I traveled to Japan to run Fukuchiyama Marathon but took advantage to also do some sightseeing (trip was from Montag, November 20 through Saturday, December 2)

We flew to Osaka from where we went by coach (driving for 2.5 hours through densly populated industrial areas) to Kyoto where we stayed the first week visiting Asics in Kobe, running the Marathon as well as visiting Nara and Kyoto itself.

Then we took a Shinkansen (fast train, literally "New Train") to Tokyo where we stayed the second week visiting Kamakura, Nikko, Mount Fuji and Tokyo itself

The Marathon part of the trip started with a visit to the Asics global research center in Kobe
Lobby of the ASICS center with full name: Anima sana in copore sano
Model of the facility. The surface of the track is regularly adjusted to the latest track-type used for the relevant Olympics or World-Championships to make sure that the running shoes are tailored to the specific type
Among others we had the honour to be given a 40 minute presentation by Mr. Nishiwaki the researcher already portrayed on the discovery channel who has developed the IGS technology and the Kayano 2007 shoe (no. 13)
In Kyoto (the old capital with today 1.5m inhabitants) we also did sightseeing. Here we visited the Kinkakuji Temple.
Fall Foliage in Japan
Golden Pavillion (it has become golden only fairly recently) at the Kinkakuji Temple
Stone Garden (UNESCO world culturual heritage) at the Ryonaji Temple
One of the entry portals at the Nijo Castle (UNESCO world cultural heritage)
Another portal
Temple with 1,001 Buddhas
We also did a day trip to Nara, cradle of the Japanese culture. In Nara the deer are sacred and have beomce used to people, populating the whole city
Todaiji Temple (the largest wooden building in the world)
Buddha (14.85m) at the Todaiji Temple (the largest gilded Buddha in the world. However, not really any gold is left)
Kasuga Schrine (Shinto). In Japan girls are taken to the Shinto Shrines at their 3rd and 7th birthday, boys at their 5th birthday
Stone lanterns donated at the Kasuga Shrine (in total 3,000 lanterns)
One of the many shopping districts in Kyoto
Vending machines a dominating sight of Japanese cities. They are literally everywhere, selling even hot food (chips, chicken nuggets).
Shinkansen in Kyoto as seen from our hotel room. The frequency of those trains was amazing. Hardly every did I look through the window without seeing a Shinkasen.
Shinkansen in Kyoto station
The Shinkansen we took to Tokyo (slightly older model). The Shinkasen drives with an average speed of 220 km/h to 245 km/h (depending on the model). The punctuality of the trains is outstanding. We arrived with only a few seconds (10 to 20 seconds) off schedule in the train stations.
Japanese country side/residential area as seen from the Shinkasen
Shinkansen after a total of 6 hours drive through Japan shortly before arriving on Tokyo. When we left the train there was not even a snippet in the train (even though there are no trashcans). During my whole time in Japan I never saw a cigarette stub on the floor. Never a graffiti. Everything was as clean as it can possibly be.

At the very end of the train car on the left you might see the kiosk-vendor turning around and bowing before leaving the car (as does the conductor). Also the sales staff in the department stores was bowing to customers leaving at closure time.

Tokyo as seen at night from our hotel room
Ginza, one of the shopping districts on Sunday afternoon. Japenese are shopping-manicas. There is nothing which cannot be bought in Tokyo as long as it is top quality. There are 6 story Dior shops as well as 6 story outdoor shops (with North Face gear I haven't even seen in the US and Mammut gear I haven't even seen in Switzerland). Prices are comparable or cheaper than in Switzerland. Generally I didn't get the impression that Tokyo is as expensive, as people always say. Technology was generally not cheaper or more advanced than in Switzerland.
Tsukiji Fish Market where every day 2,400 tons of seafood are sold. Everything was so clean, it didn't even smell fish.
ditto. Interestingly enough Sushi was much more expensive than in Switzerland but it was possible to get a plate of Pasta (Japanese portion however) in a nice Italian restaurant for some USD 7
Shopping area near Shibuya station
One of the world's busiest places outside Shibuya station (frequented by 2 million people a day).
Shopping area in Harajuku
Tokyo as seen from Ariake Island
Ariake with the world's largest giant wheel
Shopping center la Venice (Las Vegas Hotel) in Ariake
Toyota center in Ariake
Daibutsu Buddha in Kamakura (another former capital)
Kosoku-ji Temple in Kamakura (Hase)
Jomyoji Temple in Kamakura
ditto (with another shrine visit by a 3 year old daughter)
Toshogu Shrine in Nikko
ditto (wood carvings)
Chuzenji Lake in Nikko National Park at 1,200m
Near the lake, looks as if it was somewhere in New Hampshire
Kegon waterfall (freezes in winter)
View to mount Fuji from the hotel room at the day when we went to visit Mount Fuji
Taking advantage of the good view I took more pictures from the hotel room. I have been in many mega-cities (Mexcio, Delhi) and many sky-scraping cities (New York, Hong Kong, Chicago, etc.) but I have never seen anything like Tokyo (12 million inhabitants). Tokyo is like Manhattan times 15.
Approaching Mount Fuji (3,776m)
View from the Mount Fuji visitor center
View from the 5th station at 2,500m
Lake Ashi in Hakone national park near Mount Fuji
Mount Komagatake to which we took the ropeway (Swiss made of course)
Mount Fuji as seen from Mount Komagatake