Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Last Night In Kyoto and Dinner In Hotel Room ^^

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As it is the last night in Kyoto, we decide to buy food from supermarkets and eat in our hotel room. And we manage to pack our luggage and bath before settling down for dinner. It is a wonderful and relax dinner and I really do enjoy times like that. Eating dinner on the bed and chatting / gossiping about everything under the sky. 🙂

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Look at the spread! Lol!

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Service in Japan never disappoint but exceeds expectation! Ice packs for our sushi and bento to keep these sashimi fresh even after we return to hotel, pack and bath then eat. Seriously, I am impressed!

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Salads in Japan are so fresh and yummy. Especially their sauces! 😀

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The black ‘seaweed like’ thing on the left is really good! Fried chicken on the right.

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Grilled duck on the most left is so tender and delicious! All the grilled stuffs (Yakitori), especially hearts the chicken skin. Tried Chicken Soft Bone but is so-so. 😛

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Siew-Mai in Japan is really different from Singapore. Nice if don’t compare, haha!

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Mushroom, squid and prawn salad. So fresh and good. Love the taste of this. 🙂

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Dessert. Red Bean Pancake is average. The waffles are leftover from afternoon but still taste so good in the evening! 😀

We are leaving Kyoto the next day for Tokyo. A short 4 days in Kyoto but a memorable and happy one. I love Kyoto’s culture and friendly people. Kyoto, okini!! I will come back again soon~~~ ^^

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社)

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Our sad face because we took the express train and it does not stop at Inari Station. When we reach JR Nara Line in Kyoto Station, this express train is already there and we check with one of the station guard if this express train stops at Inari Station, and he said ‘Yes’.

So, happily we board the train thinking ‘Oh how lucky that the train is here and we do not have to wait.’ Only when we realise that the train is taking longer than usual to reach Inari that we realise the train does not stop at Inari and has pass through it. *smacks self*

So… we alight at the next station that the train stops and take the normal train back to Inari Station. Phew~~ lucky it does not take too long. Lol!

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Too happy to see Inari Station that I just have to take a photo with this sign board. 😛

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Once exit Inari Station, Fushimi Inari Shrine is just right outside. My friend call this the Fox Shrine. 😀

It is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto and is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds.

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The shrine is really beautiful with bright red-orange-y exterior. 🙂 It is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice.

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Now you know why my friend says this is the ‘Fox Shrine’. 😛

Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari Shrine has ancient origins, predating the capital’s move to Kyoto in 794.

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Ema and colourful fox tails. I am not too sure what is the meaning of these colourful fox tails. The downside of a free and easy trip, no tour guide to explain to you about the meaning or history of some places or interesting sightings.

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Before the trip, I already make up my mind that I want to write a ‘torii gate’ shape ema when I visit Fushimi Inari Shrine because it is so cute and also, the shrine is famous for it’s rows of torii gates! 😀

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The famous thousands of torii gates in a row leading to Mount Inari. I should have visited this place in the morning because it is so super crowded in the late afternoon that taking a serene photo of the torii gates is not possible because of the crowd in the backdrop.

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The torii gates along the entire trail are donations by individuals and companies, and the donator’s name and date of the donation are inscribed on the back of each gate. The cost starts around 400,000 yen for a small sized gate and increases to over one million yen for a large gate.

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We complete the first part of the torii gates trail and decide to end there. Lol.

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Exit the shrine and turn to the right, there is this street with souvenir shops and food stalls.

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Queued long for Takoyaki and it’s just mediocre. I still prefer the ones we have at Nara. Nicer. Hehe.

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Hiroshima Yaki! This is really good! The vegetables below are just so sweet and juicy! If we have more stomach space, I would definitely go buy a 2nd one to eat. 😛

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Arashiyama – 嵐山の午餐

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The restaurant that we are going to have our lunch! It’s located just opposite the bridge. It’s around 1 plus, I think. So we are super duper hungry and anything that can be eaten, we will eat. 😛

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Here we are. Seated and ordered. The purpose of this photo is just to show how far apart we are sat opposite each other. The table is longish!

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Happy me with my lunch. I order Udon Stew and we share Chicken Karaage. I love the stew much and the udon is flat and wide instead of those round and fat. It’s very springy and absorbs the stew well. There are mochi in it as well! The chicken karaage has very crispy skin, tender and juicy meat. Yummy.

