Posted in Experience, Family, Feelings, Food, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Music, Place, Restaurants, River, Shrine and Temple, Travel

Trip to Nara & Kyoto (Day 3)

I started my day with a breakfast @ Minokichi, Hotel New Hankyu Kyoto, Kyoto.


First, I stopped by at Kami Kamo Jinja (Kami Kamo Shrine).

First Torii (Shrine Gate)


Noh Butai (Noh Dance Stage)


Second Torii (Second Shrine Gate)


Main Area


There are two mountains of sands to purify the place.

We can find two mountains of salts at the entrance of restaurants and stores; this place is the origin for the ritual.


Unfortunately, exterior of the main hall is under renovation.


I prayed at the Main Building of Shrine and the shrine is beautiful; this shrine is registered as the World Heritage in 1994.


Then, I took Eizan Densha (Eiden: Eizan Railway) from Demachiyanagi Station to Kifuneguchi Station.




Some seats are facing windows to admire scenery.


Kifune is famous for Kifune Jinja (Kifune Shrine) and Kawadoko Lunch.

I look forward for this Kawadoko Lunch; literally it means river floor.

It’s hot during the Summer; therefore, people built a lunch place on the river to cool down.

I took an image photo.


I had this Kawadoko Lunch at Kifune-So, Kifune, Kyoto.


It’s naturally cooling!

Water is so close!

I ate my lunch in splash of water and I enjoyed it!

I love it!!!





After enjoying nice local Kyoto Cuisine, I visited Kifune Jinja.




We took a train back to Takaragaike Station.



Next is my last stop in Kyoto: Kyotsukemono Nishiri (Kyoto Pickles Shop Nishiri).



Free pickles sampling with white wine!


I arrived Kyoto Station.

While waiting for my Shinkansen, I was busy enjoying KYOTO.

First, I stopped by Gion Tsujiri (green tea speciality shop) to enjoy Green Tea and Matcha Soft Cream.



I still had more than a half hour; I also stopped by Kyoto’s local coffee shop: Inoda’s Coffee.


I had a traditional Cream Soda (melon soda with a scoop of vanilla ice cream).


Time’s up… Sayonara Kyoto.


My Shinkansen arrived, but Oops, I missed a nose of Shinkansen.


I’m going to miss this scenery.


I listened to special Disney songs by keying access code which is labeled on Sokenbicha (non-caffeine blended tea) bottles while eating dinner on Shinkansen.


I enjoyed this trip to Nara and Kyoto; I would love to visit these places again.

Posted in Exercise, Experience, Feelings, Food, Nature, Place, River, Surprise, Travel

Trip to the US (Day 6)

I returned to Tokyo.

I wanted to upload my adventure every day/night, but the US is huge; I was at deserted area where internet connection isn’t good.

It took me hours to connect to internet disabling to sleep…and some photos are not uploaded properly – I can view them on my iPhone, but not on my iPad…hummmm

Sorry, I decided to sleep to enjoy my events on Day 6 of My Trip to the US; I needed enough sleep and energy.


Changed to Hummer to drive sandy off-road and walk to the White Pocket.

Unfortunately, we cannot reach there with this Car which is cute and talks.


We need to walk a distance after getting off the car.


It’s hot and dry; need to drink water frequently to avoid dehydration. 


Some rocks have the name.

This is called Brain Rock – hahaha.

Close relook for verification.

This area was elevated at Jurrasic period, about 200 million years ago.

The formation is unique and beautiful.



Originally sands/rocks are in red due to iron.


Rain and it’s water flows (rivers) which can become 1.5 m depth wash off iron and creats white pockets.

Imaging, cows to drink water from white pockets after rain.


We ate lunch (sandwich) at the shadow that we can find there – the place is rocky.

By the way, called Turtle Rocks because rocks look like back of turtle.



The view from our lunch place was nice, but we spotted a serious wildfire in Utah. 


After lunch, we walked to admire the area and rocks.

Rolly Pop Rock – I would name it Layered Cake or Rainbow Ice Cream.



Once again, the place is unique and beautiful.



