After a few days in Tokyo, I decided to visit Kyoto and Osaka, hoping to get a better understanding of traditional Japanese culture and to see other Japanese cities in comparison to Tokyo. I will return to Tokyo for a second round afterward. The two and a half hour train ride from Tokyo to Kyoto was illuminating, revealing the sprawling development within this region. Low-rise houses were stretching far into the distance, with rice fields between and mountains in the distance at the far edge of the developments. But unlike the sprawl in US, the density of the developments was much greater and the houses were much closer to each other with very small yards (no large green lawns popping into the view). From what I’ve heard and read, the north of the country is much less populated and developed, but this train ride felt like a journey through a never-ending Japanese village.