Posted in Art, Experience, Family, Feelings, Food, Friends, Hotel, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Nature, Place, Restaurants, Shop, Shopping, Shrine and Temple, Tokyo, Travel

Trip to Northern Japan’s Three Greatest Summer Festivals (Day 3)

Unfortunately, it is raining today, but I already watched all three festivals so rain doesn’t affect my day or mood.

I went for the morning dip; the bath was switched with men’s over night.

I had a buffet breakfast and I enjoyed their croissant waffles very much.

It’s dangerously delicious!

I didn’t have much time to use their facilities, but hotel prepares many activities for guests to enjoy during their stay.

We departed for Hiraizumi, Iwate.

We reached to Hiraizumi, Iwate where the town is recognized as UNESCO World Heritage.

We visited Chusonji (Chuson Temple) and the temple is famous for Konjikido (Golden Hall).

Today, Konjikido stands inside of a building to be protected.

Everything including the hall structure is made by gold.

We cannot take any photos inside so you need to visit to see how golden it is!

At the premise, there are many places to visit and to pray.

I had limited time so I could not visit all; nonetheless, I visited here before and I explained in details in my previous blog.

Hopefully, you would enjoy reading other days of my blog.

Shakado

Benzaiten

Amidado

Sankozo (Museum)

Dainichido

Mine Yakushido Hall

Hondo (Main Hall)

Benkeido

Tsukimizaka (Tsukimi Slope)

The rain was hard so my pants and shoes are wet.

But again, I didn’t mind because I watched and enjoyed all festivals in okay conditions.

These festivals continues for few days and many people planned to visit today.

Due to the weather (heavy rain), some festivals might get cancelled and there is no replacement day.

So I consider myself very lucky.

I had lunch at Sake Brewer: Seki no Ichi, Ichinoseki, Iwate.

Today, factory moved to a new place; original Kura (Storage) became a restaurant and shop.

Under the paper, there are many flavors of mochi (glutenous rice cakes).

Mochi is served to Gods and local people eat Mochi on important days for goods (celebration) and bads (sad).

From top left, zunda (edamame: young soy bean), goma (sesame), daikon oroshi for refreshment (ground white radish), anko (red bean) and kawaebi (river shrimp).

The pot dish is called Oshu Hatto.

This is made by flour and water; same ingredients with Udon (flour noodle).

It’s in a piece before cut.

We break it in pieces by our hands to put them in the pot.

We put them in a boiling pot together with all vegetables.

The restaurant offered a lucky draw by mochi (oh, no! More mochi! These are basically rice so very filling) ; I lost.

The winner get a sake bottle, how lucky!

This Sake Brewer also brew beer: Kura Beer.

I like their beer which has unique bitterness similar to dark beer though it’s in gold.

I bought Sake bottles for the next home party to enjoy them with friends. hahaha

We arrived Sendai Station to catch our Shinkansen (bullet train) back to Tokyo.

Sendai Station is already decorated for Sendai Tanabata which will start tomorrow.

Sendai Tanabata is also known as one of greatest festivals in Northern Japan.

These represents various wishes: health, wisdom, wealth, etc.

We took Shinkansen Yamabiko 152 back to Tokyo.

This was a fun trip!

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

Weekend Trip to Kyoto (Day 3)

I had Namafu Manju which are made by flour gluten for breakfast.

There are Matcha (green tea), shiro miso (white miso) and koshian (red bean).

We could stay till noon but we checked out to explore Kyoto.

First, we went to Sanjusangendo (Sanjusangendo Temple).

There are 1.001 Juichimen-Senju-Sengen Kannon (11 Faces-Thousand Arms-Thousand Eyes Kanzeon) Buddhist deities.

We are not allowed to take any photos inside of Main Hall so you need to visit to see them with your own eyes.

These are amazing.

I sat at outside of the Main Hall to enjoy peaceful moment.

This is where I sat.

This is the view from the Main Hall.

There is a nice Japanese garden.

There is a spiritual well.

A Buddhist monk dreamed about this well.

Water is cool and delicious.

This well never dried up and never too much.

The sound of welling is like sound of sobbing; therefore, this well is called Yonaki Sen (the origin of Night Crying).