It takes 2.5 hours to reach the White Pocket from Kanab, Utah by Hummer (4WD).

And we need to walk under heat.

This is why I decided to take sleep.


After a great adventure, we departed Kanab, Utah for Las Vegas, Nevada.

Drove through the Zion National Park on the way to Vegas.

At Zion, we also enjoy looking at unique and beautiful rocks.

The Checkerboard Mesa.


A Birthday Cake?


West Temple and East Temple


The Arch.


And other beautiful rocks.




After enjoying the Mother Earth Nature, arrived CITY – Las Vegas.



Stayed at the Monte Carlo Hotel.




Dinner is buffet.

Hotel encourages to walk Casino to reach a restaurant.

Well, food is nice.


After dinner, went out for a quick walk because I spotted my Hard Rock Cafe!




The city doesn’t sleep; there are many people speaking different languages on the street at late night.

Posted in Experience, Feelings, Food, Nature, Place, River, Travel

Trip to the US (Day 5)

I went to breakfast at 6:30 am, thinking of occupying a restaurant to myself; but I was wrong…the line was already long….many guests are early risers….Ooops.


It’s funny, I just had my nice breakfast, but our first destination of the day was heading for our lunch place because the US is huge…

It took us over two hours to reach there….

We had a lunch at Goulding’s Lodge where the movie, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, was filmed by Director John Ford.

Captain Brittle’s headquarters is still there; today, it became a museum.
According to the museum, many movies are taken here.

These are some examples.


You can visit the museum for free and enjoy nice Navajo Style Taco (charged).

It’s nice and healthy because this is a vegetarian dish: fresh salad, cooked beans on a fried dough.

It was nice!


After lunch, visited the Monument Valley.

We can have take a best view of these iconic symbols at the parking area. 

The monument on the left and right are a pair of mitten. 

I forgot what our guide said about the right square one…? Could it be a cake?


Also Navajo Indians traditional house, Hogans are displayed.


A truck took us to many points in the park to admire these sceneries.

Elephant on the left and sleeping Snoopy on the right.


Close look of Snoopy Rock.


At the left, there are Three Sister and Submarine.


Close look of Three Sisters and Submarine.

It does look like a submarine with its hatch!


View at the John Ford Point.


Look how gorgeous these are.

Humans are so small in front of nature!


The tour took us further to have a great view like this.


Turkey Rock


Rain God Mesa – there are many lines on the side as if these look like rain.

The place is dry as you can easily imagine from these pictures; Navajo people played for precious rain here.


A tour took us places by an opened-car (truck).

It’s hot but recommended to get close to these amazing rocks that are beautifully sculptured by the nature. 


It is so sweet of our driver, Mr. Jackson, to took ne to the place where Forest Gump was filmed.

Please Google and check the scene to find out why I’m running.


Arigato Jackson san!

There is another breath taking place.

Horseshoe Bend.

Colorado River bends like a hourseshoe.

This scenic view is preserved by Glen Canyon Dam; the dam controls water to stop further erosion.


I sat at the tip as if I’m fully occupying this place to myself. hahaha


This is the Glen Canyon Dam preserving Horseshoe Bend and filling Lake Powell.



After freshing up, I had a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant: artichoke soup, grilled chicken and lemon cake.
Yes, I had few glasses of Californian wine to enhance dinner. 

Posted in Exercise, Experience, Feelings, Food, Place, River, Sunrise and Sunset, Travel

Trip to the US (Day 4)

I woke up early to go watch sunset at Mather Point, Grand Canyon.

The host of this event is obviously Elk Deer (sorry, I introduced this type of this deer Elf, but Elk) because she lives here.


The tip is called Mather Point.

I managed to squeeze to get a front row at Mather Point.
Sun is about to rise.


iPhone camera is not suitable to take sunrise; but I’m happy with these photos.


Grand Canyon grows softly under sunshine of sunrise.

It was so beautiful.

It was worth waking up at 3:40 am to depart hotel at 4:40 am to catch sunrise at 5:15 am.



Then returned hotel for breakfast.



This is my first time to see a yogurt vending machine.


