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Thread: Osaka - wonderful city

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    Default Osaka - wonderful city

    Osaka Castle, which is a famous landmark, a popular sightseeing spot, and the symbol of Osaka, contains thirteen structures which have been designated as Important Cultural Assets by the Japanese government. Of special note are the grand gates and turrets along the outer moat. The steep walls that rise close to 30 meters high are made of huge blocks of stone that were transported to Osaka from quarries over 100 kilometers away. The sheer height of the walls and the wide moats they rise above make for a grand sight that can be matched by no other castle in Japan.
    Also of interest are the tower’s eight roof dolphins and the ornamental roof tiles and reliefs carved in the shape of tigers, all of which are gilded with gold.

    The castle tower underwent a major renovation in 1997. The outer walls were replastered, the ornamental fixtures were restored, and gold leaf was re-applied throughout. These repairs have brought back the structure’s stunning appearance of old—with pure white walls and striking accents of glittering gold. The re-engineered and refurbished Main Tower is illuminated both inside and out, highlighting the castle’s brilliance as the symbol of Osaka.







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    Default Re: Osaka - wonderful city







    Experience Osaka...It's a beautiful and exciting city.You meet up with many beautiful people, many polite and helpful people and the whole city is one big excitement.

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    Dotombori is a symbol of the Minami Area and a mecca for the kuidaore food culture of Osaka. Dozens of restaurants line the Dotomborigawa River, and large famous billboards draw diners’attention. On the north side of the river, where geisha used to entertain their customers, are now small bars and restaurants squeezed together in rows. The southern side of the river is the center of the Dotombori area, which was once known as the theater district. Nowadays, colorful neon signs and flash signboards enliven the area, showing that the district still represents the passion of Osakans. In one of Dotombori’s back streets, Hozenji-Yokocho, small restaurants are located along the stone-paved alley, retaining the flavor and atmosphere of old Osaka. It’s like a step back in time.

    Dotombori has so many restaurants and bars packed along its narrow streets and alleys that it’s impossible to count them. Their colorful signs and decorated entrances create a symphony of light and design that dazzle the eye. Here is where you can experience the true meaning of kuidaore, and stuff yourself with Osaka’s great tasting reasonably priced food to your ultimate culinary satisfaction.




    Truly fascinating Osaka!!!

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    And when you are in Osaka, don't forget the Nara Deer Park...




    Nara Park (Nara Koen) is a large park in central Nara. Established in 1880, it is the location of many of Nara's main attractions including Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha, Kofukuji and the Nara National Museum.

    The park is home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. Considered in Shinto to be messengers of the gods, Nara's nearly 1200 deer have become a symbol of the city and have been designated a natural treasure.

    Like the deer on Miyajima, Nara's deer are surprisingly tame, although they can be rather aggressive if they think you will feed them. Deer crackers are for sale around the park, and some deer have learned to bow to visitors asking to be fed.






    a very beautiful and wonderful place in autumn...those autumn leaves are truly fascinating....
    Last edited by kopiuncle; 26-03-2013 at 10:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Osaka - wonderful city

    Beautiful staff greeting you at the Kansai Airport...



    You can't get lost in Japan. The information desk staff are extremely helpful and these wonderful ladies speak very good English.
    And they're so gentle, so patient, so polite and so very helpful..and they made your trip so welcome and so enjoyable.
    Arigatou gozaimasu...


    ..have Japan Rail ticket will travel....an excellent way to move around Japan....


    the start of our great adventure.....


    the only reason we are here is for the beef..........


    ..yummy yummy yummy yummy!!!....


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    From Osaka , we took a train to Takayama......




    if you are hungry, no problem on the train....


    beautiful scenery along the way....


    my fellow train commuter....


    nice, clean, superb fast bullet train....japan boleh lah!


    welcome to Takayama...everywhere there is a help centre for tourists....very safe and very convenient....


    sakuras in Takayama...beautiful....

    Spring in Takayama

    Takayama is a small town of 60,000 souls nestled in the "Japan Alps" in northern Gifu prefecture. In olden days, Takayama was snowed in for most of the winter and that may be why the ruthless modernization that swept most of Japan had less of an effect here.

    Whatever the reason, Takayama is held forth today as an example of "old Japan" and given its relative closeness to major tourist magnets like Tokyo and Kyoto, it has become something of a tourist mecca itself. The place retains its small town charm and is well worth a visit.Yes, there were buses and buses of tourists from all over the world...

    Those in search of "lost Japan" will want to make a bee line for Takayama's Sanmachi Suji district, on the east bank of the Miya-gawa River, in the heart of the old part of town. It's a commercial district that, quite understandably, takes advantage of the bustling tourist traffic. Fortunately, the traditional low-slung wooden streetscape has not been covered over with plastic and neon excrescences and, for the most part, the souvenirs on display are tasteful examples of local crafts.

