My Honeymoon Adventure: Part III

December 4, 2011 at 11:43 am Leave a comment

If you missed out on part I or II of my honeymoon adventure check here: part I, part II.

When we last left off, Hisa and I had spent the day at Universal Studios Japan (USJ) in Osaka, where we managed to ride almost all the rides and see all the shows.

I can now safely say that, yes, I really overdid it on that day (I still had a cold afterfall). The next day I ended up being exhausted the entire day as a result, although I have to say, it was worth it! We had that much fun at USJ! I think this just goes to show, that when it really comes down to it, I’m basically a little kid at heart, and/or extremely easily amused.

The next day (day 5 of our trip), we left our hotel in Osaka and went to Arashiyama in Kyoto.

I lived in Kyoto for a year as an exchange student when I was a university student. This was my first time to visit Kyoto since then, so I was pretty excited about it… Or at least I would have been if I hadn’t been so friggin’ tired! Ha!

Seriously though, despite post-USJ fatigue, we both enjoyed our time in Kyoto.

Arashiyama!

 

The bad thing about Arashiyama, is that we went there on a weekend during one of the peak visitor seasons (when the fall leaves are at their most colorful). As a result, there were sooooooo many people. It took us several minutes to cross the bridge because of all the people. Still, we did or best to ignore the crowds and enjoy the scenery.

In the fall and winter there’s often vendors that sell roasted chestnuts. Hisa and I bought a bag to share. If you’ve never had them, roasted chestnuts are goooood.

We also bought some ice cream from another vendor. I got the chestnut ice cream. It was also gooooood. Are you sensing a theme here?

There are always boat rides available along the river, but I’d never ridden one before, so we decided to ride one.

I took this picture from our boat. As you can see, there were a lot of boats. The drivers (?) propel the boats forward by pushing a long bamboo stick against the river bed (much like punting). It was fun, and quite relaxing to sit and get away from the crowds for a little while.

There was even a little store boat that would go around to the other boats and sell the passengers any food or drinks they might want. This is the store boat next to our boat offering its wares.

After the boat ride, we bought some dango (little dough balls made from rice flour, and in this case, covered with sauce made from soy sauce and sugar), which were very tasty.

There’s a famous bamboo grove in Arashiyama that’s fun to walk around in, so we headed there and walked around for awhile before heading back to the train station.

On took this on our way to the station. The momiji (Japanese maple) trees are so beautiful this time of year!

After leaving Arashiyama, we headed to the major shopping/entertainment district of Kyoto, Shijo-Kawaramachi area. It was fun looking around at all the places I used to go to as a student. Some places were still there, but a lot of the stores and restaurants had changed.

Eventually, we headed to a good Chinese restaurant I knew of and had dinner, and then headed back to our hotel in Osaka for an early turn in (and believe me, I needed it!).

The next day, we were both feeling much more refreshed (myself especially). We spent the whole day in Nara, a famous city near Kyoto. It’s famous, as it was once the capital of Japan (along with Kyoto, Kamakura, and Tokyo), so there are still many old temples and shrines that are worth visiting.

Some of the more famous shrines and temples to visit, are located in a huge park in the eastern part of the city. We spent most of our time there. Besides just the shrines and temples, the park is also famous for…

Deer!

There’s a huge number of deer that live in the park. Like the deer in Miyajima, these deer were also quite tame. You could even buy special deer crackers to feed to them.

This is the first temple we visited. It had a large pagoda to the right of it, and to the left, there was a “treasure hall” that was full of ancient statues and other artifacts from the area. Most of the items and statues were over a thousand years old, so it was quite amazing to see them. It also amazed me at the skill craftsmen were capable of thousands of years ago. Unfortunately, pictures weren’t allowed inside of the treasure hall.

For lunch, we wandered out of the park and found a random soba restaurant to eat at. I think you can probably tell from the picture, but in case you can’t, it was good.

This was one of the big shrines in the park we visited after lunch.

Here’s Hisa walking through one of the gates of the shrine.


Although the lighting was good for the tree, it was bad for me, so I look all dark and shadowy. Beware…

Our final stop in the park was the temple housing the huge Buddha statue. I knew the statue was going to be big, but I didn’t realize quite how big.

Although it’s a bit hard to see through the screen covering it, this is one of the guardian statues at the temple of the gate. It was carved out of wood, huge, and quite scary looking.

This is the main temple building where the Buddha statue is housed. You can tell from all the tiny people that the building was huge. We read somewhere inside the temple, however, that this building is only 1/3 the size of the original building. The statue reached all the way to the roof to give you an idea of its size.

Here’s me in front of the temple.

Due to horrible lighting and a huge crowd, I couldn’t really get a good picture of the statue, and you can’t really tell just how big it was from this picture, but trust me, it was huuuuuge.


After leaving the temple, we walked back to the station and had some coffee, before heading back to Osaka. Before dinner, we decided to go check out Osaka castle. Unfortunately, by the time got there, the castle was already closed, so we couldn’t go inside, but we were able to see the castle lit up and night, which was equally cool.

A close-up of the castle.

For dinner, we decided to head to the central area of Osaka, Dotonbori area. If you ever want to experience Osaka night-life (or any time of day life) that’s probably the place to go. We ended up wandering around for awhile before deciding on Thai food for dinner. Hisa was determined to have some takoyaki (pieces of octopus inside a ball of dough that’s fried), a famous food of Osaka, so after dinner, we bought some from one of that many many takoyaki vendors.

Hisa was very happy to finally get his takoyaki.

It may sound strange and look strange if you never had them, but they really are very good. If you ever visit Japan and have the chance to try them, you really should. They’re not gross. I promise.

After having dinner and Hisa’s takoyaki, we finally headed back to our hotel for the night.

Tomorrow, I’ll write about the final part of our trip, in which we visit more of Kyoto and Nagoya.

Check back again soon!

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Entry filed under: Japan, Life, Travel. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

My Honeymoon Adventure: Part II Yakiniku – Grilled Meat Japanese Style

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About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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