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05 January 2013 @ 12:57 pm
04. 01. + 05. 01. 2013: Moving and Kyoto  
Hello, everybody!

So, just a very quick note about yesterday. I totally failed. In everything. ^^"

I thought I should try to get out and see something, so I made for Hasedera temple. With the local train I went to Sakurai. My guide said that it was easy to access the area from there, but according to the locals and also the map it would have been quite a walk. Not that it wouldn't be possible. Just, I'm still trying to get all the way healthy again and it was freezingly cold and when it started to snow I decided I had to give up on it and just get back. I still had to mvoe to Kyoto on that day, after all. It was bad enough I had to wait for the train back for a good 20 minutes. I know it's not really all that much - but damn, it was cold. Like, Really. >_< Ah, but I got back alright and as I did I walked a bit through the station mall to get warmed up again. I found myself a lovely "Only Star" that I couldn't resist picking up. ^^ Then I made my way back to the hotel to get all of my stuff.

Along the way I found a nice looking restaurant. Mind you, the food was pretty expensive. Like, a good 20$ for the meal I had. It was really worth it, though. I had some very delicious Nabe-Udon. *____* And it'll never stop to amaze me just how people around here cook. You know, there is a saying where I come from, "Es wird nichts so heiß gegessen, wie es gekocht wird". I can't really translate it - idioms are a tricky thing there. Basically, what it says is, your meal will never be as hot on a plate as you'll have it on the oven. The meaning is that most of the time things aren't as bad/severe as they appear to be. Well, whoever chose this picture for saying that, they never had their meal in Japan, because I swear, my Nabe was indeed still boiling as I received it. Leave it to Japanese people to serve you hot food. I'm pointing this out, because I just love that. All of my family, they don't enjoy eating hot food. Warm, at best. I'm always like "this is too cold, I've got to heat it up" when we're eating together. XDDD So, I like it that I get my food hot here. ^^

Moving to Kyoto wasn't too exhausting. And it didn't take very long, which was also really good. From the station I took the taxi to the hotel, because it was more convenient and it doesn't cost all that much. What's more, the very nice taxi driver stopped his counter a good 200m before we arrived because we'd gotten stuck in traffic jam. He then helped me to wrap all of my stuff together and then I was left to Kyoto to find my hotel. I've been here before, so I was hoping I'd find my way around by myself, but unfortunately this time I got off the taxi at the other end of the alley and yes, that is enough to disable my orientation. XDDD Fortunately, due to massive shopping tours there was quite a lot of police keeping things in order, so I walked up to a pair of them and explained to them where I wanted to go. They weren't sure which way the place was exactly, so I asked them for a "Starbucks", since I knew that there was one just up the street of the hotel. And well, after confirming the location of the "Starbucks" with headquarters they escorted my there. Not the first police escort I ever had and maybe not the last I'll ever have, who knows. ^^ At any rate, we arrived at the right street corner in close to no time and I instantly knew where I was. I thanked the two young men who had helped me so kindly and went to check in at the hotel. After I got myself comfortable I really only fell into bed, being exhausted.

Which brings me to today. I woke up really early after sleeping almost 12 hours. XD I was feeling quite refreshed though, so I decided it was worth trying to get out for another little adventure. I chose Sanzen-in as my day's project. It's a bigger temple way north of Kyoto. The journey there takes about an hour, but that's just okay and I decided that I wanted to do that today. So, I got all of my stuff together, wrapped myself in five layers of clothing and set out. First, when the cold air hit me it made my nose ache. It was a dry kind of cold today and that was really nasty. So I decided to get myself a mask to protect my nose and to make sure that breathing wouldn't hurt. That was a very good decision. I was very happy that I had my mask all along the way today. Now on with the story.

My guide gave instructions on how to get to the place from Kyoto station, so I went there and I already got myself a ticket to Kyoto for Monday, which will save me quite some time. However, as I got there I found that I had brought the wrong guide papers with me. >_< Again, I failed. This time, though, I got lucky. I remembered the name of the town I wanted to get to, so I asked at the information stand and the lady there explained to me exactly how I could get there. The good news, the first part could be taken by metro. The bad news, my trip to Kyoto station was actually a big detour, because from where I started it was the wrong direction. XDDD But whatever, I was set, so I got back onto the metro, got back to where I started and then moved on with the metro way up to the very first stop. There I changed into a local bus. I was lucky again and the names of the towns were written in Romaji at the station. "Ohara" was where I wanted to go. I was a bit worried, because I only had a 5000 yen note with me and I thought it might get dificult with the change, but I just didn't have anything else anymore.

