In Japan, New Year's Day is the most significant day of the calendar. It signifies the start of a new cycle where the seasons renew and we begin life 'anew' once more. Celebrations can be as muted as simple home reunions or joining the throngs packing into temples (and nightclubs) at the strike of midnight. This year I've returned to Kyoto for another quintessentially Japanese start to 2017.
Like previous years, the evening was enhanced by liberal servings of sake and delicious morsels at my favourite diner in Gion with some new friends we've connected with through LCO Voyages. Abandoning the throng gathering in front of Yasaka Shrine, we trekked along the serene Kamo river back to the Higashiyama area before entering the calm and serenity of Chishaku-in. An alternative countdown initiated by chantings and the lighting of a bonfire, 2017 was quite literally rang in by the chiming of an ancient bell forged to melt away our delusions.
Kyoto has always been a favourite spot on our travel map and it is a pleasure to return to the city once again after a 2 years' absence. In the weeks ahead I will be traipsing through some of its best hotels before heading to Tokyo for more hotel reviews at the capital's best.
2017 is going to be an exciting year for us at Le Concierge Orient and we look forward to sharing some of these moments with you through our reviews and feature posts. Here from the imperial city of light on the first day of the O Shogetsu we wish you a year of peace, happiness and glorious adventures around the globe.