Japan, Day 5: Ise Jingu (revisit)

Despite the tiring walks from the previous days, I was still excited for this day trip because I would be going back to Ise Jingu.

During my previous visit, there were few people around because it was a weekday and we reached the place at around 8AM (read it here). But this time, it was a Sunday and already 10AM so there was a huge crowd of locals already.

Japan, Day 3: Senmi Shikizakura no Sato

Ever heard of sakura blooming during autumn? Well, that is not a fantasy because there is a place in Japan where this happens. The town is called Obara, which is popular for shikizakura (四季桜 four-season cherry blossoms), and not too far from Nagoya.

My destination for this trip was the Senmi Shikizakura no Sato — farther than the more popular Obara Fureai Park.

Japan, Day 1: Hida-Furukawa

It’s the continuation of the Kimi no Na wa seichi junrei (聖地巡礼 – anime pilgrimage) in Gifu Prefecture – but this time in the town of Hida-Furukawa.

Just in the area of HIDA-FURUKAWA STATION, I was already able to capture 3 shots similar to Kimi no Na wa frames!

Japan, Day 10 (PM): Ise-shima

After braving the strong wind, we finally saw the famous MEOTO IWA (“Wedded Rocks”). It is said that the larger rock represents the husband while the smaller one is the wife, and this couple is actually a representation of Izanagi and Izanami, the gods who created Japan.

It may not look as majestic as the ones in photos seen online, but they say that the best time to go here is during high tide and sunrise – get to see the sun rising between the two rocks.

Japan, Day 10 (AM): Ise-Shima

Last day trip outside Osaka before we head back to MNL. Our destination is Ise-Shima, mainly because I want to go to Ise Jingu which is dedicated to the sun goddess, Amaterasu. Hence, it is considered as the holiest Shinto shrine in Japan. I read before that locals wish to visit this place at least once before they die.

Japan, Day 8: Nara >> Osaka

NARA KOEN was our first destination but we were confused where to get off (while on the bus) so we chose a random stop. Apparently, the park was huuuge and all of the places we wanted to visit were all there. We looked for a quiet spot first to eat breakfast – and away from the deer!

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.