Next stop – Japan!

From the pyramids of Egypt to the shores of the holy river Ganges, Divine Live and Online has helped us escape lockdowns and our socially-distanced existence with virtual travel adventures to fascinating locations around the world.

Coming up on June 30, Divine Live and Online embarks on one last trip for 2021 as The Divine Destination Collection co-founders Deb Niven and Allison Frame take a break from the virtual to start planning actual in-person travel…Yes it’s true!

And what better way to end the successful second edition of Divine Live and Online than with an explosion of cherry blossoms!

Cherry blossoms and parasols, Kyoto
Geisha on Hanamikoji, Gion District, Kyoto
Kyoto Cherry Blossoms by Boat
Maiko-San, Kyoto

The magic of Sakura season

Grab your kimono and order in some sushi – it’s time to travel to Japan to experience Sakura season! Each spring Japan is blanketed in soft pink cherry blossoms, or Sakura, as they are called in Japan, and people from across the country take time for the traditional custom of hanami or flower viewing – where they gather under trees with family and friends to appreciate and celebrate the cherry blossoms. And there’s no better place to experience this unbelievably beautiful spectacle than Kyoto, the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years from 794 to 1868, and filled with Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and tranquil Zen gardens.

Cherry Blossoms and Kyoto… Between Bough and Zen will not only give you a breathtaking view of the cherry blossoms, you’ll have the chance to explore both the old quarter and modern sections of Kyoto.

This includes a foray into Gion, a historic section of Kyoto where you might get a glimpse of an elegant geiko, or geisha, professionally-trained performers who entertain guests during meals, banquets, and other special occasions. Even today young girls move to Kyoto at around the age of 15 to learn specialized communication and hospitality skills, along with traditional Japanese arts such as dance and music, to become a maiko, or apprentice, on their way to becoming a full-fledged geiko.

Although Kyoto has a modern side and is home to high tech companies like Nintendo and several avant-garde art galleries and museums including the Manga Museum, you can still find narrow winding streets lit with paper lanterns, or Tōrō, that transport you back in time.

Scotland Experience
Fusihimi Inari, Kyoto
Ryougen-in rock garden, Kyoto

Tranquility and Peace

Of course Kyoto is best known for its many beautiful temples and sacred shrines, such as the Kinkaku-ji, or Temple of the Golden Pavilion with two floors literally covered in gold, and the Fushimi Inari Shrine with its famous tunnel of a thousand bright red torii gates, which is often cited as the most popular place to visit when in Japan. Since shrines are thought to be where gods live, the torii act like a front door, separating the sacred home of the gods from the human world.

Kyoto is also the best place to experience the serene beauty of a Zen garden. These are actually dry landscape gardens called karesansui that are found at Buddhist temples. Instead of flowers and plants, the main feature is carefully maintained patterns and rows of gravel and rock that give the appearance of water. The Ryougen-in Temple in Kyoto has some of the oldest and most famous Zen gardens.

After this intriguing look at Kyoto, you’ll get the chance to learn more about Shintoism, Buddhism and the two religions’ relationship to nature from Reverend Daiko Matsuyama, a Zen Buddhist Priest who’ll join the call live from the Taizo-in Temple in Kyoto. Reverend Matsuyama will also explain how and why Zen Buddhists practice meditation, and how meditation can help us in our daily lives.

This virtual trip to Japan is particularly special for Allison as she attended high school in Tokyo and has been a life-long fan of the Japanese aesthetic. When she lived in Japan she never had the chance to visit Kyoto, so Allison is really excited to add this trip to the great line-up of Divine Live and Online virtual adventures.

Sign up for your Japanese adventure today

If the sight of a bright red Japanese maple tree or the splendour of a cherry blossom bough has ever made you yearn for the chance to visit Japan, don’t miss out on this amazing adventure on June 30. You can register here.

And there is also time to sign up for the May 30 trip to North Africa for Marrakech Expressions… The Magic of Morocco. Known as the “farthest land of the setting sun,” your Moroccan adventure starts with a guided journey through parts of Marrakech where you’ll stroll down winding alleyways to explore the famous Souks, or marketplaces, before venturing up into the High Atlas Mountains to learn about the Berber way of life before joining a family for traditional bread baking and a cup of mint tea.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out the new Divine Destination Collection promotional video here.

With more and more Canadians getting vaccinated, there is renewed hope and excitement about the possibility of being able to travel again. Stay tuned for details on the trips Allison and Deb are planning for when travel opens up once more!

Nishiki-Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto
Souk, Marrakech
Galapagos hammerhead shark

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