Hi all, I just want to wrap up the year with my final photo blog post instalment of my Tokyo trip. Ever since I watched the Japanese drama series Tokyo Tower, I had always wanted to visit it.
It didn't matter that we only got to the Main Observatory as the Special Observatory was closed for maintenance. From Shinjuku, we went on the Tokyo Metro again, this time on the Oedo Line to Akabanebashi. Once there, it was just a five minute walk up the hill from the exit of the subway. It looked pretty awesome from the intersection.
How cute are these little Tokyo Tower lights? They are adorable. I wanted one but it wouldn't have fitted in my suitcase!
Once inside on the main floor, we could see that many people had bought those little wooden card to write down their wishes, hopes and dreams to hang it up. I didn't get one because my dream was already coming true with this trip to Japan. I spend my money on souvenirs instead. My Tokyo Tower soft toy is ever so cute!
You can see Tokyo in 360 degrees, in all directions when you walk around the Main Observatory. In one of my photos, you can see Rainbow Bridge. I imagined a night time view would be pretty spectacular!
Next stop, Meiji Shrine. On our last day we went Harajuku. From the station, we walked to the shrine and then back to Takeshita street for lunch. Just as well we stop there, I found Daiso and went a little berko with buying Japanese stuff. I bought some cutesy Japanese fabric pouches to put my camera lenses in it. Clever, no?
We were lucky enough to see so many Japanese families in traditional outfits visiting the shrine. I love their kimono fabrics. I haven't found any fabric shop yet which was disappointing.
Just after the entrance, a little walk along, we saw the famous sake barrel display. These were donated to the shrine from companies and large corporations. I guessed even big companies need a prayer or two, right?
Along the path, I read and took photos of the storyboard of Empress Shoken. It was quite interesting to read through the boards and I learned that she was truly a Queen of Hearts, loved by her people.
It truly is tranquil here. Emperor Meiji was not wrong. You would not believed that this part of land was still in Tokyo
And how happy was I, standing by those Sake barrels? My Tokyo trip came to an end and so I have to bid Japan, "Sayonara", but I shall return, again and again. After all, I had barely scratched the surface, the wonder of Japan.
When I was in Japan, I said "Itadakimasu" lots of times, before my meals. It's like saying grace before you eat, that you humbly received the food with an exclamation of "Let's Eat!!"
I was truly grateful of my being able to visit this wonderful country and to eat the yummiest Japanese food on Earth! In true Japanese settings, you can't get this experience from a Japanese restaurant anywhere else. I ate from street stall, from Gourmet speciality shops and sushi bar and food courts.
Even though I had said it out aloud, in my mind, of course, it would be seconded by a nom nom nom noise! That is how much I appreciated the food there. I hummed after the noms.... it's quite hilarious! Darren would look at me with his horrified look, "Oh God, why is my mum so embarrassing?"
This is the shop at Nakamise Street before the Sensoji Temple. I bought a couple of bags of rice crackers "senbei" here. Definitely much nicer than your average Sakata crackers.
Japan is also vending machine heaven. Every where you go, there is sure to be a vending machine nearby.
Yum!!! Who wants steam buns? There's also freshly made tofu and matcha icecream. Don't even get me started on the Matcha. I was on a permanent Matcha diet. I drank Matcha Frappe, matcha tea, matcha latte, matcha icecream, pancakes with Matcha. I had squid balls with matcha powder flavouring in Arashiyama.
Pretty impressive Ramen for 800 yen, right? I wished I could buy a bowl from the display as a souvenir. Hahahaha. Better catch up to the boy, he has abandoned me as I am being "touristy" again.
These squid paste balls were delicious. OMG! I want some of these for dinner now. I shouldn't have posted this before dinner ;)
I met my Twitter friend Hyuna in Tokyo and we went to a sushi bar in Shinjuku for dinner. It was the best meal ever. I fell in love with Unagi sushi that night. The photo above is two types of green tea, the lighter one is with ground rice, the greener one is just plain matcha. However, there is nothing plain about it. I love matcha tea. I can't get enough of it!
And this is why, someone in Japan, needs to adopt me so I can live there! I am missing out on the best sushi in the world!
And then there was the snacks and the beers, so many different flavour beers and teas, not together of course. And French pastries, Japanese desserts and matcha icecreams... Oh Lordy! It was with a heavy heart and bottom that I had to come home.
