Ryoanji, the Zen temple near Kinkakuji

July 25th, 2014

just a short bus ride away from the famous Kinkakuji is the most famous zen temple, Ryoanji. Also listed as one of the UNESCO wolrd heritage sites, this was put on my list when I first went to Kyoto.

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the whole area is very calm to begin with. despite having a lot of tourists (mostly from visiting Kinkakuji), the beauty of the area did not subside.

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the Ryoanji building.

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upon entry, you should buy a ticket on the right side.

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if my memory did not serve me wrong, the entrance fee to Ryoanji was 600yen although it is stated 500yen on the website.

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a miniature Ryoanji and also scripts for the blind. don’t get it since the real Ryoanji is right behind.

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here, I present you Japan’s most renown Zen garden, Ryoanji.

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but the truth is.. I felt no zen. I mean, you are supposed to sit in front of the beautifully drawn marbles in front and meditate but with all the noise and crowd AND, barely a place to sit, I felt like my 600yen went to waste. the area was small and there’s nothing much other than this zen garden which was flocked by people and all you could hear when you close your eyes is their shutter sound.

so a tip for you? come here during the off-peak season and maybe you can feel some zen.

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even my mini wide-angle camera couldn’t get a widespread picture of the place. so I had to take a panaroma shot haha.

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yep, I’m a fashion disaster. haha. and this is the other side of the garden.

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sadly, I couldn’t enter the other side which looked really pretty.


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errrr… zen tatami?

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while the entrance was super congested, the exit was empty.


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but like I’ve always said, the beautiful landscapes even outside of the attractions are enough of a reason to visit Kyoto.


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some really pretty restaurant.

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entrance to the restaurant! didn’t dine in because it costed a bomb T_T.

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and the lake nearby. pretty no?

all in all, I think it is worth a visit if you’re already at Kinkakuji. but if you’re on a tight budget, I’d say that it is a “okay to skip” place even though it is a UNESCO site. it is a little too small for a 600yen entrance fee. unless you come on a non peak season and feel some zen, if not I don’t think it is worth it.

Kinkakuji, The Golden Pavilion of Kyoto

July 19th, 2014

there are so much I’ve heard about this place. while most say it’s spectacular some commented that it’s far too over-rated. but being already here in Kyoto, I had to check it out right?

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Kinkakuji was one of the first tourist attraction I’ve visited in Kyoto and I was already taken aback by the beautiful landscape outside the attraction. the green moss (?) grew so beautifully I thought a magically deer was going to pop out of somewhere.

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this way please!

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this was actually the second time I came back as I was told that it was closed when I came here at 4 something the first time. if you’ll be here end of July, do visit this area as the great Daimon-ji, some huge fire burning on mountain to create a “big” word in Kanji/Chinese event will be held. heard it will also be held at several places but I am not sure.

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indeed a very popular attraction. it was filled with people.

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the unique entrance tickets which looked like they were some amulet. the entrance fees was a ridiculous 500yen. very very expensive for such a small attraction.

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but nevertheless, in my opinion, it lived up to its name. beautifully breath-taking. however, in real life, the whole area’s filled with people and it doesn’t feel as “zen” as it should be.

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some of my friends had commented that if you go close, you’d see how the gold paint’s not really that amazing. but I’d say who cares since it looks good from afar. nobody’s really going to go super close to it. haha. but for me, even going close to it, I find it beautiful. but the whole area’s really just this. and the other side to view it is kind of narrow and too crowded in my opinion.

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I don’t know what to call these. carvings or statues? but they are pretty much both. beautiful I have to say.

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my addiction when I was there. green tea ice cream. matcha and milk doesn’t always taste this good. so when in Japan, always splurge on these yummy cones! the ones from the convenience store are just not up to par.

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matcha dango and dango covered with chestnut paste. these are sold everywhere too. initially I thought dango would taste sweet and treated it like a sort of sweet but it’s a little salty and it’s more.. savory? but in short, it’s a type of chewy mochi haha. pretty filling too.

I took the bus to Kinkakuji. Kyoto is quite tourist friendly and getting there by bus especially with their 500yen all day pass was really convenient for me. =).

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Fushimi Inari, my favourite place in Kyoto

July 15th, 2014

watched Memoirs of Geisha? remember the scene where the little girl ran down a row of beautiful tori’s? it’s Fushimi Inari, the film site of the movie.

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ever since I’ve watched the movie, coming here was on top on my list on my last Japan trip.

