E-session by Ryan Ortega

Autumn in Tokyo

A lovely Autumn in Tokyo.

Photo blog on the link below.

=)

http://www.ryanortegaphoto.com/okinawa-zeph-and-jenny-tokyo-engagement-session/

Mt. Fuji & Hakone Day trip

 

One not to be missed on any visit to Japan is a day trip outside Tokyo and visit Mt. Fuji, the most iconic image of Japan. Seeing the snow-capped peak of Japan’s number one volcano will be at the top of the list of things to do when in Japan.20170420_094837-01-01[1]At 3776m high, Fuji-san (Mt. Fuji) is considered the highest mountain in Japan. Rising high out of the plains of central Honshū, 60 miles southwest of Tokyo, this dormant volcano is climbed by hundreds of thousands of energetic people a year with many thousands more enjoying the majestic view. But it’s always a hit or miss to see its beauty. And Darn! we were too lucky that day with 100% visibility. Hoooray!20170420_094857-01-01[1]There are only 90 days a year to view the beautiful Mt. Fuji since the weather there changes rapidly. One that you should pay attention with is the weather forecast, as the weather is extremely changeable. Many people who went to visit and would want to witness the magical sight of the mountain would end up seeing nothing but clouds. Don’t be dismayed when you didn’t get the chance since there are still many other spectacular sights to see.

Sharing with you all about our Mt. Fuji & Hakone 1 day trip from JTB TOURS SG. And let me start it with a selfie. lol!MYXJ_20170520232459_save-01-01[1]

Our coach bus departed at Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo’s Main Tower in Shinjuku at exactly 8:20 in the morning as per the Itinerary. We were taken directly to the 5th station of Mt.Fuji at an elevation of 2,300 meters. While in transit from Tokyo to Mt.Fuji, our Tour guide “Nana” pointed out cultural sights of interest, entertained us with some Japanese songs and gave us information that helped enrich our Japanese experience. About 2 hours drive to reach the 5th Station yet I actually didn’t notice the time since it was fun on-board. With miss Nana keep entertaining us and a free wifi! What more can I ask?

 

Seeing the majestic view of Mt. Fuji from afar in my window seat. Aye! I’m screaming of excitement inside, I couldn’t wait till we reach the 5th station.20170420_104702-01-01[1]Tadaaaah! Welcome to 5th Station. Almost close enough to grab the summit of Mount Fuji. A great spot for sightseeing. So surreal. Like a postcard, it’s so lovely!20170420_105429-01[1].jpeg20170420_104859-01-01-01[1]20170420_104755-01-01-01[1]

MYXJ_20170520194241_save-01[1].jpegIt badly needs a selfie yet my front cam didn’t gave justice at all. Where’s Mt. Fuji? HAHA!

Though many visitors are adamant to make their way to the 5th station to experience the mountain up close and it’s apparently the closest area to the snow-capped peak, should you really wish to do this, try to allow flexibility in your plans as the weather plays a key role and sometimes, not all tourists get there if there’s too much snow or rock slides._DSC0185-01-01[1]_DSC0179-01-01[1]Awesome, staggering, heaven.  _DSC0180-01[1] How could I stop taking photos with such amusing sight? _DSC0178-01[1]20170420_104052-01[1]Everyone began to get a little peckish, we went straight to the restaurant which was only a few minutes drive from the 5th Station. And there we had a mouth-watering lunch!20170420_120737-01-01[1]The meal which was included in our package will not only tantalize your taste buds but will also stimulate your visual senses with its intricate aesthetic beauty.20170420_120649-01[1]After a nice relaxing lunch, what about some thrilling experience? 20170420_135815-01-01[1].jpeg20170420_135550-01-01[1].jpegWe took Komagatake Ropeway ride which runs from the edge of Lake Ashi to the summit of Mount Komagatake providing views not only of Mt.Fuji but also Lake Ashinoko and the Izu Islands as well. 20170420_141158-01-01-01[1]20170420_141514-01-01-01[1]The total length of the runway is 1800 meters and boasts the highest vertical distance of any aerial tramway in Japan. For some of the finest panoramic views of Hakone, this ropeway is just the thing.20170420_141818-01-01[1]It’s not just the ropeway, but a little more hike too! _DSC0209-01-01[1]_DSC0202-01-01-01[1]I’m so amused! I took a thousand snaps perhaps. lol!_DSC0221-01-01-01[1]_DSC0213-01-01[1]Mt. Fuji slowly being covered by clouds. 20170420_142521-01-01-01[1]The ropeway runs every 20mins. Since we joined a tour, we needed to catch a certain timing.20170420_144436-01-01[1]Unending magnificent views while aboard the ropeway. And off to do the finale! Lake Ashi cruise but not with the swans. lol!_DSC0230-01[1]_DSC0229-01[1]Cruise across Lake Ashi which was formed by a powerful volcanic eruption nearly 3,000 years ago. _DSC0255-01[1]You can relax on-board seating or take a stroll around the different decks of the boat where you can appreciate various angles of the lake.20170420_151029-01-01-01[1]I swear, it’s hard to stop taking photos. lol!_DSC0247-01-01[1]_DSC0253-01-01[1] It would be no exaggeration to say that this cruise offers a real opportunity to stop for a moment and take in the scenic beauty on offer._DSC0241-01[1]It didn’t just ended there. We were given a bit of time to buy souvenirs and explore the neighborhood village after the cruise._DSC0275-01-01[1]_DSC0271-01-01[1]_DSC0270-01-01[1]Sorry but it’s too instagramable. Mooore snaps please. lol! _DSC0273-01-01[1]_DSC0284-01-01[1]After a pleasant day out, it’s time to head back to Tokyo with arrival times estimated at 6-7pm depending on the level of traffic. Drop-off points are available at either Shinjuku or Ginza providing plenty of options to enjoy a nice meal in the evening.

