Spring 2016: Himeji Castle Park

A year later, I’m finally writing about this Spring and Sakura-filled trip to Kansai area (Yeah yeah…for the nth time! Oo na. :). Better late than never! πŸ˜‰ After all, it’s Spring once more and many people would be planning their trips.

Whenever one brings up Kansai, people automatically think of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Kobe. But then I got curious about Himeji because of people claiming that Himeji Castle is the most majestic castle you’ll ever come across in Japan. They were right. It’s currently my favorite castle in Japan. ❀

Just look at this mesmerizing view of Himeji Castle during Sakura season. πŸ™‚

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Backing up a little… πŸ˜‰

And so I found myself taking the JR train from Osaka to Hyogo Prefecture to visit Himeji. I think there were about 10,000 other people who decided to check it out that day. Heehee. Good thing, I went on a solo trip so no one’s complaining. πŸ˜›

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When I got there, with Himeji just an hour away from Osaka, the mood was festive. The Spring weather was warm and it’s sunny so there were a lot of people enjoying hanami. Β It’s still best to walk from Himeji Station all the way to the Himeji Castle Park since it’s only a straight path. You can either choose to walk along the main road or leisurely pass through a shopping center. Of course I picked the shopping route! πŸ˜› Typical girl move. πŸ˜›

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One of the first things you’ll see is Pablo! That craving for the gooey cheesecake will immediately set in…

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They also have Hello Kitty Cafe here in Himeji! πŸ™‚ I visited one in Seoul so I thought it can only be exclusively seen in South Korea. Ahhh, I was wrong. My world was so small…it still is to some extent. πŸ™‚

20160402_164305No Japan trip could ever be complete without Doutor!Β 20160402_163250Apparently, the Cherry Blossom season is a big deal over here in Japan not just for tourists. I was so happy to see foreigners and locals alike in a celebratory mood.

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20160402_115333The Himeji Castle Park is huge! Thank God it is since it can accommodate a lot of people who want to have picnic under a Cherry Blossom tree. πŸ™‚ I saw groups of friends, families, lovers, and even old men gathered to enjoy the sun and hanami.

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I silently prayed and wished that in this sea of crowd, I would see Filipinos since we’re supposed to be anywhere and everywhere in the world. Imagine my happiness when I heard a family speaking in Tagalog! Wooohoooo! I would expect this in Tokyo and Osaka but Himeji? Wow! πŸ˜€ God heard me! πŸ™‚ Marisol and her family were so nice. Hihi. πŸ™‚

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One of my missions in this trip is to spend some quiet time with the Lord. In fact, my vision was to read the Bible and talk to Him under a cherry tree. Long story short, God let me meet a person who randomly blessed me with plane tickets to Japan just because…I wanted to cry because that vision came to life. :’) I felt so blessed.

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I know it’s a happy occasion but hayyyy, I really cried. Iba si God mag-touch ng heart. His message was so on point. It’s a dream to someday do a mission trip to Japan and introduce Christ to them and how He was able to save me and how salvation is freely available for them too.

It was a good day to just walk in the park, people-watch, appreciate my surroundings, enjoy the warmth of the sun, and soak in the beautiful abundance of cherry blossoms all around.

There isn’t much to narrate because I was just in awe most of the time. I quietly drank in the breathtaking beauty and dutifully took photos to document the whole thing. I can’t believe these are now memories. :’)

I hope you will like the beauty of Himeji from my perspective….

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Hayyyy, I’m a writer by profession but seeing all those wonderful things makes me want to explore being a photographer. May God bless that desire of my heart. πŸ™‚

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I’m ending this blog entry on a dreamy note. I caught hanafubuki on camera! πŸ™‚ Hanafubuki is when falling cherry blossom petals poetically take the form of (seemingly) a blizzard of “pink snowflakes.” It’s quite M-A-G-I-C-A-L!!! πŸ™‚

AUTUMN WONDERS & WANDER: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN

This was my second time to visit Universal Studios Japan and while I was hesitant to visit it once more since…it’s not cheap…heeheee…I gave in. After all, it’s Christmas and it’s Lot’s first time to visit (I like watching people’s reactions) and who says no to a chance to go back to Hogwarts?! So I found myself back at the theme park. No regrets! πŸ˜€

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There’s something new I’ve learned: If you enter past 3pm, USJ tickets are cheaper! πŸ™‚

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image-82df3136a7376ae3ddd445afd017befb0a25df1fe0ebecd1c4616c60fcca740c-vHooray to being kids again! I don’t know but I still got so excited. Maybe because I was with a friend who’s almost like a playmate. Hahaha. πŸ˜€

20151130_141951-2It’sΒ Christmas so I felt that the trip back to USJ was more sulit. Haha.

