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

Weekend in Kyoto (Day 3)

I took Kintetsu Line to go to Tojo (East Temple) Station.


Toji Station is one stop away from Kyoto Station.


This is the main gate of Toji (East Temple). 

Toji was established by Kanmu Tennoh (Emperor Kanmu) in 796.

Saga Tennoh (Emperor Saga) bestowed Toji to Kukai (Japanese Buddhist) in 823.

There was Saiji (West Temple) then.

Saiji was managed by the government (emperor); but the government couldn’t afford to maintain the temple at the time.

On the other hand, believers of Shingon Sect keeps good care of Toji.


Toji is equally important as Headquarters of Shingon Sect: Koyasan (Mt. Koya).



This temple was originally established by Emperor so we can find the Emperor’s Emblem: Kikuno Gomon (Chrysanthemum).


Kodo (Auditorium)

There is a Dainichi Nyorai (Sun of Buddha) and many more Buddha statues. 

I sat in front of Dainichi Nyorai to enjoy quiet and peaceful moment.


Kondo (Golden Hall/Main Hall)

This temple’s principal Buddha is Yakushinyorai (Healing Buddha).

I also sat in front of Yakushinyorai to be healed.

Toji is famous for Gojyu no To (Five-Stories Pagoda).


It’s autumn so trees start changing colour.





I found a nice bamboo art.

It makes nice sound when rain drops hit them.


There is Yashimaden (Shrine) in the Toji.

This Shrine was established before Toji; therefore, this Shrine remained at the original place as a part of Toji.


It continues raining heavily so went back to Kyoto Station for lunch.

I had Kyoto cuisine at Restaurant Kurama, Kyoto Station.


At last, I enjoyed a Hojicha (roasted tea) parfait at my favorite Tsuruya Yoshinobu Cafe, Irodori, Kyoto Station.



Now I’m on the way back to Kyoto by Shinkansen (bullet train).



But now Shinkansen stopped and parked before Nagoya Station due to heavy rain in Shizuoka.

Typhoon 22 is approaching Japan.

This is my first experience to be stacked in Shinkansen.

I’m fine because Shinkansen is equipped with an outlet to charge my mobile at my seat and toilets!

Posted in Exercise, Feelings, Food, Golf, Health, Hotel, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Music, Place, Restaurants, Shrine and Temple, Travel, Waterfalls

Detoxing in Kyoto

I had a long weekend because I took a day off on Friday and our office is closed on Monday: Japanese National Holiday, Sports and Health Day.

I decided to come to Kyoto.

Kyoto is popular sightseeing place for Japanese and foreign tourists; therefore, Shinkansen (bullet train) is full.

I listened to the announcement that the Shinkansen is full and all seats are taken.

I managed to get few last seats.


First, I went to Chinese Restaurant: Marushin Hansen for lunch.


This restaurant is famous for Gyoza (fried dumplings) and Tenshinhan (rice with egg).



Then went to foot massage at Shion, Kyoto Station.

I felt so good because my body was exhausted!

When you arrive Kyoto Station early and don’t know what to do, you can go for a quick massage, quick as 15 mins and they are good!


Checked in at Daiwa Roynet Hotel Hachijo Guchi, Kyoto.

It’s conveniently near to Kyoto Station, Subway Kujo Station and Bus Stop.


I had Chanko Nabe (put anything into soup/pot) for dinner.

There are varieties of mashroom (autumn seasonal vegetable), vegetables, pork, chicken, beef, oyster, ise ebi (lobster) and udon noodle.


After dinner, I listened to Tsugaru Jamisen (Japanese guitar).

It’s so powerful!


The next day, I played golf at King’s Road Golf Course.


I started with breakfast because we left hotel early.

We couldn’t get a golf course in Kyoto; therefore, we crossed two prefectures and went to Hyogo Prefecture to play. hahaha


But there is no regret because it’s a nice course to play. 


Some trees already changed colour…


I had a Japanese traditional spaghetti, Neapolitan, for lunch.

This is one of Japanese modified western food.


After a game, returned to Kyoto and went to Gion Negiyaki Kana Higashi Ten (Higashi Store), Gion, Kyoto for dinner.

The restaurant is nice and cozy with a traditional Teppan (grill plate).



However, I didn’t enjoy food…

These are typical Kansai Food (Osaka Food); therefore, I can enjoy these at other restaurants.

However, if you want to enjoy the atmosphere, it’s nice.

If you are new to Negiyaki (Japanese pizza or shall I call it, pancake? with Negi (leeks), it’s okay.

It’s also economical.


I woke up late on Monday and got ready to go out.

I had seasonal tendon (tempura bowl) at Fushimi Tenpura Oe, Fushimi, Kyoto for brunch.



I want to go to Fushimi Inari Taisha.

Today, it’s a popular place for Instgram, known for Sen-bon Torii (1,000 red shrine gates) and the place could be crowded.

By the way, I need to warn you; you should wear a pair of comfortable shoes to climb up stairs to go up to the summit. 

It’s a good exercise.