20170420_152008-01[1]Thank you miss Nana!

For a fantastic day out that provides an enriching experience, why not book this tour! I would highly recommend. It was a long day, but worth it to see Mt. Fuji in its glory.

Love,

20170420_141709-01-01[1].jpegStylishwanderer.com

 

Nemophila Harmony in Hitachi Seaside Park, Ibaraki Prefecture

Taking advantage of the beautiful spring weather, we visited Hitachi Seaside Park located on the Pacific Ocean side of the Japanese coast in Ibaraki Prefecture.
About 130 kilometers northwest of Tokyo. _DSC0440-01-01[1]_DSC0441-01-01-01-01[1]Isn’t this view from the top incredibly gorgeous? _DSC0447-01-01-01-01[1]20170421_145811-01-01-01-01-01-01-01[1]Covering an area of 190 hectares, Hitachi Seaside Park is home to a variety of colorful flowers and grasses, as well as numerous other attractions, including an amusement park, cycling trails, a forest athletics field, BBQs surrounded by nature, food vans and cafes. But with the emergence of Nemophilas around mid April to beginning of May, it takes you to a whole new level. 20170421_144633-01-01-01[1]4.5 Million Nemophilas, also known as baby blue eyes paint the 3.5-hectare Miharashi Hills light blue._DSC0391-01-01-01-01-01 [1]_DSC0448-01-01[1]It could have been perfect when there’s no longer green but all light blue Nemophilas all over the rolling hills. If we only arrived 5 days later, that is its full bloom, it would surely be a spectacular sight ever! But still, aren’t these gorgeous enough?20170421_150221-01-01_(1)[1]20170421_150730-01-01-01[1]The rolling hills has been magically transformed by the sea of blue flowers which blends in with the sky. What a magnificent dramatic natural event. No wonder it has become a famous scenic spot and gazillions of tourists flock even more on its peak bloom which happens around the last week of April to 1st week of May.20170421_145805-01-01-01-01-01-01_(1)[1]_DSC0466-02-01-01[1] A Blue Phenomenal!

_DSC0423-01-01[1]A closer look of this beautiful baby blue eyes, Nemophilas!

_DSC0429-01-01-01-01-01-01[1]_DSC0425-01-01-01[1]I happily joined the throngs of people, and strolled leisurely around the area snapping way too many pictures. Forgive me. lol! _DSC0496-01-01-01-01 [1]And here’s the yellow Nanohana from the foot of the hill and those baby blue eyes like a backdrop._DSC0511-01-01[1]Other flowers abound in the park, so after spending so much of my time with the Nemophilas. What about seeing Narcissus and Tulips?_DSC0614-01[1]_DSC0523-01-01 [1]So beautiful that I couldn’t resist snapping too many photos._DSC0563-01-01[1]_DSC0559-01-01-01[2].jpeg_DSC0547-01[1]The tulips were spectacularly planted in shapes and undulating curves. There are over 200 varieties of tulips to enjoy and with so many varieties, it was hard to decide what to take pictures of first!_DSC0529-01 [1]_DSC0528-01-01[1]Oh Tulips, you’re too lovely!_DSC0526-01-01[1]Hitachi Seaside Park can be reached by train from Tokyo, (Shinagawa, Tokyo or Ueno Station) in around 90 minutes by limited express train about 3800yen(50sgd/1700php) one way or in around 2.5 hours by regular trains 2270yen(30sgd/1000php) one way. Then get off at Katsuta Station from where the park is a 20 minute bus ride. Park admission costs 410yen(5sgd/180php)

_DSC0343-01-01-01[1]You’ll not regret visiting this Sea of Baby Blue Eye Flowers in Hitachi Seaside Park,
Ibaraki Prefecture.

If you can’t make it on Spring time, then the Red Cochia in Autumn is a die die must-see!