This water can also calm down night crying babies.

After spending peaceful moments at Sanjusangendo, we took a lunch break at Maeda Coffee at Kyoto National Museum.

I had a Roast Beef Don (roast beef rice) with salad set and Torarin (Kyoto National Museum’s Character) Uji Matcha (Uji Green Tea) Cappuccino.

We continued exploring to Toyokuni Jinja (Toyokuni Shrine).

It’s a beautiful shrine.

This shrine worship Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Japanese Shogun Hideyoshi Toyotomi.

Hideyoshi was farmer then he climbed up the ladder to become Shogun who unified whole Japan for the first time.

He used gourds for his symbol when he was just a horse-riding worrier.

He added a gourd one by one after he won a war.

That is why gourd is a symbol of success and there is a gourd vine.

Next to Toyokuni Jinja, there is Hoko-ji (Hoko Temple).

Hideyoshi built a large Buddha, but it broke when Fushimi Large Earthquake hit the area in 1596.

The bell is from the original from Hideyoshi era.

We can see two white boxes on the bell.

These words triggered a war between Toyotomi and Tokugawa.

Tokugawa won and started Tokugawa era: Edo Jidai (Edo Era).

Next, we visited Yogenin (Yogen Temple).

This place looks peaceful from outside, but this Temple is known as Chitenjo (Blood Ceiling).

This temple is built to calm down warriers’ souls who lost their lives by harakiri because of losing a war.

The floorings of Fushimi-Jo (Fushimi Castle) are now used as ceiling.

We can see Taisho (Master) of body, hands, feet, etc.

This temple is decorated by arts of famous Japanese painter, Tawaraya Sotatsu (Sotatsu Tawaraya).

We are not allowed to take photos here so I can only share partially with these postcards.

There are other places to pray: Byakue Benzaiten.

Bishamonten

Shirataka Ryujin

At last, we visited Hojuji (Hoju Temple).

The Main God is Migawari Fudomyo.

This Fire of God replaces bad fortune for us.

I quickly pray to other Gods and Goddess.

This is a mark for 100 times payer.

I thought we might not able to visit many places today; but we did.

I bought a Kyoto Cuisine obento (packed food) for dinner.

Posted in Exercise, Feelings, Flower, Food, Friends, Health, Hotel, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Nature, Place, Restaurants, Shrine and Temple, Tokyo, Travel

Golden Week in Kyoto (Day 5)

The other night, my friend introduced me Inaba Yakushi.

This temple is known for preventing cancers.

Since my family is cancer family, I could have it in my genes.

I decide to go for praying.

This temple is located conveniently nearby the hotel (Kyoto Karasuma Hotel).

At all temples and shrines, first, we need to purify ourselves by washing our hands (gargling mouth is excluded today due to the hygiene reason).

It brought peace in my mind when I saw flowers floating on water.

It’s simple action but memorable.

Then I prayed.

We returned to hotel to check out and proceeded to Kyoto Station with our luggage.

Left our luggage at coin locker (JPY 700) which is located nearby Shinkansen (bullet train) exit: Hachijo Exit.

Then we took JR Abiko Line to Ohtsu Station.

Went to Enjo Ji (Enjo Temple) or commonly known as Mitsui Dera (Mitsui Temple).

There are many places to visit and pray in the premises.

Shaka-Do (Buddha Temple)

The area is so green and large; I enjoyed walking the premises.

I hit the Kane (bell) to bring peace to ancestors.

Kane weights 2 tons.

At Kindo, we could prey to three special Buddhas at the period of 28 April to 20 May 2018.

I’m blessed.

Akai Ya (Holy Water House)

Today, this temple is commonly called Mitsui Dera; based on its Chinese characters, it means Three Wells.

However, it originally meant Holy Well (Mii).

The water from this well is offered to Buddhas.

The dragon was engraved by Hidari Jingoro to calm Biwako (Biwa Lake).

I can see fresh water welling out.

There are many more to visit and pray.

Benkei Sho (Benkei’s Bell)

There is an interesting omikuji (fortune slip).

This is the instruction.

Pick a bell shaped fortune slip from a pot; float on water to read the number that appears on it; go back to the shop to get the numbered slip to get fortune/advise/lessons.

