トランスメディア提供アイコン01 カテゴリ:Travel-Japan( 24 )

トランスメディア提供アイコン01 Sagano & Arashiyama

Sagano (嵯峨野) was a popular retreat area of Japanese nobles and imperial family in the past. It locates near Arashiyama (嵐山).

There are many historial sites and temples. It is very expensive and time-consuming to visit all temples and shrines in the area. I picked only 5 temples to visit - Tenryuji(天竜寺), Nomiya Shrine(野宮神社), Giouji(祇王寺), Odashinonenbutsuji(化野念仏寺) and Daikakuji(大覚寺).

I guess that Tenryuji would be very beautiful in spring and autumn, but I visited there in summer. There was no flowers and no red leaf in the garden. Garden in Giouji is simple but elegant. There is a set pass of visiting both Giouji and Daikakuji. The price of the pass sold in Giouji is lower than that in Daikakuji. There are 8000 stone buddha statues in Odashinonenbutsuji. The walk in bamboo grove inside the temple is beautiful too. I wonder that temples and shrines in Japan were built as gardens of people with power in the past.

Streets in Okusaga (奧嵯峨) - Inner Sagano - is pretty and quite. There is a street network in bamboo grove extending from the North exit of Tenryuji to Nomiya Shrine. Sceneries of farmlands and ancient style streets are also attractive.




a0003697_19111384.jpgAt the end of the day, I made a mistake and took a train to Osaka insteal of Kyoto City. Therefore I gained a chance to enjoy the scenery of Ooigawa(大堰川). Those scenes looks grant and pretty.

There is a location near Nomiya Shrine where I could get very close to the railway. Therefore I shoot some photos of trains. Sometimes I stood at the middle of railway tracks to take photos of tracks and tunnel exit. It was dangerous, so kids should not do what I have done.

by windywood | 2004-11-06 02:32 | Travel-Japan

トランスメディア提供アイコン01 Philosopher's Walk

It was the third day in Kyoto City. It rained, so I went to visit Philosopher's Walk.

Philosopher's Walk was a long walk beside a water duct leading water from Biwa Lake to Kyoto City.

The garden in shrines and temples along the walk are beautiful. I walked from Ginkakuji to Nanzenji. However I didn't enter Nanzenji because I have seen enough beautiful scenes for one day, and the entry fees of Nanzenji was too high to attract me.



a0003697_1346978.jpgI had famous "Yutofu" for lunch in a very splendid restauant outside Honenin. Even a side dish (in the last photo) was delicate.

by windywood | 2004-11-03 14:30 | Travel-Japan

トランスメディア提供アイコン01 Zuiki Festival

After visiting Ryoanji, I went to Nijojo after lunch. Nijojo Castle is the only castle I visited in this trip. Walking in Nijojo was like reading political history of Tokugawa.

It seems that Kitano-Tenmangu is closed to Nijojo on map, so I walked to Tenmangu from Nijojo. However, two places are much more far apart than I thought.


On the way, I met a group of elementary students following their teachers to chase for a mikoshi (a portable shrine). Again, I let those kids lead my way.


Following those kids, I went to an school near Tenmangu. However they did not go to Tenmangu and returned to school. Was that all for the festival? I wondered.

At 3pm, there were only a few people gathering near Tenmangu. The town was very quiet. Moreover, even if there would be a parade, I didn't know where the good location to take photos was. I decided to visit Nishijin first then come back the shrine later.

About 5 minutes from Tenmangu, I dicovered an old man who held a camera with a tripod and walked into a tiny avenue. My instinct told me, "Follow him!"

There was a "camera expo" in the avenue. A lot of old men were holding expensive cameras and lenses. A few of them were even hanging two or three cameras on their necks.


Geishas also came out to the street to wait for the parade. I have never thought I could have chance to take photos of geisha in this trip. Lucky!


The parade group came!


a0003697_135082.jpgThe girl on photo at the left would dance in the following day inside the temple.

a0003697_1350221.jpg a0003697_13514180.jpgThe cow was not willing to walk. Adults tried to move the cow. One of kids in red clothes was also dragging the cow.


On the following day, there was a dance of worship inside the inner building of shrine. I pretended to be a friend of parents of those kids to entry the building to watch the ceremony. However, taking photos of the ceremony was not allowed. The movement in religious dance was stiff, but not a bad thing to watch for getting experience.

by windywood | 2004-11-03 13:04 | Travel-Japan

トランスメディア提供アイコン01 Kyoto City

Kyoto City is a very old city. Streets are narrow. People are not as friendly as those in other part in Japan.

