Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – It is all about food and shop in Kyoto Day 1 :)

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It’s unbelievable how I managed to survive carrying a 26 inch luggage and a big hand carry bag up several flights of stairs in the subway station in order to arrive at the hotel. Amazing me. Still glad that I still have the energy to go out immediately after checking-in to hotel room. 😀

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First, we explore the streets just outside our hotel and I really love staying here! There’s a 24 hour supermarket along the street (on same side as our hotel, turn left upon exiting hotel entrance) and I love supermarket in Japan! So much snacks, and what’s not to buy!

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As we have not taken any food since we shared the waffle on NEX, we decide to buy sushi and dessert from the supermarket to eat. We settle at a small bench next to the supermarket and start on our first sushi in Kyoto. It’s yummy even though it’s from the supermarket. Awww….. how I love Japan!

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Our dessert! Glutinous rice top with sweet and big fat red bean!!! I really do not understand why red beans are always so damn delicious in Japan. Cos grass is greener on the other side? Hur.

We continue exploring the street and are delighted to find a drugs store and a 100 Yen shop around! There’s a super huge 7-11 on the opposite street. There’s a Yayoiken Restaurant and MacDonald on the right side of the hotel.  Now you know why I love staying at Citadines Kyoto!

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There’s an Aeon Mall nearby to Kyoto Station. It’s actually next to New Miyako Hotel. If you go from Kyoto Station, either look for New Miyako Hotel direction or Hachiko Exit of Kyoto Station. Kyoto Station is big and quite complicated but it really has everything! Shopping malls (a lot!), underground shopping mall (there’s 2!), restaurants (a lot!), Drugs Store and supermarkets (a lot!).

Once you get use to the station layout, it’s actually easy to navigate but be prepared to walk a lot! Back to Aeon Mall, there are 2 sides of Aeon mall separated by a bridge. The one on the right side has more restaurants and shopping. Uniqlo, Muji, Gap, Daiso and some individual shops. Oh, and a huge supermarket too!

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Christmas decorations are already all around on 1 November 2013 (that’s really early!) and how I love them! The stairs are decorated with many Santa Clauses but I thought they look more like the 7 dwarfs. Opps!

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First thing into the mall is to look for food for dinner! I know we just had sushi and dessert but those are like snacks. Haha. Google this Shabu Shabu Buffet Restaurant before my trip and seems like the reviews are not bad. So we decide to come and try. It’s call Shabu Shabu Ku Raku.

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Happy me. I thought the price is cheap (I think around $20+ per pax) so do not expect great variety of food or what’s not. But it’s enough to satisfy me. Notice the pot of soup, it’s actually plain water. Most people has the misconception that Shabu Shabu soup is like chicken soup or pork bone soup cos it’s like that in Singapore.

But in fact, if you have Shabu Shabu in Japan, the soup is just plain water. You are not supposed to drink it. It’s just for the purpose of cooking your food. The main highlight is the dipping sauce!

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We had pork and beef. Well it’s not the best-est meat that I have (with nice marble and all) but it’s really not bad. The slices are thick and the meat are fresh! I mean those I have in Singapore are really thin that I have to cook 3 slices together in order to taste the meat. Lol.

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Sauce! This is soup (not sure what kind of soup), add a little Yuzu Sauce (I think it has pepper in the sauce as well) and green onion. Dip the meat in it and yums! I really love the sauce much!

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There’re also mushrooms, vegetables, udon and ramen at the counter for grab. Hui Ping took this photo of me looking disgruntled. But I am not. 😛

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Free flow of Vanilla Ice Cream which is so rich in milk! Slurps.

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After dinner, we see Daiso and we go crazy in it cos it’s so so so big! It’s 100 yen for everything and almost everything you need.

Then, we shop at Uniqlo and I bought like 2 winter jackets (the fat and fluffy kind, one for mum and one for myself) and also a knitted above knee top to match with leggings. OMG. Uniqlo is damn cheap in Japan (Of cos la, duh! It’s Japanese brand) and I nearly killed myself when the 2 jackets that I bought here are later on put on sale in Tokyo. It’s like a further discount of another $20! Smacks self on the forehead.

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Hui Ping needs to go to the ladies and so I settle down on the bench outside to wait for her after buying this apple tea from the vending machine. But I do not really like it. It’s not the drink, I think it’s just me. I don’t like the combination of apple and tea, it just…. taste… weird.

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We walk back to Kyoto Station and the temperature has dropped a little since night is here. Walk pass this restaurant selling fruit tarts and is attracted by the rows of display! We order 1 slice to share and we chose the cheapest one. Haha. This slice cost like $9! But it’s so yummy with the fresh fruits on top and the smooth cream below coupled with a crispy buttery crust at the bottom.

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No these are not from the fruit tart restaurant, we bought them from a bakery store next door. Love the Halloween Themed Bread which has curry filling inside. But I didn’t get to eat it cos I left it in the fridge and totally forgotten about it. Hu!

The pudding is yummy! I have it for breakfast on a certain morning. It has this vanilla custard taste and, is so soft and smooth! 😀

Time to call it a day and we return to our hotel for rest. Looking forward to the next day as it’s a day of sightseeing and history digging!

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Days in Tokyo – Asakusa Kannon Temple

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I remembered it was a Sunday when we were here. I suppose it was so crowded because it was a Sunday but I read that it could be crowded almost every other day since this is a famous tourist attraction.  There’s a shopping street, Nakamise-dori, of over 200 meters leading to Senso-ji (Asakusa Kannon Temple) which sells Japanese souvenirs such as yukata and folding fans, various traditional local snacks from Asakusa area.

However, it was so crowded that I did not have a chance to stop by the stores to look at souvenirs or the snacks cos the people behind me were never-ending pushing to move forward. But I did manage to buy Black Sesame Flavored Ice Cream to eat and it was yummy!!! I love and cannot resist Ice Cream in Japan!!! 🙂

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Finally, we saw Senso-ji after squeezing through Nakamise-dori. I am catholic but I love to visit the shrines and temples in Japan because I thought they are really beautiful and for someone like me who love to take photos, they are definitely good places to capture candid shots.

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Some history of Senso-ji which is also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple. It is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa and is one of Tokyo’s most colourful and popular temples. The legend says that in the year 628, 2 brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River. Even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them.

Consequently, Sensoji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo’s oldest temple. When approaching the temple, visitors will enter through the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), the outer gate of Sensoji Temple and the symbol of Asakusa.

From the outer gate to the temple’s second gate is the Hozomon. Beyond the Hozomon Gate are the temple’s main hall and a five storied pagoda. The Asakusa Shrine, built in the year 1649, stands only a few dozen meters to the left of the temple’s main building.

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When at Asakusa Kannon Temple, a must-do is to draw lots to predict your luck for the year. First, inserts a 100 Yen Coin, shakes the silver container until a ‘Chopstick’ like stick comes out and take note of the number at the end of the stick. Put the stick back into the container. Then, look for the drawer indicating the number that you have drawn and take out the paper which dictates your luck or fortune. Lol.

I got myself a ‘Da Ji’ which means very good luck. If you get a good one, you can bring back the paper with you for greater luck. If you get a bad one, you have to tie it at the temple so that the bad luck stays there or rather left behind. ^^

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There’s a supermarket near to Asakusa Kannon Temple and there’re really lots of interesting snacks, breads and drinks here. There’s my favorite Maxim Orea Chocolate powder here too! I will definitely walk over to this supermarket if I happen to visit Asakusa Kannon Temple again. 🙂