I pulled No. 42; it’s Kichi (good fortune).

Issai Kyozo (Storage for Sutras)

Some Japanese movies are taking here.

I can understand that because the premises are well kept.

I walked through its gate and looked back;

it looks nice.

Even from the path way.

There is a small paths.

There is even a half ruined bridge.

According to the map, I’m still half way.

Bimyoji (Bimyo Temple)

Shuho Kannon (Goddess of Mercy for People)

There are still many more to visit and pray.

Finally reaching to Mitsui Dera Kannon Do (Mitsui Temple’s Goddess of Mercy Temple/the Main Temple).

We need to climb these stairs.

Hondo (the Main Temple)

We could meet the special Buddha today.

The temple has a nice Japanese garden.

There are many more to visit and pray in the area of Hondo.

Noh Butai (Noh Dance Stage)

Hyakutai Kannon Do (the temple for 100 Goddess of Mercy through out Japan)

Shoroh (House for Bell)

Mani Guruma (Prayer Wheel)

If you turn a stone once, it means you recite sutra once.

We can take a break overlooking Biwako (Biwa Lake: Japan’s largest lake)

Finally, the last place: Suikanji (Suikan Temple)

It was a nice day to walk through the temple.

It’s cooler compared to Kyoto because the wind from Biwako lower the temperature.

I took a train back to Kyoto to catch Shinkansen back home (Tokyo).

We had Lundi (Lunch and Dinner) at Japanese Restaurant Kurama, Kyoto Station.

Though I stayed at the hotel in Kyoto, I visited Shiga (Ishiyama City twice and Otsu City once) three times and Hyogo (Akashi City) once.

For next trip, I will plan to visit temples in Kyoto.

Posted in Family, Feelings, Flower, Food, Friends, Hotel, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Nature, Restaurants, Shrine and Temple, Travel, Waterfalls

Golden Week Holiday in Kyoto (Day 3)

I had these for breakfast.

I, again, visited Ishiyama, Shiga this morning

to visit Ishiyama Dera (Ishiyama Temple).

It’s guarded by Nioh (guardians).

It’s Spring so Temple is so green.

Walked through old aged stone for fun.

On the way to Hondo (the main temple), there are many temples to visit and pray.

Daishi Do (Kobo Great Buddhist Priest Temple)

When I look up from here…I see…

At Hondo (the Main Temple), I prayed to Nyoirin Kannon (Goddess).

After visiting Hondo, there are still many places to visit.

And the path are beautifully decorated by azalea.

This is the map of Ishiyama Temple.

You can see that there are many places to visit in the premises.

We are half way now.

We continued walking down the path.

Then we reached Kodo (Light Temple)

The door for this temple is opened specially from 28 April – 20 May 2018, allowing us to meet three special Buddha.

We are so lucky to be here today.

The first Japanese lady love story writer, Murasaki Shikibu used to visit this temple to get inspirations to write Genji Monogatari (Mr. Genji’s Story).

There is Kanro Daki (Kanro Fall).

And nice Shobu En (iris garden).

I cannot enter, but there is a path to the sacred place looking mysterious.

There is a holy stone.

According to the signage, it says Ooyuya, meaning a big bath…?

I also prayed to the very important God: Daikokuten (God of Wealth).

At last I prayed to Kinryu Ryuoh (Golden Dragon King) for preventing bad luck and bringing good luck.

After visiting Ishiyama Temple, we took a breath at tea room, Kanou Shojuan, to enjoy Ishimochi (stone rice cakes).

Ishimochi presents strong stone foundation of this temple, wishing for prevention of bad luck and establishment of strong tie.

These are delicious.

I had dinner appointment with my old Kyoto friend.

She took me to a nice Japanese restaurant Izama at Mitsui Garden Hotel Shinmachi Bettei, Kyoto.

I absolutely enjoyed food, drink and chatting!

Kyoto Local Beer (Dark Beer)

Three Types of Kyoto Local Sake

After dinner, I went to Bar Islay Mojito with her to continue girl’s talk without Mom. hehehe

Posted in Beauty, Experience, Family, Feelings, Food, Hotel, Japan Technology, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Restaurants, Shop, Shopping, Shrine and Temple, Travel

Golden Week Holiday in Kyoto (Day 2)

Took a train to Ishiyama Eki (Ishiyama Station) to participate in a special Buddhist ceremony at the temple in Shiga.

