Bart Vander Sanden

Freelance web developer/graphic designer in Leuven, Belgium

Travel Posts

My experiences, itenaries and trips from past trips.

Burning torches in Nara - Japan

Sunset at the Todaiji temple.
Sunset at the Todaiji temple.

Nara used to be the old capital of Japan, and nowadays it’s mostly known for its shrines (which are also part of the UNESCO World Heritage, like the ones in Nikko and Kyoto) and its hundreds of tame deer which roam the area freely. It’s a 50 minute train ride from Kyoto, so it’s easy to just hop on a train to get there.

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The ancient history of Kyoto - Japan

A couple of torii gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine.
A couple of torii gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Kyoto is probably the second most popular destination in Japan after Tokyo, and it’s seen as one of the most important historic centers of Japan.

It’s easy to get there by using the Ihari Shinkansen line, a ride that takes a few hours. Unfortunately, the trip to the freezing shrines of Nikko caught me off guard and got me a cold. I had to wear a mouth mask to keep my illness contained, as is usual in the country.

It also didn’t help that it was pouring outside, and our room in the ryokan wasn’t ready yet, so we had to find another place to kill a few hours.

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Half a day in Nikko - Japan

Arriving in Nikko
Arriving in Nikko

A few days into our trip to Japan we went on a quick outing from Tokyo to Nikko, a small village north of the huge busy metropolis. Nikko is mostly known for its numerous shrines, which are part of the UNESCO World Heritages.

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Exploring Tokyo - Japan

Tsukiji Fish Market as seen from the bridge.
Tsukiji Fish Market as seen from the bridge.

Japan is a fascinating country: for centuries it was nearly fully isolated from other countries, creating a culture that’s vastly different from the rest of the world.

We wanted to travel to the country for ages, and last year (after careful budgeting and planning) we finally took an 11 hour plane ride to the other side of the world and discovered their beautiful nature, great food and amazing culture for ourselves. Our first stop: Tokyo.

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Our trip to Japan (video)

A few months ago we spend around three weeks in Japan to discover their nature, culture and food. With our phones in hand we documented this trip, in which we traveled to Tokyo, Nikko, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Okayama and then back to Tokyo.

We filmed this footage with an iPhone 8, a Samsung Galaxy S5 and a Sony RX100 Mark III. Editing was done in Premiere Pro on a Macbook Pro 13” (2017), but the .hevc files out of the iPhone were nearly impossibly slow to work with, so they were first converted to a bunch of low resolution proxy files to make them usable in Premiere. Apparently Final Cut Pro X is a lot better for these (4k60) files, but oh well.

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Some notes on Stockholm

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A few weeks ago I went to Stockholm for a quick break from work. I’ve visited the city before, but only during winter, with temperatures as low as -20° Celsius and sunsets at 3.30 in the afternoon.

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Summer is a much better time to visit this city. Stockholm feels so much more alive when you’re not walking around in something that feels like a gigantic industrial freezer. It’s also much nicer to go out and discover things while walking around.

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Big Bird

A Lufthansa A380 waiting for departure

Due to the earthquake in Japan Lufthansa sent one of their A380 planes to New York instead of Tokyo. Apparently it’s too expensive to keep these planes grounded, so they get rerouted across the world in cases like these.

A window view from an A380

It’s a very spacious plane, and surprisingly quiet during the flight.