After breakfast, went for Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour (operated by Papillon).

This is my first helicopter ride.


The ride was smooth and the scenery is gorgeous.

I would highly recommend the helicopter tour to feel how GREAT this Canyon is.





Colorado River. This river eroded the mountains to make the canyon.


For lunch, I had a typical American sandwich, B.L.T. Sandwich (beacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich) with strawberry ice cream.



After lunch, before departing for Antelope, watched Indian Hoop Dance.

He danced (or jumped) through using many hoops.


I wore a surgical mask before getting on a truck because the road is very sandy.

We cannot avoid sands because these sands make beautiful sceneries in a cave.


Our guide is Native American so he knew the cave very well, pointing out explaining what these resembles.


A face of bear in the center.


This is a closer look of bear.



A tear.


Bill Clinton’s nose.



Heart




Waves

Seahorse

 

Dragon’s Eye



Fire


At the end of the tour, he played a pipe for us, sounding so healing.
Thank you, Slow Horse!


After a great adventure, enjoyed salmon dinner listening to Country Music live band.


I’m going to stay two nights at Lake Powell Resort & Marinas.

This hotel is the only resort built next to Powell Dam.

It’s nice to have a lake (even artificial) view in the desert.


There is a coffee maker and Starbucks capsuls are available. Yeah! 

I made a cocoa for my bed time drink.

Posted in Experience, Feelings, Flower, Food, Place, River, Shopping, Travel, Waterfalls

Trip to the US (Day 2)

It seems many cargo trains passed by last night; but I didn’t wake up till my alarm went off.

I woke up feeling fresh this morning.

I had a typical American breakfast: egg, sausage, beacon, turkey ham, cheese, pan cake, yogurt, fruit and Starbucks coffee!

I departed Double Tree by Hilton Modenas for Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite is Native Americans (Indians) language meaning Brown Bear.


A bus is climbing mountains. 


On the way to Yosemite, we drove through Mariposa, which was a gold mining town in 1848 at the time of  the California Gold Rush.

Many speculators rushed to California to look for Gold especially in 1849; therefore, they are called 49ers which now named for American football team, San Francisco 49ers.

Players are definitely “49ers” because they also rush for an opportunity (ball) to make them famous and wealthy.

This town didn’t die after the California Gold Rush era died because the town became a resting area before reaching Yosemite.

The town preserves cowboy town look.


This is how they mined gold. 


On the way to Yosemite, I could see old mining points.


It took over 3 hours to reach the Arch Rock Entrance of the Yosemite National Park and also the Unesco’s World Heritage.


I am lucky because I was told that past 7 – 8 years it didn’t rain enough so waterfalls and rivers were thin and some points dried.

However, last year it rained well so I could enjoy powerful waterfalls and rivers today!

At the Tunnel View point, I overlooked the Bridalveil Falls (on the right), Half Dome (a peak in the center) and El Capitan (solid granite mountain which is popular for rock climbing on the left).


From a different point, we can take a look at Ribbon Fall next to El Captan.


And moved to another point to have a close look of Bridalveil Fall.

This fall named Bridalveil because at the bottom of the fall, the mist looks like as if bride’s veil is flipping by wind.

How romantic!


This dynamic cascade fall is 740 m length Yosemite Fall.


From the different point, I enjoyed peaceful looking Half Dome.

After viewing iconic points from different places, I became hungry.

I had a turkey burger (not a sandwich) and salad with ranch dressing at Yosemite Valley Lodge.


After lunch, I walked to the bottom of Yosemite Fall.

It’s so dynamic and powerful so I got wet at the bottom of Yosemite Fall.


On the way out of Yosemite, I enjoyed closer look of El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall.



I could feel the great power of Mother Nature by looking at many huge rocks cracked in two like this as if somebody cut it by a knife.


I bought a pair of socks and cap for the memory of Yosemite.

Agriculture is one of major industries of California.

California is famous for production of almonds, pistachios and olive oil.

This is an almond tree.


And these are almonds.


I bought these as my sourvenirs: Californian inshell almonds, inshell pistachios and olive oil.