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After lunch, we stroll back towards JR Saga Arashiyama Station for train ride back to Kyoto Station. And it starts to drizzle lightly. Oh rain, I hate you when I am on holiday!

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Waiting for train at JR Saga Arashiyama Station and takes a photo with this station guard. Fell asleep on the train all the way to Kyoto and is still sleepy / small eyes when I alight. Lol. 😀

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From Kyoto Station, we walk / transfer to JR Nara Line to Inari Station which is just 2 stops from Kyoto Station. By the name of Inari Station, I’m sure it’s obvious that we are going to Fushimi Inari Shrine! Before that, we walk pass this famous waffle shop in Kyoto Station while on route to JR Nara Line. and decide to buy some waffles to try.

One thing about being on a free and easy trip, we live how the locals live and we decide when we want to stop and eat! 😛

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Yummy! Crispy outer layer and soft inside. Bought a original and a white chocolate flavor. Not too sweet at all! Happy with the waffle but make a hoo-haa silly mistake later on the train ride. Till the next post. Hehe. 😀

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Arashiyama – 嵐山のTogetsukyo Bridge (渡月桥)

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Finally we are here at Togetsukyo Bridge! It is so crowded that I finally get a clean photo of me and the Togetsukyo Bridge signage. It’s called 渡月桥 in Chinese or Kanji. The view from the bridge is beautiful even though the photos look normal. You need to be there to know it!

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Togetsukyo Bridge is Arashiyama’s most iconic landmark. It was originally built during the Heian Period (794-1185) and most recently reconstructed in the 1930s. And I realise I did not take a photo of the bridge itself! *smacks head*

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It’s the perfect place for photos taking! 😀

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Once we crossed the bridge, we walk a bit around and spot this kawaii Pooh Bear!!! Cannot resist to kiss him. Lol.

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Selfies with the Bear! I bet he says ‘Stop Molesting Me!’ Heh.

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Fooling around because of the good weather, great sunshine, cool breeze, blue sky and mountainous view!

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More fooling around on Togetsukyo on the way back from the other side of the bridge. We are famished and started looking around for food. 😀

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Arashiyama – 嵐山のTenryuji (天龍寺)

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The route towards Togetsukyo Bridge and Tenryuji Temple is the same, and we pass by Tenryuji Temple first before reaching the Bridge. The streets are lined with various souvenir shops and we shopped along while walking to the temple and bridge. 😀

We spot this guard standing on the road and are amazed by his bright green uniform, and so we request a photo with him. He gladly accept our request, I suppose he’s used to tourist taking photos with him? Hehe.

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And here we are! At Tenryuji Temple.

It is the most important temple in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district. It was ranked first among the city’s five great Zen temples, and is now registered as a world heritage site. Tenryuji is the head temple of its own school within the Rinzai Zen sect of Japanese Buddhism.

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The walkway in from the entrance to the temple.

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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 2 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.

Tenryuji’s buildings, were repeatedly lost in fires and wars over the centuries, and most of the current halls, including the main hall (Hojo), drawing hall (Shoin) and temple kitchen (Kuri) with its distinctive small tower, date from the relatively recent Meiji Period (1868 – 1912).

It’s a pity that the temple was under renovation when we were there. 😦

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Despite not able to see Tenryuji due to the renovation works, I still enjoy strolling around Tenryuji’s garden due to the beautiful landscape and autumn scene!

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Autumn leafs are really pretty! Red leafs and red torii gates are such a match. 😀

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There are various other buildings at the temple grounds. Not too sure about their history but I personally love these japanese architecture design.

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If only these maple leafs are red!

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Even though cherry blossoms and flowers during spring are beautiful, I am more for autumn season. The red, yellow, green mixture creates a mood that is somehow romantic, quiet and peaceful. Fall, I love you more than Sakuras.