I had to wait for the bus quite a while, but as it arrived I got on and we moved pretty quickly to Ohara. Payment wasn't a problem either. You can get off the bus and pay directly at the station, which is really nice. Then I got myself directions and headed off towards Sanzen-in. I have to admit, there could be more sings to the venue, especially on the street and they could have Romaji on it. Seriously, not a single sign that let to the place had Romaji. For me, I simply decided to follow the signs that had the Kanji for "san" = "3" as the first. I just thought it fits "San-zen-in", so I went for that. It's a good thing I can read that character, otherwise I think I would have been quite lost. ^^ It was still a bit tricky to find the right way up, but it is a lovely little road, really, with lots of stalls and small shops on either side where you can buy good and food. I got myself a little yaki-niku snack. I didn't know it was an uphill road, but it wasn't all that long, so I managed alright.

Food stalls along the way to Sanzen-in

Entrance gate

Once there, I paid the entrance fee and was actually pleasantly surprised to find that I had to take my shoes off. Not that I particularly wanted to do that, but that always means that you're allowed to actually walk through the temple building and I really like doing that. ^^ For this temple, it was requested you put your shoes in provided bags and carry them with you. So, I did as instructed and got in. First there was the obligatory, a shop, study rooms and such. But then there was also an outside rail you could walk and several side-ways. It was really cool. And what's more, I was free to take pictures basically everywhere, so I took lots of pictures, because it's rare a temple will allow it like that. It is a beautiful site, really, and it was especially nice because it was snowy. Fortunately the sun was out, though, so it wasn't too cold with my shoes off. After walking through the building I could put them back on again too and check out the garden around the area, which is free to access. The entire landscape just looked lovely with the snow on the buildings and trees, while the paths were all cleared and the stones around the walls shimmered with green moss.

View of the outside route around the temple around the garden

View of an indoor aisle

Beautiful bamboo wells between two buildings

Door leading into the garden area

The outside landscape has three levels, each of them having their own temple buildings. I walked through almost all of the area, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. Only when I felt that it might start to feel cold soon did I retreat to the exit. It was really a wonderful place to visit, i'm glad I chose to go there today. :D On my way back I found myself a nice restaurant and had a late lunch. Once again NabeUdon. XDDD This time I chose that because I could read it. ^^" It was absolutely delicious, though. <3 And boiling hot. XD Once I had warmed up and eaten my soup I made my way back to the bus station. It was a bit troublesome to understand which bus would take me back and when, but the lady at the counter kindly helped me to get onto the right bus, so I rode back.

Smaller temple building

Small pond

Way to the next level

Walking path

Frames on the top level, hosting rows and rows and rows...

...and rows and rows of miniature statues

Beautiful stone Buddha

I planned on going back to the hotel directly - I was actually already back in the subway station, when something hit my eyes. It was an add - for a Book Off. And I was like *_____________* Have to go there. I took a pic of the little map they had put up and got back outside to go looking for the store. It didn't take long and I had found it. My first Book Off on this trip. ^^ I got in and chekced through the rows. It wasn't a huge store, but even so I found myself 4 DVDs that I happily took with me. I SO love these second hand stores. :D The prices are just fantastic. I mean, today I bought 4 DVDs for the price I'll usually buy one for - and one that is not a new release. Naturally, the prices tempt you to buy stuff you didn't even know you wanted to have. XD But it's okay, I'll never get this stuff on better conditions, so I'll revel in what I can get. The people at the counters of these stores must think I'm totally weird. I always buy so much at once and today's selection couldn't have been more varied: Jeanne da Arc (because it was there and I simply adore Yasu), Koda Kumi (because she's totally cool and knows how to rock a hall), Exile (because I'm curious about them, but haven't seen a live just yet) and Takizawa Hideaki Live 2005 (because... it's Takki ^_^ ). So I got all of that and with my pack then got back to the hotel. First I wanted to get to the post office to get some money. Unfortunately I totally missed on the fact that it's Saturday - which is bad, because obviously tomorrow is Sunday. ^^ So I'll have to wait until Monday to get some actual cash again. It's okay, though. I'll have a relaxing day tomorrow and do stuff that won't cost any actual money - in that very moment.

