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

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

The Second Trip to the 33 Kannon Pilgrimage 

I woke up early at 5 am to visit Kusuhara Jingu (Kusuhara Shrine) before departs for temples.

It’s a power spot.

This Shrine was built in 1890 to shrine the first emperor, Jinmu Tennoh (Emperor Jinmu).

This street leads straight to the shrine; therefore, this is Omotesando (Main Street to the Shrine) for Kashihara Jingu.

It looks different from Omotesando in Tokyo.


Soon I reached Torii (gate) of Kashihara Jingu.


Getting excited to walk through more gates.

Finally, reached to the main building!

It’s so quiet and peaceful in the morning.


Local people gather from morning to exercise together at the shrine.

So nice.


I’m glad that I woke early to visit this beautiful shrine.

I returned to hotel and went to take my breakfast.

I was hungry.


We departed Kashihara Royal Hotel for Sefukuji (Sefuku Temple).


This is Katsurayama (Mt. Katsurayama).

This mountain often appears in Japanese poem, Manyo.


No. 4 Sefukuji (Sefuku Temple)

I need to be fit to visit this temple because there are many stairs!





This temple is for health, especially legs and back.

Yes, climbing these stairs is a good exercise.

Today, we had obento (packed lunch) for lunch.


The lunch was delicious and just right – many varieties and right portion.


No. 23 Katsuohji (Katsuoh Temple)

This is front of gate with the name of mountain.


At the back of the gate, a board of temple’s name in original kanji (Chinese character). 

This temple is for victory; in 880, Buddhist Priest cured Seiwa Tennoh (Emperor Seiwa) by defeating illness.


Daruma (this) is a good luck charm to make a wish come true.

These Daruma successfully made a wish come true.


The garden is so beautiful.


This is the main building.


Extra Temple Kazanin

This is the last temple of the day.



This is Arima Fuji (Mt. Arima Fuji), Mt. Fuji in west Japan.

We can look down this Mt. Fuji! hahaha


Looking up Arima Fuji.


Checked-in Fruit Flower Hotel.

This hotel is part of Fruit Flower Patk.

The exterior of hotel is very western, but a room is Japanese style with futons.



I had buffet dinner and ate many dishes.


After dinner, watched a New Half (shemale) Show.


It’s been a long day today.

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 Pilgrimage 

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.