Visiting places of worship, no matter where you are, is probably one of the most interesting experiences ever. I have always loved walking in to temples, churches, looking at the architecture, the different forms of worship and watching people pray. There is something calming about all of that.
Visiting a Japanese shrine was no different. Walking in during autumn, or spring, you'l get to see the flowers and leaves changing colours, or blooming, that whole aesthetic adds some kind of a Je ne sai quoi to the whole experience.
Visiting a small Japanese shrine was, in my opinion, the perfect way to end my trip. Walking in early in the morning, you'd see caretakers cleaning up the fallen leaves, the places so quiet, so serene. People gathered at the place of prayer, sending their wishes up to the heavens. They had a rope where one would pull or hit a chime after their praying.
My favourite part of the temple were the rows of wooden plaques, with wishes, and some writings of love (or so it seemed. I could be wrong, but I like the idea.)
The idea of people declaring their love reminded me of the locks people hang on Pont des Arts in Paris, or so many other bridges around the world. I've always thought it was a fad, or something the millennials/people of my generation would do because "it was cool".
Which is why it is definitely nice to know that some people go to the temples and holy places to wish for love, to wish for a fulfilled relationship, or to consecrate their love for one another. Beats of the concept of hanging locks and throwing keys in a river by miles!
What I Wore
Coat - Coldwear | Pants - Thailand | Top - Shein.com | Shoes - Timberland | Scarf - H&M
After visiting that Japanese shrine, we took a train, headed over to Canal City in Hakata, and had lunch from one of their famous ramen places.
I love the decoration of the Canal City, such a nice modern take with its chandeliers and air suspended baubles. My favourite part, the "river" down the center that had horizontal lights making the water glistening in so many different shades.
As usual, the last part of any last day in a city would be spend doing what tourists do best - SOUVENIR SHOPPING. We went to Tenjin and had a little wander around the shops, spending our last bit of Yen finding pieces of Japan we could bring home and treasure forever.
Mine came in the form of food, makeup, clothes and shoes. Nothing new there!
31 March 2016 Hakata Ward, Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan
If you've been keeping up with my sporadic Japan posts,
1. You'd know that i've yet to talk about visiting a Japanese Castle and
2. THANK YOU. YOU'RE AWESOME.
When visiting Japan, one cannot miss the chance to visit a Japanese Castle.
On the 2nd last day I was in Japan, we drove up to the Kumamoto Castle, a castle that is said to have some insanely amazing view.
Compared to many of the European palaces and castles i've been to, this was so different. It wasn't as spruced up on the inside, it wasn't like an actual "castle" with displays of how the rooms looked like in the past. I guess people visit Japanese castles to admire the architecture and externals. There was so much area and land space around the main buildings I wonder what such spaces were used for in the past.
If you've ever watched olden day Chinese or Japanese dramas (those with kings and queens) you'd have seen their palaces, and it usually constitutes a main house / palace, and several other smaller "hut" looking ones for their concubines, advisors, etc etc. and you'd see the princesses going into the markets with their maids/servants/helpers.
Right beside the main palace was this market selling food and the architecture of the invidual stores reminded me so much of those you'd see in these olden day dramas.
After grabbing lunch at this little market, we went on to visit the main castle. There weren't many exhibitions in the main castle itself, and parts of it were cordoned off. Plus there were quite a number of tourists so instead of squeezing with everyone, we just headed up to the top of the castle for the view.
I just love the scenery in Japan, and I never pass up a good aerial view. Plus to get a view like this, we only had to climb up 6 stories, which was great (I mean compared to so many other high bell towers in Europe!)
We spent most of our time on the top of the castle admiring the view, and the rest of the other time exploring the region around the castle, taking pictures and admiring the architecture and being partially transported back in time!
Even though we got to witness such a beautiful view, and the architecture of the castle was great, my favourite part of the day was dinner. After visiting the castle, we drove into another city called Hakata, and went for dinner at one of their hipster-popular-with-the-japanese-youths areas. We went to this super cool fusion bar, and believe me when I said the food was ACE. The portions were a little small, but man the taste made up for everything.
I'm salivating/getting hungry just thinking about it. It was probably one of the best dinners I had in Japan!
If you're interested in my 2 Part Japan Travel Video, you can find them on my youtube channel here and here!
29 February 2016 Kumamoto Castle, 1-1 Honmaru, Chūō-ku, Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto-ken 860-0002, Japan
After learning more about the wold war 2, interesting finds on road trips, visiting old towns and hot springs, finding Amsterdam in Japan, and crossing a bridge hundred meters above ground, we had one much awaited nature stop in Japan. Japan with its amazing technology has some of the MOST incredible nature spots. The Takachiho Gorge was no exception.
As usual, I know how gorges are made, I've learned about them in geography class, but seeing it in real life, oh it's a whole new experience.
We were planning on rowing boats down the gorge, sadly, when we got there, it was raining, misty and extremely foggy. Yeap... This was the ONE day it was pouring rain... hit us real hard eh?
The fog made for really interesting mysterious looking pictures, and we did consider rowing the boats, but, as Jerald and I were with his parents, and we didn't wanna row boats looking like this:
We passed on the opportunity.
Despite the rain, the Takachiho gorge was still such a lovely stop. We got to see the gorge, the waterfalls, the pretty autumn leaves, and since it was raining, it meant that there weren't too many people out and about at that time.
Really salute the people who braved the rain and went boat rowing anyway! A part of me wishes I did, but seeing as how I caught a cold just from WALKING through the rain, the other part of me was glad I did not.
What I Wore
Coat - Coldwear | Dress (underneath) - Shein | Scarf - Pashmina | Boots - Timberland
I was trying to take advantage of the mist, rain and fog and attempt to get some cool mysterious shots, sadly, the rain was way too heavy, and so, and the fog was so think it was hard to shoot anything that was further than 5 or 10m away. Judging by the number of people carrying umbrellas, you could tell that walking through the gorge with the rain was no easy task itself, much less taking pictures.
Even though we didn't get to row boats like we wanted to, we had a pretty incredible lunch. Lunch was at this small Japanese stall where they served us noodles down a pipe of running water. We had to CATCH them with our chopsticks.
Not that i'm bragging, but I think my chopsticks skills are pretty good (been using them since 7!) and so this chopstick catching noodles game was way fun for me!
If you wanna see more of what else we got up to on our South Japan trip, you could watch my vlogs here and here!