Love,DSC_3685-01-01[1]Stylishwanderer.com

Visit Yokohama: One Day Walking Tour

Anyone who’s been to Tokyo will definitely tell you it’s such an exciting huge capital city. Electrifying, fast-paced and buzzing metropolis. You can’t even cover in one visit. But if you’re looking for something different, maybe somewhere with a slower pace and can be covered in a day, look no further than the port city of Yokohama.

_DSC0693-01[1]Let’s explore Yokohama!

I stayed somewhere in Shibaura Island where Tomodachi Station is only a 10 min. walk and is a JR YAMANOTE LINE, a railway loop line considered one of Tokyo’s busiest and most important lines, connecting most of Tokyo’s major stations and urban centers. Hence, I got the easiest access to explore Yokohama. With just 1 direct line, voila! reached in 30 mins. I didn’t expect it to be that fast tho’. Located south of Tokyo, Yokohama is the second largest city after Tokyo by population and situated in Kanagawa prefecture. Believe me or not, the most interesting parts of the city can easily be visited in a nice and interesting one day walking tour._DSC0658-01-02[1]_DSC0658-01-01[1]Each time I visit a place especially if it is my first time, I always do a bunch of reading online. Why? There’s a lot of places to see but it also depends whether it suits your interest. Thus, I have picked a few famous sights to see in Yokohama and managed to do it in just a day._DSC0669-01[1]_DSC0646-01[1]It’s hard to miss Yokohama Cosmoworld and its colourful ferris wheel. It is divided into three zones according to age appropriateness and unlike other amusement parks, there’s no entrance charge. Instead, you pay only for the rides that tickle your fancy._DSC0680-01-01[1]Head east towards the huge Ferris wheel in the distance. Once you reach the Ferris wheel, The Cup Noodles Museum is just across the street. It’s a fun and interactive museum that shows you the history of instant ramen noodles and the creative thinking of the man who’s responsible for it all – Momofuku Ando a.k.a. the father of instant ramen. _DSC0673-01-01[1].jpegJust keep going, and walk through the World Porter’s shopping mall on the other side of the street. Upon exiting the opposite end, you can see about a block away The Yokohama Red Brick Warehouses. But before reaching The Red Brick buildings, I stumbled unto this Marine and Walk Yokohama. It was not on my list but was really glad I came across that lovely cozy area._DSC0756-01-01[1]_DSC0758-01-01-01[1]It has a great range of interesting cafes, clothing & souvenir stores. The shops are pretty good as well. A bit of a hidden gem and doesn’t appear on any of the top lists for things to do in Yokohama. Oh my gosh! It should. Very chilled facility with chic atmosphere. So, we can’t afford to miss a meal from one of the cafes there._DSC0763-01-01-01[1].jpegAnd just a short distance from Marine and Walk Yokohama, you’ll reach The Red Brick Warehouses. One of the major tourist spot in Yokohama. A cultural & commercial facility that utilizes two historical buildings constructed more than a century ago._DSC0863-01_(1)-01[1]_DSC0823-01_(1)-01[1]_DSC0775-01-01[1]Built as a government bonded warehouse during the Meiji and Taisho eras and, as Japan’s first modern port facility. It stopped being used as a warehouse in 1989. Underwent nine years of conservation and renovation work until reopened in 2002 as a cultural and commercial facility._DSC0783-01[1]_DSC0819-01-01[1]

Literally a walking tour without a map guide. haha! But we managed to! Aren’t all these photos the proof? lol!_DSC0901-01-01[1].jpeg

Soak in the atmosphere at Yamashita Park by Strolling through the park. You can definitely enjoy stunning and majestic views of the harbor and Minato Mirai._DSC0897-01_(1)-01[1]20170418_173823-01-01[1]_DSC0899-01_(1)[1].jpegWe ended our day at Osanbashi Pier to see the sunset and the lovely nightscape of Minato Mirai Skyline. Osanbashi International Passenger Terminal, where large-scale cruise liners dock. 20170418_180226-01-01[1]20170418_175449-01[1]20170418_180058-01-01[1]Surrounded by the sea, the pier’s rooftop features wooden walkways that are perfect for a leisurely walk while taking in the best views of the bay.20170418_175612-01-01[1]20170418_180038-01-01[1]20170418_175415-01[1]The cool breeze of the wind & amazing views of the bay made my day!_DSC0919-01[1]
Just as the sun went down, the weather also dropped to around 13°C, darn! Imagine how freezing cold I was with my outfit. lol! But really, the views were too exhilarating that I didn’t mind I was shivering with the weather. haha! 20170418_180324-01-01[1]20170418_183636-01[1]Indeed a lovely nightscape! Who wouldn’t want to walk with these views? 20170418_184356-01[1]20170418_184645-01[1]20170418_190252-01[1]It was nice exploring Yokohama! Sayonara.

Next on the blog: Hitachi Seaside Park on the Pacific Ocean side of the Japanese coast.