    Takayama is a quiet, quaint and old little town with modern amenities - a good mixture.

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    Default Re: Osaka - wonderful city

    In Japan, when you are hungry,you eat.....


    ...so we saw this nice little beef restaurant.....


    ..Hida Beef ramen!!!...shiok!!!


    ...Pork ramen!!!...lagi shiok!!!


    Hida Beef Sushi...Hida Beef (top-quality beef)

    Because of the excellent quality and flavor of the beef from Hida steers, raised in the meadows of Hida’s plateau, it is the best beef for meat dishes such as steak and sukiyaki. Dairy products are also known for their high quality.
    We tried this Hida Beef sashimi. For me, it was just okay - not easily digestible and chewable. I had to chew twice as hard...but still couldn't make it. Just for the experience....


    ...a local diety house with offerings....to bless and to protect the city....


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    Takayama....the beautiful scenic Miyagawa River.....peaceful, clean and beautifully lined with sakuras....




    the famous Red Bridge in TaKayama and the beautiful Cherry Blossoms.........Japan is beautiful...




    a healing centre...a therapeutic house....a wellness centre......

    Last edited by kopiuncle; 31-03-2013 at 09:19 AM.

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    Default Re: Osaka - wonderful city

    Tojinbo's Sad Cliff.....Every year about 25 or more Japanese take their lives by jumping off these deadly cliffs.....

    Tojinbo’s Sad Cliffs (東尋坊) - Suicide Cliffs......

    Located in Sakai City, Fukui Prefecture of Japan, this scenic area is known for its stunning beautiful coastline. The rocky cliffs of
    Tojinbo, which stretches over 1 km, is a popular tourist attraction. It features magnificent pillar shaped rocks created by sea wave erosion. The rock pillars exhibit hexagonal and pentagonal joints which are similar to those at Giant Causeway in North Ireland or those in Norway, Korea and Hong Kong National Geopark at High Island.







    My friend told me NOT to take any photos. I might see more than what I wanted to see, he told me. There are many unhappy,restless and wandering souls around this place....It's a beautiful place but a very sad and morbid area...We quickly left and went to a small restaurant nearby to have our sashimi!!!!
    Last edited by theblackhole; 31-03-2013 at 01:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Osaka - wonderful city

    This is a very unique temple....in Kyoto....You go in and look at STONES....and you can imagine how many stones are there....sitting in ZEN silence and meditation...some even see thousands and hundreds of stones....some see nothing....a MUST SEE and experience when you are in Kyoto....fascinating place. Grandeur in Simplicity....

    Karesansui - Zen

    The garden is constructed in the "dry landscape" style called Karesansui. The rocks of various sizes are arranged on small white pebbles in five groups, each comprising five, two, three, two, and three rocks. The garden contains 15 rocks arranged on the surface of white pebbles in such a manner that visitors can see only 14 of them at once, no matter what angle the garden is viewed from. It is said that only when you attain spiritual enlightment as a result of deep Zen meditation, can you see the last invisible stone.

    The best thing to do is just to sit there , throw away your camera, empty all your thoughts and contemplate in silence.The longer you sit, the more you see.The more you see, the more peaceful you become.The more peaceful you become, the happier you are.The happier you are, the more emptiness you experience.The more empty you feel, the more you want to surrender to this life. And the fuller your emptiness becomes...Immortal at last!

    Karesansui (dry landscape gardens, also known as rock gardens and waterless stream gardens) are typically associated with Zen Buddhism, and often found in the front or rear gardens at the residences of Zen abbots.








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    Default Re: Osaka - wonderful city

    This is another world famous temple in Japan, Kyoto....Kiyomizu Temple...another MUST SEE in Kyoto...

    In Japan, you lose hope, you pray. You want blessings,you pray. You want a good exam results, you pray. You want a good spouse, you pray....hope, faith and prayers...


    ...some of Japan's most beautiful cherry blossoms are found here....






    ...drinking holy water for a more blessed life journey....

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    From Osaka, it is very easy just to hop on to a train and you reach Kyoto in no time at all....Kyoto is ancient beauty...and of course the city of the geishas...


    ...so modern and so technologically sophisticated for an ancient city! uniquely so!!!Kyoto, the capital of Japan for over a thousand years, is the center of Japanese tradition and culture forever. In this fascinating city , one can find the modern architecture, traditional crafts, festivals, and the maiko(the geisha) that are the pride of Kyoto. Tourists flocked to Kyoto for various reasons - some for excitement, some for seeking the path and some simply come just to admire and wonder. You can just walk and walk for miles and miles until you reach enlightenment in this ancient and unique city...


    ...the iconic Kyoto Tower...

    The 131-meter Kyoto Tower is a significant landmark in the city. Visitors enjoy the panorama view of the city from the top of the tower. There is an 'onsen' public bath in the underground.