It’s hot today so I sweat a lot; but I feel better after exercising and praying at many shrines.

I feel detoxed!








It’s proven I’m detoxed because I pulled Daikichi (the luckiest) for omikujo (fortune tell).


Holy Waterfall






After a good exercise and pray, I had early dinner, Oinari (fried tofu with marinated rice) at Omiya, Fushimi, Kyoto.

It’s simple, but delicious.


I purchased a Shinkansen ticket online.

Central Japan Railway Company introduced a new service allowing to purchase a Shinkansen ticket online by registering IC train or subway card and credit card.

I don’t need to queue on a line to purchase a ticket.

That’s great!


However, again, Shinkansen is packed so I can reserve only one hour later Shinkansen.

I didn’t have a green tea during this Kyoto trip so I went to Japanese traditional sweet manufacturer, Tsuruya Yoshinobu’s cafe: Irodori, Kyoto Station for green tea and Anmitsu (Japanese traditional dessert – Jelly).


I very much enjoyed this time’s sudden and short trip to Kyoto.

I feel refleshed! 


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

Trip to Nara & Kyoto (Day 2)

I had a Japanese breakfast at Minokichi, the Hotel New Hanshin Kyoto, Kyoto.


We departed Hotel for Kameoka Station to catch a Sagano Romantic Train (trolley train).




At Sagano, we have choice of ride: hours coach, Hozugawa (Hozu River) boat ride and trolley train.



This time, I choose trolley train.



The train has come.

But isn’t it back of train…?

The view from window is nice.




This is the front of train.

Looks cool!

We arrived at the last station.


After a train ride, we went to Shigetsu Restaurant at Tenryuji (Tenryu Temple).

This is Zen Vegetarian Cuisine.

Don’t worry, we can request a chair and it is very very VERY delicious!

Highly recommended!


Tenryuji is known for a beautiful Japanese  garden.



I also walked inside of Tenryuji’s main hall: Daihojo.


The drawing on the sliding doors is beautiful as if a dragon is alive.


Then visited Rokuonji (Rokuon Temple), famously known Kinkajuji (Kinkaku Temple).

It’s beautifully in gold.

I returned to hotel for the night event.

After freshing up, I watched Maiko’s dance on the roof of the hotel.

Maikos are trainees of Geisha; therefore, they are less than 20 years old.


Hotel turned off the lift for the main event: Gozan no Okuribi.

This event will be held on 16 August annually.

This is Buddhist ceremony to send spirit back to heaven.

Five letters or symbols will be lighted by fire on five mountains.

大 (Dai, meaning Large)

This is famous Daimonjiyaki (Dai letter in fire).

Unfortunately, the letter didn’t face in my way.


Funa Gata (Shape of Ship) on the right and Hidari Daimonji (Left Dai Letter) on the left.


Torii (Shape of Shrine Gate)


During day time, we drove by where Hidari Daimonji will be lighted.

This is how it’s prepared.


After enjoying the evening, I had late dinner.

It was nice Kyoto local food.


I spent another memorable day today.

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

Trip to Nara & Kyoto (Day 1)

It is Obon season, Buddhist ceremony season.

I decided to spend my Obon in traditional way this year.

I met my parents at the Tourist Information Center Tokyo, Tokyo Station Nihonbashi Exit.

We can get information on sightseeing places.


We took a Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto.

I had brunch on Shinkansen.


The scenery from window is nice; rice field is so green!


We arrived Kyoto Station…


But early for hotel check-in.

We took a break at Cafe Koto and I shared a strawberry shave ice with Mom.


Our hotel, the Hotel New Hankyu Kyoto, is nicely located in front of Kyoto Station.


And they served us a welcome peach shave ice – another shave ice for a day! hahaha


The famous Kyoto Tower is just few buildings away.

All of us have been to Kyoto many times, but none of us went up to the observation floor.


It’s 131 m high; it’s not tall, but we can see a whole Kyoto.

Shinkansen left for Osaka; and Shinkansen is long because there are 16 coaches!


We can spot the famous Sanjusangendo and  Kiyomizu Dera.


We can overlook the Higashi Honganji (East Honganji)


Nishi Honganji (West Honganji: there is West so there should be East)


Toji (To Temple: East Temple)


At the bottom of Kyoto Tower, we had Sushi for snacks.


After adventuring in the area, we departed Hotel for Nara.

On the way to Nara, I continued sightseeing.

This is Fushimi Momoyama Jo (Fushimi Momoyama Castle) which was built in 1592.


This tea field is Uji Cha (Uji Tea) field: Kyoto specialized tea field.

I took a photo from a moving bus so image is not clear.

We can tell this tea field is for Uji Tea because farmers cover it with black plastic sheet to produce Uji Tea.


We entered Nara and passed the original Todaiji Uramon (Todai Temple’s back gate) which is old as early 8th century.


First, we had dinner at Tenpyo Club in Nara before the night event.


After dinner, we quickly stopped by at Kikuichi Cutlery to buy souvenirs.

This shop is famous for Japanese knives and swords, but also sells local confectioneries and local specialties.