Some of my followers on Instagram would have been drooling daily from my uploads. I am sharing a few food photos here. If you like to follow me, I am at:
On our last day in Kyoto, I was panic stricken as I hadn't completed my bucket list for sites in Kyoto. I ended up deciding to go to Golden Pavilion before we head back to Tokyo on the Shinkansen at midday. I was devastated that I couldn't fit in the Inari Shrine at Fushimi. Oh well, I must returned to Kyoto one day. It is truly a must place, to visit.
I think I was even envious of the ducks in the pond. Imagine living here and having that view every day till the end of your life. That would be perfect! I was so sad to leave Kyoto, so many places to go and so little time.
The gardens are beautiful and magical, I wouldn't mind getting lost in here one bit. The autumn colours are so bright and vivid. I just had to pause and reflect on the life and beauty and wonder of Japan. It was just such a contrast, from the rushing madness of Tokyo's city life to the stillness of Kyoto where time just stood still. I have to come back here again.
We are still in Kyoto, after visting Kiyomizu-dera temple and a restful night in our hotel, we boarded a local rail to Arashiyama town. Okay, we did get lost on the lines and went the opposite direction at first. I discovered this when the train stopped at different name. Not a biggie, we just jumped off the train and asked around and got on the opposite line, on the right side of the rail line the second time around and was soon on the train to Arashiyama.
So we took Hankyu line, instead of the Kanden line, it just means that we have to cross the Togetsu-kyo-bridge to get the town instead of immediately getting off at the town. More photo opportunity, I'd say. And lots of walking. There was definitely lots of walking everywhere in Japan. I would not have been able to do this before my hip surgery and I am glad that I am still able to walk and appreciate the beauty of Japan. I get it now why it is also known as the Moon Crossing Bridge as it is like crossing over to the moon, the stretch of the bridge is ever so long... I can feel my fat crying just walking across to the other side of town.
We went to Tenryuji (天龍寺, Tenryūji Temple first. It was only early but there were lots of visitors already. We quickly queue up to buy tickets into the temple. Have I mentioned Japanese people love to queue for everything? They are so considerate and orderly.
We couldn't go into the building. We could only view it from outside which was still pretty impressive. Imagine living here and waking up to views like this! That would be just pure bliss for me!
Have I mentioned that we walked a lot when we were in Japan? I am so glad for the many stops to take a breather and to take in, the picturesque landscape. My favourite place would be the Sagano Bamboo grove. Despite the crowds, it was green and serene. So peaceful! And the tall bamboos goes on forever as though trying to reach for the Heavens.
The Bamboo grove reminded me of the movie "House of Flying Daggers" with the assassins leaping from tree to tree. Sigh, if only Takeshi could just come around the corner, that would be oh so perfect!
Still more to come on Kyoto, join me as I head over to the Golden Pavilion next... see you soon.
The next day, we left Tokyo for a little side trip to Kyoto, I booked this tour months ago through Japanican and I am so glad that I did, while our Aussie dollar was going strong. These guys were so thoughtful in the booking of our seats on the Shinkasen. We were seated on the right side of the carriage and on a clear day, we had the most amazing view of Mount Fuji.
I bought some lunch for our little train trip. It wasn't a very long ride. Just three hours to Kyoto. I was busy snapping photos, and before we know it. It was time to get off at Kyoto. The train went on to Osaka. Maybe next time, I will go to Osaka. Have a look at my amazing bento lunch. It was delicious!
We took a taxi from Kyoto station to our hotel, and checked in. Hmmm, nice little hotel with Starbucks next door, sweet! My only problem was it only has wifi in the lobby and I had left my laptop back in Tokyo. We didn't waste time in Kyoto as there were too many places that I had wanted to see. I learned a little too late that we should have spend a week here as Kyoto was truly amazing and beautiful in Autumn. Lesson learnt. Must planned better next time.
We managed to see most of what I listed down. I did missed out on the night time illumination because of the long queue going all the way back downhill in one of the temple and Fushimi Inari shrine. I didn't get to see my vermilion gates at the Inari shrine.
We visited Kiyomizu Temple on the first day that we arrived in Kyoto. It was certainly magnificent to see the Autumn colours in its glory.
It got dark pretty quick, we watched the sun went down in Kyoto and then headed back to our hotel because the line for the night time illumination was too long to wait.
To be continued... the next morning we went to Arashiyama town :) which I totally loved by the way! Be sure to come back here for more of Kyoto.