    Kyoto is the heart of traditional Japan. Here you can rest in the shade of Buddhist temples that have stood for over a thousand years or peruse the offerings of ultramodern department stores. You can join in the time-honored tea ceremony or unwind with a cup of coffee at a fashionable cafe.

    Only in Kyoto is it possible to cross paths with a real geisha as you stop for a snack at a convenient store. You can take a deep breath of the crisp mountain air as you stroll leisurely through a bamboo thicket. Or you can savor the sight of cherry blossoms overhead as you picnic with the locals on the banks of the Kamogawa River.

    When you’re done seeing the old, a new city that’s taken pains to be convenient for visitors from overseas awaits. At just a little over an hour from Kansai International Airport, Kyoto is close enough for anyone.



    ...you are lucky if you can spot one genuine geisha!!!


    ...always smiling, always so helpful and always so polite....

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    after much patience and waiting, we spotted one shy geisha..and we had to chase after her and took a shot of her....eureka!!!...erecka!!!!!



    ....and we ventured into the Gion District of Kyoto...








    ...we were lucky...our patience paid off.....they walked superfast and we had to chase after them to take the photos....


    ..they suddenly appeared from one corner street...and then they quickly disappeared with their nimble steps....scurried away....and some of them were accompanied by rich businessmen who booked them....and with body guards...




    ...geisha training school in Kyoto.....beautiful in the night....

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    ...and when you are restless, curious and bold, you venture further into the darkness of Kyoto...the Pontocho District...you can just take a slow walk and nobody will harass you......it's very safe....and very clean too!!!


    Uniquely inviting - Pontocho District

    The Pontocho area lies between Sanjo-dori and Shijo-dori and was once the undisputed red light district of Kyoto. It basically consists of two narrow streets, one so narrow that it is more or less a pedestrian lane or alley.

    This narrow alley known as Pontocho is the stone paved street closest and running parallel to the Kamogawa river. Built on a sandbar, it quickly became home to tea-houses, geisha entertainment, seedier establishments and to an illicit trade in prostitutes (male and female) that the Tokugawa shogunate disapproved of but was pragmatic enough to tolerate. Regular fires swept through the crowded tenements and floods would clear out the remainder on a regular basis. With floods less regular now, Pontocho contains many old buildings, and is home to expensive restaurants, bars and hostess clubs - the cheaper and modern alternative to geisha entertainment. As prostitution is now illegal and expensive dining is not, the former has moved to the slightly cheaper real estate bordering the Shijo-dori shopping district on the other side of the Takasegawa (Takase canal).

    The buildings beside the river often provide outdoor dining - with wooden platforms called yuka extending out from the restaurants above the river during the summer so that you can enjoy the cool breezes coming off the water (the water is actually flowing beneath you as you eat). While you eat, the bright lights of Gion from the other side of the river reflect in the water, students aim fireworks at each other, lovers stroll etc etc. Not a bad way to spend an evening.

    The second street of the district is wider and is bisected by the shallow but dark waters of the Takasegawa (Takase canal). This area has bright neon lights, and many bars, restaurants (from excellent to poor), cafes, pubs, love hotels and in the side streets on the western side, a wide range of "night entertainment". It is a busy area full of young people, buskers, spruikers, bouncers etc.



    ...so inviting, so alluring...so exciting and exotic behind those innocent curtains...so clean, and so quaint...just stood there outside and admired the quaint little love nest ....it was so exciting....sexciting!!!!



    ...Lighted alley in Potoncho District...

    This narrow and cute little lane in Potoncho Kyoto is truly unique.It is also very clean and very neat..and so serene and wholesome. What happens behind this narrow lane is anybody's guess.But the whole place is truly remarkable and many curious tourists flock to this place to have a good look. It's so clean and nothing unwholesome about it.

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    From the darkness of the night to the light of the day....

    The Higashi Honganji Temple....to cleanse our souls and cleanse our hearts....









    Higashi_Honganji Temple
    Higashi-Hongan-ji (built 1602, rebuilt 1895 onward)

    Higashi Honganji is an active temple with a colorful history. Unlike Kyoto's mountain temples, which are mostly Zen, Higashi belongs to the more popular Pure Land sect. The essence of Pure Land doctrine is that salvation is possible by chanting "praise to the Amida Buddha" in a wholly sincere manner. Because of its doctrinal simplicity, Pure Land Buddhism has been the most popular the faith among the common people since the thirteenth century.

