A day trip to Kyoto on 2nd January, 2018.

 After coming back from a big event of first Shinto shrine visit Hatsumode (初詣) in Ise Shrine (伊勢神宮), we've already decided where to go on 2nd of January. It was going to be the old, most famous and popular destination Kyoto (京都) !


 Driving 150km to the west from my hometown Nagoya, it takes around two hours ride to get there. Along the highway was....

 ...endless mountains covered with snow, clouds were floating among them. It was just a scenery in Japan's winter, and I definitely love it :) With a couple of hot tea, chatting with my family all along, I felt like I could drive forever.

So, we're here :) Just a few kilometers north of Kyoto Station, there is a famous shopping district Nishiki market (錦市場) with a bunch of small stores selling from clothes to bite-size food. Since We both are big fans of wandering around, why don't we just stop by corners to take a photo? ;)

 I love those mossa-green dishes called Oribe (織部). With so many different styles and colours of dish in this country, that's my best :) Few blocks away from this arcade area, new year's bargain, the biggest bargain of a year, were held in department stores and sophisticated clothing shops. It's always fun to see people walking around with big square paper bags with a brand logo on their hands. Anyway, we sit at a cafe for a while, take a breath and rest, then go back to the car.

 I know it's completely opposite from where we were just ago, but there is another Kyoto to see before getting back to home. North of Kyoto, there is a Temple of the Golden Pavilion kinkaku-ji(金閣寺) . With its tremendously gorgeous looking, it's absolutely a must-visit place when you're in Kyoto. Every child who go to Kyoto for school trip is due to come to this Zen temple, including me (It's nearly 16 years ago, haha).  This shinny temple sits in front of a small pond as if floating on it, and when the sun comes out from clouds, it looks as if heaven was finally before us. So nice and worth visiting ;)

 On our way back home was stuck by heavy traffic jam, which put us additional
 five hours ride rather than just two hours for usual drives. It didn't annoy us, since we got plenty of time to talk :)


Japanese new year treat Osechi, and Ise shrine!

 Every year, I begin the first day with Japanese new year treat Osechi (おせち料理) with my family. Because typical family population in this country continue to shrink, most family is no longer cook a bunch of food in it themselves, instead they get it from department stores and so forth that offer a variety of them. Ranges from $100-$1,500 for a set, it all depends on how luxurious ingredients are, rather than the quantity. In this photo, I think it would be around $150. Once we celebrate new year, I hopped on my car with my family, driving to the southwest to one of the most famous Shrines in Japan.

 Looking from the window, we came across the pacific ocean along the express way. Shining from the east, the weather couldn't be better :)

 As we arrived, we were trapped with so many people coming to the shrine.  It wasn't surprising, considering the fact that it hosts around 500,000 prayers just in first three days of each year. Not all people are particularly religious, I believe. Many people come there to see their relatives, have drinks such as sake and hot meal in street stands along the way :)

 In a vast garden, there are woods, countless narrow paths, and even river. It's the best place to take a walk for the first day of the year! ;)


Good bye, unforgettable year 2017!

 Lots of thanks for the best year of my life, 2017!


One-day-trip to Kamakura from Tokyo!

 One day in the late Autumn of 2017, my friend and I visited an old town Kamakura (鎌倉), located just one hour riding on a local train from Tokyo. Despite its convenient location, Kamakura is amazingly different from the huge metropolitan city Tokyo: the city centre is filled with cute tiny local restaurants as well as souvenir shops, deep forests behind the city sit just next to the Pacific Ocean. What’s more, fascinatingly sophisticated cafes are available like everywhere. But first, why don’t we just drop the train off at Kita-Kamakura (Northen Kamakura) station to start a casual trail hiking which lead us to a big statue of Buddha?

 On the narrow local way, we found a lot of temples here and there. In most cases, the admission fee was 200-300 yen, just a couple of dollars. Since Autumn leaves had still on the tree, fascinated us, we went to temples one by one, walking on the gardens and around.

 As we climbed up hills, we discovered an ocean view beyond trees. The air surrounding us wasn’t that cold, perhaps the temperature hit 10 degrees at that point. I always love those modest weather, you know :)

 So, here we are ;) If you pay additional fee, which is just for 20 yen,  you can make it inside the statue like we did :) You want to know what’s inside? Well....NOTHING XD


 Okay, it’s time to have a nice meal. We found a local restaurant on a narrow street, and had a Shirasu (small, steamed white baby fish), soul food in Kamakura along with fresh Tuna. Soooo nice :)

 Before it gets dark, we strolled around the city centre, had some sweets while doing window shopping. It was truly a lovely day ;)