My Trip To Japan 2013 - Part lll

TIP: The passmo card system that I spoke about wasn't actually up and running in Kyoto during our trip. It did make travel a bit more complicated and panicked, as, being recent school leavers and unwilling to get up earlier than necessary, we would always get to the station at the last minute. So just make sure to hold onto all of your small change in Kyoto! 




On our first day in Kyoto, we took the short walk from our rental house to Kiomizudera Temple, also known as the love temple. It was such a fun day and the temple has a sensational view of Kyoto (although probably much better in spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom). There were actually quite a few interactive tasks to do at this temple, drinking from Otowa Waterfall, walking blindly from one stone to another (6 meters apart) as a symbol of finding your true love (this was such great fun as you have your friends surrounding, shouting at you which direction to walk) buying fortune scrolls and trying to lift the staff and shoes of the old temple Monks (they are so heavy its ridiculous).  Much like Sensoji Temple, there is a long lead up to the temple, of shops and stalls selling all kinds of delicious foods and fantastic souvenirs (traditional and cheesy).



spa world in osaka was another great but also slightly challenging experience. If you have got the balls to walk around butt naked (it is very liberating) in front of dozens of other Japanese women - in your case it may be men as they are sectioned off by gender - then by all means go and enjoy the many spas. If not, they have a a wealth of other treatments such as massages, facials, those little fishy things that eat away the dead skin on your toes etc.

Being an animal enthusiast, I simply fell to pieces when we visited nara deer park and iwatayama monkey park.




It was a legitimate trek to get to the monkey park - about twenty minutes uphill on a mostly dirt and rock, single file trails with tree terrain on either side. The entrance fee is only about $6AUD and you will need extra money to purchase the monkey food but this experience is well worth every penny, in my opinion. At the end of the journey you come upon a little hut, surrounded  by monkeys. I'll admit I was more than just a little nervous walking through all of them, but they weren't concerned in the least about me, they are used to humans and will be nice to you because you mean food. You can choses to feed them indoors through windows or outdoors and you will get some seriously great photos





TIP: I would advise wearing walking / exercise shoes on this particular part of the trip. I know Japan is a very fashion forward place but trust me you don't want to ruin a good pair of shoes or walk away with blisters galore!

The deer park was much less difficult to get to and I just felt so sad there. The deers were just so placid and chill, which was great for us because it meant we could get right up close and cuddle with them but at the same time you really feel like something in not quite right. I am really claustrophobic so I didn't actually attempt this but the todaiji pillar is another great attraction at Nara. It is quite literally a square hole at the base of a giant pillar that is believed to bring you enlightenment if you crawl through it - fun fun. 



TIP: Vending machines were such a marvel to us in Japan. There was one right out the from of out apartment in Ikejiri-ohashi that served hot chocolate in a can! We lived off of these machines and they were much more affordable that the vending machines in Australia. 

photo booths are another thing you really do have to do while you are in Japan. There are so many of them, especially in Tokyo but you will also find them in central shopping areas of Kyoto, usually situated in gaming centres. They come with all different themes, sizes, editing and accessories! They range anywhere between about $9 - $20 AUD depending on the place and machine and are a great souvenir to take away with you. 



Our day trip to hiroshima was a very emotionally draining day. There are so many beautiful tributes in the town to the victims and their families, I challenge you to not cry. The museum erected in honour of the event was a very sombre and respectful place and it was incredible to hear the stories from the museum guide. I don't want to start a political or moral argument by saying this, but growing up you really only learn about the history of your own countries involvement during the war. It was truly interesting and enlightening to learn about all the sacrifices and tragedy that befell Japan during the war. As sad as it is I would definitely recommend visiting the museum.  It actually snowed on the day that we travelled to hiroshima which added to the sad atmosphere, but was also very beautiful. 





For the last leg of our trip we were back in Tokyo, Ikejiri-Ohasshi and for us, it was all about the food and the shopping. Shibuya is definitely on of the best places you can go for a beauty/fashion shopping fix.

On one of those quite nights, when we were all so knackered and couldn't be bothered to go out, I experienced my first earth quake. I remember I was tucked up on the couch watching Memoirs of a Geisha and all of a sudden I thought I felt I bit dizzy. My visions was ever so slightly blurred and I felt a light vibration. I stopped dead and pulled out my earphones, looking around I caught the gaze of my friend and realised it wasn't just me. We were so panicked, because we had never been in one, that we didn't move - we actually started laughing. It didn't last very long and it wasn't at all violent, but still we were in absolute awe and spent the next hour or so discussing it and laughing at different hiding spots (like door ways, fridges, under beds) we had heard about.

On a very rushed last minute stocking-up-on-presents trip to Sensoji Temple I actually ran straight past the Bondi vet (I'm like 99% sure it was him). But because of my time constraints I only had time to run wide eyed and mouth agape past him - very much to my dismay. 
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