Japan, Day 2: Tenryu-ji (revisit)

While planning the Kansai Region trip last year, I read that this temple is at its best during spring and autumn so my expectations were high… and it did not disappoint! Even at the parking area, people were already having their pictures taken.

I bought the ticket for both main hall and garden (¥800) entrance passes, with the temple being my first order of business. No shoes allowed, by the way!

Singapore, Day 1: Gardens By The Bay

First stop was the FLOWER DOME and when we saw that it was an enclosed space, we were not quite excited because we initially thought it would be hotter and more humid inside. But to our surprise, the place was cool!

This is the largest greenhouse in the world and it showcases hundreds of flower types from different regions. Here are my favorites from the first portion of the Flower Dome:

Japan, Day 7: Himeji >> Osaka

Our 2nd daytrip was in Himeji, almost 2 hours away from Osaka by train. From Himeji Station, we rode the Himeji Castle Loop Bus which looked like an old-fashioned bus.

Our main stop here was the famous HIMEJI CASTLE (UNESCO), which is also known as “shirasagi-jo” or “white heron castle”. It was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 16th century and during our visit, a portion of the castle was undergoing restoration – goes to show how Japan highly values their history and puts great effort in preserving this.

Japan, Day 5: Kyoto >> Osaka

Our first stop for our last day in Kyoto was KINKAKU-JI (UNESCO) – also known as the “Golden Pavilion”. It is one of the famous Zen temples which has its top 2 floors covered in gold leaf. This golden structure overlooks a pond, which is a real sight to see.

Near the exit, there is a spot where one can write in an ema but what we did was light candles. There was a variety of candles depending on which one you want to wish for – career, health, and safety among others.

Japan, Day 4: Kyoto (Central & Downtown)

We started our 4th day in Kyoto a bit later than the previous days since our first stop was just a few minutes away (walk) from our Airbnb – NIJO CASTLE (UNESCO)!

While walking along one side of the Nijo Castle, we realized how huge the castle ground was since it took us a few minutes to finish walking just one side. The huge stone walls looked imposing and surrounded by moat. At the time of our visit, the original entrance gate was under renovation so the entry point to the castle was different.

Japan, Day 3: Kyoto (Fushimi, N. Higashiyama)

Another early start for us since our first stop for our 3rd day in Kyoto was in FUSHIMI INARI TAISHA and we wanted to avoid the crowd. The place is well-known for its senbon torii (thousands of torii) spread across an entire mountain. The whole hike usually takes 2-3 hours according to those who have already experienced doing it. This Shinto shrine is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice, with foxes as the messengers.

Japan, Day 2: Kyoto (Arashiyama)

We started our 2nd day in Kyoto quite early since our goal was to get to the famous bamboo grove without the big crowd yet.

I finally understood what people meant when they said that photographs were not enough to do justice on how ethereal and beautiful SAGANO BAMBOO GROVE is. Highly recommend to go here really early! Aside from us, there was just a tourist couple so we managed to get good pictures of the place. The place was also quiet which made it perfect for a bit of reflection and relaxation time.

Japan, Day 0-1: Kyoto (Higashiyama Area)

On our first day of tour, we left early for Kiyomizu-dera to avoid the big crowd. We hopped off at Gojo-zaka bus station and it was still a long walk before reaching the majestic gate to KIYOMIZU-DERA (UNESCO). There were no visitors yet when we reached the place, and it was a wondrous feeling to take in all the calmness and serenity.