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the delicious dorayaki which was as big as my face!

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it was near new year’s and shops were filled with Fukubukuro, Lucky Bags which includes goods which you can not choose for a much lower than normal price.

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and we’re here! at the entrance to the beautiful shrine!

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I thought it was a dog. but I’m pretty sure it’s a fox.

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this is where you make a wish.

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so first, you go through a row of gigantic tori’s.

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the place is more crowded than in pictures, even my pictures. there are A LOT of people and you’ll have to wait for a long time if you want to get a decent picture with LESS people.

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and curves like these are the best to wait to get a shot with nobody at all =D.

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this picture was not edited. it’s just THIS beautiful. it’s so breath taking I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to just keep strolling around.

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oh hello. the tori’s were actually donated by people hence the words on it. if my memory didn’t serve me wrong, one tori costs around 10,000 dollars?

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ehehehe. who watches Dragonball too?

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I was just laughing out at how cute some of these drawings are.

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Fushimi Inari has a huge mountain behind it filled with tori’s. and I wanted to

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the tori hike was actually pretty tiring. it was so tiring I was only halfway through. and went back down ahhaha. but I went there again during new years and completed the course!

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somewhere in the middle of my ‘hike’. there are rest areas so..

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but really, coming here in winter’s not bad really. the weathers purrrrrrfect. and because of the beautiful weather my pictures all turned out perfect without me having to tweak the picture.

after being in Japan for quite a few times, I still can’t find anywhere more beautiful than Kyoto and Fushimi Inari being my favourite.


July 11th, 2014

perhaps one of my favourite places in Kyoto would be the great Kiyomizu Temple. it is indeed a very very touristy spot. but the thing is, its beautiful! that’s why it’s so packed with foreigners. I have yet to visit many hidden temples/shrines since I am not quite much of a temple or shrine person. but I will! slowly.

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took a bus here. did I mention it costs only 500yen for unlimited bus rides?

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and yeap, I wore a Kimono! it had always been my dream since I was little to dress in one. I didn’t look very good in it but still! I liked how you can only take small steps and walk like penguins. very adorable to me =3.

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I had a habit to stop by every store selling warabi-mochi because I love mochi. but why does warabi mochi (not those in convenience stores) have to be so expensive T_T. going broke for mochi. the one I had here was the best I’ve ever had so far. not sure how to describe the store but it was on the way up =X. and had seats like the above.

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hello. welcome to Kiyomizu! it was freezing cold in January and I was shivering under the not very thick kimono.

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how I wish to own all of those Totoro drawings! to control my otaku self for my love for Ghibli, I limit myself to only purchase ONE item at most when ever I visit a shop. currently only have 5 items from Glibli =S. somebody, present me all of the rest!!!

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look how beautiful the street was!

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another favourite snack while in Kyoto, Matcha ice cream. not a big fan of the real matcha drink since it’s really bitter, but it seemed like everything else made from matcha tastes amazingly sweet and delicious.

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some random alley. spam.

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I don’t know where’s the picture of this green tea biscuit with white chocolate sandwiched in the middle is, but since I’ve described about it, you should know. it was really popular when I was there and super delicious. I only wished I had bought more. Malebranche is the name of the brand.

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those ice cold cucumber sticks was delicious but I later found out that it usually costs only 100yen for a stick. so don’t pay anything more than that.

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finally! getting close to the temple.

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had to take a picture here hahhahah. tourists are tourists.

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but heck, most famous temples have high entrance fee =(. I think this temple costs around 500yen per entry. but worth it anyway!

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and up up up! it was really pretty. the whole temple.

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you should drink it at some places and you should wash your hands only at some places. from my observation, if the stick’s wooden, you normally wash your hands with the holy water while if the sticks metal, you should drink it. but get a Japanese person to help read it for you! or just look at what the rest does. the easiest. haha.

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I wonder if foxes are seen as holy animals or gods but I’ve seen foxes in many temples and they look so cute wtf.

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I assume touching the rock makes me luckier! I hope it isn’t some rock for pregnancy or something =X.

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Kiyomizu! it is actually not quite as beautiful when I went since it was under construction =/. but they say the temples phenomenal if you come here during autumn.

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now you’re supposed to drink it!

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random shopping area in Kyoto.

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can you spot the kitkat corner?!

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each time you rent a kimino, you should take purikura for remembrance! and I left mine somewhere at home.. I don’t know where T_T. grrrr.

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somewhere in Shijo.

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izakaya : Japanese drinking place.

