Wednesday, December 9, 2015

One week after Amanohashidate I visited hiroshima for 'nihon sankei' #2;  Itsukushima shrine in miyajima, hiroshima prefecture. It was supposed to be a 2 days one night trip, but because november-december is high season for tourist visiting japan we couldn't find ourselves a hotel room so we decided on a one day trip, beside the main attraction of this prefecture is the miyajima where the shrine located :p

Actually I visited this shrine 3 years ago when I first arrived in Japan, but i was so unfortunate that the toori gate was under maintenance so they covered it. I promised to come back again and I did. I visited others hiroshima attraction during my first visit such as the atomic bomb museum, so this trip is solely for the sake of that Toori gate. To hiroshima from Osaka is not cheap (at least for student like me); return shinkansen ticket are 17160 yen ( with student & return trip discount). Bus trip takes 5 hours and cost 5000 yen one way ( if I'm correct).

From Hiroshima station take the local train to Miyajima guchi station (410 yen) around 30 minutes, then from miyajima guchi station walk 5 minutes to the miyajima ferry pier; return ferry tickets are 360 yen. If you have japan rail pass you can get on the JR ferries for free. there are two ferries operator from this pier. It takes 5-10 minutes to reach miyajima pier. 

Beware of the deers!!! they are everywhere and very aggressive, especially when you have foods with you. Itsukushima shrine is a 10 minute walks from the pier, it was very crowded with local and foreign tourists when i visited. You can smell the grilled squid, oyster and other seafood along the walk which are very tempting.

The toori gate itself is breathtakingly beautiful, stand tall on the calm sea water. I approve this place as one of the japan's best views. We were blessed with a nice weather that day, which we found very rare, usually bad weather always accompany us in our previous trips. Admission fee to the itsukushima shrine is 300 yen (If my  memories serve me right). There is a ropeway to the top of the mountain which cost 1800 yen for return trip, We didn't take the ropeway, we thought that it is too expensive, we prefered to spend that 1800 on oysters.

After miyajima we went back to the hiroshima station to eat hiroshima style okonomiyaki, the famous local cuisine. this hiroshima style okonomiyaki differs from the osaka style is they use less fluor, more cabbage and a choice of noodles, soba or udon. I like the hiroshima style, I wish i bought some from hiroshima station.

Matsushima in sendai will be the next nihon sankei that I'm going to visit. I plan to visit in december 28th but I already have 2 winter vacation with friends in January to shirakawa go and kinosaki, so I will safe matsushima for spring or summer.

Monday, November 30, 2015

One of my goal before leaving Japan is to visit Japan's three most scenic views (日本三景), by the look of it I can accomplish this mission by the end of 2015. Last week I visited  amanohashidate which means 'bridge to heaven'. It is a sand bar at the sea of Kyoto, reading Kyoto many of you would thought that it'd be close to Osaka. But this one is the other part of Kyoto, it's a 2,5 hours bus ride from Osaka. one day trip is highly recommended, since not so many attraction in this area.

To view this sand bar, there are two view land from both ends, I went to the one near the amanohashidate station, return trip to the top with lift chair or monorail is 850 yen. I took the lift chair it's more interesting. At the viewing ground there are some bench facing the sand bar with instructions to stand on the bench with your back facing the sand bar then bent down and looking at the sand bar from between your legs. I tried this position but I didn't see it any difference from looking the normal way, but many japanse shouted 'kireii...kireii' when they did this position

I spent only 10 minutes at this viewing park, then went down to rent a bike and crossed the sand bar to the other side. Bicycle rental is 400 yen fro two hours, there are so many rental places that you can choose. Cycling is the best way to cross the sand bar, but if you have more time you can also walk leisurely. There are not many things to see at the other side, I wanted to go to the nairaiji temple, but it is located at the mountain and i was wearing the wrong shoes :p.

At 4PM I already back to shopping area, because my bus was at 16.45. Most of the restaurant are seafood restaurant, and the omiyage are all about kani (crab). I bought the kani miso ramen, it's very delicious. I arrived back at Osaka around 8.30 PM. 

I kinda like the solo trip I did recently, If i had to wait fro my friend to go with me I will never go anywhere. from now I will do most of my trip solo, Next week I will go to Japan most scenic view #2 itsukushima shrine in Hiroshima and at the end of the year i will visit Matsushima in Sendai.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Another holiday post!, it looks like I've been on a holiday every month. The last two months was more like a business trip rather than a true holiday. 

In August my lab don't have the routine meeting we do every tuesday and friday, because it's summer holiday even the professor take holiday in August (usually during お盆). I almost never take the holiday in August since I started my study, but this year I decided to take several days. I wanted to go to Okinawa actually, but my friend said she couldn't come with me. Instead of Okinawa we decided to visit shirahama; a city in Wakayama prefecture just 3 hours bus ride from Osaka. Having a late summer holiday apparently was not a good choice, the bad weather ruined half of our holiday.

I read that the sand's beach heri is imported from Australia. I didn't know that we can import sands, LOL!!!. it was saturday when we visited the beach so yup it was really crowded, the water is a little bit cold and no wave like beach in Bali. I was expecting a wavy beach since it is a pacific ocean sea, guess I need to manage my expectation next time. Been live here for 3 years and had my expectation betrayed many times.


The Australian sands at night

We stayed at the japanese ryokan (hotel) it's pretty expensive 11.000 yen/night/person included dinner and breakfast. The hotel has a semi open air public bath (温泉) which is not bad in my opinion, though maybe not as good as kinosaki onsen. For dinner we had seafood BBQ like squid, shrimp, scallops and some veggies. Not many things to do at night in this small city, I would suggest just make a one day trip to this city. We were bored to death at night, we walked around the city for like one hour then came back to the hotel and just read book (Thank God I brought my book)

Seafood BBQ for dinner

Second day was pretty much hampered by the rain. We went to the sandanbeki, a rock cliff by the sea. there is an elevator to go down the cliff and see inside the cave which used to be a naval base. To visit the cave was a unique experience to me. they turn the cave into a temple and museum. You have to pay 1300yen if you wanna go to the cave.

5 minutes walk from sandanbeki is senjojiki, which is a wide flat sheet-rocks formation that you can walk on it. it s located along the coast, it's really wide. It was rainy day when we visited but still it's safe to walk. 

Another place to visit is 円月島, a rock islet in the sea with the hole in the center. from far away i looks like a 円 kanji.

One day trip is enough to explore this city, the three major tourist attraction are not located away from each other. The shirahama beach and engetsu islet is only 5 mins walk from the shirahama bus centre, while sandanbeki is 10 minutes bus ride from the bus centre. there is another place name Adventure world, which is a zoo i think, I did not visit this place more like i did not plan to visit adventure world, the admission fee to adventure world is 4000 yen, too expensive for a zoo but you can see a panda which is rent from china. 

Shirahama can be reach by plane, train or bus. If you are coming from Kansai Area bus is the best transportation choice. return bus from Osaka cost 5500 yen, one way train from Osaka to shirahama cost 5000 yen. it's 3,5 hours by bus and 2,5 hours by train from Osaka to shirahama. Resort hotel mostly located around the beach area and it's expensive.

In september we have this silver week holiday from from saturday to wednesday, I don't have any plan yet for this holiday but for sure I will not just stay in Osaka. ;)

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