Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hard drive is busted.

This is disheartening for me but my hard drive just got busted yesterday and I was stupid enough not to back up the photos (because I thought I had it all backed up). I guess I will still try to blog the ones I still have mobile photos when I move on. T_T

Lesson learned. Back it up! T_T

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Meiji no Mori Minō Quasi-National Park

So you want to see more of Japan?

DSC01283 DSC01296

Last year's Japan trip was shorter by a day but it is always a pleasant time during Autumn season. Minoo park is the farthest from all of the sight-seeing we decided to visit so we made it first on our list. It is located in Osaka, 30 minutes from Umeda on the Hankyu Takarazuka line. We had a hard time looking for an available locker where we needed the 500yen size.


I was in contact with a school mate back in High School, good thing she had some free time to come and took us to places. I am grateful for the company Jii. :D


Before I forget, I would like to share with you this link. This website was very helpful when making your own itinerary: I am not sure If you can explore other countries, as I can only see Japan ventures here. Quite helpful when you plot your own map where you can see the distance from place to place. This way you could see your plan more precisely by numbering them according to its distance. Sounds great? Yes! :D 


Traveling has been a trend now, this getaway made me realize that one can no longer take that photo without a crowd. Every temple and every place that you need to see are packed with tourists. Arashiyama Forest was quite a horde but I will tell you about it in my future entry.

So, let's go back to regular programming. Minoo falls was a relief, there were crowds but not the same thing you would see in the Golden pavilion or the Fushimi-Inari Shrine. Nothing beats a serene view just to see the waterfalls, have small bites from local stores and a good walk. I think this is the most peaceful place we visited last year.

beautiful smile 



You could see tourists with backpacking bags, not sure if there was a trail after this but the map has unending grounds waiting to be explored.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Shirakawa-go Village, A Bliss in Every Step.

Shirakawa-go -- Never forget are the first words I saw when I tried googling the place. I still feel nostalgic for I feel like I left my heart (again!) in Shirakawa-go.  


Gifu Perfecture, Japan. It was declared UNESCO World Heritage in 1995 for its gassho-zukiri farmhouses. At first, I was decided to visit the place during the winter season but our schedule won't permit it. Had to go during the autumn season (again) where it's also a great time for sight-seeing. So far the best place we have seen during this vacation.


We were from Kyoto a day before going to this haven. I decided to write about this first while I am still overwhelmed how amazing this place is. We diligently planned on leaving Kyoto at 5am but since I can be amnesiac (lol) I remembered I set the alarm clock right when when we arrived at Kyoto station, it was already 7AM instead of 6AM, you know why? My phone was not set manually and it was still in SG time (an hour behind JP time). I wonder why it's not doing its job to auto update timezone.


Anyways, good thing we reached 20 minutes before 9AM as the first bus was scheduled to leave at 9AM. Ticket is 7000 yen, round trip tickets can be bought at the Meitetsu Shirakawa-go Bus Line. This building is right beside the Nagoya Station. Maybe a 7 minute walk when you know where to go. There's only 2 schedules from Nagoya: 9AM and 11AM. If you know you're late, then you're right, do not expect someone might've waited. :P 
Time is of the essence.


As per google research, journey will take about 2 hours and 45 minutes but it took 3 hours and several minutes. You won't get bored anyways, the couch are cozy and the view outside your window will ease your boredom. The path is through main highways and more of a province type where you see more greens and rivers of turquoise running water. 


It snowed in Tokyo when we arrived in Nagoya on Monday, I was hoping to see it snow here but the forecast was accurate, it was raining. Don't know if I was hallucinating whilst in the bus when I saw somewhat hail falling, but I'd like to think it was though my smartphone didn't capture much.

My hands touches the moist as I try to write on the slightly foggy glass. It started 7degrees and became 2 degrees when we're almost there. It was raining. I hated the rain from pouring because we were wearing rubber shoes. We know its going to be cold and yet we were under-dressed, again. At the Ogimachi tourist information center, we arrive 12:30PM. There's a few lockers where you can store your things but it may all be vacated. No worries you can leave your bags at the counter but you will have to pay 500 yen. 


We ignored the cold feet as we gazed the friendly village or rather, you will forget about your cold feet when you see this landscape.

Gassho-zukuri means "constructed like hands in prayer", as the farmhouses' steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer.- reference

There is a map guide available in different languages. Ogimachi is the largest village with houses made with thatched roofs. There are a couple houses for viewing where you will see how they lived and what appliances they used in their everyday chores. We opted to enter only one, it was the Wada House:

shirakawago copy
   inside Wada House

Houses and museums are of 300 yen entrance except for the Heritage site which costs 600 yen. I wish I could say more but we decided not to check it out, I wouldn't say there might be more to see because it's not what happened when we were at the Nijo Castle in Kyoto.
We practically saw almost all of the must-sees, since it is a smaller village, 3 hours would be enough if its not raining. You have to walk carefully when the road is wet. The map might look like a gigantic land to roam around but its manageable. Sun sets early in Japan, the village is not well lit up and it seems Japan is not that big with the lights on for 24 hours. Convenient stores' open untill 11PM and restaurant's until 9PM. It will be dark but it's definitely safe.

DSC02412 copy
DSC02418 copy
DSC02439 copy

We stayed at the Guesthouse AntHut. It is near the police station in which I will feature on my next entries. It is located 20minutes away from the Ogimachi Tourist Center. The next day, we picked up where we left off. We went to those areas where we didn't see much. The village stretches up until Kanmachi (refer to map). There's also a spa, unfortunately we're no fan of spas. The fresh cold air could've been enough. The greenery is overwhelming, and how impressive can these thatched roofs are especially when someone's cooking in the house in an early morning. The scenery is a bliss with the smoke out of its roof. 

DSC02455 copy

I realized we were lucky to see the place wet on our first day because it was sunny the next day. The trees were suddenly dry and pale when yesterday the autumn leaves were vividly striking. 

DSC02474 copy
   dried grass on our 2nd day

In this photo you will see the mountain is already filled up with ice. I wish the snow would fall but it is not yet our time to see one. At the end of the day, it was all about every step was worth taken for what Shirakawa-go offers. 

DSC02430 copy
DSC02355 copy