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I thought I'm just gonna say that I'm a simple girl in this complicated world, but I think it's just what I want to be - a simple person.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

.Japan Trip - Day 7 - Kyoto.

Originally, I want to visit the northern Kyoto in the morning for seeing the Kinkakuji and Ninnaji Temple, but since we woke up a bit late we rushed straight to Arashiyama. It's a bit outside of Kyoto, but thank God for JR, every place is connected. 

Sagano Scenic Railway / Romantic Train
It's one of the highlights of the trip :) The railway started from Torokko Saga Station (next to JR Saga -Arashiyama Station). You can find the direction easily on the station.
Direction on JR Saga-Arashiyama
JR Saga-Arashiyama station 
the cue? find a huge locomotive outside the JR station, that's the Torokko Saga station!
Train Timetable and Station
The ticket costs 620 yen (one-way) from Torokko Saga to Torokko Kameoka. The two-way ticket costs the same with two one-way ticket, so maybe you can go to Torokko Kameoka first, and choose how to go back : walk to Umahori (JR) station / take the Hozugawa River Cruise (4100 yen) / using the same romantic train. I choose to buy the two-way ticket, silly me :( 

You can also choose what car you want (fully-open car or enclosed car), as the ticket officer can't speak English very much, I let her choose for me. She got me on fully-open car and the enclosed car on the way back. We were given the heating pad afterward, it's such a life saver!
First time in my life using the heating pad
The fully-open car vs the enclosed one
The scenery is beautiful! We passed by the mountain through short tunnel and following this beautiful river. We also passed by the river cruise boat whom's very alive and saying hi to us from the far! Hello! 
Say hello to Hozugawa River Cruise!
The river
Tanuki statue at the station
On the way back, we alight at one station before the Torokko Saga, and start wandering around the area. Alternatively, you can also took the rickshaw to explore the area. Most of the rickshaw man are handsome and muscular (of course)! ^^ But due to our size, I don't think we fit into a rickshaw, let alone carried in the rickshaw haha! 
Japanese chestnut
Rickshaw
Found another orange tree on the neighborhood!
Carrot patch?
The neighborhood is very calm and feels homey. But even in this kind-of-rural area, you could always find a signage / direction, so no need to feel lost!
Direction
Left : some fruit? Right : Tanuki peeking
After a while, finally we found this place. Bamboo Groves. The alley isn't so long, and crowded with tourists but again, even with the noise, it still feels calm yet serene. It might be the spirit of the forest, or else, I don't know. But I felt so lucky to finally can see this place in real, it's one of my bucket list, Thank God :)
Bamboo Groves
After the bamboo groves, we continue our walk and stumbled upon the river.
Walk friendly environment
Found another ume flower
I wonder how beautiful this place in autumn
Calming scenery right? ;)
Small shop
Contemplating *lol
Bellflower 

The Dam
Walk align with the river, and we found ourselves at Togetsukyo Bridge, near the Saga Arashiyama Station. I wish we had more time to visit Arashiyama again, but we had to go to our next destination T^T But first, let's have a lunch!
Green Tea
Left : Bento ; Right : Curry Rice

Lunch was at some random restaurant around the station. Mr Chubby choose the bento which offering a beef dish and one of kyoto's specialty; yodofu (boiled tofu). The tofu is delicious, it's smooth and paired well with some katsuboshi and some savory broth (alike agedashi tofu broth). As for myself, as I'm famished I chose the curry rice. It feels like a home-cooked meal and very satisfying after our exhaustwalk.
Pickles shop near the station

There'a a grilled green tea mochi seller at the station! Filled with not-to-sweet red bean, it's a bit bland for my tastebud but nonetheless I loveee the smoky smell and the chewy texture yum! :)
Cute baby at the trem
At the Saga Arashiyama Station, we took the trem back to the city. The trem doesn't have any machinist and we can't find any machine to put our suica, and in short time, it arrives at Randen Saga station, our destination. I think it's the first time I'm being a freeloader, please don't do this at home T^T

Ryoanji Temple
Located not far from Randen Saga station, Ryoanji temple is famous for its rock garden. 
Temple map and explanation (English translation available)
I love the pathway to the temple main garden!
Rock Garden miniature
The entrance fee is 500 yen, and we have to change our shoes with shoes provided by the temple. I am not artsy, but the rock garden is beautiful and although there's no green-y thing on the garden but you can feel the calmness just by sitting by the garden and just watch the sunlight shining through the trees around it.
BEAUTIFUL rock garden
Left : Pond; Right : Water Basin
I think this is my favorite temple in Japan I ever visited (not that I visited much though)!

