Autumn Nara, day 1

Since we were tired after the long travel and late bedtime, we woke up pretty late and only left the hotel at about 11am.

Nara hotel lobby
This is how the hotel lobby looks like.


In flight again, destination... Japan

We barely got back from Seattle as it was time to go to Japan. The trip we have planned for a long time already, to go and see the fall colors.

So, on Nov 21st we got to the airport and boarded an aircraft to Detroit first.

Boeing 747 in Detroit Airport
B747 in Detroit, the same kind of aircraft we would fly to Japan this time.


Visits to Japan


Japan is a very interesting country to visit. Pretty unique culture too. This is the country we hope to return to often.

So far we have been there just once, but took a lot of pictures with a brief log of events that you might want to see.

Visit number one, April 2010


Day 15, part 2: Fushimi Inari Taisha

Second part of our last day is a special moment and we decided to spend it in a really special place.

That special place is Fushimi Inari Shrine, dedicated to god of fertility, rice, industry and so on. Soon you will see what's special about it.

We wanted to visit it in a second half of a day for a variety of reasons including the recommendation to visit it in the evening because it's scarier that way.

Next train Display in Kyoto
Display at the train station announcing a train and also how many cars it has and what symbol to look for to determine where those cars stop an where their doors will en up being.


Day 15, part 1: Kiyomizudera

We have already described day 14 on which we went to Tenshi no Sato.

So on to the day 15. The plan for the morning was to visit Kiyomizudera temple, a pretty popular place in Kyoto with huge crowds. To avoid the crowds we decided to get there at around 7am, so we woke up really early, quickly ate some cakes we bought a day before and went to a bus stop to catch a bus. A day before hotel clerk recommended us to take a bus 207 and get off at Gojozaka stop. But looking at a Google map we decided that getting off at the next stop (Kiyomizu-michi - the bus stop for the temple) as it seemed to be a bit closer distance.

From the bus stop we went on a street in Hagashiyama district that went uphill and after some time we have arrived to the temple.

The name Kiyomizu means clear or pure water due to the waterfall in the complex.

Gate of Deva Kings (Nio-Mon) in the morning
Nio-mon. Gate of Deva Kings. Around 7am, the sun is still pretty low and covered with some clouds.


Day 13, part 3: Golden Pavilion

The time was already well after noon and the sun was moving toward the horizon. Our plan was to visit the Golden Pavilion before sunset to take some nice pictures of the shining building.

Originally we thought of taking a bus from Ryoanji to Kinkakuji, but it turned out there were a lot of people wanting to do the same.

People waiting for a bus near Ryoanji
The line at the bus stop.


Day 13, part 2: Ryoanji rock garden

Next stop on the day 13 in Japan was in Ryoanji temple. It is said to be the most important place to visit in Kyoto.

The main part of the temple is a famous rock garden (zen garden) that was built at the end of 15th century and is pretty simple.

Ryoanji station
Tram line that we took. Ryoanji station.


Day 13, part 1: Kyoto Nijo Castle

The day 13 was so long and full of visits that we decided to split it into several posts.

It all started with a breakfast, of course. The day before we ordered a breakfast in our ryokan to see how good was the kitchen.

breakfast in ryokan
That's how our traditional Japanese breakfast looked like.


Day 12: Rainy and boring

On day 12 we had certain plans, but it was so rainy that we decided to not go for any sightseeing. Instead we decided to do some shopping that was long overdue.

Ksusha have found some online Kimono shops and decided to visit them in person. Looking at the map it did not look too far away so we walked there, also have seen some other kimono shop on the way that we visited.

Of course it turned out that the online shop did not have any real storefront and the address was just for their warehouse, but still the workers there were nice enough to show us some goods that we were interested in. They also had an English translator and we ended up buying a bunch of Kimono-related stuff for us and friends and recording a "how to put on a kimono and tie a belt" sort of video in process (not great quality so not uploading that one).

Also on the way we discovered a 100 yen shop which has a concept pretty similar to other such shops elsewhere (Dollar Tree in US, 5 yuan shops in China and so on).

Stuff that we have bought that day. Spent quite a bit of money on it ;)


Day 11: Osaka

A change of job and holidays sort of slowed down work on the rest of posts about our trip to Japan, but finally here is another one.

On day 11 in the morning we packed our stuff, ordered a taxi and moved to another hotel - much more cheaper Kyoto Ryokan Shoei.

Of course the new hotel was not available for checking this early in the morning, so we just left our suitcases with the lobby and went with the rest of the day's plan from there.

And the plan was to visit Osaka. We got to a nearby JR train station and took a train first to central Kyoto railway station and from there an express train to Osaka.

Main goal of our visit was to see Osaka Castle, but a secondary one was to see a Mandarake shop or two in Osaka as well. And also of course to try some Osaka cuisine.

We arrived to Osaka quite hungry (no breakfast) and then immediately went to the Osaka Castle surroundings hoping to find some food around there. Unfortunately it turned out that restaurants were located not very close and we also took quite a walk to the river and then crossing it.

Sashimi on rice bowl
Seafood on a rice bowl.



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