    Nowadays there are several pure land branches, one of which is headquartered in the nearby Nishi Honganji temple. This is not a coincidence. In the early seventeenth century the Pure Land faith was so strong that the newly established Shogun, Togukawa Ieyesu, feared its influence. In order to limit its power he aggravated a doctrinal split in the Pure Land faith by donating land for the Higashi Honmaru temple in 1602. The two Pure Land temples in close proximity to each other effectively meant there were two headquarters for a single faith, an unstable situation that resolved itself when Higashi broke away from the orthodox sect. As the split crystallized, Nishi became the capital of the established Pure Land Buddhism, while Higashi evolved as headquarters of the schismatic faith.

    None of Higashi's buildings are original. The site has suffered innumerable fires and the present structures date from 1895. However, the reconstruction in the Meiji era has left a number of interesting tidbits. Because ordinary rope available at the time could not lift the heavy timbers during construction, women devotees donated their hair to make stronger ropes. These did the job. One of these hair-coils is on permanent display in the corridor connecting the two main halls. Though dulled by age, it remains an interesting aside.

    A garden from the early days of Higashi is still in use just across the street to the east. Built for the 13th abbot Sennyo in 1641 at the Shogun's blessing, this urban garden is now open to the public. Even today it is possible to walk across all the little pathways and bridges connecting the gardens paths, a treat not allowed at most sites.

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    In Japan, you cannot miss a shrine....you can find one anywhere...but this one is unique...Fushimi Inari Shrine...



    Fushimi Inari Shrine is the most famous of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari across Japan. Inari is the Shinto god of rice, and foxes are thought to be his messengers. Therefore, many fox statues can be found at Inari shrines.

    Fushimi Inari Shrine is also famous for the countless torii gates, offerings by worshippers, that cover the hiking trails of Inarisan, the wooded mountain behind the shrine's main buildings. It takes about two hours to walk along the whole trail.

    Kitsune Udon ("Fox Udon"), a noodle soup topped with pieces of aburaage (fried tofu), a favorite food of foxes, is served at small restaurants along the hiking trail.













    ...5000 Torri gates...a passage for good health, blessings and peace and harmony......this is one uniquely spiritual experience...



    ...take a dip for good health, peace and harmony.....

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    .....and another world heritage temple ...



    Bell windows of the temple....unique architecture..
    The Hall of The Phoenix...the wings of the phoenix
    The Genji commanders, Yorimasa and Nakatsuna, committed suicide in the Byodo-in fishing pavillion in 1181 after a battle at nearby Uji Bridge.







    Byōdōin is a much-loved Pure Land Buddhist temple in the city of Uji in the Kyoto prefecture. A National Treasure and a World Heritage Site, its outline is featured on the ¥10 coin.

    Built in 998 AD during the Heian period, Byodoin was originally a private residence (like most Japanese temples). It was converted into a temple by a member of the Fujiwara clan in 1052. The Phoenix Hall was added in 1053 to house the Amida Buddha image.

    The temple complex was once much larger; most of the additional buildings burned down during the civil war in 1336. Originally, the pond's beach stretched up to the Uji River, with mountains on the opposite side of the river as a background. The entire scenic area encompassing the temple was a representation of the Western Paradise (or Pure Land) on earth.

    Today, the Phoenix Hall is virtually all that remains and Byodoin is one of the few examples of Heian temple architecture left in Japan. Japan has commemorated the longevity and cultural significance of Byodoin by displaying its image on the 10 yen coin. The Phoenix Hall, the great statue of Amida inside it, and several other items at Byodoin are Japanese National Treasures.

    And it's not just Japan that cherishes this temple. A full-size replica of Byodoin was built in 1968 at the Valley of the Temples on O'ahu, Hawaii. In December 1994, UNESCO listed the building as a World Heritage Site.

    The most famous building in the temple is the Phoenix Hall (Ho-oh-Do/Hoohdo) or Amida Hall, built with the sole purpose of housing the Amida Buddha image. It has three wings, creating an image of the mythical bird of China, the phoenix. The central hall is flanked by twin wing corridors on both sides, plus a "tail" corridor. The roof of the hall is surmounted by bronze phoenixes.

    The central hall houses a revered statue of Amida Buddha, who is accompanied by 52 wooden statues of bodhisattvas placing musical instruments and dancing on clouds. Seated at the western edge of a pond, the golden Amida statue catches the first rays of the rising sun.

    On the grounds is Byodoin's temple bell, one of the most famous bells in Japan. A National Treasure, it bears no inscriptions but has reliefs of maidens and lions; it is thought to display Korean influences. The grounds also contain a monument to Minamoto Yorimasa, who took his own life here after being defeated by the rival Taira clan.

    Finally, Byodoin boasts the most beautiful of Japan's few remaining Pure Land Gardens, a garden type which was popular during the Heian Period. It was unearthed in 1997 as part of an archeological dig.




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    Default Re: Osaka - wonderful city

    Looks nice.

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    this passage of Torri Gates at the shrine is awesome!!! a spiritual passage indeed!!!

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    Traditional Japanese Breakfast served in our room!!!




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