Continuing from where I left off, here is the second part of the Japan trip. 😀
Kyoto (Part 2)
Later in the afternoon, after Nara, we went back to Kyoto and went to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. This is the view from the temple. Kyoto Tower!
I didn’t take too many photos of the structures (I know, boo me), because it was under renovation, eheh. And I was too distracted with everyone else in pretty yukata!
You can rent the yukata, by the way. I half-wanted to but it was approaching night-time then. I wouldn’t be able to wear it for more than 8 hours, LOL. Next time!
Going to Yasaka Shrine, we passed through Higashiyama Street. It feels surreal when you’re surrounded by people in yukata, like you’ve been transported back in time. (Also, hello childhood and my Rurouni Kenshin anime heyday.)
View of Yasaka Pagoda from the streets. Also, hello cute couple walking down the street. :3
Descendants of the… moon. (GIGGLESNORTS. Sorry, I’m trash.)
The entrance to Yasaka Shrine was under renovation, but the place itself was open for tourists. Beautifully illuminating the place with the lanterns, names of businesses in place of the donations/sponsorships. Every July, a festival called Gion Matsuri is held in honor of the shrine.
The next day we went to Tenryuji Temple. While the temple itself had been rebuilt over time, the garden stayed true to its form ever since its beginnings in 1339. Isn’t it incredible? *o*
A brighter pic of sakura. Ahh so, so pretty.
Of course, no trip would be complete without going to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.
On the way to Kinkakuji (not to be confused with Ginkakuji which I posted previously), there’s a path from the bamboo groves going down to Katsura River. With the right timing during spring and autumn, the scene is a sight to behold. Unfortunately… yeah, we were early so there wasn’t much then, lol. 🙁
Small boat and big boat! Going straight ahead, you will encounter the Togetsukyo Bridge. We just looked at it from afar and moved on.
Kinkakuji is otherwise known as the Golden Pavilion. I think it’s pretty obvious why, lol! Kinkakuji was built to become shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu’s retirement villa. As I mentioned before, the Ginkakuji is its counterpart, built by his grandson, Ashikaga Yoshimasa.
We were pretty much done with Kyoto by this time, though we weren’t able to cover other sights and temples. Based on other people’s accounts, Kyoto has lots in store for visitors and I can see why. Two and a half days aren’t enough! More reasons for me to go back, I guess. :p
After our short visits to Kyoto and Nara, we finally went to Osaka.
Of course. Of course, we had to go to Universal Studios Japan, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Initially, we weren’t supposed to even go to USJ because if we wanted to go, we might as well spend the whole day there but because Dad insisted, we paid a visit to just WWHP.
And boy, I’m glad we did, even if it’s just for WWHP. Time well spent!
For WWHP, you have to secure a time-pass because you’re only allowed to enter during that timeframe. I think ours was 10:40 am to 11:40 am. Better to be there earlier because it’s a huge attraction! (I expected no less, haha.)
You guys should have seen my face when I entered Hogsmeade. I almost broke down and cried my eyes out because… just. Wow. Everything looked legit. It’s the feeling of having imagined these people, places, and scenarios I’ve read years ago and they’re finally being brought to life.
Warning: [book spoilers!]
I can still remember reading Chamber of Secrets in fourth grade and hiding under my covers, afraid my mom would catch me reading at midnight because I have school the next day. “Just one last chapter before I sleep!” but I ended up reading five. I think I ended up doing the same with Prisoner of Azkaban. (My favorite book btw, and seems like lots of people loved it too! Sirius Black, my love. ♥) Unforgettable moments reading Harry Potter books were reading Order of the Phoenix in school (during breaks and *coughs* sometimes during class hours *coughs*). Why? Because I swear at one point in time I wanted to rip apart the book asdfgjhkl I was so annoyed with Harry’s mood swings and overall attitude. (I mean I guess I could understand to an extent because lol Umbridge and teenage years, but… yeah, sometimes it was just unreasonable. :c) And when Sirius was killed, followed by Harry yelling at the two-way mirror hoping he were still alive, omg, it just broke my heart to bits and pieces. I was literally sobbing all over the place!!! I think at one point my mom asked me what’s wrong, ahaha. Ahh, I’m getting emotional just thinking of Sirius. </3
The mere fact of being able to actually touch these things I imagined from the book, small and big, because they’re tangible now–it’s crazy. I’m getting teary. Brb getting tissues. /weeaboo huhu
They schedule special shows featuring Durmstrang boys and Beauxbatons girls. *_*
This was inside the Owl Post!
Honestly, #squadgoals. Groups of friends were in Hogwarts house robes, and I’d never felt so out of place, haha. Just kidding! I envied them a lot though! (According to Pottermore, I’m a Ravenclaw. I was so tempted to buy the scarf but… maybe next time if I have enough cash allotted because they were so pricey!)
Btw, one must not leave WWHP without taking part in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. If you have to ride just one attraction, choose that. Seriously, the long queue (2 hours!) is super worth it! Guess who almost cried again because too many feelings? :p
Finally, after USJ, the last place we went to was Osaka Castle.
So pristine and beautiful! You can enter the castle and expect a museum-like ambiance.
View from the red Hep Five ferris wheel!
I have to confess, most of my time spent in Osaka was for shopping at Shinsaibashi or Hep Five (Umeda), and eating all the takoyaki and gyoza at Dotonbori. (I could live off on those, the takoyaki was just so freaking good it melts in your mouth.) I was too engrossed with them I wasn’t able to take photos. More reasons for me to go back… and eat and shop more, hehe. I was somewhat surprised at how affordable the clothes were. My sister bought a winter coat from Lowrys Farm for a low price. I can’t remember the exact amount but maybe around 5000-6000 JPY?
Also, guess who went wild with buying skincare and make-up? :p Daikoku Drug and Don Quijote were my go-to–yes, in that order. I initially wanted to get 10 Heroine Make mascaras but, hey gotta chill because I had other things to get, so I settled for 6.
Looking around and shopping, it further confirmed my impression of Japanese people. Everyone was just so adorable and nice and accommodating–it’s so heartwarming, lol! Plus, the salespeople were all so groomed properly–the ladies were so pretty and the males had extreme senpai-vibes, ahaha. The customer service alone makes me want to fly back.
That’s pretty much it for my Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka trip. Am I going back? Definitely, no questions asked. Super bitin! After all, my tourist VISA is good for five years. Maybe when One OK Rock decides to hold a Japan tour again? :p (And of course, if my bank account approves, haha!)
Go back to the first part.