Thursday, November 26, 2015

Osaka: Dotonbori Minami Namba in Japan


Dotonbori is the most popular tourist attraction area and it is also a city icon for Osaka in Japan. Dotonbori is also known as Minami Namba as it is located around Namba Station, Minami. Dotonbori is a popular shopping and food district as it draws many tourists to the place especially at night, in order to enjoy hundreds of neon lights and colourful electronic billboards on the buildings. Glico is one of the famous electronic billboards which attracts tourists to Dotonbori for the picture. Apart from that, tourists can enjoy boat ride along the canal at Dotonbori. 

Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake), Takoyaki, Tetchirin (blowfish stew), Udon, Octopus balls, Oysters, scallops etc. are popular food to try in Osaka.

Dotonbori is located around Namba Station, Minami in Osaka downtown, Japan
Dotonbori is located around Namba Station, Minami in Osaka downtown, Japan

It becomes crowded at night when visitors head to Dotonbori Street for popular okonomiyaki, tetchiri, udon etc. in Osaka, Japan
It becomes crowded at night when visitors head to Dotonbori Street for popular okonomiyaki, tetchiri, udon etc. in Osaka, Japan

Boat ride along the canal at the popular tourist attraction of Dotonbori in Osaka downtown, Japan
Boat ride along the canal at the popular tourist attraction of Dotonbori in Osaka downtown, Japan

The entrance of Dotonbori Street and near to Minami Namba walk in Osaka, Japan
The entrance of Dotonbori Street for food district and near to popular spots for the electronic billboards at Minami Namba walk in Osaka, Japan

Asahi electronic billboard on top of the building at Minami Namba in Osaka downtown, Japan
Asahi electronic billboard on top of the building at Minami Namba in Osaka downtown, Japan


Glico electronic board is one of the most popular attraction at Dotonbori and Minami Namba walk in Osaka downtown, Japan
Glico electronic board is one of the most popular attraction at Dotonbori and Minami Namba walk in Osaka downtown, Japan

Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) and Japanese style BBQ are popular food in Osaka, Japan
Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) and Japanese style BBQ are popular food in Osaka, Japan

Catchy Osaka food displaying on restaurants' signboards  to grab customers' attention at Dotonbori in Osaka, Japan
Catchy Osaka food displaying on restaurants' signboards  to grab customers' attention at Dotonbori in Osaka, Japan

Standing on the right of escalator in order to give way for people who are on the quick move in Osaka, Japan
Standing on the right of escalator in order to give way for people who are on the quick move in Osaka, Japan
The futuristic concept of the most popular tourist attraction place at Osaka Station City in Osaka downtown, Japan
The futuristic concept of the most popular tourist attraction place at Osaka Station City in Osaka downtown, Japan


My Older Post: 
  • Nara: Deer, Todai-ji & Kasuga-Taisha Temples in Japan
  • Miyajima: Itsukushima Shrine, outside of Hiroshima in Japan
  • Hiroshima: Peace Memorial Museum & A-Bomb Dome in Japan
  • Hiroshima: Castle & Ninomaru Omote Gate in Japan
  • JR Shinkansen Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima station & Streetcar(Hiroshima Electrict Railway) in Japan
  • Kyoto: Nijo Castle (Nijojo) in Japan
  • Kyoto: Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho) in Japan
  • Kyoto: Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion (Day 1) in Japan
  • Owakudani Hakone Ropeway (black eggs) in Japan
  • Mt Fuji & Hakone Lake Ashi Cruise in Japan
  • Odaiba Minato & Gundam Tokyo Bay, Japan
  • Asakusa Sensoji Kannon Buddhist Temple in Tokyo, Japan
  • Tokyo Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Meiji Jingu Shrine in Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan
  • Sky Bus Tokyo ride in Marunouchi district, Japan
  • Kit Kat, Ikebukuro Tokyo Store
  • Tokyo Station & Tokyo Tower, Japan
  • Akihabara Anime, Manga and Maid Cafe in Tokyo, Japan
  • Hachiko Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan
  • Observation Deck: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building at Shinjuku, Tokyo
  • Shinjuku Skyscraper & Kabukicho in Tokyo, Japan
  • Tokyo Subway Metro Train Guide in Japan
  • Japan Culture & Vending Machine Introduction

  • Tuesday, November 17, 2015

    Nara: Deer, Todai-ji & Kasuga-Taisha Temples in Japan


    It is easy to get from Kyoto downtown to Nara Park by train. Nara is a popular city with shrines and deer. There are many freely roaming deer around Nara Park but you need to be careful with them. Nara's deer are surprisingly tame but some can be aggressive towards visitors for food. Nara's deer love eating deer crackers. These deer will follow visitors when they see their favourite deer crackers. You can buy deer crackers at stalls around Nara Park. Some deer have learned to bow at the visitors when they ask for the crackers. According to the locals at Nara city, deer is the messengers of the gods and they also become the city symbol for tourism. 