Of course, the first thing I made Lot do was to rush to Hogwarts! Heehee.

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20151130_151815A butterbeer to toast to this fun visit! *CHEERS!*

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12301702_10208064823763604_66466265894833133_nIt was so enthralling to just watch the marvelous view of the Hogwarts castle. You really should be there in the late afternoon to catch the sunset view of Hogwarts. ❀

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20151130_172450-2Ahhh…to be a kid again. I hope to be friends with Harry, Hermione and Ron in real life. I then accompanied Lot to take the Forbidden Journey ride and we managed to catch the magic wand show at Ollivander’s. I wasn’t able to go inside the Three Broomsticks again though. It looked pricey.

We ventured out after Hogwarts.My curiosity was piqued because I kept seeing this Minion worn as a necklace. It was expensive but I couldn’t resist. I went back for it. Tada! I was Y3,000 poorer because of this. Haha. πŸ˜€

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There’s a different feeling when you visit USJ during Christmas. It almost made me cry with so much happiness.

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As if the Christmas tree and the 3D illumination weren’t enough, we were about to leave already when The Magical Starlight Parade commenced! I got sooooooo crazy happy like a kid Β and stayed there the whole time just to watch. I was so mesmerized. I’m dumping the photos now and would probably not end this blog entry properly. Haha. πŸ˜€

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AUTUMN WONDERS & WANDER: KYOTO STATION & GRAND FRONT OSAKA

The best thing about autumn in Japan is that it’s also so close to Christmas–my favorite holiday season. It reminds me of my upcoming birthday too.

While Japan isn’t a Christian nation, the citizens are not immune to the festive mood Christmas brings. You don’t have to venture out much to experience and appreciate the season. This post will be just about us simply roaming around and exploring none of the tourist sites but only at the central stations of Kyoto and Osaka. πŸ™‚

Let’s start off with Kyoto Station. Oh, I miss the sound JR trains make already!

Just two floors above ground is a giant Christmas tree greeting all visitors of Kyoto. I felt so minuscule compared to this humongous creation. When you go further onto the basement, you’ll still find lots of shops and entertaining Christmas decors.

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Right from the Kyoto Station, you can already take a look at Kyoto’s most famous landmark–the Kyoto (what else?) Tower.

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20151202_111026There’s also an observation deck called the “Happy Terrace” that’s absolutely free of charge! πŸ™‚ You can just soak up the warm autumn sun on the roofdeck since it could get a little too cold during fall.

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Apart from that, there’s a floor dedicated to dining so when you’re feeling extra hungry, there’s no need to worry. Had the yummiest bento meal at Kyoto station.

When we went back to Osaka from Kyoto, we’re admittedly exhausted from the day’s adventures already but the need to explore is maddeningly still there so we roamed around Grand Front Osaka. Haha.

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The festive Grand Front Osaka

 

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Autumn. Christmas. Basta. i love it! πŸ™‚

They have parking spaces for bicycles. Neat! Nice! πŸ™‚

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There’s also Yodobashi Umeda where you could shop for a lot of random stuff. If you’re not careful, you would either forget the time or forget that you have a budget to maintain. πŸ˜›

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But my most favorite moment happened right there. Just having a simple dinner enjoying the sights and sounds on that cold autumn night. πŸ™‚

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Autumn Wonders & Wander: Kinkakuji/Fushimi Inari/Gion

If there’s something I would proudly say I’m good at is my sense of direction.

I wouldn’t really say I’m good with maps and compass but for some reason, my memory of paths taken can be nothing short of excellent. It comes in handy when I’m in navigation mode somewhere in this great, big world. πŸ˜› Maybe it was my training at Trapik.com as a data encoder and traffic reporter which entailed memorizing maps and streets. More importantly, it’s knowing where your east, west, north and south are. ;D

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And so I played tour guide to my friend Lot when we flew to Japan last autumn. I’ve seen Kinkakuji, Fushimi Inari and Gion before but I went to visit those places again just so Lot could see for herself how lovely these places are. πŸ™‚

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First of our stops is Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavillion. My jaw dropped! I have previously visited the place last spring but it’s even more beautiful in the autumn. It’s so true how seasons contribute to the changing looks of a place. With Lot around, I felt much braver and more comfortable this time to hang out for a bit longer at Kinkakuji to take beautiful photos. It’s amazing how you see the many awesome angles of the place from different perspectives.