Not only shopping, but I also enjoyed window views such as Wind Power Station (there are many as 300) and trains (could be over 100 cargo containers).



Before reaching to the hotel, I had a nice over 200 g rib eye steak and local beer, Sierra Nevada, at the Black Bear Diner.

Salad, corn bread, ice cream and coffee are also nice.

Restaurant is so cute, fully decorated with black bears!

Black bears are everywhere!


After a nice dinner, passed by Rakuten (Japanese leading e-commerce platform with 30% market share follow by Amazon (15%) and Yahoo Japan (3.2%)) and reached tonight’s hotel: the Best Western Plus Grosvenor Hotel.




Okay, my bath is ready.

Good night.

Posted in Family, Feelings, Flower, Food, Health, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Mt. Fuji, Pilgrimage, Place, River, Shopping, Shrine and Temple, Travel

The Second Trip of the 33 Kannon PilgrimageĀ 

On the way to Nara for the Second trip of the 33 Kannon Pilgrimage.

It’s nice sunny day and Mt. Fuji is so beautiful with rice field.

This stage of rice field is a symbol of spring, getting ready to be planted.

I had a candy of Ise Kusuri Honpo (Ise Medicine Shop).

It’s black sugar flavor, but it tastes a bit of herbal medicine.

Well, the name of shop already gave me the assurance because it’s from Ise where there is Ise Shrine, Japan’s first shrine.

Kyoto


Again, I took a Shinkansen for Shin-Osaka, then changed to a bus for Nara.

Yodogawa (Yodo River), Osaka 

Nara is basin and a historical city.


There are many temples and shrines because Nara used to be  the capital over 1300 years ago (in 701).

No. 7 Okadera (also known as Ryugaiji)

To reach the main temple, we need to go up the steep slope to reach a main temple.

This temple is famous for dissociate from bad luck, and temple’s Buddha is the largest Buddha made by clay.

On the way to the main temple, I hit a bell to dissociate bad luck.


Then, prayed at the main temple.

This temple is also know as Ryugaiji.

The direct translation for Ryugaiji is Dragon-Cover-Temple.

A Buddhist Monk, Gien shoho, got rid of a bad-spirit-dragon into a well and covered it.


After visiting Okadera, I had a simple and nice lunch.

I opened covers…..nice.


Rice is akamai (direct translation is red rice) – ancient rice!

This ancient rice is delicious!


After lunch, I still had time to visit Ishibutai Tumulus, a stone chamber – the tomb of Umako Soga.


No. 6 Minami Hokkeji (also known as Tsubosakadera)



This is not a Pagoda, Tahoden – a building to keep a treasure such as a Buddha.



This is a three-stories pagoda next to the main temple.


This temple is good for eyes.

I asked for a special prayer for my eyes and bought an eye drops.

Eye drops is very refreshing.



After praying at the main temple, I walked through Tenjikumon (Old India Gate) to see a big standing Kannon (she is 20 m tall) and sleeping Buddha (8 m)!



No. 8 Hasedera

This temple is very famous for many stairs and a tall Hasedera Style Kannon (10m).

Kannon is a goddess but she holds a stick that Jizo holds.

She can function as Kannon and Jizo.

I regret I’m not allowed to take any photos of Kannon but I’m so blessed that I could touch her.


This is the main temple today.


This is the original temple.


When I was going down, I could see many stairs that I climbed from this point.


Extra Temple. Houkiin 

This temple is small and feel cozy.



This tree is a good luck tree against evils.


It is a nice season to take a break because the weather is just nice – not cold nor hot – and the area is so green and air is fresh.



I checked-in at Kashihara Royal Hotel, one of Royal Hotel Group Hotels.

I’ve been introducing a room from other Royal Hotel Group hotel.

A room might look familiar because the style is almost the same; however, a room is spacious and equipped with basic needs.



Dinner was nice; I have no complaints.


I enjoyed local sake: Miyokiku.

This sake is donated to Kashihara Shrine, the largest shrine in Nara.

Of course, it’s verrrrrrry nice.


Okay, time to go sleep now.