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It's definitely been a whistle stop week in Japan. Leaving the beautiful Japanese Alps, we headed to Naoshima Island, famous as an art island with several art galleries, outdoor sculptures and a village where various artists have converted old buildings into art installations - called the Art House Project.

The island itself is lovely but I felt that the art to be found was a little underwhelming. I was expecting the island to have many more outdoor modern sculptures in a natural setting than there turned out to be. And I thought the galleries were a bit disappointing. Even the much vaunted Chi Chu museum left me a bit cold. It has 4 of Monet's waterlily paintings - but if you've been to the Musee d'Orsay or the Orangerie in Paris you'll find yourself wondering what all the fuss is about. All this said, we had a lovely 2 days exploring the island.

And then we headed for Mount Koya - one of Japan's most sacred sites and which is the home of Shingon Buddhism. It's a lovely place with multiple temples and shrines. But here our weather luck finally ran out as it started to snow! Mind you, the snow against the red of the maples was pretty impressive. We visited Koya's largest temple as well as Japan's largest cemetery (which was founded in the 9th century) and wandering around here in the snow was very atmospheric.

And now we've arrived in Hakone the home of iconic Mount Fuji. And there she was looking spectacular against a bright blue sky.

One of the amazing places to visit in this area is the fabulous Open Air Museum where there are fantastic sculptures by a range of famous (and not so famous) artists set in a park as well as a pavilion devoted to Picasso. When I last visited here the weather was horrible - drizzly and misty - and I'd still loved it. But it was lovely to see it again in the most glorious sunshine with the beautiful colours of the autumn foliage.

A boat trip on Lake Ashi completed what was a fantastic day.

We leave for Tokyo tomorrow for the last 3 days of our epic trip, with lots of fun activities planned - and this time we'll be staying in Ginza at the Peninsula Hotel which should round our trip off with a flourish. Watch this space.

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