.

April 2023