Here was indeed a smile… “Ukraine in its true colors” photographed by a traveler. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Here was indeed a smile… “Ukraine in its true colors” photographed by a traveler.

Unforgettable Sights" photographed by a Japanese woman, Part 2

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There is a Japanese woman who was fascinated by Ukraine and visited there repeatedly. The beautiful landscapes of Ukraine and the faces of its people were captured on her camera. There was a certain life and smiles on their faces.

This is a record of her journey in Ukraine. Musicians performing on the street in Ivano-Frankieusik, a town in the west called “Little Lviv” (2018). Until very recently, this was the scene.

40 A one-day tour of seven Ukrainian cities

This was my third visit to Ukraine in 2018. I planned a 40-day trip to Ukraine. The itinerary started in the capital, Khiu, and went through the regional cities.

It had been a year since our last visit to Khiu. A downtown-like area, a riverside relaxation spot, a fashionable indoor market in the suburbs… Khiu, a large city with a large population, had a lot of fun and bustling life here and there.

The center of Kieu. People enjoying a leisurely water cigarette while looking out over the Dnipro River (2018).

The best resort in Ukraine

Next, we took an overnight sleeper car from the Khiu train station to Yaremche, located at the edge of the Carpathian Mountains in southwestern Ukraine. This is a popular resort area in Ukraine.

As soon as I got off the train, I realized that the air was different. Majestic mountains, mountain streams, stunning waterfalls… there were plenty of spectacular views. I thought, “I want to spend a summer here! I thought to myself, “I want to spend a summer here!

As Asians are a rarity in Ukraine, they had trouble “standing out” wherever they went.

The vast natural landscape of the Carpathian Mountains in southwestern Ukraine is soothing. Yaremche is a popular resort area. But the rustic atmosphere was appealing (2018).

On to the western town known as “Little Lviv.”

On to the next town, Ivano-Frankieusik. It is about an hour and a half by bus from Jaremce. It is the gateway to the Carpathian Mountains.

The main street in the center is a promenade, and the fashion of people passing by is gorgeous. Restaurants and cafes line the street, and secondhand book fairs and art demonstrations are held on the streets. On weekends, there are singing and band performances, making the atmosphere even more lively.

There are many happy and beautiful cities in Ukraine.

The city of Ivano-Frankiewsk, also known as “Little Lviv” for the beauty of its streets (2018).

Cherniutsi near the Romanian border

From there we headed to Cerniutsi, a western town near Romania. It has a complex past, having been ruled by many different countries, and because of this, the sights are varied. The former residence of the prelate, now used as part of the university, was registered as a World Heritage site in 2011.

The cobblestone old town is very picturesque with its many hills, combined with the architecture that reminds us of the long history of the city. When I was taking pictures, people would ask me, “Would you like me to take your picture? When I wandered around, they would ask me, “Are you looking for something? I was also impressed by the kindness of the people in the town.

The medieval-like streets of Cherniutsi. Beautiful squares and cosy buildings could be seen (2018).

The city of impregnable old castles

In Khamjanetsi Pozylysikuy, there is an old castle. This old castle, which stands on a hill and was once said to be impregnable, is the city’s main attraction. It was a military stronghold, though it looks like a fairy tale when lit up in the evening.

Most of the guests you will meet at the local hostels are Ukrainians or people from neighboring countries. The female staff at the hostel seemed to be unusual in speaking Japanese and asked us to write our names. When I wrote their names in katakana, they were very happy and laughed, saying things like, “Do you want to get a tattoo? They laughed and said, “Do you want to get a tattoo?

The old castle of Khamjanetsi Pozylysikuy, which looks like a fairy tale but was once a military stronghold (2018).

Idyllic Ternopili

Next stop was Ternopili. There was very little information in Japanese about regional cities in Ukraine. So we decided on a destination at random. Still, everywhere we went was interesting.

Ternaupili is a beautiful place with a large lake lying in the middle of the city. The lakeside is a place of relaxation for the locals. We saw people walking, relaxing on the grass, fishing, and bathing.

Ternaupiri (2018), with the town spread out around the lake.

People watching a fountain show

The seventh place we stayed was Vinnytsia. It is located in central Ukraine, and from here it is a two-hour express train ride to Khiwo. It was a comfortable place to live, with just the right balance between the extensive urban area and the natural environment of rivers and forests.

Here, a fountain show by a local confectionery company is held, which anyone can watch for free. The innocence and richness of a summer evening with a large crowd of spectators watching the illuminated fountain.

It reminded me of the peaceful scenery and people enjoying life that I saw on my trip to Ukraine as if it were only yesterday.

The venue for the fountain show. By the time the sun went down and the show began, the seats were full (2018).

Not many Japanese people have toured Ukraine before this war started, and in the 1,000 or so photos Chiri took, we are left with the beautiful cities and happy everyday life in Ukraine. This cityscape is gone.

Even after the war is over, these streets may never return. What we lost in this foolish war is too great.

  • Interview, writing, photography Chiri

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