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some really beautiful Italian restaurant.

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really love this street. very pretty. =3.

PS: I rented my Kimono from Yumeyakata. the cheapest amongst all with an online site. I got my Japanese friend to searched for me as well. this is the cheapest! and their quality’s not bad too ^^. here’s the website : http://www.yumeyakata.com/english/

Kobe Beef at KOBE!!!

July 10th, 2014

having two weeks spent at Kansai, how could I not go to Kobe?! to have Kobe beef of course. but no matter where you have it, it seemed like these beer-fed (rumoured) cows are just expensive everywhere. we searched the web for a cheaper and popular place and ended up in a Korean restaurant which serves Kobe beef hahahaha. my Japanese friend didn’t know it was Korean. I was just.. speechless since I live in Korea hahaha.

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hello. Kobe station!

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some shopping street.

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MUST visit TOKYU HANDS. it’s everywhere in Japan. hahaha. they sell everything I like. =3.

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some temple near the station.

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traveled to Kobe’s port to visit Kobe Tower!

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beautiful Kobe view!

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hahahahhahahahaahaha. spontaneous magic show!

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and the malls and hotels in Kobe’s really pretty too @@. like, really. look really expensive too hahaha.

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went up the ferris wheel. almost died. I’m afraid of heights T_T.

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the beautiful streets of Kobe. so pretty!!!!!! the row of restaurant on the right side is especially pretty!

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went up the ferris wheel behind. I think it costed around 700yen.

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a good reason to come to Japan on Winter. the illuminating trees.

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hello =D!

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Umie, a famous shopping mall here apparently.

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and finally.. KOBE BEEF!!! there are a lot of shops around for Kobe Beef but we ordered a set for 5,000yen per person. for dinner I guess it’s quite an alright price. still expensive though T_T. I’m POOOOORRR. someone donate me some money T_T.

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waiting impatiently for my GYUUUUUUUU. (it means meat)

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look at that marbling beef D=.

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this is so Korean. hahaha. but I didn’t bother wrapping such good quality meat in vege. >_>”. it’s almost like using money to light up fire instead of wood. if you get what I mean.

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and the 3 types of other meat.

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Japanese Beef’s so good. but I won’t lie, KOREAN BEEF’S AS GOOD! >=3.

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KOBE BEEF TONGUE! simply my favourite. I won’t like. my favourite part of a cow’s the tongue but Kobe Beef’s just perfect almost everywhere T_T.

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apparently a really rare flavour of ice cream, some black tea called the hojicha. wonderful flavour. I really liked it. it’s literally as good as green tea.

and some goodies I grabbed at Tokyu Hands while they had a sale on all the famous edibles all around Japan.

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strawberry chocolate from Hokkaido! the packaging’s so cute I still have it until today. I’m a huge rubbish collector. teehee.

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so cute!!! no?

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it isn’t the most delicious thing on urf but it was really good!!!

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according to my friend the best snack from Hokkaido.

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it has rum in its filling and the biscuits really good. it’s a wonder how all the biscuits made with milk from Hokkaido tastes so different and milky while melting in your mouth. ah. bliss.

that’s all for my Kobe post! planning to go to some mountain to see sheeeeeeeeeps this trip! (summer!) =D. wait for it!

Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion

July 8th, 2014

in Kyoto, the most iconic place would definitely be the Golden Pavilion– Kinkaku-ji. but it’s really sad how Ginkaku-ji’s so under rated. it is even more beautiful than Kinkaku-ji in my honest opinion. super beautiful. it isn’t just what pictures can express; you just have to go there yourself.

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and the great thing about Kyoto, the buses. if you’re interested in traveling to Japan I bet you’d notice how crazy the transportation costs. like madness. but in Kyoto, you can purchase a bus card for 5o0yen and you can ride AS MUCH AS YOU WANT! in places like Fukuoka one way might cost you that much already >_>.

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entrance tickets to Ginkaku-ji. it costs 500yen!

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apparently they wanted to paint the pavilion silver but they ran out of money so they left it like that. but I felt it’s just beautiful the way it is. even though less photogenic compared to the golden pavilion, it’s really more beautiful.

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looked so yummy ahhh.

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it’s about time a beautiful white dotted deer pop out. T________T it was literally like I was in a fairy tale. the setting. ahhhhhh.

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another view.

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proof that I was there!

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really hope nobody traveling to Kyoto would put this off their list just because it ain’t really silver. it’s one of my top recommendation while traveling to Kyoto!