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 ~~~~~ 😀

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Nara – Todaiji (東大寺, Great Eastern Temple)

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Many souvenir shops and roadside food stalls lined the pathway to Todaiji. Besides these, deer crossing the pathway or strolling on the pathway brushing against tourist is also a spectacular sight. The deer here are bigger, more active and brave. Brave, in the sense that they are not afraid of humans and humans, like me, is afraid of them. Haha!

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Bought Takoyaki at one of the roadside stalls and it’s so piping hot, big and yummy. But I did not eat with a peace of the mind because the deer are eyeing on my food! I even saw a deer approaching an auntie and poke at her butt. Opps!

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I am here at Todaiji! It is a gloomy day but did not stop the crowd because Todaiji is so jammed with locals and tourists!

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Todaiji is one of Japan’s most famous and historically significant temple and a landmark of Nara. It was constructed in 752 as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan and grew so powerful that the capital was moved from Nara to Nagaoka in 784 in order to lower the temple’s influence on government affairs.

Todaiji’s main hall, the Daibutsuden (Big Buddha Hall) is the world’s largest wooden building, despite the fact that the present reconstruction of 1692 is only two thirds of the original temple hall’s size. The massive building houses one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha (Daibutsu) of 15 meters tall!

I usually do not feel comfortable to take photos inside of the temple so no photos of the tall Buddha but I’ll say it was spectacular!

Another popular attractions is a pillar with a hole in its base that is the same size as the Daibutsu’s nostril. It is said that those who can squeeze through this opening will be granted enlightenment in their next life.

No, we did not gain enlightenment because we fear that we will be stuck in the hole and make a whole joke out of ourselves before we gain the enlightenment! Lol! Mostly are children who go through the hole. I saw a slim teenager almost get stuck in it, so….

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Close-up view of the wooden building. The designs are very detailed and beautiful, I would say. 😀

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There’s a neoprint machine just near the exit of the temple. Oh neoprint and temple, what a great combination. Hur.

But it is fun to take neoprints in Japan because there’s auto photo editing which makes my face sharp and eyes big. Ooh wah~~~. And I finally fulfil my wishes of taking a close-up selfie with deer. 😀

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Traditional Japanese Tea and Dessert @ 春日荷茶屋

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After visiting Kasuga Taisha (Kasuga Grand Shrine), we settle down at a traditional tea house (春日荷茶屋) nearby for traditional Japanese green tea and dessert, and of cos to rest our tired feet after walking on the stone pathway for the whole morning! 😀

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The menu in Japanese but they do have English menu with photos as well.

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The green tea is nice and fragrant. The dessert is some jelly-like jelly with peanut powder and sweet sauce which I don’t really fancy. 😛

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This is sorta a fruit cake. Not too bad but nothing too fancy. Nonetheless, I do enjoy myself relaxing in this tea house, looking at the light drizzle outside, and immersing myself in the very traditional Japanese ambience of the tea house. 🙂

FT Island FTHX 6th Anniversary Concert Singapore 2014!

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It was FT Island FTHX 6th Anniversary Concert yesterday and I was super excited and anticipating it! OOTD for the concert, rocker style with skull nails, skull rings, skull necklace and earrings! Heh!

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Look at the skull nails! It’s actually nail stickers but don’t really last because the tip peel off after the concert last night. 😀

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Banners were given by the fan club to almost everyone to be held up during the concert at certain songs! The one at the bottom ‘영원히함께 영원히사랑해’ means ‘永远在一起, 永远爱着你’ and the one in black means ‘Always With You’. So sweet. 😀

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Waiting to enter the concert venue and I can feel the excitement climbing up!

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This was the set list yesterday! So much more great songs than before and less of those cheesy Korean love songs which they used to sing cos of their idol image! Indeed, they have changed successfully to a rock band!!! Not idol cos you don’t see one saying ‘fuck’ all the time. And I really love them so much.

Hongki can sing and he can sing very well, much more well than some CN**** or May*** band. The atmosphere that the band create is also damn rockish and the music is good, not to the standard that I would expect as like Larcenciel or One Ok Rock but I know they will be one day! They are different from all the other Korean boy bands, therefore please don’t stereotype on FT Island.

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Hongki is filming a drama now and he needs to juggle between concert tour and filming that he does not even have time to rest. So I could see that he looked quite tired yesterday but still he gave his very best with almost no glitches.

He was exclaiming that he had grew older and his energy level seemed to have been lower too and he felt tired easily. And I can’t help but exclaim the same for myself! I was so tired and body aching after the concert which I was not like that 2 years ago!

Anyway, Hongki was cute when he asked ‘I am so tired. Are you all ok?’ We shouted ‘Yes!!!’ And he said ‘Oh fuck! Very strong!’ Awwww~~~~ that’s him! So being himself and no image to care about at all. Lol!

Some songs that I really got mesmerize by him yesterday were ‘Beloved, Black Chocolate, Severely (cos he sang it with only Jonghoon’s piano), Madly (which sounds better in live), Love Sick (which was changed to a rockish style), Memory, Always With You, Revolution.’ Songs that I would like them to sing but did not are ‘Life, Beautiful World, Try Again’. Oh well, blame it on the short time!

Oh oh! And Jonghoon is so handsome in real person and totally charming! No wonder he’s my favourite guitarist cos he plays well and looks good! Heh.

Now FT Island had returned to Korea as they flew back immediately after the concert, and Hongki resumed filming without resting this morning. Hope I’ll see them soon again! 🙂

Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – Kasuga Taisha (Kasuga Grand Shrine)

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We need to walk a long way along the 春日大社参道 to Kasuga Taisha and it’s all stone path.

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Kasuga Taisha is famous for its lanterns, which have been donated by worshipers. Hundreds of bronze lanterns can be found hanging from the buildings, while as many stone lanterns line its approaches along the way.

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Deers can be seen along the pathway too! They are looking too innocent and cute, and some are secretly hiding behind the stone lanterns looking at me. 😀

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Finally we reach Kasuga Taisha! It’s some festival on that day but as my Japanese is quite limited, I only know it’s some 20th something going on?! Hur. So there’s this sorta flea market set up which sells various home-cooked Japanese food. We buy some to try and it is good! Especially love the Oden!

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Kasuga Taisha is Nara’s most celebrated shrine. It was established at the same time as the capital and is dedicated to the deity responsible for the protection of the city.

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Kasuga Taisha was also the tutelary shrine of the Fujiwara, Japan’s most powerful family clan during most of the Nara and Heian Periods. Like the Ise Shrines, Kasuga Taisha had been periodically rebuilt every 20 years for many centuries. In the case of Kasuga Taisha, however, the custom was discontinued at the end of the Edo Period.

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These are ema for couples. I guessed, from the heart shape of the ema and the contents that are written on them. BTW, further into the shrine requires entrance fee and since my friend is not interested to pay for entrance, we just walk around the free area. Plus it is really crowded!

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Cute little Japanese boy! Due to the festival, a lot of Japanese dressed up their children to visit the shrine. And this little boy is dressed in such a beautiful piece that I can’t resist but take a photo with him. He is so kawaii that he also show a peace sign when I show mine while taking the photo. 🙂

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Lovely deers loving each other. 😛

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The deers are so near to me that I suddenly thought of taking a selfie with them. All is good when the deer turn it’s head all of a sudden and nearly smack onto my face if I didn’t react in time by moving back! Lol! And so end up with this photo of the deer looking as if it is kissing me. Wah~~~ And an auntie subsequently copied me by also taking a selfie with the same deer. Opps. What did I bring upon the deers?! >.<