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I couldn’t get enough of taking pics. I love being a writer but I’m thinking of exploring photography. One day…someday. πŸ™‚ If it’s meant to be, it will happen. Lot and I enjoyed it here so much.

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Even after passing Kinkakuji, it remains beautiful no matter which angle I take pictures of it. I think the colorful autumn leaves added to the romance of the whole thing.

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Kinkakuji is postcard-pretty. It’s so beautiful that I’m not sure if I have acquired mad photography skills or Kinkakuji was simply lending its beauty to my camera. πŸ˜›

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The Kinkakuji tour ended with prayers and paying respects at a small shrine.

We then went to Fushimi Inari Taisha. I’ve blogged about it before so let me just spell out our recent autumn adventures in pictures. πŸ™‚

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Still packed with tourists.

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Finally! We’re at the vermillion torri gates of Fushimi Inari! πŸ™‚

And then we found a spot I’ve never seen before. It looked so…Japanese? πŸ˜› I’m losing out here. Haha. Don’t feel much of a writer right now.

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Then we proceeded to Gion but it was so late already. I couldn’t really feel my feet anymore. We went to Kiyomizu Dera but the line was too looooooonnngggggg. We opted to go to Gion’s Yasaka. πŸ˜‰ Only for a little while because we were so exhausted already.

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Even more beautiful at night.

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Gion at night.

Incidentally, I went back to Gion just recently. Will blog about it some other time.

Hayyyy, I’m missing Japan all the more as I post about this. :/ Must.go.back.again.for.the.nth.time.

 

 

Autumn Wonders & Wander: Kyoto (Tenryu-ji Temple/Okochi Sanso Villa)

The best thing I love about Arashiyama is that you can visit many scenic attractions all in one go. After breathing in the majestic view of the mountains at Togetsukyo Bridge, we walked all the way to Tenryu-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It’s right across the Keifuku Arashiyama Station so it’s easy to spot.

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Tenryu-ji Temple is the head temple of the Rinzai Zen sect of Buddhism in Japan.Built in 1339 by a ruling shogun, the temple buildings have been repeatedly destroyed and lost in fires and during the war periods over a number of centuries but the beautiful Sogenchi Garden inside the compound survived it all.

My emotions weren’t really prepared for the sprawling beauty of Sogenchi Garden in all of its autumn glory so I found myself catching my breath. It was beautiful! I wanted to stay there forever because I was so in love with all the colors that surrounded us.

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How can you not fall in love with this view? πŸ™‚

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I had to take a video just to remind myself of this awesome moment.

According to Japan:Official Guide (www.jnto.go.jp), there are fantastic aesthetic reasons on the way the Sogenchi Garden was laid out. Read on:

“The Tenryu-ji Temple Garden is said to have been built by the founder of the temple, Muso Soseki. The garden is arranged so that visitors can enjoy the changing scenery while walking around the Sogenchi Pond in its center. The scenery of two hills – Kame-yama and Arashi-yama – both of which are located outside the garden, form part of the composition. This technique of making use of the surrounding landscape in garden design is known as shakkei. Stonework on a hill at the back of the pond symbolizes a mountain stream cascading into the pond. There are also stones symbolizing carp. This idea stems from a traditional Chinese fable in which a carp swims up a waterfall to become the more superior dragon. Among the gardens designed by master gardener Muso Soseki, this garden is believed to be the least changed and is considered one of the most exquisite of all Japanese gardens.”

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The entrance fee is only 500 yen. You only need to add 100 yen to access the buildings.

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After that, we decided to exit Tenryu-ji and we moved on to our next destination: The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest! πŸ˜€

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I don’t get why I was so fascinated with the bamboo grove. It’s not like we don’t have bamboo in the Philippines. πŸ˜› I guess it just looks more dramatic and captivating when I see it here in Arashiyama. It was cold but then it was also breezy when we were walking inside the bamboo forest. Don’t worry about admission fees, the bamboo forest is a scenery you could enjoy for free. πŸ™‚

Right past the bamboo forest is a trail that leads to Okochi Sanso Villa. Okochi Sanso Villa is the previous home of Japanese film actor Denjiro Okochi. According to the story, Okochi built the villa so he could have a sanctuary, a respite from his hectic life. I feel this combination of envy and gratefulness for Okochi because the place is truly serene and quiet. I enjoyed the autumn breeze all over the place and the magnificent view of Kyoto.