Love, _DSC0669-01[1]Stylishwanderer.com

 

Shinjuku Gyoen: Home of Late-blooming Sakura

20170419_110409-01[1]Tokyo boasts innumerable picturesque Japanese gardens and parks which are indeed stunning all on their own, and with the pink cherry blossoms covering it, oh well.. it takes you to a whole new level. 20170419_110554-01[1]20170419_110650-01[1]Konnichiwa! Welcome back to Tokyo! I promised myself that I’ll definitely be back on spring time, yes, I made it! lol But this post is nothing but few weeks older? Errr. Actually, I was bogged down for weeks due to some viral infection when I came back from Japan. What a pity! But thank heavens though, I’m getting slightly better now. Yeyy! And that means, getting back on track here. I’ll be having a series of post about my recent Tokyo trip. And first on the list, Shinjuko Gyoen National Garden_DSC1077-01[1]Visited Shinjuku Gyoen the second time around, and oh dear, it was as lovely as the first time I came last year. Lucky to have spent spring time in Japan for 2 consecutive years now. And I won’t get tired of coming back though, I swear!_DSC1067-01[1]_DSC1069-01[1]_DSC1065-01[1]Ooops! And then there’s me enjoying the sakura rain. lol!_DSC1010-01[1]_DSC1012-01[1]_DSC1004-01[1]Whenever I hear the word sakura, or cherry blossom the next thing comes to mind is hanami, the famous word hana means “flower” and mi is “to look” or simply Cherry blossom viewing. Who would want to miss such lovely sight? The Hanami season starts from late March to mid April and is for many Japanese the best time of the year. Even tourists flock to witness the sakura bloom in different parts of Japan._DSC0969-01[1]_DSC0956-01-01-02[1]_DSC0956-01-01-01[1]In spring, Shinjuku Gyoen becomes one of the best places in the city to see cherry blossoms and it is one of Tokyo’s largest and perhaps most beautiful park. Entrance to Shinjuku Gyoen is 200 yen (2.5Sgd/88Php). The paid park’s spacious lawns, meandering walking paths and tranquil scenery provide a relaxing escape from the busy urban center around it._DSC0991-01-01[1]_DSC0992-01[1]_DSC0993-01[1]Undoubtedly one of the best places to see cherry blossom in Tokyo. Home to over one thousand cherry trees of both early- and late-blooming varieties, meaning that the cherry blossom season here lasts longer than elsewhere in the city. Trust me. Last year, I went around 1st week of April, goshh! everywhere is pink and all in full bloom. So beautiful! This time though, I was a bit late for the usual peak of sakura bloom, it was already 3rd week of April that time so I wasn’t really expecting much like before but I was surprised to see that there were still many cherry blossom. There were those white ones too! I felt I wasn’t late for spring. haha!_DSC1062-01[1]_DSC1064-01[1]And since I have taken a bunch of snaps, forgive me, I just can’t resist! lol _DSC1082-01-01-01-01[1]_DSC1080-01-01-01[1]

When you visit Tokyo, never miss to visit Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden especially during Spring and Autumn. _DSC0996-01[1]

How to get there:
Shinjuku Gate is roughly a 20 minute walk east from the “New South Exit” of JR Shinjuku Station. However, we were quite lazy to walk that time, so we took a cab from JR Shinjuku station which cost around 600yen (7Sgd/250Php) and reached in 5mins. lol!20170419_103150-01[1]20170419_103157-01-01[1]

Love,20170419_110925-01[1]Stylishwanderer.com

4 Vital Points for a Cheaper Japan Travel

Japan has an image of being one of the most expensive countries in the world, and if you’re staying in hotels, eating out, and traveling around a lot, then it can really cost you a bomb. It is never going to be as cheap as other destinations and while it may be an expensive country to visit, there are plenty of ways to make this country affordable.

To me, budget travel is value travel. So, I have listed 4 vital points on how you can cut down the costs and make this country affordable:

1.) TRANSPORTATION20160329_165523-02[1]Transportation is one of the most expensive aspects of travel in Japan and this will surely eat up your pennies. The bullet train, while awesome, comfortable, and fast, is not cheap at all. Individual rail journey can cost hundreds of dollars when added altogether. So in order to reduce your train costs, get a Japan Rail (JR) pass.Screenshot_20160709-184104-01[1]I repeat, do get a JAPAN RAIL PASS and here’s my BIG NOTE: You only can buy this pass outside of Japan and only people on a tourist visa can avail this special pass, so purchase this before arriving in Japan or else you will end up spending twice or thrice of its cost. 20160329_171011-01[1]Passes are sold at 7-day, 14-day and 21-day categories, includes all trains (shinkasen, express, local,etc..) and a few highway buses. I purchased the 7-day unli pass even if I was there for 12 days. I regret of not getting the 14 days instead. haha! I bought it at 28,300 yen (377SGD or 13000Php) It’s even expensive than your promo fare flight I guess, and it will make your spending double or triple if you don’t have it.20160329_165425-01-01[1]Many people are put off by the high cost of the rail pass, but if you’re going to travel all the way to Japan, it’s best to have a proper budget in place. So getting this Unli pass is a must to help cut down your expenses. In my case, I traveled OSAKA, NARA, KYOTO and TOKYO. So it definitely was a great deal for me and of course to anyone who wish to explore Japan.