    Due to our time constraint, we decide to join a half day local tour to Todai-ji and Kasuga-Taisha temples at Nara Park. Todai-ji Temple is our first stop at Nara Park. It is a must-see attraction at Nara. Todai-ji is the Daibutsu-den (Hall of the Great Buddha) where you can see a 16-meter high Buddha statue (Daibutsu) at Todai-ji Temple. 

    After that, we head to Kasuga-Taisha Temple. It is a short walking distance from Todai-ji Temple. Kasuga-Taisha Shrine is the most important Shinto shrine in Nara. Kasuga-Taisha Temple is totally different from Todai-ji Temple. Kasuga-Taisha Temple is located in the forest. You will enjoy and cherish the nature while walking along the pathway, which is surrounded by stone lanterns and shrines. All the stone lanterns and hanging lanterns on the buildings are donated by worshipers. All these lanterns will only lit-up twice a year during Lantern Festivals, one in early February and one in mid August.


    How to get to Nara Park?
    By Kintetsu Railways
    A 35 minutes express train ride from Kyoto Station to Kintetsu Nara Station and costs 1,130yen per person for one way trip.   


    Nearest station to Todai-ji and Kasuga-Taisha Temples:
    25 minutes walk from Kintetsu Nara Station

    Opening Hours at Todai-ji and Kasuga-Taisha Temples:
    7:30am - 4:30pm

    Admission Fee:
    Todai-ji Temple           : 500yen per person
    Kasuga-Taisha Temple: FREE    


    Nara Park is famous for deer and the temples as the Japanese locals believe the deer are from the Gods in Japan
    Nara Park is famous for deer and the temples as the Japanese locals believe the deer are the messengers from the Gods in Japan

    The World Heritage Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara at Todai-ji and Kasuga-Taisha to visit at Nara in Japan
    The World Heritage Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara at Todai-ji and Kasuga-Taisha to visit at Nara in Japan

    Nan-dai-mon (the Great Southern Gate) of Todai-ji Temple is popular for Buddhist statues over 8 metres tall at Nara Park, Japan
    Nan-dai-mon (the Great Southern Gate) of Todai-ji Temple is popular for Buddhist statues over 8 metres tall at Nara Park, Japan

    Be careful with Nara deer as some maybe wild to handle at Nara Park in Japan
    Be careful with Nara deer as some maybe wild to handle at Nara Park in Japan

    Todai-ji Temple is recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site at Nara Park in Japan
    Todai-ji Temple is recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site at Nara Park in Japan

    Buddhism bronze statue in Todai-ji Temple at Nara Park, Japan
    Buddhism bronze statue in Todai-ji Temple at Nara Park, Japan

    Big Buddha Hall (Daibutsuden) is the world's largest wooden building  at Todai-ji Temple in Nara Park, Japan
    Big Buddha Hall (Daibutsuden) is the world's largest wooden building  at Todai-ji Temple in Nara Park, Japan

    Lotus pillar represents Buddhism at Todai-ji Temple in Nara Park, Japan
    Lotus pillar represents Buddhism at Todai-ji Temple in Nara Park, Japan

    Todai-ji Temple  is a most famous Buddhism temple and the roofing looks similar to Japanese Samurai Helmet at Nara Park, Japan
    Todai-ji Temple  is a most famous Buddhism temple and the roofing looks similar to Japanese Samurai Helmet at Nara Park, Japan

    A beautiful gate is located at the entrance of Todai-ji Temple in Nara Park, Japan
    A beautiful gate is located at the entrance of Todai-ji Temple in Nara Park, Japan

    Kasuga Taisha is famous for its lanterns which have been donated by worshipers and can be seen along the pathway at Nara Park in Japan
    Kasuga Taisha is famous for its lanterns which have been donated by worshipers and can be seen along the pathway at Nara Park in Japan

    Deer Water Fountain at Kasuga Taisha Temple in Nara Park, Japan
    Deer Water Fountain at Kasuga Taisha Temple in Nara Park, Japan

    Kasuga Taisa Shrine Temple is famous for its stone lanterns at Nara Park in Japan
    Kasuga Taisa Shrine Temple is famous for its stone lanterns at Nara Park in Japan

    Shrine temples are located along the pathway towards Kasuga-Taisha Temple in Nara Park, Japan
    Shrine temples are located along the pathway towards Kasuga-Taisha Temple in Nara Park, Japan