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First thing you’ll see at the entry point πŸ™‚

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Kirei!

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You have to follow the upward trail to see this lonesome villa. πŸ™‚

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Stunning!

It was so worth it that I did not mind the 1,000 yen admission fee. It came with free hot matcha tea and a Japanese sweet treat anyway. πŸ™‚

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It was quite an experience! I would probably revisit Arashiyama for the nth time and during autumn once more. It’s my kind of happy place. πŸ™‚

 

Autumn Wonders & Wander: Kyoto (Arashiyama-Togetsukyo Bridge & Oi River)

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Pardon my late post about our autumn trip in Japan.

Spring time has passed and it took some time for me to bravely face WordPress again and relive the awesome experience. As previously posted, when writing is your full time job, blogging is hardly a therapy. πŸ˜›

One of the highlights of my trip was a visit to Arashiyama in broad daylight. πŸ˜› If you have ever read my earlier (mis)adventures, you would be extremely ecstatic for me. πŸ™‚ I first visited Arashiyama spring of 2015 but I got there at dusk so there’s not much to see and it didn’t help that I got lost when it’s already so dark. I vowed to return to Arashiyama and explore it some more.

Arashiyama is located in the western outskirts of Kyoto. It’s a quick trip from downtown Kyoto. From Kyoto Station, there’s a train that directly takes you to JR Saga-Arashiyama Station.

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Taaaadaaaaaa! Finally! Victory is so sweet! πŸ™‚ I am deliriously happy that I got to visit Arashiyama at a time when it’s full of life.

The weather is cold and the scenery is bathed in fiery red and golden yellow leaves. Not a bad time to get some coffee and admire the majestic view of Togetsukyo Bridge and the autumn splendor of the Arashiyama mountains.

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Arashiyama during autumn

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Tourists at the famous Togetsukyo Bridge

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Breathtaking

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My friend Lot and I didn’t waste any time and walked around Arashiyama like little kids who managed to escape from our parents’ clutches. πŸ˜› And of course, a photo shoot inevitably ensued. πŸ˜›

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Tourists can also take the rickshaw ride but we decided against it. It’s more fun for us to walk anyway.

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Walking has never been this pleasurable. It was at this moment that I entertained the idea that maybe I could be a better photographer than a writer. πŸ˜› There’s so much beauty surrounding me.

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It didn’t take long before we spotted a Japanese couple in traditional kimono having a pre-nup shoot along the Oi River. πŸ™‚ I love serendipity! πŸ™‚

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It has been a dream to visit Arashiyama and maybe, just maybe, God had wanted me to see it during the autumn season for better appreciation. Timing is everything. Now I’m glad for the delay. It just made my first daytime visit to Arashiyama even more special and sweeter. πŸ™‚

Publishing my Japan story

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Hey everyone! πŸ™‚

Since this is a blog that documents happiness, I would just like to share how happy I was when my story about Japan tourist spots not frequently visited by Filipino tourists came out in the Monday edition of The Standard. I’m not an expert but this story was borne out of friends’ and friends of friends’ suggestions and I thought it would be nice to share these info as well.

I’m so *kilig* because this is my third published story with the photos credited to me. Should I even seriously take up photography? I just know it’s something interesting and something worth exploring.

Anyhoo, enjoy reading! Kindly let me know what you think. I said “KINDLY.” πŸ˜›

http://thestandard.com.ph/lifestyle/eat-drink-travel/201068/when-in-japan.html

 

Autumn Wonders & Wander: Sakuranomiya Park & Osaka Castle

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Sakuranomiya Park (Spring 2015)

There’s something magical about Sakuranomiya Park.

I distinctly remember this place after the Cherry Blossom viewing at Osaka Mint Bureau last Spring. I guess it was a stroke of luck (Scratch that–I actually don’t believe in luck! πŸ™‚ or more appropriately, it was such a blessing that our Kyobashi apartment Β was just a few steps away from this park that inspires pensive moments.

After enjoying healthy hours of sleep after our Day 1 in Japan, we took our sweet time in our Airbnb apartment before embarking on a day filled with walkathon. Who wouldn’t want to soak in lazy moments in this neat and cozy apartment? It felt like home.

I just love how the cold blast of wind hit our faces after stepping out of our apartment building. It makes walking pleasurable and the sunshine most welcome.