2.) FOOD20160404_124447-01[1]There’s an array of cheap food options in the country, and unless you go out to mid-range or better restaurants, then you may not be able to cut your daily totals down. Sorry, I’m guilty on this. Since It was my first time visiting the country, I went a bit all out when it comes to food. But I never regret that I spent fairly on food than shopping. Oink! haha

20160331_171658-01[1]IMG_20160331_211442-01[1]20160331_171110-01[1]20160331_170714-01-01[1].jpegJust to give you an idea, roughly 20,000 yen (250Sgd/9000Php) for this meal. Yes, it’s crazy expensive but god! I couldn’t find the right words to describe how tasty it was. All I can remember that time was like, sh*t the beef melted in my mouth. haha! That’s how tender the beef was.

You actually don’t really need to spend much money on food. There are many affordable options you can consider to cut your food spending. And if you are there mainly for the picturesque views, breathtaking scenes and magnificent temples and gardens then cutting on your food budget will definitely help you hang onto your money.

So here’s how you can save money on food:

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  • Eat at 100-yen shops – There are many 100-yen shops in Japan, where set meals, groceries, water, toiletries, household items, and more are simply 100 yen (1Sgd/35Php). Of course! as a thrifty shopper I did all my shopping at these shops. haha! Their names vary by region, so ask your hotel/hostel reception or Airbnb host where the nearest 100-yen shop is located.
  • Eat at Lawson (Japan’s Convenience store) – Max Value, 7-11, Family Mart, and other corner stores have a lot of pre-set meals for 100–300 yen. Additionally, supermarkets have many set meals at similar prices too and I noticed, this was even a popular choice for the locals.
  • Cook your food – Apartments that you book from AirBnb and some Hostels have kitchens, where you can cook and cut your food expenses to less than 800 yen (10Sgd/360Php) per day, especially by shopping at the 100-yen stores.
  • Get take-away meals from grocery stores – Cheap and fresh bento, take-away sushi, noodles, and udon are just some of the grab-and-go options available at Japanese grocery stores.

Don’t be afraid buying all the ready to eat food as it is prepared fresh daily in Japan. Even in the supermarkets and thus, they want to sell as much of their bento plates and pre-cooked foods by the end of the day. Hence, there are discounts when you buy late night. Sushi plates, salads, tempura and a lot more to try… all fresh and damn delicious!

3.) ACCOMMODATION

Finding cheap accommodation is indeed a real pain. Try to stay in Hostels or Ryokans, as Japanese hotel rooms are way too expensive. Ryokans are Japanese-style inns which will give you a more authentic Japanese experience as you sleep on tatami matt floor, futons, and some have onsen steam bath. While Hotel offers you the cookie-cutter experience of a room, a few amenities, and an overpriced minibar. Wouldn’t something different be nice for a change? Hmm. then I personally recommend Airbnb.Screenshot_20160709-185335-01[1]It was actually my first time using Airbnb.com and honestly I was skeptical about it. But, I managed to try myself and yeah I strongly recommend it after having an awesome stay in Japan. To be exact, stayed for about 4 locations since I explored Osaka, Nara, Kyoto and Tokyo for about 12 days. Airbnb is something of a unique experience since you can find an affordable place to stay while having a home-away-from-home comfort in a new city.Screenshot_20160709-185531-01[1]Airbnb is a service in which homeowners rent out a room, or sometimes their whole house, to guests through an online profile on Airbnb.com. Both hosts and guests are reviewed and the service works on a rating system to help ensure that you’re not renting to or renting from someone who is completely crazy.Screenshot_20160709-185716-01[1]Experiences vary though, but generally you’ll be expected to interact with your host a little more than you would a hotel concierge. Some places offer more than just a room; they’ll provide you with breakfast, a drive to or from the station, and gosh! their hospitality is at the fullest, as locals are very warm-hearted that they will take extra mile just to give you a memorable experience. And I can attest because I personally experienced all of those. My Japan travel was made extra special because of my Airbnb hosts. 20160405_100050-02[1]20160405_100050-01[1]I so love their kindness, they are so helpful and very polite. I couldn’t forget that time when I reached Tokyo around 8 in the evening and my host prepared a sumptuous dinner, thinking that I still haven’t eaten from my trip all the way from Kyoto. Touched! Who wouldn’t be? Screenshot_20160709-185058-01[1]And here is my one bit of advice if you decide using Airbnb. READ THE REVIEWS! You will never go wrong in booking a certain place If it has nothing but all positive reviews, go with it. Read reviews and room details thoroughly. It’s not always cheaper than a hotel room either, so specify your budget in the search criteria.