The size of the city is not big. A lot of visiting spots are in walking distance. Bus system is well developed. Commuting in Kyoto City felt like commuting in Kowloon or in Hong Kong Island. Within 15 to 20 minutes, a tourist can arrive at any part of the city by bus. (Buses in Kyoto travel only on local streets, they don't go to freeway.) I have hurted my left ankle in Nikko and couldn't ride bicycles in Kyoto, so I travelled in the city by bus. I bought 4 500-yen day passes of City Bus(市バス) for travelling 4 days in the city.

The hotel I accommodated in Kyoto is at Shichijo Kawaramachi(interception of 7th St. and Kawaramachi St.). Since I had day passes, I went to Sanjo Kawaramachi (interception of 3rd St. and Kawaramachi St.) to have dinner every evening. The busiest moderized shopping area is near Shijo (4th St.) Station. Goods and food along Shijo are expensive. Sanjo St. and Shinkyogoku are more interesting. Food in Sanjo is cheap, but the taste is and the quantity is enough for an adult. There are also some 2nd-hand stores of clothing, books and cameras. I found a set of used Yukata for 2000yens. The price was good, but I don't have chance to wear in Hong Kong, so I didn't buy it. Used camera and lenses in Japan is more expensive than those in Hong Kong, however there are more rare items found.

At the first afternoon in Kyoto, I walked from Gojozaka (5th St. Slope) to Gion. Then I visited Kinkakuji and Ryoanji in the next morning. I lined up to get spring water in Kiyomizu Temple as other high school students did. Sannenzaki and Ninenzaki are in ancient style. But I didn't enjoy walking in Gion, Kinkakuji and Ryoanji. I like Ginkakuji more than Kinkakuji. There were too many visitors in Ryoanji and the garden of the shine was too crowdy and noisy.

by windywood | 2004-11-03 12:54 | Travel-Japan

トランスメディア提供アイコン01 Autumn Firework Festival in Nikko City

Autumn Firework Festival was held on October 2 in Nikko this year. For that event, I stayed in Nikko for three days instead of two days. Firework show would start at 7 o'clock in the evening. I asked the master of minshuku to do me a favour to prepare a very light dinner by 6pm, then I could finish the meal on time and rush to riverside to watch firework.

I returned to inn early from Fall Kegonnotaki(華厳の滝). Therefore I was able to rest myself for free hours before the event. I have been abusing my legs for 12 days of journey. It should be time to take off for an afternoon.

Right at 6 o'clock, the master came to tell me my dinner was ready. I swept away the food and left the inn like a tornado. Although I asked the master to prepare only a dish and rice for my dinner, there were still 3 dishes. I was very full after dinner.

I didn't know where is the location of firework festival, but I knew it was somewhere at the riverside. I wandered around the area near Tobu Nikko. Finally, I saw a pair of dating teenages walking towards riverside. I walked behind them. After five minutes, I saw a few policemen patrolling the traffic at an exit of a bridge. Beside the bridge, there were many food stalls. There was the location where I was looking for.

There were many people. Although it was cool at night, some girls still wore their yukata to the event. I walked in front of stalls, but I was too full to buy food to eat there. A boy pleaded his parents to buy him an apple candy, but his father refused. I was curious to the apple candy, and I could put it in bag to eat it later, so I bought one. Apple candy is an apple as small as a table-tennis ball coated by red candy. It tastes quite interesting.

I suddenly reconized that it was the first time I took photos for firework. I was not familiar the technique and camera setting for taking firework photos. However, there are many firework shows in Hong Kong, the number 1 purpose of that night was having experience of taking part in a Japanese firework festival, I enjoyed time very much. People were very happy. I found that the best location to watch the firework was at the middle of the stall square as shown in the above photo.

The feeling of the environment was so lively, I could not help to buy some to eat in the square any more. I went to buy a banana chocolate cream pancake at one stall. All the eyes were on firework. I ordered my pancake then stood one side to let the people in the stall to watch fireworks. I also turned to the sky as soon as I could. A big firework explosed and many firing ribbons fell down. "That one is beautiful!" the lady making my pancake whispered with her partner. I was very excited. I used one hand to hold the pancake and eat it. At the same time, I used another hand to hold the camera to take photos. That was a very memorable night.

After the last fireball disappeared, hundreds of people left the site together. It was late at night, but it was very safe for me to walk on the street.

by windywood | 2004-11-02 16:14 | Travel-Japan

トランスメディア提供アイコン01 Inner-Nikko National Park


I did not plan to visit Lake Yunoko(湯ノ湖) and Senjogahara(戦場ヶ原), but the master of minshuku recommended to, so I took one day to visit that area.