Local deers know this shop is nice!


This place is full of deers and they act like they are LOCALs! hahaha


Then we walked to Kasuga Taisha (Kasuga Main Shrine) for Mandoe (Buddhist Lantern Festival): one of our tonight’s events.





We went to Tobihino (field) to watch Daimonjiyaki, fired letter 大 (dai) which means Large.


It started to rain again; don’t erase the letter!


Then, we walked to Todaiji (Todai Temple); the last event of the day.

This is Nandai Mon (Nandai Gate) of Todaiji, guarded by A-Un (A & Un).


Todaiji looks mysterious in rain.



Look closely; the window is opened tonight.

We can see Buddha’s face.


This is Japan’s largest Buddha.


I feel calm by looking at him and I won’t get board looking at him…


At Todaiji, I tried to bring more luck by getting through a pillar.

I managed it so I’m blessed! Yeah!!!


It was so romantic to spend late evening at Todaiji and pray!


Posted in Feelings, Food, Mt. Fuji, Nature, Place, Shopping, Shrine and Temple, Sunrise and Sunset, Tokyo, Travel

Trip to Mt. Fuji and Odaiba

My friend treated me a kebab for breakfast @ Asian Kebab, Roppongi.


I ordered Otsumami (snacks); this menu is Kebab meat and cabbage only (no rice or a pita bread).

It’s delicious and good portion.

I think I will take out this when I feel lazy to cook. hahaha


I took Chuo Highway to Mt. Fuji 5th Station.

We can go up to 5th Station by car.

There is a rest area to take a break and to admire Mt. Fuji. 


Rest area. 



Restaurant


The menu is displayed.


But purchasing meal tickets is challenging because words are written in Japanese. Hummm


I had a shaved ice.


There is a local Mt. Fuji Beer vending machine.

I bought one for my sourvenir.



If you run out Japanese yen, don’t worry.

There is a money changer machine for many currencies.

The service is better than ordinary banks.


I prayed Fujisan Komitake Jinjya (Mt. Fuji Komitake Shrine).




We can also admire a lake view.

I think this is Kawaguchiko (Kawaguchi Lake).


I enjoyed being ON the Mt. Fuji, but I struggle with a traffic jam. Ahhhh

It was 7 pm when we arrived Tokyo; therefore, decided to go to Odaiba for ocean view and dinner.



Kaisendon (Seafood Bowl) for dinner @ Genchan, Odaiba.


After getting energy, walked the area to enjoy night view of Tokyo Bay.





It is not my first time to post about Mt. Fuji and Odaiba.

Well, these are my favorite places; I will continue to post whenever I can to share the view of the day with you.

Posted in Exercise, Feelings, Food, Health, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Pilgrimage, Place, Shrine and Temple, Travel

The Second Trip to the 33 Kannon Pilgrimage (3rd Day)

Today, we are scheduled to visit 4 temples and needed some energy.

As mentioned yesterday, the exterior of hotel is very western; but a room is Japanese style.

No. 25 Banshu Kiyomizudera (Banshu Kiyomizu Temple)


We stopped by at Yakushido: God for health.



There are twelve gods of Chinese Zodiacs.

These are designed by Mr. Satoshi Yabuuchi who designed Nara’s Mascot: Sentokun.


We prayed at Daikodo (auditorium).


We visited Konpon Chudo (Main Hall).


Then visited Konjosui. 

This temple is named Kiyomizu (clear water) because of this well.

When you look into the well, if you can see your face, you receive additional three years to live; if you cannot see your face….otherwise….

I’m happy to see my face on the water.


No. 27 Engyoji (Engyo Temple)

Engyoji is located on the summit of Shoshazan (Mt. Shosha).


First, we need to catch a rope way.

Then catch a bus.


We prayed at Maniden (Wish Hall).


Then we went to the area where Jyogyodo (a stage), Jikido (cafeteria) and Daikodo (auditorium).

Jyogyodo might look familiar because Last Samurai was filmed here!


Jikido


Daikodo


We walked further to Okunoin.


This is Kaizando where shrines Shoku Shonin who opened this temple.


At the four corners, there suppose to be four Rikishi (heavyweight wrestlers) to hold a heavy roof; but one ran away.


We had late lunch, local food: Himeji Oden (fish cakes and others in soup. In this region, they eat with ginger soysauce).


No. 16 Ichijoji (Ichijo Temple)

There are few stairs…


We can enjoy a unique scenery: looking down the three-stories Pagoda here.

Some maples are already in red even it’s still spring…?


No. 24 Nakayamadera (Nakayama Temple)

The last temple of this trip.


At back of the gate, two dogs are protecting this temple.


This temple is for pregnant women; therefore, this temple is equipped with escalators.

This is my first time to try an escalator at the temple!



Fun time flys fast.

It’s time to return home.


On the way back, I enjoyed Kansai cuisine obento (packed food).



I also enjoyed nice dessert, actually this is a survivor for Dad. 



It was fun and I’m charged! 

But, now I’m ready to go to bed. Zzzzzz