There are literally over 1 million listings across the globe so you have tons of unique options that will make your next getaway unforgettable. Lastly, A word of warning – book your accommodation far in advance of your trip,  at least a month. The best and cheapest places book up very quickly, especially in blossom season!

4.) RANDOM SPENDING

This is the one area people tend to underestimate or rather not budget for at all. You will shop when travelling; it could be for souvenirs, gifts for family, or things for yourself, so you might as well put some money aside. Also, most people who visit Japan will spend on random things they don’t normally spend, you know why? Simply because Japan offers a variety of bizarre stuff, from unique charms to mouthwatering peculiar Japanese delicacies which you might want to bring home and give to your family and friends. So If you’re the type who likes to shop, you may want to budget a little more.

So here’s my final word for a cheaper Japan travel:

Japan can be done on the cheap, but if you’re going to travel all the way to Japan, it’s best to have a proper budget in place. You don’t want to miss out experiences because you didn’t budget properly. And if you are doing it free and easy then ready yourself from all the trip guides you can read online. Trust me, reading other people’s experience through blog-posts will really help you a lot specially on the budget. Didn’t this post help you? Yay! I pretty hope it did. Comments below are welcome!

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Love,

Stylishwanderer.com

The Magical Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto

Tourists in Kyoto have always raved about the beauty of Kiyomizu Dera temple and they are 100% right when I get to see it in my own eyes. For most visitors in Kyoto, I find this is one of the must-see especially in spring and autumn. 20160401_123253-01[1]The walk from the bus stop to the temple complex is a great experience, with shops, small restaurants, crowds, people in kimono, etc. – definitely worth a good look around. The temple and associated buildings are beautifully and lovingly cared. The large wood balcony is definitely a sight to be admired and the view is splendid. Looking at it from below, when you go around the circuit is also really worthwhile as you see how the balcony is set up, truly an intricate work.20160401_113010-01[1]20160401_131110-01[1]20160401_113310-01[1]20160401_113304-01[1]20160401_113441-01[1]20160401_113526-01[1]20160401_113747-01[1]

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Although there were lots of people, the crowd added to the charm of our Kiyomizudera experience since a lot of Japanese locals were in their colorful kimonos.20160401_115321-01[1]20160401_115641-01[1]20160401_115446-01[1]20160401_115413-01[1]

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And oh, what a strange thing to be under those lovely cherry blossoms! 20160401_115041-01[1]20160401_115215-01-01[1]20160401_115222-01[1]

FACT CHECK:
During the Edo period, a tradition where people would jump from the 13 meter tall veranda to the ground. It was said that if one were to survive such a plunge, one’s wish would be granted. Of the 234 recorded jumps in history, approximately 85% survived the fall. The practice is now prohibited, I couldn’t imagine how many could have died if they still do it until now. I just can’t. haha!20160401_122811-01[1]20160401_122736-01[1]20160401_121222-01[1]20160401_120948-01[1]20160401_120853-01[1]20160401_120831-01[1]Once you’re finished exploring the balcony area, follow the path out from the balcony and you’ll see a flight of stairs that will lead you up to the Jishu Shrine. This small but pretty cute shrine is dedicated to the deity Okuninushi, the god of love and matchmaking.
Praying there is said to help one succeed in finding an appropriate love match. And of course! I did mine. lol.20160401_121340-01[1]20160401_121706-01[1]20160401_121639-01[1]20160401_121606-01[1]Walk the trail across and then down to the triplet Otowa waterfall. People come to the temple to drink water from the falls by collecting it in tin cups; the water is said to have therapeutic properties, and drinking from the three different streams is said to confer health, longevity, and success in studies.20160401_123253-01[1]20160401_123145-01[1]20160401_123040-01[1]20160401_125115-01[1]The walk was apparently a great way to be able to view and take photos of the temple’s wooden stage. The main hall is built out on a veranda onto pillars, a structure constructed without nails. Amazing Isn’t it?20160401_125136-01[1]

Heard some noise from my tummy. Oops! didn’t realized it’s about time for lunch, well I say late lunch! lol.

20160401_124032-01[1]20160401_124258-01[1] A perfect combo for the freezing cold weather!

After feeding those hungry pangs! Hmm. Recharged! Who’s not? lol. The awesome Kiyomizu dera experience doesn’t actually stop the moment you finish your meal in their ramen shop coz even on your way out is a beautiful surrounding filled with lovely cherry blossoms, garden and a view of the temple from afar. The walk through it is absolutely amazing!

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First part of the day ends here. If you are like me who never gets tired when it comes to exploring places, then let’s head on to Fushimi Inari Taipa. Click to read the famous landmark of kyoto.

Get There and Around

Kiyomizudera can be reached from Kyoto Station by bus number 100 or 206 (15 minutes, 230 yen). Get off at Gojo-zaka or Kiyomizu-michi bus stop, from where it is a ten minute uphill walk to the temple. Alternatively, Kiyomizudera is about a 20 minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojo Station along the Keihan Railway Line.