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The morning stroll along Sakuranomiya Park did not disappoint, it was pretty enchanting. The silence of the area, the chirping of the birds and their flying formation, the boat that cruises Okawa River–it all felt surreal because it’s just too beautiful.

The Okawa River was a delight to see and all things surrounding the place. We’re off to a great start that morning. πŸ™‚ It made walking such a delight so even if it took a couple of more minutes to reach our next destination, we absolutely didn’t mind the distance between Sakuranomiya Park and Osaka Castle.

We found ourselves inside the Osaka Castle Park Complex which was breathtakingly dressed in golden, orange, and red autumn leaves. It was heartstoppingly gorgeous. We couldn’t resist taking photos.

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Inside the Osaka Castle Park, full autumn splendor is on majestic display and it’s going to take your breath away.

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The Osaka Castle is beautiful in any angle and it was as if it revels in being photographed. It’s an attraction that you wouldn’t want to miss even on your second visit.

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One of my favorite things to do in the complex is to check out the souvenir store which has a wide range of omiyage and pasalubong items. Exhibit A: this geisha lunch box! πŸ™‚

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There is just no shortage of lovely views in this complex.

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I love that you can just go and get a Haagen-Dazs of your choice at one of the vending machines while enjoying a spectacular view. πŸ™‚

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Well, actually, we went to enjoy soft-serve matcha ice cream and okonomiyaki and it was glorious! ❀ Also, don’t miss the opportunity to take a photo here. It’s an obligatory tourist pic! πŸ˜›

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And then since it was my first time to exit going to the path of JR Morinomiya station, we had a grand time taking more photos because the view was fantastic! Enjoy the photos!

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I have a feeling that even if I decide against going back here for the 3rd time, I will find myself in this area again. Even just for old times’ sake. And I’ll enjoy it again and again and again…

Autumn Wonders & Wander: Osaka (Namba/Kyobashi)

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I know this sounds like a terrible cliche to say but I truly fell in love with Japan the minute I set foot in it last Spring so I decided to fly back with a friend in tow. I knew it just had to be Autumn! ❀

My friend Lot and I booked our autumn trip to Japan in May 2015. How we managed to be patient since then all the way til November, I have no idea. When it finally dawned on us that we’ll be flying to Japan for both the autumn Β and Christmas season, we’re beyond excited! Lot didn’t even realize that we’ll be there for EIGHT long days! πŸ˜› Β That’s from November 29 to December 5, 2015!

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Needless to say, finally landing at Kansai International Airport inspired all sorts of feelings from excitement to anxiety to restlessness and just so much happiness that I’d finally be able to share this whole Japan experience with my friend. After all, it was Lot’s first time in Japan and she fell in love with the country too instantly! πŸ™‚

First things first: do the most Filipino thing by meeting up with fellow Filipinos! πŸ˜€ So happy that during my first trip to Osaka, I got to meet Filipino couple Harry and Amie Gayatao. Just a few months later, the Gayatao couple now has their two daughters living with them. πŸ™‚

When In Osaka…

1.) Have a grand time taking obligatory tourist pics with the Glico Man at Dotonburi. πŸ˜›

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2.)…or take a pic with the giant moving crab! πŸ˜›

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3.) Take a video of the Dotonburi-Namba area. ❀

 

4.) It’s not required to eat Japanese food but you have to experience Shakey’s Pizza-All-You-Can at Shinsaibashi! πŸ˜€

5.) Experience Purikura! πŸ™‚ Anime-fy yourselves for an authentic Japanese experience! πŸ˜‰

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6.) Line up at Pablo for the famous cheesecake & delectably gooey cheese tarts! πŸ™‚ We failed to do this though coz the queue’s too looooonnngg!!!

7.) Eat takoyaki & okonomiyaki! πŸ˜€ We particularly loved the okonomiyaki at ιΆ΄ζ©‹ι’¨ζœˆ KikiδΊ¬ζ©‹εΊ— in Fugetsu, Kyobashi. πŸ™‚

8.) Enjoy the music courtesy of random street musicians you would most likely encounter when in Japan. πŸ™‚ Like this one we saw in Kyobashi…

We still have a long way to go before completing the documentation of our vacation so I hope you will be patient enough to join me in this incredibly fun journey of discoveries in Japan again! πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

CHIBA & IBARAKI PREFECTURES (October 2015): Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City & Hitachi City

When adventure beckons, just say yes!

Even if adventure entails leaving Central Tokyo at 7am like a zombie and returning at 10.30pm still like a zombie. πŸ˜› Needless to say, it was a pretty hectic day.

