June 21, 2016
Still part of anniversary was our trip to Miyajima Island in the Hiroshima Prefecture. It is known for the floating Torii gate, which fronts the Itsukushima Shrine and is believed to be the boundary between the spirit and human worlds. The Torii gate is also part of the Three Scenic Views of Japan (just like Amanohashidate). We particularly chose to visit it at low tide, so we could walk around the gate and fly the drone (LOL).
Some scenes of the Wolverine movie were shot in this island, which also has cute deers roving.
June 20, 2016
While looking for places to visit in the Kansai region, we stumbled upon articles on this quiet, little place called Amanohashidate, which is one of the Three Scenic Views of Japan, according to Edo period literary artist and scholar Hayashi Gaho. It is located in Miyazu Bay, northern Kyoto.
From Amanohashidate Station, we had to take a ferry and a monorail to the Kasamatsu Park and do “Matanozoki“ to see the breath-taking view of the heaven’s bridge through an upside down bend. We were also able to bike the 3-km. stretch of the Amanohashidate sandbar. It was good we purchased the Amanohashidate Pass (for just 1400 yen per person!), which already covered the ferry ride, chair lift, bike, and train ride from JR Fukuchiyama station (the farthest covered by our rail pass) to Amanohashidate station.
We highly recommend visiting this place!
June 19, 2016
From Kyoto Toei Studio Park, we headed to Fushimi Inari-Taisha, a Shinto shrine famous for its thousands of torii gates. The row of gates extend up to the summit of Mt. Inari but since it was already starting to get dark, we weren’t able to hike it.
June 19, 2016
Our rainy second day in Japan was spent at the Toei Kyoto Studio Park, which is home to many anime blockbusters (Dragonball, Sailor Moon, and the original Power Rangers), and where around 200 Japanese films are produced every year. The movie theme park also functions as an Edo period film set. In fact, some scenes of Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X) were shot there.
Kyoto was once known as the Hollywood of Japan. Instead of spending a day at the Universal Studios Osaka, we thought of checking this park out to learn more about Japanese film-making. We were lucky to have been there on a Sunday as there were many shows happening and mascots roaming around. Truly worth every yen ($2200/person) spent!
June 18, 2016
Our afternoon was spent at the picturesque Golden Pavilion or the Kinkaku-ji, a Zen Buddhist temple and another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is about a 9-minute bus (Bus No. 204) ride away from the JR Emmachi Station, which in turn is just three stops away from the JR Saga-Arashiyama Station. Also, the hydrangeas found along the way were so pretty.
June 18, 2016
We flew to Japan last week for a family vacation. We arrived early in the morning of June 18, claimed our West Kansai-Hiroshima JR pass (which we will be writing about when we summarize our trip), deposited our luggage in the coin lockers found at the train station, and explored Kyoto for our first day. Note that we had no fixed itinerary for the entire trip. We just had some sites in mind (thanks also to suggestions of friends, especially Janna’s boss) but we had to make up our itinerary as we went along because of changes in weather conditions.
Sagano Bamboo Grove
Our first stop was the Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama, which is considered nationally as a “Place of Scenic Beauty” and also a “Historic Site”. Our photos here do not give justice to the magical feeling of being surrounded by tall bamboos.
Just within the area is also a Buddhist temple built in the 1300’s, the Tenryu-ji, which has been designated as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site for being a Historical Monument of Ancient Kyoto.