Book Off near subway station

For today, that's it. I'll add the pics tomorrow (done with that, all pics in, I hope you like them ^^ ), because I'm REALLY tired already. <(-o-)>
I want to make a general journey update, though: Due to my current condition I have made a decision. I cancelled my trip to Kanazawa. It would just be too troublesome to mvoe there and then again back to Tokyo before going back home, so I will just stay in Tokyo for my second week here. This is really fine too, though. There is a lot to do and see. I'm thinking about visiting Nikko, or maybe Kamakura, so i'll see one Hasedera temple, after all. ^_^ I'll see what I'll be feeling up to. Everything is already re-arranged, so I can stay in my new hotel, which will be very convenient.

Okay, I'm off to bed now. Pics tomorrow. :D

Love you guys. I'll update tomorrow too.

Current Mood: tiredtired
ayukuayuku on January 5th, 2013 09:40 am (UTC)
I love reading your travel diary. I visited Japan last year and it brings back memories ^^

I would suggest to visit Kamakura rather than Nikko. It's not so far (but you have to transfer several times) and the big statue of Buddha is impressive. Hasedera temple is nice too and it is near the seacoast.
In Kamakura there is a tourist information center right in front of the JR Station. They will give you some maps.
Here, you can check some of the photos, I have taken in Japan. The layout is in Czech, but I think you will manage :D
Maybe you will get some ideas for your next trip ;)

My trip was so KinKi biased :D
I visited Tokyo Dome, Osaka Jo Hall, Yakushiji and Heianjingu and of course Nara <3 It's the best place in the world XD
I wanted to go to the Johnny's shop in Osaka, but failed to locate it XD
I haven't found any Book Off >_< But I've been to some old shop with mainly enka music and got KinKi's 39 Best compilation ^^
I bought Tsuyoshi's Heianyuki in Tower Records, it was so expensive, but it made me really happy, especially when I got it the day after its release ^_^
I'm looking forward to the next update :)
Take care!

Edited at 2013-01-05 04:20 pm (UTC)
Hikaru: pokeyoru_no_hikaru on January 5th, 2013 09:53 pm (UTC)

Aw, thank you so much! Haha, ever since my first trip I have the same feelings when I read/hear stories of Japan. ^^

Thank you for your suggestions. I've actually visited both places before, but I wasn't really prepared for Kamakura, so I didn't see everything there. I'd like to go back and it's true that it's not as time-consuming as a trip to Nikko. The tourist informations stand are always very helpful really and most fo the time the staff there speak English, which is also very nice. ^^

Omg, you took such bautiful pics!!! *____* Thanks so much for sharing them! <3 Next time around I'll be here while it's still warm, so I'll get to see another atmosphere.

LOLZ!!! Why does the sight-seeing list feel familiar? XDDD I too visited Nara - repeatedly. I know, isn't it just a wonderful place to stay? ^^ I'm always happy being there. :D Naturally, I visited Yakushiji while I was there. Sadly I wasn't able to go back there this year. I want to come back again, though, and explore the Nara region more thoroughly. There are so many things to see. I too visited Tokyo Dome. And first time I visited I went to the Odaiba Tokyo Show Room, where Koichi once did a recording. ^^

I only know how to get to one single Johnny's shop and that's the one in Harajuku. ^^" Personally, I find the other idol shops much more interesting. Takeshita dori is stuffed with them and you can get clsoe to everything there.

Haha, glad to hear I'm not the only person not finding a Book Off store when looking for it. XD Somehow it doesn't work that way for me. I have to come accross them by accident. ^^ Happened twice for me thus far. Another good place to go is Tsutaya. There's a huge one in Shibuya, you absolutely can't miss it, it's right at the big Shibuya crossing. I spent several hours of my life and loads of money there already. ^^"

Actually, the "39" is one of the very little things I yet have to get. Why is that? It's such a fantastic thing. I'm hoping to get lucky this year and find it in a second hand store.

Well, Tower Records sells everything with original prices and yes, that's expansive. @_@ Even so, every other year I find something I just have to get. Plus, visiting Tower Records is already an experience by itself. To this day I still take forever to find the stuff I'm looking for. It's complicated, though, with the alphabetized order. The English band names can totally kill you. Like, sometimes, even when the name starts with an "m", if you speak it like "am" at the beginning, you'll find it in the "e" section. When I saw that I was like O_o Well, in the end it always works out somehow. ^^

I'm glad you like reading my blog. Sadly, today will be very uneventful, because I'm out of money and since it's Sunday I can't get anything. XDDD So I'm just sticking around the area, but I'll have a stroll through the shops and see which ones will accept my Visa. ^^