Thursday, 28 April 2016

The Osaka, Kyoto and Nara Trip

At Kinkaku-ji Temple, The Golden Pavilion

We visited Osaka, Kyoto and Nara back in last year November and December. It was a different experience compared to the visit to Tokyo two years back. The people, culture and food have their own unique favor and we were glad to visit during the autumn. The spectacular and colourful sceneries with the sea of reddish and yellowish leaves left deep impression with us.  For the local, the fall autumn season holds equal significant meaning to the Sakura season. I was not too surprise after being very fortunate to witness the splendor of both.

The Famous Dotonbori Street
The Osaka Castle
We would spend about two weeks exploring the Kansai region. Osaka was our base with side trips to Kyoto and Nara. Being fans of Japanese gourmet, we decided to reside in hotels near the famous Dotonbori street. This was one of the best decisions made as we conveniently managed to savour the different delicacies for our meals. The only regret we had was the limited capacities of our own stomachs :-(.

Let's Start Running with the "The Glico Running Man"!
All my readers shall know by now I am a "Temple Man". The beautiful Japanese temples and shrines were "Must Have"items in my travel plan. Top in my lists were the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kyoto and Nara. To name a handful-Kiyomizu-dera, Kinkaku-ji, Todai-ji temple and Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine. The last name is not a UNESCO World Heritage site (yet) but we were always fascinated by the Senbon Torii (thousand of Torii gates) situated along the mountain trails behind the shrine.

The Great Buddha of Todai-ji Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

The trip would not be completed without including plans for my young daughter, Charlotte. Her best memory would be the time spent with the deers at Nara Park and the snow monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park at Arashiyama. We would also indulge ourselves at the different theme rides at Osaka Universal Studios and the sight of wonderful sea life at Osaka aquarium (Kaiyukan).

At Osaka Universal Studios 
Charlotte feeding a Nara Deer
With LARGE Stingray At Kaiyukan

More posts and tips will be shared in my later blogs for this trip. Below are my itineraries for this trip for your planning and reference:

Day 1

-Arrived at Osaka
-Checked in Metro 21 Hotel
-Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi
-Tombori River Cruise

Day 2

-Osaka Castle
-Umeda Sky Building

Day 3

-Sumiyoshi Taisha
-Shitennoji Temple
-Tsutenkaku Tower

Day 4

-Arrived at Nara
-Nara Deer Park
-Todai-ji Temple
-Kasuga Taisha Grand Shrine
-Higashimuki Shopping Street

Day 5

-Universal Studio

Day 6

-Arrived at Kyoto
-Checked in Amenity Hotel
-Kiyomizu-dera Temple
-Gion District
-Yasaka Shrine

Day 7

-Nijo Castle
-Kinkaku-ji Temple
-Ryoan-ji Temple

Day 8

-Arrived at Arashiyama
-Tenryu-ji Temple (with Bamboo Groves)
-Saga Scenic Railway Ride
-Monkey Park Iwatayama

Day 9

-Tofuku-ji Temple
-Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

Day 10

-Yasaka Pagoda
-Higashiyama District
-Arrived in Osaka
-Checked in Naniwa Hotel

Day 11

-Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan)
-Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi

Day 12

-Hozen Temple
-Kuromon Market
-Tennoji Zoo

Day 13

-Back to Singapore

Have you been to Osaka, Kyoto or Nara yet? Share your experience at the comment columns below!

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Friday, 25 March 2016

Travel Photos Series#18-Panoramic View from the Mountain City, Jiufen (Taiwan)

View from Jiufen
I remember it was raining and the day was gloomy when we visited Jiufen in Tawian. But it was no surprise to us as the Mountain City was also known as the "City of Sadness" (made famous by the award winning film of the same name). Rain was a very common affair here so do not forget your raincoat or umbrella when you are preparing a visit.

We love the view from the top of city. Here you could savour the scenic sight of sea meeting the mountains while immersing in the cooling atmosphere. Although the area was bustling with tourists, you could still find a quiet spot for your own activities.

Photo taken on 28 Nov 2013.    

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Travel Photos Series#17-Sika Deer at Nara Park

Sika deer at Nara Park

This is one of the many deer photos I captured at Nara Park, Japan. The hundreds of free roaming sika deer are the main draw of this popular tourist site. Together with the lush greenery, magnificent temples and shrines with their decorative statues and sculptures as the backdrop, the ubiquitous deer offer great photo capturing opportunities for the enthusiasts.

My family thoroughly enjoyed our day trip here. Charlotte loved feeding the deer with the deer crackers and has been asking me when we are returning to the park again :-).

Photo was taken on 26 Nov 2015.