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After Tenryuji Temple, there’s a shop opposite it selling Soya Bean flavor ice cream. It’s really really good! Soya Bean taste is so nice and fragrant, ice cream is smooth and not too sweet because it’s soya bean! Yummy! 😀

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A selfie of happy us with our Soya Bean Ice Cream before embarking down the road to Togetsugyo Bridge. 🙂

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Arashiyama – 嵐山のBamboo Groves

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The famous bamboo forest at Arashiyama. It is beautiful but will be even more so if it’s not a gloomy weather that day. Also, it is not a that peaceful walk because there are loads of  Taiwanese and China Tour Groups and I couldn’t even take a photo without anyone in the background.

Also, noisy. Ya..very noisy. Haha.

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The walking paths that cut through the bamboo groves make for a nice walk or bicycle ride. The groves are particularly attractive when there is a light wind and the tall bamboo stalks sway gently back and forth.

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Looks so serene if minus the crowd. 😛

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After the walk through the bamboo forest, we got a little lost at how can we go to Togetsukyo Bridge and Tenryuji Temple. So we approached a guard (not sure if he’s a guard but he’s wearing a uniform, lol) and pointed to Togetsukyo Bridge on the brochure, and we manage to go on the right way. 😀

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Arashiyama (嵐山) – On Board the Sagano Scenic Railway (嵯峨野観光鉄道)!

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The station opens for entrance at 9am! We walk in and still have some time to slack around before our scheduled train ride at 9.35am. So we take some random photos at the railway platform which is lined by rows of Tanuki Statues! 😀

The Sagano Scenic Railway (嵯峨野観光鉄道, also known as the Sagano Romantic Train) is a sightseeing train line that runs along the Hozugawa River between Arashiyama and Kameoka. Originally part of the JR Sanin Line before it was replaced by a faster, straighter route in 1989, the scenic railway route was preserved and outfitted with nostalgic trains featuring wooden benches. 

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Great mountainous view from the platform and more Tanuki Statues! Lol.

The charming, old fashioned train winds its way through the mountains at a relatively slow pace, taking about 25 minutes to make the 7 kilometer journey, providing a pleasant view of the scenery as it travel from Arashiyama through the forested ravine and into rural Kameoka.

For us, we will be taking it from rural Kameoka through the forested ravine into Arashiyama. 🙂

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Our tickets for the ride! There are a lot of Taiwanese tour groups around also waiting to board the same train as us. Lucky we reserve our seats and do not have to fight for seats with these bunch of people. I overheard them talking among themselves about which seats are better to snatch for. Hur.

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A touristy must-take photo with the Torokko Kameoka Station wooden signboard before the ride.

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Patiently waiting for the train to enter the station. Everyone is holding their cameras (big or small) ready to snap multi photos of the train entering the station, including me. 😛

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The train finally enters the station at a really super duper slow pace. But it is indeed as described, a charming and old fashioned train!

Each train is made up of four enclosed cars (with windows that can be opened) and one fully open car. Do note that seats in the open car cannot be reserved and have to be purchased at the station on the day. This is so because the open car is subjected to weather conditions.

For us, we do not want to risk the chance of not getting the seats in the open car. Hehe. Anyway, since we thought the windows can be opened in the enclosed car, it should be fine. 😀

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Us in the train waiting for it to be filled with humans and start moving. Yeah~~~ I am so excited.

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The view from ride is just too wonderful! We are lucky to have researched in advance and reserve the good seats with the best view! Now, we have people crowding over us trying to get a view from our side as well. Hur hur. The train will stop at some part where the scenery is most beautiful for us to take photos. I tell you, the photos do not do justice and you gotta experience it yourself.

The cool air, the cool wind blowing against my face as the train moves slowly with such a beautiful like-a-photo scenery, is just too blissful!

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More photos! In between, a man cosplays as a devil will appear in the train scaring people. He is moving too fast for me to capture his photo and he alights at one of the station, chasing after the train leaving the station. How interesting. Lol!

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And I am here, alights at Torokko Arashiyama Station where the Bamboo Forest is located at.

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Once exited the Torokko Arashiyama Station, we are welcomed by such beautiful scenery. Turning to the left side, is where the bamboo forest is located. 😀

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Arashiyama (嵐山) – The walk to the Sagano Scenic Railway Station

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4 November 2013 – We wake up bright and early this morning because we are going for a day trip in Arashiyama, planning to catch the 9am plus scenic train from Torokko Kameoka Station. This is my breakfast which I bought from the shopping street in Nara the day before. Yummy much! Bakeries in Japan never disappoint me so far. Hehe.

