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Monday, February 27, 2017

JAPAN Summer Trip DAY 3 Pt.3 | Kaiseki Dinner & SHIOK Onsen + Takeshima Hotel

This is the last part of Day 3! Yay, almost halfway through this travel log. Previous logs: 

From Tenryลซ-ji temple, we went to Aichi perfecture to stay at a Ryokan and have dinner there.
The ryokan we're staying at.
We were having a traditional Japanese course dinner (kaiseki ryori) that night and it was one of the highlight from this tour's menu, other than the crab course we had in Tokyo later on.
All the dishes. I believe there is an order in which one you eat first, but we didn't know. One of the tour member even fried the sashimi on the hot stone because he doesn't take raw food lol such a waste of a perfectly good and fresh seafood
I honestly don't really remember anything particular other than that it was decent, so maybe nothing spectacular for the kaiseki dinner here. 

The only thing that left an impression was the umeshu (plum sake), which was incredibly delicious. Even my little brother who's not a fan of alcohol loves it. He even gulped down another member's umeshu and got tipsy after. His alcohol tolerance is a joke wtf ๐Ÿ˜‚
My mom's birthday celebration part 2.

We went to our room afterward and the rooms are ryokan-style!! Loves it! You guys should definitely try Ryokan at least once when you go to Japan.
Really giving me Doraemon tea right here. Sleeping on the futon was sooo sooo comfortable too. If I could get futon here in Indonesia, I would.
The bathroom. Spacious for Japan's hotel standard
It even has separate room for the bathtub.
And another separate room for the bidet.
Each room is equipped with yukata for us to wear around the vicinity.
They even provided little baggie to put our stuff in for when we go to onsen! Wearing yukata is awesome btw, so lightweight and airy.
Random gif of my random family.

Went to try onsen after the photo sess. You're not supposed to take photo inside onsen (for obvious reason lol tits and butts everywhere you turn ๐Ÿ˜ณ), but there was no one when I was there, so here's a sneak peek of the onsen in this ryokan.
Bins to put your belonging. Honestly, had it not been in Japan, I probably wouldn't feel safe leaving my stuffs without key like this. Although I believe they do warn us about putting our valuables there.
Vanity area. They provided some amenities like comb, q-tips, body lotion, face cream, even exfoliating stuff. Awesome.
Hallway leading to the hot spring.
We're supposed to clean ourselves before dipping into the onsen.
Again, they provide everything you need: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, even face wash. I've tried three different onsen places and all of them provide top-notch amenities. Being a tacky gaijin, this amazes me to no end.
Indoor onsen. There is an outdoor part too, but there were some people there, so I didn't take a pic.

The whole onsen experience felt SO SHIOK and relaxing! Another DIE DIE MUST TRY when you go to Japan. I slept like a baby that night. 

On second thought, why does it called "sleeping like a baby" when you have a good night sleep? Babies wake up sporadically throughout the night, crying here and there. Weird phrase. 
Family photo outside the hotel after.
Oh, they also gave us welcome snack on the table in our room.
Sponge cake with dried fruit inside. Meh, but much appreciated.
Okay, finishing off this post with a pic of my mom posing all zen and having tea like a lady. See you on the next post!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

JAPAN Summer Trip DAY 3 Pt.2 | Bamboo Grove & Tenryลซ-ji Temple

Okay, I'm on a roll here, edit: this one blogpost ended up taken me more than 2 weeks to finish lol, so let's continue this travelogue! My goal is to finish it before mid-April. Not sure if it's possible, but here we go. Here's what I have so far in this log:
After our 1-hour was up at Kiyomizu-dera, we had lunch at one of the shop located at the uphill street leading to the temple. The tour agent organized it, so I'm not sure what's the name of the place.
We each got a box of bento and a bowl of udon with aburaage and kamaboko.
I don't really remember this meal distinctly, so it's probably only okay, but I do remember that eggplant thing is really good and not bitter at all.
Also don't remember anything particular about the udon, but it's decent.


After the lunch, we were supposed to get on the train to go to Arashiyama, but my Dad and I got separated from the group and lost wtf. All because my Dad was so engrossed photographing everything (he loves photography) ๐Ÿ˜… and I was waiting for him for abit and the next second I turned around the group had vanished ๐Ÿ˜‘ We almost missed the train by seconds.

Not really my Dad's fault tho, because our itinerary was so jam-packed we basically rushed from one thing to another without truly taking the time to enjoy the little things. So my advice, if you're planning to use a tour agent, please arrange a feasible itinerary where you get the time to really immerse and enjoy yourself. Or just plan everything yourself without tour agent. I mean, Japan is pretty easy to navigate anyway because of the extensive train routes and countless travel blogs covering it. Especially if you're just planning to go through the Golden route (Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo), save your money and just skip the tour agent.
Finally made it inside the train. It's like an old style one with wooden seats. Cute.

