... step into my garden

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Thousand Orange Gates

Another very intereting place you shouldn't miss near Kyoto is the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Travelling through the gates corridor is indeed impressive.The smartsy japs even made it so that they look different depending on where you are looking from, with some black writing which appears only on side. Smart...

Left or right? Well, actually they both get you to the same place ... I wonder if there is any philosophical  teaching we should learn from this ...

I can see ... something ... impressive apparently ...

Yes, Andreea is jumping for joy again ... it was that fun ...

We were on our way to Nara, a place where we saw something which really made our day ... coming up next ...
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Monday, October 26, 2009

THE Rocky Zen(?) Garden

While you can find many Zen gardens in Kyoto, rocky, mossy, etc. as I've posted before, apparently there is this one garden that is the best of them all. It is the most abstract garden, made with stone, and the interpretation of the garden layout's is entirely up to ... you.

Apparently by analizing the layout of the rocks through a complex virtual model some scientists discovered that the layout is similar to that of a branching tree ... uhm mkay ...

I've tried and tried, although not very hard, and basically ... I'm still trying ...

I've come to the conclusion that actually it's just a matter of watching, not getting it, and relaxing your mind ... 

It was so nice and quiet and relaxing and  ... ZEN tranquility ... oh, really? Well, actually not quite, because the place is crawling with Japanese students, which, besides being very noisy, want to talk to you and take pictures with you as if you were the tourist attraction there ... The children are nice and funny, and they gave us some very lovely hand made postcards, but I must admit, by the fourth group that was coming towards us, I was beginning to start wanting to avoid them.

Here's a pic with us and group number three, cheers!

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rally Day

I'm going to take just a small tiny break from the Japan series to tease you about an upcoming post...

And the teasing continues ...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Zen Gardens, Great Food

On one day we went to the Daitokuji Temple Complex, which is indeed very Zen. There are many temples there and quite a few Zen Gardens which must be seen.

You have the rock gardens ...

A combination of moss and rock, which is very interesting...

And moss only gardens for the full menu...

We also saw the Daisen-in Zen Garden, but you can't take pictures ... darn. Ah well, what followed after visiting the temple complex was a real delight ... After a few days of not so quite great food, we had a real treat.

The food was amazing, the place is called Cafe du Mon and here is a pic so you don't miss it if you're in the area (it's right outside the temple complex). And check out those Kymonos ... nice eh?

 Just a few more posts until crazy Tokyo ... let's proceed...
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

The House of GOLD

While in Kyoto, you got to go see this. It's a pavilion, or better said some rich megalomaniac's mansion, which is covered in GOLD. Yeap, remember the place where they make the golden leafs and they served us with the golden tea? Well, apparently some dude decided to put those thingies all over his house. And the result is ... of surprisingly good taste. The Japanese just know how to do these things. The way it is located right on the lake's shore in the middle of a superb natural setting, and the very simple architectural model work very well, resulting in the fact that the golden pavilion really looks like it belongs there. It blends with the environment and it is one of the beauties you definitely shouldn't miss if you land in Kyoto.

Daaaaaaamn, that house is pimpin'! Do I hear BLING BLING?
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

A couple of Kyoto temples

Darn, I knew I should have posted this as quickly as possible. I'm starting to forget the names of the places we saw there. So... quickly quickly... Kyoto is a place where Japanese tradition is at it's best. I didn't figure out what is the best way to get around the city. I think they have a one day pass for the bus, but I'm not 100% sure on that.

They have a lot of amazing temples in Kyoto, really peaceful and beautiful. Unfortunately you can't really take pictures inside some of these places, so I won't be able to show pictures with the 1001 Budhas, which were actually 998. We met 3 of them later at the Tokyo National Musem.


The BIG Pagoda was impressive, but again, there was a very impressive Budha in another building there which we couldn't take pictures of ...

We took the philosopher's walk, saw (some kind of)geishas on the streets, and went shopping in Gion.

More on Kyoto coming up shortly... before my Alzheimer kicks in ...
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Monday, October 12, 2009

The Golden Tea

In Kanazawa there is a place where they make what is apparently called in english gold leafs. They press and pound the gold until it turns into a very actually extremely thin sheet. You can actually see through it and it has the texture of skin. When you visit this place they give you tea made from gold for free.

They also make other stuff using the gold leafs.

For the record, WE DID NOT DRINK THE GOLD! We drank the tea though ... I hope we're OK...

Hop on the train and woosh to Kyoto.
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Little house JR (金沢)

Little house JR means Kanazawa, as we learned the hard way while trying HARD to find a bus to the train station which was close to our hotel. They have a samurai district, a geisha district, a ninja temple and a place where you can drink tea made from gold (?!).
Getting around should be done by bus. The tour bus has a one day pass which is great. They come every 12 minutes and take you everywhere you want to go.

The samurai district is pretty different from the old houses in Takayama with thick walls blocking unwanted visitors.

In one of these houses we saw the third most beautiful garden from Japan.

Shhhhhshht ... the samurai master may be around ... and do take a look at these footsteps ... this was someone's house (!?)

The geisha district is ah so cosy. The colors are a little different as well, with red dominating the rooms.

I would have loved to post some pictures with the ninja temple, but what do you know... Know anyone to take a picture of a ninja and live? Neither do I ...

More on the golden tea coming up next...
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Go 2 Shirakawa Go

Shirakawa-go is possibly the most beautiful place we visited in Japan. You can get there pretty easily by bus either from Takayama (our previous location) or Kanazawa (our next location). The main attraction are the traditional houses, with the tall thick rooftops.

After walking through the village and enjoying the pure beauty of the place, we enjoyed an excellent traditional curry and rice at one of the local restaurants.

And for desert, we ate some brown beans ... which were sweet.

The local shops...

Yes, those are red hot chilly peppers...

The place was so amazing, it turned Andreea into the bionic jumper!

A view from the top...Do take the bus from the parking lot.

Next up, Kanazawa...
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Karate Time

Take a look at the following picture.
I don't know what you're thinking, but I have only a few couple of words rushing through my head: Karate, Ninja, Sword fighting, and mainly Karate.

So, considering that the we were basically alone there what followed is no surprise...

First, we bow.
I know, I know ... but it was FUN!

The Hilda Folk Village is amazing, and I have lots of great pics, but I'll end with this more peaceful one.

Oh, and I almost forgot ... TAKE THE BUS!
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Lovable Takayama

Takayama is a very lovable place. Besides having a very well preserved traditional area with small houses in town, it is also home of the Hida Folk Village, an amazing place which you definitely should go visit.

The traditional houses are quite different from the Shogun class houses or even the peasant houses from the folk village.

The morning market is mildly crowded and is very interesting to see as well. As always, lots of colors, and lots of WTH is that moments.

A great pit stop on the way to Shirakawa-go. But first, the Hilda Folk Village.
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