Kinkaku-ji Temple
Another (not so short) walk from Ryuan-ji is Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as Golden Pavillion. It's also a zen temple, and it has amazing pavillion which covered in gold leaf! This picture couldn't do any justice, you have to see the real thing!
Golden Pavillion
Golden Phoenix on top of the pavillion
Pond
 I think every temple that I visited has a pond in it, which compliment the beautiful temple :)

After that, we get back to the hostel with a very tired feet and a much hungry stomach. Had dinner at some random modern pasta restaurant at Yodobashi, and it tasted great! Every single dish we had in Japan always tasted so good ^^
Left : some japanese salad; Right : Smoked ham spaghetti in cream sauce = DIVINE
Garlic Bread
Garlic bread came in a huge portion and I happily finished it ! haha! 

That's it for Kyoto, do visit Arashiyama if you can, you won't regret it! :)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

.Purity.

.Dusun Bambu, Bandung 2014.

.Butter.

You're the butter to my bread :)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

.Japan Trip - Day 6 - Kyoto.

On our 6th day, we moved from Tokyo to Kyoto. We were using shinkansen, thanks to JR Pass, we can use shinkansen (except NOZOMI and MIZUHO trains) anytime and anywhere we want for 7-day yayyy! You just need to buy your JR Pass before you arrived at Japan (you can not buy it when you in Japan), and activate it in any JR station. 

My advice is activate it several days before the first day you're planning to use it, as the station can be very busy in the morning, especially for a big station like Shinjuku or Tokyo. So when it's the day, you just need to show it to the officer on the gate and off you go :) If you're travelling in high season (Sakura season or Golden Week), I think it's better if you reserve your seat in the train,  just to be sure. 

Do remember if you reserve any seat that means you'll be taking the train from that station. We activate plus reserve our seat in Yokohama station, but we are taking the train from Ueno station so our reservation are not valid and we need to take the non-reserved seat. I think this is the only shinkansen reservation we made. But even if you don't reserve any seat I think it will be very easy to get a seat because (usually) car no 1-5 are for non-reserved seats, and each car is large enough for about 60/70 persons.
Coin Locker
If you happen to need to drop your luggage for a while, coin locker are available everywhere. For bigger station, they have more coin locker with various size from small (hand carry/cabin size suitcase) to extra large. I happen to need a locker for several hours when I reached Tokyo station on our last day, but we couldn't find any available locker. Thank God they had cloakroom service (at Gransta) so we can drop our luggage for several hours. I think Kyoto station also had this kind of service, but I don't know about the other station. Remember, always have plan B! :D

Shinkansen
Shinkansen

Shinkansen

Our luggage

The shinkansen is very neat, much much much better than Indonesia CL (of course!), and I love how spacious they are. We are using 2 suitcases, one is cabin-size suitcase and the other one is medium-size suitcase. I can put our medium-size suitcase in front of me! 
buying bento before leaving
Of course, one of my must to do list is eating bento in shinkansen! Been watching this scene so much in the manga, I wonder how it feels. Truth to be told, I don't like it very much since the rice is cold. I'd rather having some sandwich instead hehe...
bought an onigiri, DELICIOUS!!
Btw we were seating next to a middle age lady, who barely speaks english. I offered her some blueberries, so that's how our conversation started. It's one of the beauty in travelling I think, to meet new people and heard about their culture and language. Even though she can't speak English (but can heard some), and I can't speak Japanese, but somehow we understand each other. Even Mr Chubby doesn't understand how can I communicate with this lady, I think this is girls language? haha! 

Well anyway, she told us that in front of her mother home,  there's a bluberry tree and she had a daughter and a grandchild, and so on. She also asked about our itenary and I showed her, she kindly giving some recommendation to eat in the places we were planing to visit. When we were passing by a mountain I asked her is that Fuji-san? She said no. After that, she showed me a custard-filled chiffon cake. She pointed to the brand, Fuji-ya co, and then gave it to me. It was surprising, as it's not common in Indonesia to give food to unknown people, when you do it in Indonesia, people will get suspicious haha! 

