Thursday, May 22, 2008


Famous for its numerous shrines and temples.

Perhaps this Golden Temple (金閣寺) is by far the most famous one around. I'm not sure if the whole thing is made up of real gold? Or is it just gold-plated? The building was out-of-bounds.. haha. Perhaps they are scared that the visitors will go in, scrape some gold out and take it home as souvenir.

Next on the itinerary was Ten-Ryu Temple (天龍寺) (in chinese: 天龙寺 tian1 long2 si4)
Its a Zen temple. There are no specific buddah statues to pray to, just a big open shelter for pple to sit down and meditate. There a nice garden and lots of bamboo trees behind the building.

Pond/lake in between the budiling and the forest.. quite scenic
Bamboo trees in the back.

The last temple i visited was Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) (In chinese: 清水寺)
This temple is built on the top of a small hill. Quite a number of temples here are listed under their "national heritage list" due to their history or architecture. This one is definitely no exception.

It has spring water from the mountain top for pple to wash their hands before entering the temple

Many pple come here to pray for marriage (縁結び). I found this cute game at one corner of the temple.

The 2 stones are abt 20 metres apart and there were some girls queueing to try it out. sad to say, most of the pple who tried it did not manage to reach the other stone. :(

That nite, we visited the city area.

Busy traffic junction in the middle of the city:A famous shopping street there:

Yet another must-go place on the tourists' itinerary. It is a street lined with traditional shophouses (now converted to upmarket restaurants). Along the way, you may spot Geishas!!!

And yup, we did see 2 that night. :)


Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe) area's famous dish: Okono Miyaki
There were many so variations there, each with different ingredients...
I forgot which was which.. but it all tasted great.
The one in the middle, with yaki-soba as the base is the Hiroshima version of Okono Miyaki


After Osaka, we took a short detour to Kobe - yet another small city 30km away.
Just like most other cities, the most crowded area was the few streets around the main train station.

Kobe is famous for KOBE BEEF. But when we went there, we found out that the cost for a set meal for the top-grade Kobe Beef cost abt 5000yen! (abt $70). That was way out of our budget.. so we went to a smaller restaurant nearby and settled for some cheaper beef. haha.

Although cheap, it still taste good. That pretty much satisfies our desire to taste "kobe beef". :)
Kobe is also the home to one of the 3 famous night views in Japan - Mt Rokko.
(Last month, I've been to the one in Nagasaki - Mt Inasa. The last on is Mt Hakodate in Hokkaido)
As usual, there is a nice cable car to bring us all the way to the peak.

Beautiful night view.. u can see the whole of Kobe, the nearby airports, and Osaka city afar.

Night view from the top

This was taken at the base's cable car station. Its supposed to be "Rokko Cable Shita" (shita = bottom/under/below in japanese). Oops.. my camera shaked and i didnt get a good shot. haha

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Unlike NUS, Tokyo Tech does not have a one-week mid-sem break in the middle of the term. So in order to travel, I had no other choice but to give myself a few days off. haha. :o

First stop: OSAKA
Universal Studios Japan.(USJ)
It is reported that Singapore is going to build their own Universal Studios within the Integrated Casino in Sentosa. But judging the puny little land area of Sentosa, i am rather skeptical abt how good it will be.
Just take a look at the main entrance of USJ.

This is the trademark of Uinversal Studios - A big globe at the entrance
Of course, there are all the childhood cartoon characters - Elmo, Ernee(Sesame Street), Popeye, Betty Boop, and of course, HELLO KITTY

A group of Elmo-fan club kids taking pics with Elmo... Of course, not to mention, Japan's tradmark - HELLO KITTY

The best ride in the park was probably the Spider-man ride - it sure is worth the 80min queueing time. Its basically an indoor cart ride, controlled by the computer. You are given 3-D glasses to view the 3D effects(spiderman jumps onto your car every now and then, and the vibration/movement of the cart emulates the scenario of your cart being thrown around). Along the way, were fire/hot air/water/wind to make the whole experience(story) more surreal.

My conclusion:
Recommended rides: Spiderman(prob the best theme park ride i ever took), E.T. & Terminator 2 3-D movie
Not recommended: Their mass display performance

Along Osaka Bay, just opposite USJ, lies the Aquarium and a Ferris wheel.

View from the inside: you can see the whole Osaka Bay area, and Osaka city in the further end.
Here is what Osaka Bay looks like from the ground level..... cant see much

The aquarium from the outside:

This is the main attraction of the aquarium: a big big big whale. Biggest in Japan i think, and its vegetarian.
You can see it surrounded by small fishes in the backgound.
In my opinion, this aquarium, known as "one of the best in japan", is over-hyped. Basically, the whole building consists of a huge tank(as seen in the pic). There werent any good performances, shows etc to entertain the crowd... what a waste of money....

Next STOP: UMEDA Sky Building
Famous for its unique(aka weird) architecture
View from far:

View from the bottom:

That nite, we went to the busy city area of DoTonBuRi in Namba... Pretty exciting and busy... feels as if u were in Tokyo...