I love listening to Buddhist sutra reciting; and also participating to recite it.

The peaceful moment brings me clam and peace.

After participation in a special prayer, visited Iwamadera (Iwama Temple), Ishiyama, Shiga.

First, I hit the bell.

Please take note that you cannot hit it on the way back; you will bring bad luck instead.

If you forget to do it, it’s okay.

This is not the must.

There is Bokefuji Kannon (Goodness for senile dementia prevention) at this temple.

There is also Shirahime Ryujin (White Princess Dragon Goddess) for beauty.

The temple is located on the mountain.

Then I proceeded to Hondo (main temple).

Hondo (Main Temple)

There is a small beautiful pond next to the Hondo.

The famous Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho, composed a poet.

Furuikeya Kawazu Tobikomu Mizuno Oto

(Old Pond, a Flog Jumped, Sound of Splash)

Then there is also Fudo Do (Fudo Temple).

Fudomyoo is God of Fire.

He can burn all bad luck!

There is also Inazuma Ryuo Sha (Shrine for Lightning Dragon).

This God will prevent us from lightening and fire.

And there is also Taishi Do, Temple for Kobo Daishi (Kobo Buddhist Priest).

There is a resting room; you should take a rest here to meet more Gods and Eight Great Priests.

After dropping souvenirs at the hotel room, went out to buy tomorrow’s breakfast.

On the way to the bakery shop, stopped by at the Yojiya cosmetics shop located inside of hotel.

Yojiya was the specialized cosmetics manufacturer for Geisha.

Today, Yojiya also produces cosmetics for general consumers like me.

I bought UV protection loose powder in white.

I have sensitive skin so I want to avoid wearing UV protection cream by wearing a hat and THIS!

Then walked down to LAQUE to buy breads and cut pineapple for breakfast.

We arrived late last night and were active today.

We decided to have dinner at Japanese Restaurant Irifune at the hotel.

I enjoyed nice Kyoto food and Kyoto Sake Heiangu with Mom.

Posted in Exercise, Feelings, Food, Hotel, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Shop, Shopping, Shrine and Temple, Travel

Trip to Nikko (Day 2)

Akemashite Omedetogozaimasu (Happy New Year)

This is the view from a room.

I had a buffet breakfast; hotel serves New Year dishes, too.

It’s New Year so decide to go to Nikko Toshogu (Shrine) for prayer.

At Kinugawa Onsen (Hot Spring) Station, Station staffs and local people are serving sake and Amazake (sweet non-alcohol sake).

SL train stops this Station.

Then I see the real SL train: Taiju. Yeah!

Today, I took this train to reach Tobu Nikko Station.

Two trains were connected; it has double faces.

The road was crowded with cars to visit the shrine.

We took a bus till Shinkyo (God’s Bridge) then walked to Nikko Toshogu.

Shinkyo (God’s Bridge) is beautiful.

Nikko Toshogu is the World Heritage.

We walked to the entrance of Nikko Toshogu.

This is the first gate, need to show a ticket to enter the premises.

Toshogu is in the process of repairing.

Some buildings are reborn in bright colours.

This place is famous for THREE WISE MONKEYS: See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.

Yomeimon (Yomei Gate)

This gate is so colourful.

This dragon is drawn at the ceiling of this gate, beautiful and powerful.

This Nemuri Neko (Sleeping Cat) is also famous.

This cat looks as if she can wake up anytime.

The main building of shrine is still under the repair.

We managed to pray and visit places before the place gets crowded with more visitors to arrive.

We catch a bus back to Tobu Nikko Station.

We went to collect our free souvenirs, Castella (cakes) and Yuba (tofu), at Nikko Castella Honpo (Main Store).

Then we changed a train to return to Kinugawa Onsen Station to hotel before it gets dark.

We enjoyed dinner after a good exercise, walking at Shrine.

We had a voucher to get another dessert after dinner.

We did dessert hopping tonight. fufufu