I eat it right away, and it was soooo sooo sooo good. The chiffon cake is very fluffy and the custard is very good, it's creamy but not so sweet. OMG! I think it's the best cake I ever had in Japan haha! Thank you so much for the cake miss! If only we had it in Indonesia :( we only found one store that sold this baby (only 100 yen!) in Osaka, next to Tempozan Wheel. 
Memorable cake!
My lunch box
Mr Chubby's box, sorry for the messy photo hehe
So it's lunch time already and we opened our bento. It was okay for me. The lady next to us also eating bento, accompanied with a small bottle of red wine. Wow, Japanese women are very classy! When I'm old I want to be a classy lady like her, eating lunch by the window, sipping some wine, and enjoying the day :)
Kyoto Station
Hana Hostel
When we arrived at Kyoto station, it was a bit snowy. Very little actually but it was the first time I'm seeing snow , so horray! :D The station is very modern and I love the architecture. We were staying at Hana Hostel, so we need to take the underpass from the station to the hostel. I am amazed with the underpass, it's so clean! haha! 
Left : Kyoto Station ; Right : the underpass to hostel

The hostel is also very neat, it's ryokan style hostel so each of us must change our shoes with indoor shoes they provided. What I love for being staying in the hostel is how much information they give to us, unlike staying at the hotel. And may I say, it's very detail. Here's the map in the dining room, you can check which area you want to visit and how to going there! They also had promotions, if you stayed more than 2 nights, you can choose between snack or free bicycle rent. As we don't have time to use the bicycle, we choose the snack pack :) 
Snack Pack
Hana Hostel
The main room
For the first 2 days we booked the double room, as for the last day we chose the twin room, because I want to try the futon in double and twin size.  The room was very spacious compared with our last hostel ^^ As for the futon size, let's say I'd prefer the twin size, more room for me hehehe...The hostel staff was very kind, they'll move our suitcase from the double room and twin room if you already prepare it in the corner. Their facilities are complete, from fully equipped kitchen to the common room and fast wifi everywhere! :) 

Since this is a hostel, you need to pack and unpack the futon by yourself. Sleeping using the futon is very relaxing, compared to what I expected. It's so fluffy and comfy :D
Mr Chubby diligently preparing the futon
The bath room
The twin room
Fushimi Inari
After check in, it was already 3 PM. We rushed to the Kyoto station again and took the JR to JR-INARI station, to visit the Fushimi Inari shrine. If you ever seen the Memoirs of Geisha movie, this shrine is used for the scene where little Chiyo run in happiness after seeing the love of her life. Ever since seeing the masterpiece, I've been meaning to see it in eyes. 

The Inari station only took 15 minutes from Kyoto, and it's located next to the station. When you get off from the train, you'll see the bright red torii in front.
First torii
Map
very calming landscape
the famous tunnel in Memoirs of Geisha
The ema in this shrine is shaped like fox, because of the fox believed as Inari's (God of rice) messenger 



It's quite a hike to visit until the top of the mountain, we only managed to hike halfway since it's a bit rainy and it's getting dark, too bad. But the view we got is amazing! Again, I don't know if it's the euphoria or it's the spirit in the air but the situation is very calming. It's quite yet serene.

After the hike, we were already famished and freezing. There's some souvenir shops around the shrine but we straight to the food stall!
Takoyaki
The takoyaki wasn't so special but damn it's cold and all we need is hot food! We also spot many places sell kitsune udon (it's believed to be fox's favorite food) and kushiyaki, but we had another plan at our next stop, so we hop on train as soon as we can!
Kushiyaki
 Btw, the shrine is located in rural area but as you can see, the digital clock is there and the train arrival is still precise. wow.
Train in rural area
Nishiki Market
The market was said closed at 5 PM and it's already  more than 5 PM when we arrived. Most of the shops were closed :(
Nishiki Market
Scored some Senbei, yumm!
Shrine inside the market
We also found another shrine inside the market. We don't visit it since we were super hungry (again). Cold makes you eat more than ever! T^T Quick dinner at First Kitchen, it's a fast food chain that has Japanese-Italian menu. I loveee their sauce, they had about 6 choices (I forgot) and one of them is spicy mentaiko. It was so goood and rich! As for the food, it's like Waraku japanese dining but with pork menu, tasty and cheap! :D
First Kitchen
So that's it for the first night at Kyoto, hope you enjoy!