 

 

20160401_114003-01[1]Stylishwanderer.com

 

Journey Through a Thousand Gates – Fushimi Inari

The moment we got off the train, I started craning my neck, looking for all the orange. Yes, to be honest! lol. Even if you have never heard of the Fushimi-Inari shrine, I’ll bet you’ve seen pictures of those reddish-orange torii gates, stood closely together forming like a tunnel. And a scene from Memoirs of a Geisha was shot here, Who can remember? :p20160401_142154-01[1]20160401_142208(0)-01[1]The torii gateway snakes all the way up the mountains, creating several tunnels of redness amidst the heavy greenery. It was beautiful and as you can Imagine me on my first time visit, would be like, non stop snaps even if they all look the same. lol.20160401_143347-01[1]20160401_143349(0)-01[1]20160401_143348-01[1]The significance of the shrine located at Fushimi Inari is to honor Inari, the Shinto god of rice. You will see foxes sculpture throughout the grounds, as they are said to be the messengers for Inari. Each torii gate was donated by companies and individuals thankful for their blessings, the long tunnel of toriis is one of the most iconic and sacred landmarks of Kyoto. But, if you’re more interested in sightseeing than knowing the history, you can still enjoy the Fushimi Inari shrine. There’s so much to see and you could easily spend over four hours exploring the offerings of the religious site.20160401_142216-01[1]20160401_142354-01[1]20160401_152556-01[1]20160401_152558-01[1]I actually had no idea how much hiking would be involved just to get up the mountain. (My bad! I never made a search on this) So, we just followed the trail with boldness? haha! As it gets steeper, freezing cold as we get higher, sadly, I just can’t. Too bad to stop at the middle of the hike but I literally felt like grasping for air. Nasal flaring to its highest level. Sorry. I fail. haha! The torii tunnels are literally going up to the top of the mountain, and if you are tough enough to climb the whole thing, then it would be a very rewarding feeling when you reach the top. 20160401_143926-01[1]20160401_143612-01[1]20160401_150219-01[1]20160401_144559-01[1]20160401_144613-01[1]

Okay, back to the main entrance after the failure hike with these kawaii ladies. :p 20160401_152819-01[1]20160401_152810-01[1]

If you can make it at the top of the mountain you surely will witness a beautiful scenery but like me who fail the hike, haha! Just head back, food stalls are waiting for you! lol. (the main reason why I’m no longer fit) I must admit! :p
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GET THERE AND AROUND

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Fushimi Inari Shrine is located just outside JR Inari Station, the second station from Kyoto Station along the JR Nara Line (5 minutes, 140 yen one way from Kyoto Station, not served by rapid trains). The shrine can also be reached in a short walk from Fushimi Inari Station along the Keihan Main Line.

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Coat/Romper/Turtle neck top  Dotonbori Shopping Arcade

Vintage suede shoes F21 Osaka Japan

Loose-type Backpack Esprit

20160401_160453-01[1]Stylishwanderer.com

 

 

 

Kinkaku-ji: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Kinkaku-ji Temple, in all its majesty is something you must see with your own eyes to believe. A stunningly beautiful temple covered in gold leaf, even seeing it in person feels almost illusory. It’s as if viewing a famous painting for the first time. But it is so much more than just art, it is a piece of history that solely rests in the peaceful pond of Kyoto.20160402_142656-01[1]20160402_142641-01[1]

Admission is ¥400. 20160402_141746-01[1]

Walking towards the Golden Pavilion, you’ll see the hojo, (Ooops! this ain’t yet the temple) lol. :p This is actually the head priest’s former living quarters. 20160402_141542-01[1]20160402_141538-01[1]

Voilaaah! From afar you can see the glimmering glory of this temple reflecting its beauty in the surrounding pond. 20160402_142028-01[1]20160402_142251-01[1]20160402_143109-01[1]

The Golden Pavilion, as it’s commonly known, was originally built in 1397. It withstood wars and time only to be burnt down in 1950 by a monk suffering from mental illness. The current temple is rebuilt in 1955 based on the original structure and more extensive gold leaf coating was used in this version. In all its glistening glory, stands as a legacy of medieval Japan. It is a World Cultural Heritage Site and one of seventeen locations that comprise the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. 20160402_142448-01[1]20160402_142524-01[1]I wasn’t expecting it to be that gold! lol.
And as you walk past the temple is a small native hut with pretty old mementos. They also sell some souvenir! :p20160402_143215-01[1]

Just follow the pathway inside the temple grounds and it will lead you to their zen garden.

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There’s still a lot to see though, infact there is also a silver temple located nearby called “Ginkaku-ji”. Despite the name, the temple isn’t covered in silver but is believed to have earned its name from the moonlight reflecting on its dark exterior, which used to be covered in black lacquer. It isn’t not a waste if you can’t make it to the silver pavilion (my tip) :p

Pathway heading out flooded with tourists 🙂20160402_144253-01[1]

From Kyoto Station:

Slowest and easiest route:
Bus #101 or #205 from Kyoto station, about 40 minutes, ¥230.