Yumoto is far away from Nikko City, and the bus fare is very high. It requires 3200yens for only taking bus to Yumoto Onsen without getting off the bus on the way and then returning to Tobu Nikko Station. When I arrived at the bus station, I saw an ad for a discount free-pass for 2 days. It costs 3000yens. With the pass I can get on and off buses as many times as I want. I went to buy a pass in Tobu Nikko immediately. The pass was expensive for me, so I decided not to go to Nikko Edo Wonderland and Kinugawa and travelled to the Yumoto area for two days.


I saw a road map after I got off the bus at Yumoto Onsen Terminal. The area including Lake Yunoko, Senjogahara and Odashirogahara(小田代原) is called Inner-Nikko National Park(奧日光国定公園).

Walking down from Lake Yunoko, I reached Fall Yutaki(湯滝). Near Fall Yukaki, there is a trail to enter the wood conservation area. The wood is very beautiful. Stream running from Lake Yunoko is very clear. The temperature in the park is lower than that in Nikko City. It was only 12 to 15 degree Celsius. There were no cloud on the sky. It is the best weather for hiking. There were many hikers in the park, so it was very safe for me to hike without any company.

On the first day, I hiked from Lake Yunoko to Senjogahara, then took bus to visit Fall Ryuzu(竜頭の滝). It was too difficult to get on the bus as I returned to hotel during the rush hours. On the second day, I arrived at Yumoto Terminal as early as I could and tried to return to the city before the rush hour. I hurted my left ankle in the wood near Yunoko once on the pervious day. That day, I hurted my left ankle again in Odashirogahara. I was alone in Japan, I couldn't allow the condition of my ankle to be deteriorated. I returned to minshuku around 2pm.


On the second day of hiking in the park, there were a lot of people having a bell. Later I found out there are bears in the area, so people hang a bell on their bag to protect themselves from bear's attack.

(Updated on November 3)
There are 2 "Iroha Slopes" (いろは坂)between Lake Chozenjiko(中禅寺湖) and Nikko City. An old man in Nikko told me that they did not memorize Hirakara in the order of "a,i,i,e,o" sequence when he was young, but in sequence of "i,ro,ha". There are many G corners on the slopes. At every corner there is a sign showing one hirakara character, and there are totally 48 hirakara characters along two slopes. I saw two traffic accidents happened on the slope. People should drive more carefully on the slopes because some bikers are riding on narrow slopes.



by windywood | 2004-11-01 13:47 | Travel-Japan

トランスメディア提供アイコン01 Nikko City

The part of mountain range extending from the left side of above photo is here.

It was a cloudy morning, but the rain stopped. Sun might shine the city in the afternoon. I would visit Toshogu(東照宮) in the afternoon, so I shouldn't get too far from the city. I decided to go to Kirifuri Highland in the morning.

Last night, I couldn't go out to watch the moon because of a typhoon. Therefore I took mooncakes and okashi bought in Sendai to treat the master and his family of minshuku(民宿).

The minshuku I stayed in Nikko is run by a family. They try to make travellers feel the minshuku is like a home. My room in minshuku is very big. It would be a double room of other hotels I have ever stayed. It is a Japanese-style room. There's no lock on the door, but people I met there are very nice.


When I was leaving the minshuku towards Kirifuri, the master came to ask me where I would go that day. Then he suggested me to taste dango in Toshogu.

I took a bus to the highland first, then walked down to Nikko City. After half an hour walk, I could see the mountain range on the west of Kirifuri. The range looks like a traditional oriental drawing and very beautiful. However, the photo of full view of the range is not clear after I resize it. Only a part of the view which was not blocked by electricity cables is posted at the top of this article.

I walked to Nishisando(西参道) in the afternoon. There were a lot of elementary students having field trip with their teachers. Some of them walked from Tobu Nikko Station to Nishisando. Some teachers choose to take bus, but there were a lot of other visitors, therefore sometimes teachers asked staff at bus station to do them a favour in order to let all their students get on the same bus with their teachers.

Those students were always excited during the field trip. Many of them had a booklet of assignment on their hands, and they visited the shines orderly. Smiles and langhters were always on their faces. However, on the way to Tokugawa's grave in Toshogu, a fat girl was too tired to climb the long stair, so she sat on the floor half way to the top of stair and cried. That was the position with a sign stood beside the steps and written "Life is long and with heavy burden. It is not good to be hurry." Kids are energetic and run to everywhere they go, so the girl got tired at the middle of stair. However it was ironic for her to cry under that sign. Her classmates tried very hard to cheer her up to stand up and continue the journey. After I visited the grave and returned to the stair, they were still trying.