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A selfie of us while waiting for the subway to Kyoto Station. 😀

From Kyoto Station, we took the JR Sagano Line to Umahori Station which is only a short 5-10 minutes walk to the Torokko Kameoka Station (last station of Sagano Scenic Railway). Most people will take to JR Saga-Arashiyama Station in which the Torokko Saga Arashimaya Station (Starting point of the Sagano Scenic Railway Station) is just next to it.

However, the famous bamboo forest is at the next station, Torokko Arashiyama Station. Therefore, if we start from Torokko Saga Arashimaya Station, we will only be able to enjoy the scenic train for a short distance (which is not the most beautiful scenery part) if we need to go to Bamboo Forest. Otherwise, we will need to take to the last station Torokko Kameoka Station and then take the train back to Torokko Arashiyama Station which is a waste of time.

Furthermore, there are many reviews that the walk from JR Umahori Station to Torokko Kameoka Station is actually quite scenic and peaceful, and is worth the walk. So we decided the best way is to start from the last station Torokko Kameoka Station, enjoy the most scenic part of the scenic railway ride all the way to Torokko Arashiyama Station, and then go to the famous bamboo forest. Yeah me, because it is a super right decision! 😀

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Once we exit JR Umahori Station, we immediately see a signage pointing us to the the correct walkway to Torokko Kameoka Station.

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This whole area is backdropped by mountains, layers and layers of mountains. So beautiful.

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Haha. So cute. I mean the cones. Lol.

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Let’s walk towards Torokko Kameoka Station! It is the most peaceful and enjoyable walk ever because of the cooling weather and mountainous and quiet surroundings.

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Almost reaching!

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And here we are! But we are too early and the station will only open at 9am. Hehe. But no worries because we already reserved our tickets at Kyoto Station on the first day. If taking the train from Torokko Kameoka Station, remember to get seats on the right side in order to have the most scenic view. Heh.

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While waiting for the station to be open, we cannot miss taking photos of the great mountainous view just outside of the station. Now, I am looking forward to the Sagano Scenic Railway ride! 😀

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Tsukemen Dinner @ Kyoto Station

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We shop a little at the underground malls in Kyoto Station before settling at a random ramen restaurant for dinner. Ya, we usually just pick random restaurants for our meals by looking at the fake food displays outside and decide which ones tempt us more. Lol!

And its Tsukemen this time! I have been wanting to try Tsukemen and I finally tried it. I love it much! The noodles here are so good! I am not a good describer of food but I really like the noodles a lot.

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Tsukemen meant ‘dipping noodles’. The soup is thicker than usual because it is meant for dipping the ramen. Flavourful!

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There is free flow of Kimchi at this restaurant. Yummy!

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We order Gyoza too and the outer skin is so crispy! Nothing can really goes wrong with food in Japan, I suppose. 😀

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Happy me with my Tsukemen and Gyoza! After dinner and chilling for a while, it’s back to hotel for resting. Feet are super tired because we did a lot of walking at Nara! And it will be Arashiyama in the next post. 🙂

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Nara – Higashimuki Shopping Street (東向き商店街)

Just next to the Kintetsu Nara Station is the Higashimuki Shopping Street (東向き商店街). It’s just like another typical shopping street in Japan but I just love walking along such street. We have our lunch here at some random restaurant because we are awed by the fake food display. 

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Claypot Udon! Udon is springy with a lovely soup base. Super comfort food in such a gloomy and cold weather. It is already late afternoon and we are famished!

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Hui Ping’s lunch set. The Soba is also springy and the tempura are fried to a crispy state. Good and yummy!

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After lunch, since we still have some time left before our train back to Kyoto, we shop around and I bought this. Guess guess, what is it? 😀

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Tada~~~~ it’s red tea ice cream!!! I super love and like this because the red tea taste is so original and fragrant and non sweet! It’s just like drinking red tea ne….!

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We continue shopping around and ended up buying many umbrellas because they are too pretty and cheap! Actually I bought only 2 but Hui Ping bought more for souvenirs. Heh. Almost could not make it back in time to train station but we did! Back to Kyoto ~~~~~ 😀