Arrived at the Bamboo grove.
I thought this photo has a cool bokeh effect when I was editing it, but then I realized that it's just water droplets covering the lens from the pouring rain ๐Ÿ˜‚
Snapped a quick somewhat-acceptable photo because we basically weren't given any time to stop and snap, just had to keep on walking through the groove.

Also, the rain was so heavy I gave up my wedges and just walked barefooted from this point ๐Ÿ˜… I knew it wasn't a good idea to wear wedges on a trip, but I wanted to keep a cute OOTD for this Japan trip, and I thought that we would use the tour bus a lot, so it'd be okay ๐Ÿ˜‘
We only spent a grand total of 10 minutes from the start of the bamboo grove to the end of it. Again, plan a FEASIBLE itinerary people. Can't stress that enough.
On the way to Tenryลซ-ji temple. I think this is one of those purifying water thing to clean your hands with, cmiiw.
Finally arrived at Tenryลซ-ji!!! It's only 10 minutes walk from bamboo grove.
This temple is absolutely gorgeous and got that zen feels to it. Really.

Okay, I just did a quick look-up on this temple, turns out it's like one of the top five zen temples in Kyoto. Figures.
You can just sit on the balcony of the main hall and spend hours gazing through the beautiful garden in front of it, pondering #isthisapun. Musing on where you went wrong in life lol.
lol this one got that old time Chinese MV feels or not? with that slanted angle, greenery, umbrella, and all. ๐Ÿ˜‚

On a side note, do NOT get up on those rocks like I did. It's actually prohibited, I didn't know at the time. I guess the rope around it should be my first sign lol. This effing ignorant gaijin. Sorry :x
Love this photo my Dad took. It really shows the already ubiquitous clear umbrella.
Oh, another addition to the zen feel. A bird perched on one of the branch across the pond.
Even my then-emo-ridden pubescent little brother smiled so wide. THAT'S how beautiful and serene this temple is.
How gorgeous this site would be tho in autumn. Momiji galore!
Another sad attempt at artsy shot.
Cup no Fuchiko gachapon. This is where the obsession began. I've collected 5 or so so far. No doubles ๐Ÿ˜ Also got this super cute summer edition one with beach attire from Yokohama but lost it ๐Ÿ˜ญ
Another shrine we passed while on the way out out of Tenryลซ-ji temple.
I LOOOVEE the neighborhood around here. Super old school and quiet like in those manga I read years ago. Just looking at this photo gives me a sense of peace.
Okay, end of this post. I can't believe it took me more than two weeks to do 35% of this post, and then less than an hour for the remaining 65% ๐Ÿ˜…

See you on the next post! It's gonna be my first kaiseki ryori and onsen experience.

Friday, February 10, 2017

JAPAN Summer Trip DAY 3 Pt.1 | Natto, Shinkansen, & Kiyomizu-dera

Alright, continuing this Japan travelogue. Here's what happened so far:
Today we're onto Day 3. 
And moving from Osaka to Kyoto. It was, afterall, my first trip to Japan, so the Golden Route it is. Let's start from the beginning of the day.
Breakfast spread. I've professed my love for Hotel's breakfast buffet again and again, and I think Sheraton Miyako Osaka serves one of best breakfast buffet among the hotels we stayed at during this trip (we stayed at a total of 5 different hotels). Though I will say that while in Japan, I prefer to just eat from conbini rather than paying extra for hotel's breakfast. Conbini just has so much to offer and the choices are yummy af. Only in Japan I would refuse a breakfast buffet lol.
And by the way, these orange slices are THE SWEETEST orange slices I've ever had in my entire life. No exaggeration. I distinctly remember this because that was what made this particular breakfast memorable. Oh, and this:

A video posted by Lily Zhen (@lilyzhen168ii) on

Tried natto for the first time. I agree, it's an acquired taste.

I tried to acquire it.

Twice.

Failed miserably both times. At least I managed to finish the second one (with the help of a bottle of water).

Here's the thing. People say tempeh is an acquired taste. Well, I love tempeh, it's something I grew up eating. I figured that natto would be sorta like tempeh, you know, it being fermented soybeans and all, so I thought I would take it just fine. Well, NOPE. It does kinda taste like tempeh, but in an over-fermented, putrid, and spoiled kinda way.

