Saturday, July 8, 2017

Day 4 – Japan trip (Kinkakuji temple & Kiyomizu-dera)

On Day 4, we woke up with excitement anticipating the most-visit temples in our wish list – Kinkakuji temple (A shimmering gold temple) and Kiyomizu-dera (“Pure water” temple built on top of a hill). As usual, we had our caffeine fix at the friendly neighbourhood café near our hotel. Albeit a slightly “old” café run by two senior Japanese couples, the restaurant offers quite an extensive list of food such as fried udon with localized flavour, generous sandwich with extra eggs which you seldom find it here, in Malaysia. Just saying! Well, overall, the food portion fit a king’s meal.  

Early selfie with double chin side-effect! ∩__∩y

After a hearty breakfast, we made a dash to catch the next train to visit the World Cultural Heritage site – Kinkakuji. The entrance fee costs ¥400 and due to the ticker's unique design, I naturally can’t resist to pose with the signature ticket (pun intended)! (*><*)′

Upon entering the Golden Pavilion, we were greeted with 3 elements of “zen” namely wooden building, grey & white pebbles and shaded trees. At the moment, we felt peaceful and calm. _/\_

Of course, we wouldn’t want to miss posing with the nature background. Prior to entering the gold-coated temple, we managed to have a glimpse of the “hojo” where former head priest resides in the living quarters. Long queue before admission…

Once we arrived at the charming shrine, we were truly mesmerised with its beauty. A solid gold-encrusted temple with different architecture style for each floor. In fact, each story houses different clans of its class – 1st floor was built for the “shinden”, 2nd for the samurais and the peak of the temple was catered for the Chinese zen hall. The uppermost floor was capped with a golden phoenix where you will see its wings were peeking out from the roof. The golden-lacquered shrine was a perfect backdrop for the lake which imbues mysterious allure to it. This is further amped up with the leafless tree wigs and bonsai-style trees. 


A stroll in the temple before we walked further inside; captivated with the sea of trees.

We took a short break to savour the matcha soft-serve (*^@^*)

Next up, we visited Kiyomizu-dera dubbed the “pure water” temple for its scenic view with waterfall streaming at the foot of the hills, where the water falls into a pond. The water is believed to have a wish-granting power. Originally, it is an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto, in fact, the most celebrated temple bustling with crowd. Not to mention, the ancient temple is also a UNESCO heritage site.

The magnificent temple overlooking breathtaking view. 

Many youngsters adorned in their best traditional costumes thronged the must-see attraction.

The temple leads us to a quiet alley which stores a mixture of local handicrafts display, household brands, novelty souveniers and premium outlet such as Hermes to resonate to the locals with a pop of local culture.

Our dessert before we ends the night. Best cheesetart in town! {{{(>_<)}}}

Till then, cheerioz! (^_^)


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Day 3 – Japan trip (Arashiyama, Tenryu-ji, Togetsukyo Bridge & Kyoto tower)

On day 3, we woke up earlier to visit yet another most photographed tourist destination in Kyoto. Arashiyama is located at the Western district of Kyoto and we took the JR line to catch the San-In line towards Sonobe and get off at Saga-Arashiyama station. Before that, here’s some pics of our early breakfast. ∩__∩y

Who says you can’t eat instant noodles for breakfast? O.o

Colourful eye-popping pastries & onigiri assortments (*^^*) They even had Sake onigiri!

Once we reached Arashiyama, we were greeted by the panoramic view of railway track with hilly mountain behind it.

The steam locomotive & piano museum made a perfect backdrop for us.

As usual, we always aim for the map before setting out our journey for the day. To our surprise, there’s an old uncle who gave us some advice on how to travel up to the forest. In fact, he happily volunteered his service to the tourists and locals despite can’t speak English. Such a kind uncle! (^^)

The place was teeming with crowd but luckily, we arrived early in the morning so that there’s still some fresh air and before the sun comes out to bake our path. Well, the boys spotted a beer vending machine and with sheer exhilaration, they bought some to drink along their way up. (*▽≦)

Some of the grey stones and mini "Torii" we spotted along our way. 

And some dainty flowers at the roadside. (❛▿❛✿)

We stopped by at the Arashiyama shopping street and were intrigued by the long queue of a “special” soft-serve stall. Apparently, the ice cream was so popular due to its non-fall off “special” ingredient when held upside-down.

An exaggerated version of me holding it down. 

We walked around 15 minutes and upon reaching the bamboo forest, I felt a sense of tranquillity looking at the canopy of tall bamboo trees. The entrance is FOC and it is opened 24 hours. Fyi, it is one of the UNESCO world heritage site. 

There was also a spot dedicated to prayers whom would like to write down their wishes on the wooden boards. An uncle was busy serving his customers with his hand-drawn postcards. 

With a gentle breeze sweeping our face and the sound of rustling bamboo leaves, we were mesmerized with the beauty of Nature. Right across the Sagano bamboo road is Tenryu-ji Temple; largest in Arashiyama district. 

Feeling “zen” again….

Posing with the bamboo groove. 🎍

Selfies along the way.

Hubby with the shrubs.

Tucked at the end of the forest, we uncovered a lake, fluffy cherry blossoms and beautiful landscape. 

Different forms of green shades.

There were even a wooden house and glass house to add to its mysterious allure. 

A microscopic view.

Some Insta-inspired photos ∩__∩y

There was even a resting point for us take five at a booth which served hard-boiled egg with salt seasonings and custard pudding as seasonal food for Spring. 


There were line of quaint shops and quiet neighborhood dotted along the street. 

After an exhaustive 40 – 45 minutes walk at the forest, we followed the path which lead us to Arashiyama mountain located at the north central of Arashiyama. We stopped for a while to have a look at the various shops selling some cute kitschy souveniers and unique café. Yes, there was an OWL café…

As we reached the mountain, we were awe struck with the vast mountain, long bridge and a flowing dam. We just sat quietly to enjoy the moment of calmness and serenity which stretched beyond the horizon. And, posed against the abundance of green shrubs at Togetsukyo bridge. The beauty of Spring will strongly etched in my mind. (*⌒▽⌒*)

There was a small pier on the river but too bad we did not take the cruise down. Here are some postcard-worthy photos!

We walked up to the nearby Monkey forest but as it was closed so we did not enter the trail of bushes.

As night falls, we made our way to the Kyoto tower which was illuminating with neon light when we reached. Apparently, Kyoto tower is an unique architectural structure as it does not use steel frame but was built using a special steel plates to form a cylinder. Too bad, we did not visit the iconic landmark as the entrance fees were pretty expensive (700 yen). Posed against the striking building. 

No Monkey forest? Is ok, 3 monkey poses (^^)

Our simple dinner at a small corner shop nearby the tower. We never get bored with ramens …

That's all for a relaxing Day-3 expedition! ^.^v