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Woke up and returned to my hotel room with the same night view. Haha.

Well, it wasn’t exactly pure adventure, it’s mostly about work since it’s part of the Hitachi press tour. I found it so refreshing and exciting though that Hitachi included areas outside of Tokyo in the itinerary. Our two destinations that day: Chiba and Ibaraki Prefectures.

CHIBA PREFECTURE (Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City)

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The famous Lalaport Shopping Center at Kashiwa-no-ha

Since Hitachi is heavily into making contributions to social innovation, they took us to one of their important projects: the Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City. In as much as it’s easy to picture a Smart City as a city with flying cars and automated structures and a crowd of AI neighbors, it’s not really how it is. Don’t be disappointed though. We may have a long way to get there but we’re definitely on that road. πŸ˜‰

A smart city is a community Β that provides safety and security by practicing a lifestyle that makes it sustainable for decades and well into the future. Kashiwa-no-ha, for example, operates on three key ideals: “environmental-symbiotic city,” “city of health and longevity”and “city of new industry creation.” These only mean thatΒ Kashiwa-no-ha is a community that implements a lifestyle that’s kind to both the people and the environment, one that promotes health and wellness, and one that fosters growth industries.

The Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City is a collaboration among the local government, universities, research institutions, Mitsui Fudosan and Hitachi. No wonder, the first thing you’ll see after alighting from the Tsukuba Express (30 minutes from the Akihabara Station in Tokyo) is the University of Tokyo building.

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I felt so scholarly right then. I just love how it looked like during early autumn. It felt like the perfect season to sit under a tree and read books and drink coffee. At least in my imagination. πŸ˜›

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I couldn’t resist taking a photo (?!) with 2015 Nobel Prize Awardee Takaaki Fajita for his work in Physics.

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He’s a resident of Kashiwa and he’s also from that University of Tokyo campus. He received a Nobel for “the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass.” Whew!

Kashiwa-no-ha, at first glance, truly epitomizes how it is to be a “green” community.

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Solar panels and hanging gardens

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Since the solar panels absorb solar energy and several buildings store solar energies as well, Hitachi implements an AEMS (Area Energy Management System) which centrally manages the demand and supply of stored energies in the area. After all, even if you save up enough solar energy, you wouldn’t want it to go to waste, right? It needs smart management. πŸ™‚ That’s where Hitachi comes in.

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Kashiwa-no-ha implements a Multi Vehicle Sharing Service which encourages the use and sharing of electric vehicles. Amazing, right?

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Charging area for the Electric Vehicles

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The use of bicycles is encouraged here.

The highlight of the Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City is its care for the environment. Although they also put premium on health and wellness as well as growing new industries.

Sharing some of the things I thought were interesting…

…like a Japanese Anna? πŸ˜‰

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A cute cafe. πŸ™‚20151030_113247

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Kawaii finds. πŸ™‚

It’s eye-opening to realize that the Japanese are applying technology already to improve how humans live. It’s a good social innovation practice to think of a sustainable future that’s not just tech-centric but also something that’s beneficial for both the future generation and the environment.

IBARAKI PREFECTURE (Hitachi City)

We moved to Ibaraki Prefecture to see Hitachi City.

I took the time to nap and just rest. When I opened my eyes, we were driving along a quiet, coastal area in Ibaraki.20151030_145715

We went to the former HQ of Hitachi in Ibaraki. Since it’s a coastal area, the old Hitachi office was destroyed by the tsunami in 2011 forcing them to move elsewhere in the area. However, the machine repair shop where Hitachi’s founder, mining engineer Namihei Odaira, worked still stands.

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We weren’t allowed to take photos inside so I took the liberty of breathing in the beautiful scenery outside…and take photos of course.

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Hitachi means “sunrise”

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The onset of autumn at Ibaraki was beautiful. We went to Odaira Museum afterwards where we were treated to various mementos and memorabilia relating to the Hitachi founder.

We toured the Hitachi Kokobu Works factory but since we’re not allowed to take photos, will just share a photo of us, four Filipina journalists, in factory gear. πŸ˜€

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Capped off the jampacked day with a hearty dinner, drinks, great conversations. πŸ™‚ Hayyy, I’m loving Japan even outside of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. πŸ™‚

Kampai!!!! πŸ™‚

Note: I love Canada Dry Ginger Ale! ❀ Couldn’t find it here in Manila though. Let me know if you can tell me where to buy it here. πŸ˜‰