    Minamimon Kasuga Taisha Shrine is recognized as a World Heritage Site as part of  Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara by UNESCO in Japan
    Minamimon Kasuga Taisha Shrine is recognized as a World Heritage Site as part of  Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara by UNESCO in Japan

    Beautiful lanterns are hanging from the buildings and only lit up during Lantern Festivals, at Kasuga Taisha Temple in Nara Park, Japan
    Beautiful lanterns are hanging from the buildings and only lit up during Lantern Festivals, at Kasuga Taisha Temple in Nara Park, Japan

    Feeling calm while walking at Kasuga Taisha Shrine Temple in Nara Park, Japan
    Feeling calm while walking at Kasuga Taisha Shrine Temple in Nara Park, Japan


    My Older Post: 
  • Miyajima: Itsukushima Shrine, outside of Hiroshima in Japan
  • Hiroshima: Peace Memorial Museum & A-Bomb Dome in Japan
  • Hiroshima: Castle & Ninomaru Omote Gate in Japan
  • JR Shinkansen Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima station & Streetcar(Hiroshima Electrict Railway) in Japan
  • Kyoto: Nijo Castle (Nijojo) in Japan
  • Kyoto: Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho) in Japan
  • Kyoto: Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion (Day 1) in Japan
  • Owakudani Hakone Ropeway (black eggs) in Japan
  • Mt Fuji & Hakone Lake Ashi Cruise in Japan
  • Odaiba Minato & Gundam Tokyo Bay, Japan
  • Asakusa Sensoji Kannon Buddhist Temple in Tokyo, Japan
  • Tokyo Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Meiji Jingu Shrine in Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan
  • Sky Bus Tokyo ride in Marunouchi district, Japan
  • Kit Kat, Ikebukuro Tokyo Store
  • Tokyo Station & Tokyo Tower, Japan
  • Akihabara Anime, Manga and Maid Cafe in Tokyo, Japan
  • Hachiko Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan
  • Observation Deck: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building at Shinjuku, Tokyo
  • Shinjuku Skyscraper & Kabukicho in Tokyo, Japan
  • Tokyo Subway Metro Train Guide in Japan
  • Japan Culture & Vending Machine Introduction

  • Friday, October 23, 2015

    Miyajima: Itsukushima Shrine, outside of Hiroshima in Japan


    Miyajima Island is situated in less than an hour by train and ferry from Hiroshima downtown in Japan. It is highly recommended and a must to visit Miyajima Island when you visit the city of Hiroshima in Japan. 

    Miyajima Island is famous for its historical island. Itsukushima Shrine has been recognized as one of the UNESCO attraction sites, is located, along with the Virgin Forest of Mt. Misen and numerous preserved shrines and temples.

    Itsukushima Shrine is a famous shrine with floating torii gate. The torii gate is the boundary between the spirits and the human world. You should take two different pictures of Itsukushima Shrine in the morning and evening. You can get as close as possible to the torii gate during the low tide in the morning. As it is heading to the evening, the torii gate seems floating during the high tide. 

    It is a day trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima Island for us, so we aren't able to stay long at Miyajima to take the picture of the "floating" torii gate. As we are running short of time at Miyajima Island, we aren't able to walk to the highest mountain of Mount Misen as well as visiting Daisho-in Temple, a Buddhist temple at the foot of Mount Misen. It will be a fun moments if we are able to stay an overnight at Miyajima Island in order to enjoy the nature along the walking trails to Mount Misen and experience the lifestyle with the locals there.

    How to get to Miyajima Island?
    Train / Tram Station : 
    i)  Take JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station which takes 25 minutes                 
                                                                                    OR
    ii) Take tram line number 2 from central Hiroshima bound for Miyajimaguchi but it is slower than JR Sanyo Line which is a good experience for the first time visitor to Hiroshima. 
    (Note: Once reaching Miyajimaguchi Station (either by JR Sanyo line or the tram), it is a short walk to the ferry pier, from where ferries depart frequently for Miyajima Island. It will be a 10 minutes ferry ride to Miyajima Island).
    If you are running out of time in Hiroshima, you can opt for a speed boat from Hiroshima downtown nearby Hiroshima Peace Park which will take you directly to Miyajima Island but it is more expensive. A single trip costs 1,900yen per person while a round trip costs 3,400yen per person) each day.

