25 January 2017
11:47AM On our way to Kyoto! I am actually loving these shinkansens and trains except for the fact that it suddenly turns summer inside.
~02:00PM We’ve just arrived at Kyoto station. First thing I notice is that there’s quite a few ladies walking around in kiminos already. I am both in a state of awe and in a state of jealousy. I really want to try one on! Haha!
02:24PM We are now on our way to our next accommodation. We’ve been walking for probably 10mins now :’) But I don’t really mind the walking, in fact, I love it. However, pulling these bags with us are quite literally unwanted baggage. But hey, I’m not complaining, at least we can walk.
02:30PM Finally arrived at Yadoya Hiraiwa Ryokan! Before arriving here though, we passed by a street heavily patrolled by police officers. I wonder what happened? Murder, maybe? Haha. There’s a cute little retro bar/hairdresser right in front appropriately named Rock Café.
02:45PM We make our way the most popular tourist attraction here in Japan, the Fushimi Inari Shrine. I’ve only seen pictures but I wonder what it looks like in real life.
03:17PM Oh but before we do, we walk to Sanjusangendo (三十三間堂), a Buddhist temple that Miyasaka-san recommended. Sanjusangendo being the longest wooden building in Japan, it has attracted many kyudo practitioners for the annual kyudo marathon-like competition dating back to 400 years ago.
03:45PM But inside is as magnificent – therein stands 1001 statues of a Buddhist goddess, Kannon.
04:27PM Look at that massive torii gate! We’ve finally arrived! I can finally call myself a real tourist! Hello Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha)!
04:30PM Such beautiful temples! The strikingly red-orange temple just looks so picturesque, not even a camera can do it justice.
04:53PM And now look at these torii gates! And though I wanted to, I couldn’t walk the whole way! This is one of the entrance to Senbon Torii (thousands of torii gates).
26 January 2017
11:15AM We’ve arrived at Kinkakuji (金閣寺, Golden Pavilion).
11:19AM This place is busier than I expected! It’s swarmed by middle school students interviewing foreigners! But I can see why, there’s so many here! With beautiful and clear blue skies, the sun shines down on the Golden Pavilion making it look even more stunning!
11:48AM Snow on Kikakuji’s roof :’)
11:58AM Ended up being interviewed by these middle-school students! We bonded over PPAP.
12:20PM More students on the street!
12:22PM Daimonji (大文字)! I wonder what it looks like when it’s lit up!
02:44PM We just arrived in Nara and we are welcomed by these cute little deers! Incoming deer puns! We get to feed them too! Now when people talk about feeding deers, I can finally say: “Been deer, done that.”
We now make our way to one of Japan’s most significant temples, the Todaiji (東大寺, “Great Eastern Temple”) .
03:26PM Oh deer, just wow. This was built in 752. How?! This Daibutsuden is theworld’s largest wooden building despite it only being two thirds of the original temple’s hall’s size!
03:33PM it is the home of one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha!
06:58PM We returned to Osaka for dinner! Funny how at night, the skies are the ones being illuminated by the moon and stars, but here it’s the buildings. Humanity in a nutshell. Both beautiful in their own right, mind you.
27 January 2017
11:19AM After a long walk up a long steep hill to arrive at a long flight of stairs, we arrive at the entrance of Kiyomizudera (清水寺, ‘Pure Water Temple’). These bright orange-red pagodas are practically Japanese icons.
11:32AM I don’t have a picture but two of our guys walked in a straight line blindfolded with a hope of finding true love. The same bunch also went to drink from Otowa Waterfalls, the spring of wisdom, wealth and longevity.
~03:30PM When we came back to the ryokan after lunch, we had free time so I rented a bike!! I really love this about Japan – how biking is considered a very normal mode of transportation. The bikes are great as well! I want one~ Oh and the reason the police were there was to guard the place from the yakuza moving in.
05:30PM My Akashi host family arrived!!!!!!! They came all the way from Akashi so that we could spend one last time together.
07:00PM We said goodbye and my heart once again was in pieces.