Maybe I'll successfully acquire it someday. Maybe my tastebud need to level up or something to appreciate natto ๐Ÿ˜…. Next time, next time~
I think this is the ticket for the shinkansen we took to go to Kyoto from Osaka.
Tried to take one of those artistic water droplet thing. Failed. Oh, well. Side note, I love shinkansen ride, so peaceful and quiet ๐Ÿ˜Š

There are a lot of souvenir shops at the Kyoto station, so we did a bit of look-see. Most of the souvenirs are sweets.
Like these.
And these.
Also this.
And I bought this. Also at the station.

It's from Yojiya, a Kyoto-born company famous for its high-quality oil-blotting papers, which supposedly are very popular souvenir from Kyoto.

It's a bit expensive for oil-blotting papers, around ¥500 or more I think, but okaylah as a novelty gift.

Is it better than the regular oil-blotting paper? I don't know. People say it is, they say they use less papers per use with this brand. But I'm the type of person who's too lazy and can't be bothered to bring my own oil-blotting papers, so I haven't really given this item a chance.
Look at what conbini has to offer. Rows of different sandwiches. Egg, Katsu, Ham, Fruits. Don't even get me started on the onigiri section.



Our first destination at Kyoto was Kiyomizu-dera.
We had to walk uphill through rows of shops to get to the temple. We weren't allowed time to stop and shop, so it was a challenge getting through it ๐Ÿ˜›
Mandatory ticket photo.
This is the gate I think. Eh, don't quote me on anything related to this temple. I don't do my research.
One of the pagoda there. Not the best photo since you can't see the sky, but good enough for this lame blog.
Erhm, the prayer place, I guess?
There are shops selling charms and whatnot at the temple.
I tried omikuji, which is like a fortune-telling type of thing. You basically shake that cylindrical thing and a chopstick will pop out. There is a number on the chopstick that corresponds with the number on rows of drawers. You get the fortune paper inside the corresponding drawer.
At this temple, a kind-looking ojisan will get the paper for you, but there are some temple where you have to look for the drawer yourself. The numbers are written in Japanese, so if you're not familiar with the characters you just have to play image-matching.
I got the second-highest luck if I remember correctly ๐Ÿ˜ And what do you know, the second half of that year was indeed a great, lucky, awesome months. How I wish my 2016 were also like that ๐Ÿ˜’.
Anyway, if you got the unlucky fortune, you can tie it in this thingy. The monks of the temple will pray for it.
There's this pagoda located quite far from the temple. Okay, I just did a quick research 'cause I wasn't really sure what to write lol. Turned out the Kiyomizu-dera is really spacious, comprised with different halls and pagodas. I only went to the deck area, which is the main hall (Hondo). There is also a hall that has hundreds of Jizo statue too (I love Jizo), a hall where you can experience total darkness like in a womb, and many more!

That obscure pagoda in the photo is Koyasu Pagoda. A visit to this pagoda (which is quite far from the main hall, with uphill terrain I imagine) is said to bring you an easy and safe childbirth. Okaylah, next time I'm preggi I'll go here.

Now that I know how much of the temple I hadn't explored I kinda feel cheated lol ๐Ÿ˜‚ The tour guide didn't give us any pointer about the temple and halls there. He just let us roam around on our own without any information whatsoever. Err, isn't the point of a tour is so that we don't have to do extensive research and the guide will, well, GUIDE us?

Although I guess given that we only had an hour at Kiyomizu-dera, we couldn't really explore all of Kiyomizu-dera anyway.
So instead, here's a photo of me looking far into the Koyasu pagoda. Longing for the day I get pregger and finally go there ๐Ÿ˜…

Oh, it was also pouring rain, which made it even harder to explore the area. SILVER LINING tho! I got to take photos with the famous cute clear umbrella. Like that photo above.
And this.
Also this.
And this one.

Lazy caption is lazy caption lol.

By the way, in that last one, I was actually walking up to Jishu shire, located behind the main hall. Jishu shrine is dedicated to the deity of love and match-making. Of course I didn't know at the time, but I remember there are a lot of couple type of souvenr in this area.
Bought omamori -that little angpao-looking things in front of the obasan- as a gift for Sam from the main hall shop. Omamori is an amulet, like a good luck charm type of thing. I love the idea of omamori because it reminds me of cheesy romantic moments in manga where the boy/girl will give it to person they like and that person will blush to no end ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ’• Okay, it doesn't sound romantic at all from my explanation, but it's really romantic when you read the manga.
Last photo of this post. This place for ema.

Ema is the little wooden board hanging with writing on it. You basically purchase the ema, then you write your wishes on it and hang it here. After that the monks will pray for your wishes to come true.

But I'm too stingy, so if I purchase one, I'll probably bring the ema home with me instead of leaving it hanging here ๐Ÿ˜‚

Okay, end of this post. There will three parts of Day 3 because I realize writing super long post bored me. Till then,

take care,
xo