Fastest route:
Karasuma line train to Kitaoji, 13 minutes, ¥260. Then take bus #101, 102, 204, or 205 to Kinkaku-ji, 10 minutes, ¥230.

As per my Itinerary, I spent half day in Arashiyama district  (Click to read post). Leave the Scenic Countryside of Kyoto around 1 or 2 to visit Kinkakuji temple. You probably will end around 4-5 depending on the crowd, traffic etc. and just nice to be back in kyoto station before sunset. If you are planning to take the shinkansen ride bound for tokyo then this I say is the most time efficient course if you still want to explore kyoto before leaving for tokyo on the the same day. ENJOY!

20160402_143134-01[1]Stylishwanderer.com

 

The Scenic Countryside of Kyoto

Located on the Western Outskirts of Kyoto lies the Historic Site and Place of Scenic Beauty of Arashiyama. It’s terrifically charming and feels a bit like traveling back in time a few hundred years. Undoubtedly, it has become one of the famous landmark which offers a unique window into Kyoto’s historic heart.

Start the day around 9 in the morning to explore the district of Arashiyama. For those who have JR PASS, take the JR Sagano line from Kyoto Station and alight at Saga Arashiyama Station. It is 10 mins. on foot before you reach the gate of Tenryuji temple. Entrance costs ¥500 (6sgd/203php) and it’s really worth the visit.20160402_090653-01[1]As we mosey around the temple grounds of Tenryuji, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and considered as Kyoto’s top 5 Zen Temples, I was in awe.20160402_091643-01[1]
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The glorious garden that surrounds it is a testament to the timeless nature of Japanese landscaping. 20160402_092054-01[1]20160402_092934-01[1]20160402_092419-01[1]20160402_092824-01[1]20160402_092345-01[1]20160402_092244-01[1]20160402_093323-01[1]20160402_093424-01[1]20160402_093148-01[1]After Tenryuji, head back to where you entered the temple grounds. From there is actually the starting point of the must see Arashiyama Bamboo Forest (Click to read post).20160402_090442-01[1]20160402_090412-01[1]20160402_090259-01[1]20160402_093556-01[1] I love the wind chime quality of the bamboo rattling and the light rustle of the leaves. It’s magical! And as you keep walking towards the end of the groves, is the way to the breathtaking view of Arashiyama Mountain.20160402_095821-01[1]20160402_100437-01-01[1]20160402_103035-01-01[1]20160402_103032-01-01[1]If there is one place in Kyoto where I could say I fell in love with at first sight, then It would be the scenic view of Arashiyama Mountain. Surrounded by wonderful scenery of nature and the togetsu-kyo bridge as its most iconic landmark. It’s definitely magnificent! Here, you will be listening to relaxing sounds of the river, spotting boat rowing, and running into visitors enjoying their rickshaw rides. I spent a few hours to savor the picturesque setting. So, you definitely must dedicate at least half a day at Arashiyama district. Now, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. 🙂
20160402_113612-01[1]20160402_113253-01[1]20160402_113340-01[1] 20160402_104133-01[1]20160402_104507-01[1]20160402_114441-01[1]20160402_120610-01[1]20160402_114806-01[1]20160402_115221-01[1]And To cap off the morning part is my favorite activity, EATING. lol. It’s time for lunch! There are lots of small souvenir and food shops lining both sides of the street. So for a choice of place to eat is definitely not a problem. Just don’t be afraid to try any of them. Gladly, I’ve picked the best place to dine in. The Japanese resto which I forgot the name (sorry) :p situated right across the end of Togetsukyo bridge. Gazing at my favorite view, the quaint countryside of Arashiyama Mountains with many tourists walk blissfully in different direction while eating my authentic Japanese meal is beyond any doubt unrivalled. A great combo of food and setting. 20160402_104814-01[1]20160402_112854-01[1]20160402_111035-01[1]20160402_111044-01[1]

Itadakimasu!20160402_110656-01[1]20160402_111455-01[1]

I purposely had a simple meal cause I know that on the other side of togetsukyo bridge lies a lot of  Japanese food stalls by the river.

And who do not want to try as much food as you can? lol.

TADAAAH!
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The sunny freezing cold weather paired with yummy matcha vanilla ice cream! Ahhh.. Heaven!20160402_122008-01[1]

The first part of the day ends here. So, the next part is to visit the famous Golden Pavilion Temple before taking the Shinkansen ride bound for Tokyo. I’ll be making a separate post for the Ginkakuji Temple coz I find this post a bit lengthy now. lol.

 

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I hope you find this blog post helpful, especially for you guys planning to explore the Countryside of Kyoto, Arashiyama district. It actually is one of my fave!

-Stylishwanderer.com