Autumn in Japan Day 4

Autumn in Japan Day 4

Kyoto was once the capital of Japan. This is why tourists like us who would like to see the “old Japan” are better suited to explore and experience this homey yet historical place.

Our target for today? Arashiyama Togetsukyo Bridge, Bamboo Grove, Tenryu-ji Zen Temple, Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), Nijo Castle and the International Manga Museum 🙂

From our hostel, we had to walk through the subway to reach the bus station.

A bus ride took us to the well-known Arashiyama Togetsukyo Bridge. Another face of fall/autumn greeted our eyes. It was refreshing to feel the soft breeze while we were exploring the area.

The view at the bridge – amazing and captivating! 🙂

The mystical Bamboo Grove

According to posts on the internet, this bamboo grove is more mystical when visited at night because of the effect of lights that reflects on the bamboo when it turns into an eerie green.

The Tenryu-ji Zen Temple and its enclosure

Upon entering the gate, it was like walking inside the set of an old movie.

One thing I was able to appreciate was the canned hot coffee and tea from their vending machine. 🙂

The best things I saw in this enclosure are the Japanese Maple trees 🙂

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reddish leaves of the Japanese Maple trees
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with the Japanese Maple trees

After our tour of Arashiyama, it’s now time to board a train and another bus to see the next tourist spot.

The Golden Pavilion or Kinkaku-ji Temple

Months before going to Japan, this temple came out of my research. So it was really wonderful to see it in person. After securing our entry passes we were ushered towards the inner part of the compound – there we saw the Golden Pavilion. Most tourists are all taking selfies with the pavilion but for me what I really liked was the landscape and the artistry done to the surroundings of the temple.

Our next stop was the souvenir shop outside. We had fun choosing and buying souvenir items for our loved ones and we even took a photo with a tourism student trainee :). She was really friendly and helpful – she told us which bus to take for our next destination. A very good way to promote tourism since tourists like us are always guided 🙂

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The Nijo Castle – a world heritage site

By now, we have already seen two temples and somehow we have grown tired and weary because of the long walk. But we’re not supposed to rest yet ’cause it’s now time to see a real castle with moat and all. So we decided to ride another bus and visit a world heritage site – the Nijo Castle.

First thing we did here is the guided tour inside the castle. Since the castle is really old, we were not allowed to take pictures nor touch the walls and tapestries for they might break or crack. Some parts of the castle are under repair/restoration. It only took us 10 minutes to finish the tour and start exploring the castle grounds.

While touring the castle grounds a realization hit me -imagine if you’re in one part of the castle ground and you are quickly needed inside the castle, how long will it take an errand boy or girl to fetch you? Remember, they have no cellphones during those times. 🙂

Within the castle’s compound are small souvenir, drinks and food stalls/tents, since it’s already late in the afternoon and we are tired and starving, we decided to try their menu. 🙂

The International Manga Museum

After another bus ride, all we need to do is walk towards our last destination for the day – the International Manga Museum. My niece was really excited, for she is a fan of Manga characters and she loves reading Manga comic books. We gave her 20 minutes to explore the museum and read one of her favorite Manga books in the reading lawn. 🙂

On the other hand, my cousin wanted to try Japanese cuisine, so before going back to our hostel we had dinner at an authentic Japanese restaurant and tried a Kyoto specialty – the famous Japanese pizza a.k.a. “okonomiyaki” complete with side dishes.

 

Since we’re not used to the taste of the Japanese pizza, I think we were not that satisfied with what we ordered and ate. But the thing is, at least we tried a Kyoto specialty. 🙂

It was a very long day for all of us since we have visited several tourist spots, but we enjoyed every single minute of our day. Tomorrow is our last day in Japan and we’re excited to go back to Osaka and meet our fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses. 🙂

Autumn in Japan Day 3

Autumn in Japan Day 3

“I have fallen in love with fall!”, I can’t believe I’m really here – surrounded by different fall colors. Fall or Autumn is indeed magnificent. Leaves changing hues from green to yellow, orange and red or almost crimson. Autumn means change is taking place. One of my childhood dreams is now fulfilled – I’ve seen and experienced autumn personally 🙂

Our third day in Osaka means saying goodbye to our friendly receptionist at Guesthouse U-en. Again, we need to buy tickets so we can see tourist spots we chose from the brochure and travel through the Osaka Municipal Subway. Osaka’s WiFi service is indeed great – for almost all commuters are always busy tapping their cellphones surfing the net, using social media, playing games or just listening to music.

I enjoyed the walk from the subway to Nagai Park – the air is cool and there’s a breeze. And as we tread on the pathway going to the museum, little by little, we were introduced to the warm colors of fall 🙂

 

To pack more energy because we know that more strenuous walking is needed so we can explore the museum and the vast area of the botanical garden, we stopped at a nearby food stall and ate our brunch 🙂

Osaka Museum of Natural History

Here we saw a lot of animal skeletons, preserved insects, aquatic animals and plants. It’s always good to see the wonders of nature according to history. Most of the animals and plants on display are already extinct, so we can really appreciate the effort of those who are manning the museum for they made a way for us to see those life forms which are already non-existent .

Within this facility, we have seen old ladies sketching the bones of animals 🙂 and they were really friendly enough to oblige us as we take their pictures while drawing.

Nagai Botanical Garden – another home to Osaka’s fall colors 🙂 …

If only I can stay and live here 🙂 – that would be perfect! But since that’s not possible I asked my relatives if they’ll allow me to explore the whole garden on my own as they also go to spots they want to see. The long, solo walk around the garden gave me time to take a lot of photos, relax, and then meditate on how wonderful Jehovah God’s creations are. I was really thankful because He created Fall/Autumn as a season – if only we have the same in the Philippines – that would be nice. 🙂

Nagai Rose Garden – another beauty inside this tourist spot. Different variety of roses in different colors – what a sight to behold! 🙂

 

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pre-schoolers with their teachers
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pre-schoolers leaving the garden

On our way out, a bunch of pre-schoolers are also leaving the place after their tour. These Japanese kids are really cute -all of them are wearing the same clothes (their uniform), same caps and even same backpacks :). At a very young age, discipline is indeed inculcated in their young minds.

Journey to Kyoto

After exploring the garden, it’s now time to go back to the subway and travel to another tourist destination – Kyoto! Again we went back to the Nagai Train station and boarded another train along the JR Line to the Kyoto station. Upon reaching Kyoto, again we’re really famished, and since a Mc Donalds fastfood chain is just nearby, we went there to eat our early dinner.

While eating, we saw an old lady with a bag of bread and she started tearing the bread into small pieces. She signaled and then scattered the bread, afterwards a lot of pigeons started eating the bread crumbs. It was nice to see an old soul, doing what she can to feed the wild pigeons 🙂 – an act of kindness I will never forget.

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An old lady feeding the pigeons 🙂

Then, it’s time to search for the location of our accommodation. It was a few blocks away from the Kyoto Tower, so we decided to board a taxi to the Kyoto tower then walk to Shimogyo-ku Higashi-Nakasuji Shoman-Kudaru, Momiji-cho 362, Shimogyo Ward. There we found Backpacker’s Hostel Tour Club where we are booked for 2 nights. A Japanese-style quadruple room was reserved for us and this time, a small toilet/bath is inside the room – it was worth Php10,228, so roughly each of us spent Php 1,278.50 per night.

We were really tired so we decided to just watch TV until we fall asleep.