    It's cold and foggy after the rain from Hiroshima city to Miyajima Island for 30 minutes ferry ride in Japan
    It's cold and foggy after the rain from Hiroshima city to Miyajima Island for 30 minutes ferry ride in Japan

    Itsukushima Shrine can been seen during the ferry ride from Hiroshima to Miyajima Island in Japan
    Itsukushima Shrine can been seen during the ferry ride from Hiroshima to Miyajima Island in Japan

    Arriving at the ferry terminal at Miyajima Island from Hiroshima ferry port, an hour drive outside of the city in Japan
    Arriving at the ferry terminal at Miyajima Island from Hiroshima ferry port, an hour drive outside of the city in Japan

    Miyajima's welcome map at the ferry terminal in Japan
    Miyajima's welcome map at the ferry terminal in Japan

    Friendly deers roaming around Miyajima Island, outside of Hiroshima city in Japan
    Friendly deers roaming around Miyajima Island, outside of Hiroshima city in Japan

    Friendly town depends on selling food and souvenirs to visitors at Miyajima Island, outside of Hiroshima city in Japan
    Friendly town depends on selling food and souvenirs to visitors at Miyajima Island, outside of Hiroshima city in Japan

    Hello Kitty souvenir shop at Miyajima Island, outside of Hiroshima city in Japan
    Hello Kitty souvenir shop at Miyajima Island, outside of Hiroshima city in Japan

    It's a must to see the famous Itsukushima Shrine with floating torii gate at Miyajima Island in Japan
    It's a must to see the famous Itsukushima Shrine with floating torii gate during the low tide at Miyajima Island in Japan

    Senjokaku Hall is a large wooden hall built by Hideyoshi for the purpose of chanting Buddhist sutras for fallen soldiers at Miyajima Island in Japan
    Senjokaku Hall is a large wooden hall built by Hideyoshi for the purpose of chanting Buddhist sutras for fallen soldiers at Miyajima Island in Japan

    Walking under Senjokaku Hall to the 5 storied pagoda at Miyajima Island, an hour outside of Hiroshima city in Japan
    Walking under Senjokaku Hall to the 5 storied pagoda at Miyajima Island, an hour outside of Hiroshima city in Japan

    The height of the ceiling at the underneath of Senjokaku Hall is high to enable us to walk comfortably without bending our heads at Miyajima Island in Japan
    The height of the ceiling at the underneath of Senjokaku Hall is high to enable us to walk comfortably without bending our heads at Miyajima Island in Japan

    5 storied pagoda from the front view at Miyajima Island, outside of Hiroshima city in Japan
    5 storied pagoda from the front view at Miyajima Island, outside of Hiroshima city in Japan

    5 storied pagoda from the side view at Miyajima Island, outside of Hiroshima city in Japan
    5 storied pagoda from the side view at Miyajima Island, outside of Hiroshima city in Japan

    5 storied pagoda from bottom-up at Miyajima Island, outside of Hiroshima city in Japan
    5 storied pagoda from bottom-up at Miyajima Island, outside of Hiroshima city in Japan

    The overlooking of the town at Miyajima Island in Japan
    The overlooking of the town at Miyajima Island in Japan

    The alternative speed boat ride from Hiroshima city to Miyajima Island (either way) within 45 minutes if you have limited time at Hiroshima in Japan
    The alternative speed boat ride from Hiroshima city to Miyajima Island (either way) within 45 minutes if you have limited time at Hiroshima in Japan


    My Older Post: 
  • Hiroshima: Peace Memorial Museum & A-Bomb Dome in Japan
  • Hiroshima: Castle & Ninomaru Omote Gate in Japan
  • JR Shinkansen Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima station & Streetcar(Hiroshima Electrict Railway) in Japan
  • Kyoto: Nijo Castle (Nijojo) in Japan
  • Kyoto: Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho) in Japan
  • Kyoto: Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion (Day 1) in Japan
  • Owakudani Hakone Ropeway (black eggs) in Japan
  • Mt Fuji & Hakone Lake Ashi Cruise in Japan
  • Odaiba Minato & Gundam Tokyo Bay, Japan
  • Asakusa Sensoji Kannon Buddhist Temple in Tokyo, Japan
  • Tokyo Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Meiji Jingu Shrine in Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan
  • Sky Bus Tokyo ride in Marunouchi district, Japan
  • Kit Kat, Ikebukuro Tokyo Store
  • Tokyo Station & Tokyo Tower, Japan
  • Akihabara Anime, Manga and Maid Cafe in Tokyo, Japan
  • Hachiko Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan
  • Observation Deck: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building at Shinjuku, Tokyo
  • Shinjuku Skyscraper & Kabukicho in Tokyo, Japan
  • Tokyo Subway Metro Train Guide in Japan
  • Japan Culture & Vending Machine Introduction