As I always followed suggestion from local folks, I found the stall selling dangos outside Toshogu. I rested in the stall and enjoyed tea and food inside. Dango and other food taste excellent and cheap. Don't miss it when you visit Toshogu.

There is a food called "Yuba"(湯波) in Nikko. It is a roll of thin bean-curd. It tastes like bean-curd because it is bean-curd. Hmm...

The temperature at night was quite low in Nikko. The master's wife took me a clothes call "Haori" to put on the top of Yukata. It looks cute, I love it. I was very happy when they took it to me. The master also put a heating machine to my room. However, I didn't know how to operate it, so I never turned it on.

by windywood | 2004-11-01 12:36 | Travel-Japan

トランスメディア提供アイコン01 Aural Area in Honshu and Sendai

a0003697_19105369.jpgDeparting from Hakodate, I went back to Honshu by railway. I left Hakodate as soon as possible on that day because of the attack of Typhnoon Number 21. I hoped that I could arrive Nikko before the time of sunset.

After passing through a long and dark tunnel, I saw an aural area very different from what I have seen in Hokkaido. I knew that I was then again on the land of Honshu. Photos I showed today were taken in Sagano in Kyoto 8 days later. Unlike those in Hokkaido, most of crops in Honshu have not been harvested.
a0003697_19111384.jpgI had a set lunch of gyuu-tan and bought some Nama Dorayaki and Hagi-no-tsuki inside Sendai Station. Gyuu-tan is quite tasty. It tastes like grilled steak.

The surrounding of Sendai Station is a busy and modern commercial area. The station connects railway network of the whole north-eastern part of Honshu to the capital of Japan. The railway network supports economical development of the city. I finally understood why Sendai is a famous city in Japan.

by windywood | 2004-10-29 19:10 | Travel-Japan

トランスメディア提供アイコン01 Hakodate


a0003697_8371290.jpgThere is a full moon on the sky tonight. I saw the moon on my way home and realized that it is the fifteenth day on lunar calender today. I was in Hakodate just one month ago.

In Otaru and Hakodate, I found a lot of footsteps of Chinese immigrants. For example, please look at the photo on the left. Can you see the words "中華義莊" on photo? 大吉利是! Is there any ghost showing on my photo? haha. I found this place next to the Christain graveyard near Motomachi. When an ill-fate chinese immigrant died and no one takes care of his dead body, 義莊 which is established by local Chinese community will help to bury the dead body properly.

Motomachi is a beautiful area. There are full of stone-covered slopes, churches and historial buildings. It would take you a couple hours to enjoy the romance of meiji era. Looking downhill from the top of slopes, you can see a beautiful habour view. The photo below is the former British Embassy.

Leaving Motomachi and going to Goryokaku by tram, you will pass through the busy commerical area in Hakodate between Matsuharamachi and Goryokaku.a0003697_8375425.jpg At night, you may see some gospels of Tenrikyu marching and intoning scuriptures on the road.

The night scenes of Hakodate are attractive, no matter watching from the top of Hakodate Hill or wandering in Motomachi and Kanemorisouko area.

There are a lot of good food surrounding Kanemorisouko area. I love chicken burgers and yaki lunch box. Ramen and grilled seafood are also delicious. The best of all, they are very affortable! Therefore, don't miss any local delicacy when you are in Hakodate.


by windywood | 2004-10-28 08:38 | Travel-Japan

トランスメディア提供アイコン01 Onuma National Park


Nice park! Nice place to enjoy cycling and have a pinic with family.

You can rent a bicycle near the JR station to travel around the hugh national park. I saw many tours from Taiwan and Hong Kong near the station. Many Taiwanese and Hongkong tourist rented bicycles. a0003697_1994598.jpgHowever they didn't drive their bicycles to visit the national park, but jammed the walking trails of small islands near the JR station.


I was taking photos on an island when an old man came. He saw me taking photos, so he stopped and took photos two feet away from me. Suddenly he used Mandarin to said "你好嗎? (How are you?)" to me. I greeted him in mandarin then told him to come to my position for better view and I was leaving the place. He didn't understand what I said and told me he is a Japanese. No problem. "ここ、もっときれい"

by windywood | 2004-10-28 01:00 | Travel-Japan