It has always been my dream to go to Japan. I can’t believe I only went this year! It is just such an amazing place. I love everything about it–its culture, food, people. I love how clean and orderly everything is but its all still deeply rooted in tradition and nature. I think I may have been Japanese in my past life. Ahhhhh–I love Japan!
For this trip, I went with my husband, Carlos, and my two high school BFFs, Mayi and Bing. We really had an awesome time. We went through Osaka-Kyoto-Tokyo in six days and felt like we needed an extra week or two to really be able to explore and enjoy the place as we should. Of course, we had the best time, but it was so bitin–haha we are already planning another trip for next year! We went in the beginning of Spring, which was the start of cherry blossom season. We should’ve gone two weeks later though because when we left the trees were only beginning to bloom (most of them were still barren). Anyway, we still had fun, even with the rain, the cold weather (I hate usually hate the cold but this time it wasn’t so bad), and the occasional strong winds.
I heart Japan!!!
This was taken during our first day in Kyoto (we landed the night before). We had to take a train because our hotel was in Osaka. We each got clear umbrellas from a local convenience store–it was cheap but very cute!
We joined a tour group to take us around the temples. I took this while we were walking to the temple grounds. Its so picturesque. And I love the hills in the background.
A temple we passed while on tour.
Carlos at Tenryuji temple in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district.
Tenryuji is registered as a world heritage site–it is the head temple of its own school within the Rinzai Zen sect of Japanese Buddhism. A little history lesson: Tenryuji was built in 1339 by the ruling shogun Ashikaga Takauji. Takauji dedicated the temple to Emperor Go-Daigo, who had just passed away. The two important historic figures used to be allies until Takauji turned against the emperor in a struggle for supremacy over Japan. By building the temple, Takauji intended to appease the former emperor’s spirits.
The temple is just so beautiful!
All around us, flowers were beginning to bloom.
More pretty flowers.
The Bamboo Grove, just walking distance from Tenryuji Temple.
Sencha and Matcha are both “Camellia Sinensis” and green tea, a non-fermented tea. However, the nutrition in Sencha and Matcha is not the same. Sencha is dark green in color, refreshing and quite astringent. It also contains more antioxidants than Matcha, though Matcha has more caffeine and L-theanine (a natural relaxant) than Sencha powder.
Lots of green tea products at the station.
By the time we got to temple we wanted to visit it was already closed, so we headed to Gion for dinner. We chanced upon this restaurant: Negiya Heikichi.
Friendly kitchen staff welcomed us.
Their sukiyaki was delicious! Probably the best I’ve ever tasted.
It was a long train ride! Apparently we rode the train that stopped at every station.
Worth the train ride. Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine is beautiful.
I love this place.
Since ancient times, Fushimi has been blessed with high quality spring water from the Momoyama hills, and thus is known for Japanese sake (rice wine) brewing. Obviously, this isn’t sake but spring water.
Okay, I’m not really sure how this works. And I can’t seem to understand the drawing on the poster haha.
Foxes (kitsune), regarded as the messengers, are often found in Inari shrines. One attribute is a key (for the rice granary) in their mouths.
Ringing the bell for good luck.
The place is huge, you’ll need a good hour to explore the shrine.
Red torii (shrine gates) donated by worshippers line the path, so close together that they form what resembles a tunnel leading all the way to the top of Mt. Inari-san rising high above the grounds. The winding four-kilometer-long path to the summit is always crowded with worshippers making a visit to the shrine, called the Oyama-meguri (Oyama tour).
I’m guessing all the writings on the torii are the names of the people who donated to the shrine.
You can make a wish here.
The many wishes up close.
Passing through the shrine gates.
So photo worthy!
Last photo at the shrine.
From the airport we took a train to get to our hotel.
At Shibuya–time to do a little shopping!
Okay, so our original plan was to go shopping. And then we stumbled upon this place that allowed you to play dress up. We rented these costumes and took photos using their photo booths. It was so much fun!
And this was the result: anime versions of us! Hahaha.
The next day, we headed to Mt. Fuji. It was so beautiful.
What a gorgeous view.
After almost a week of taking trains, we decided we didn’t want any more haha. We took cabs instead.
Carlos and I.
Trying on these spectacles.
Posing with my two umbrellas.
Ran into some Harajuku girls.
Photo with Hachiko! <3