DAY 1Dec 10 2018
Changi Airport Singapore
Chubu Centrair International Airport
DAY 7Dec 16 2018
The host speak very little English
DAY 8Dec 17 2018
Shijo Omiya Station
Nijo Castle (二条城, Nijōjō) was built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1867). His grandson Iemitsu completed the castle's palace buildings 23 years later and further expanded the castle by adding a five story castle keep.
After the Tokugawa Shogunate fell in 1867, Nijo Castle was used as an imperial palace for a while before being donated to the city and opened up to the public as a historic site. Its palace buildings are arguably the best surviving examples of castle palace architecture of Japan's feudal era, and the castle was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994.
Nijo Castle can be divided into three areas: the Honmaru (main circle of defense), the Ninomaru (secondary circle of defense) and some gardens that encircle the Honmaru and Ninomaru. The entire castle grounds and the Honmaru are surrounded by stone walls and moats.
Sanjo-kai Shotengai shopping arcade is less than a kilometer long but is full of old, family-run establishments, specialist shops and local life. Florentyna Leow highlights some of its attractions in a virtual tour.
“Shotengai” means covered shopping arcades. Kyoto’s shotengai are fantastic if you want to catch a glimpse of local life as most began as clusters of shops serving local communities.
Bamboo Forest, or Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is a natural forest of bamboo in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan.
DAY 9Dec 18 2018
Karasuma Oike Station
Fushimi Inari Taisha
Also known as “O-inari-san”, Inari shrines are the most familiar shrines to Japanese people.
Fushimi Inari Taisha is the head shrine with which all the others are affiliated.
In the 1300 years since its establishment in 711AD, people have gathered here to pray for bountiful harvests, business prosperity, the safety of their home and family and the fulfillment of all kinds of other wishes.
In recent years, the shrine’s Japanese worshippers have been joined by overseas visitors coming to pray or tour the shrine. Fushimi Inari Taisha is now known worldwide as one of the most iconic sights in Kyoto, and in Japan as a whole.
Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺), officially named Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera (音羽山清水寺) is an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto. Kiyomizu-dera
Temple is located halfway up Otowa Mountain in the eastern part of Kyoto City, Kiyomizu-dera is a historic temple that was established in 778, even before Kyoto became the capital of Japan.
Since its foundation, the temple has burned down many times. Most of the current buildings were rebuilt by the third Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu in the early Edo period (1631 to 1633).
The Main Hall (Hondo) of the temple is designated as a national treasure. The temple has many other important cultural properties including the Deva gate, west gate, three-storied pagoda and bell tower. In 1994, it was registered on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List as one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.
DAY 10Dec 19 2018
Nara's deer are the symbols of the city. Nara Park covers a broad area, and in fact a portion of it is made of by the grounds of Kasuga Taisha Shrine. The deity enshrined therein is Takemi Kajichi no Mikoto, said to have ridden to Nara upon a sacred deer from Kashima Shrine (also written with a character for "deer") in Ibaraki Prefecture. Because of this legend, deer were thought of as sacred animals--the helpers of gods--and have been carefully protected for many years. Even today, Nara's deer are carefully protected as "natural monuments.
Nara is known for its "deer crackers," or "shika senbei" but in fact the deer within Nara Park are wild animals, and are perfectly capable of finding their own food. Throughout the year, a deer will typically eat several varieties of plant, including grass, silver pampass grass, and other varieties of land grasses. Nara's deer are actually divided into two types based on their diet: "park deer," who reside in the flat lands of Nara Park, and "Mount Wakakusa deer." For both, however, grass makes up the majority of their meals. This great dependence on grass makes Nara deer very different from other species of deer in Japan.
For the deer in Nara Park, grass is obviously the most important component of their diet. So what's in a "deer cracker"? The answer is wheat flour and rice bran. These treats are made without any sugar for the health of the deer, making them completely safe for visitors to offer the animals. Deer crackers are a registered trademark of the Foundation for the Protection of Deer in Nara, and a portion of their profits goes to efforts to protect the deer.
Nara Shrines: Kasuga Taisha Shrine 春日大社
Kasuga Taisha (Kasuga Grand Shrine) is the most important Shinto shrine in Nara.
Nara Shrines: Kasuga Taisha Shrine 春日大社
Kasuga Taisha (Kasuga Grand Shrine) is the most important Shinto shrine of Nara
Founded in 768, Kasuga Taisha served as the tutelary shrine of the powerful Fujiwara family, who were Japan's most powerful clan during the Nara and Heian periods, providing many regents to young emperors and marrying their daughters in to the imperial line.
As with the Ise Grand Shrine in Mie, Kasuga Shrine was rebuilt every 20 years, though this practice was finally discontinued at the end of the Edo Period.
The four shrine buildings of the inner sanctum of Kasuga Taisha enshrine the kami Futsunushi-no-mikoto and Takemikazuchi-no-mikoto as well as Amenokoyane-no-mikoto, a mythical ancestor of the Fujiwara and his consort Hime-Okama.
DAY 11Dec 20 2018