Kyoto Aquarium @ Umekoji Park, Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto Aquarium Kyoto Aquarium

Well, it was bound to happen! We’ve done Sumida Aquarium and Osaka Aquarium Kaiyūkan. Now, we can cross Kyoto Aquarium (京都水族館, Kyōto Suizokukan) off our Japanese Aquariums list! Located in the northern part of Umekoji Park, the modern complex of Kyoto Aquarium is a relaxing 10 to 15 minute walk from Kyoto Station. Continue reading “Kyoto Aquarium @ Umekoji Park, Kyoto, Japan”

Visiting Zenkō-ji Temple + Nagano Photo Diary 2015

Visiting Zenkō-ji Temple, Nagano, Japan Visiting Zenkō-ji Temple, Nagano, Japan Visiting Zenkō-ji Temple, Nagano, Japan

Due to the long cross-country journey we had to make to get from Fujikawaguchiko to Shirakawa-gō, James and I decided to stop overnight in the sleepy inland city of Nagano. Nestled in the mountain ranges of the Northern Alps, Nagano has long been a place of pilgrimage. Its most famous temple, the Zenkō-ji Temple, is situated in a prominent position to the north of the city and draws more than four million visitors each year. Continue reading “Visiting Zenkō-ji Temple + Nagano Photo Diary 2015”

Exploring “Kyoto’s Kitchen” – Nishiki Market, Downtown Kyoto

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

There was an unforgiving cold snap as we entered the final few days of our stay in Kyoto. It was perpetually gusty outside and the temperature dropped to about 2°C, which was a significant change from the reasonable 7-11°C we were given to work with upon our arrival at the old city. Despite the face-biting weather and unrelenting drizzle, we made sure to pay a visit to the famous Nishiki Market (錦市場, Nishiki Ichiba) just before setting off on our long journey south to Mount Kōya (高野山, Kōyasan). Continue reading “Exploring “Kyoto’s Kitchen” – Nishiki Market, Downtown Kyoto”

Higashiyama: Kyoto’s Beautiful “East Mountain” District

Higashiyama, KyotoPicturesque Higashiyama (東山区) is one of the best-preserved historic districts in Kyoto and, as such, makes for a perfect place to experience the traditional feel of the old capital city. Literally meaning “east mountain”, Higashiyama is interposed between the Kamo River and the Higashiyama mountain range, and stretches all the way from Sanjo-dori in the north, to Shichijo-dori in the south. Continue reading “Higashiyama: Kyoto’s Beautiful “East Mountain” District”

Astounding Torii Gates & Kitsune Statues @ Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Being one of the most imposing and memorable highlights in Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Taisha is a must-see destination. Spread across the densely forested slopes of the sacred Inari-san, seemingly never-ending galleries of red torii gates line the winding pathways up the mountain, connecting the sub-shrines. Continue reading “Astounding Torii Gates & Kitsune Statues @ Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto”

京 Apollo Hexagon @ Rokakku-Dōri, Kyoto

Apollo Kyoto

On our second night in Kyoto, we set off in search of an izakaya around the downtown area. I had a very specific image in mind of what I wanted: a small yakitori joint, maybe 8 to 10 seats, with a wise old man behind the counter humbly cooking family recipes while his wife pours locally brewed sake. We walked endlessly, peeking through windows and staring quizzically at menus laden with kanji, before I resigned to the fact that I’d never stumble upon such a place. Angie suggested that we journey on, passing cafes, kushikatsu joints, French bistros, until we finally chanced upon 京 Apollo Hexagon. Continue reading “京 Apollo Hexagon @ Rokakku-Dōri, Kyoto”

A Fabulous Day Trip to Nara (奈良市)

Nara Deer Park

Travel enthusiasts will most likely know about Nara (奈良市) – that awesome place with the giant park where tame deer roam freely through the streets, the temple grounds and the shops. Nara, once the old capital of Japan (710-784), is located about 42 kilometres south of Kyoto. If you are staying in Kyoto or Osaka, it is worth making a day trip to Nara to see the gorgeous deer. We certainly enjoyed ourselves! Apart from the wildlife, there are also many historical sites and scenic areas to visit such as the Kasugayama Primeval Forest, the Tōdai-ji Temple and the Kasuga Taisha Shrine (all UNESCO World Heritage Sites). Continue reading “A Fabulous Day Trip to Nara (奈良市)”

Exploring Kyoto {Shinkansen Train Ride, Bukkoji Buddhist Temple, Pontocho}

Kyoto

Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto

On our final morning in Tokyo, we decided to check out early and head straight to Kyoto. Like most people, we got there via the shinkansen. Though taking these super express bullet trains are not cheap (about ¥13,000 to get from Tokyo to Kyoto on reserved seats), it is definitely worth it for the speed, comfort and amazing views along the way. The maximum operating speed of a shinkansen train is 320 km/h. Continue reading “Exploring Kyoto {Shinkansen Train Ride, Bukkoji Buddhist Temple, Pontocho}”