31 May 2008
26 May 2008
The Highs - I went to Tokyo 2 times! The first trip was from 11 to 16 Apr, brought my mum, auntie and younger brother to Tokyo and acted sort of like their tour guide. Didn't take a lot of photos (realised that being a guide is not as easy as it seems) but will still do postings when I'm free.
01 May 2008
Like to share some of the items brought back from the Kansai vacation.
Chanced upon this shop in the vicinity of Kiyomizu-dera. If we hadn't took that particular route out of Kiyomizu-dera, we would never have discover this shop. Lots of accessories, clocks made from colourful glass beads.
Zakka shop selling all sorts of stationery, tote bags, kids' stuff.
Renown cosmetics brand in Japan. I love the lip balm with yuzu smell, as I like yuzu very much.
Zakka chain with online shopping, sells everything from kitchenware to crockery, cutlery, accessories, clothing, stationery etc. A must visit for me.
Yuzu honey - my favourite! First discovered this honey brand during my vacation to Nikko in Dec 06. For this trip, I search its website for branches and was delighted to find a few stores in the Kansai region. Needless to say, I must bring back a few bottles of my favourite yuzu honey which can't be found elsewhere in the world Besides yuzu honey, there are other flavours like grape, maple, lemon as well as the usual flower honey.
Dolls, creatures, keychains, pouches etc made by Chirimen crepe. Soft wrinkles are a unique characteristic of Chirimen crepe. The wrinkles are created by alternating two types of silk threads, twisted in different directions, by turns in the weft. The woven cloth is at first flat but the wrinkles suddenly emerge after rinsing dirt out of yarn. It is an elaborate technique that was created in the late 16th century and passed down for generations.
Now looking at the food souvenirs - meibutsu 名物 (famous regional products).
Baked Yatsuhashi 八ツ橋 - made from rice flour, sugar and cinnamon.
Raw Yatsuhashi 八ツ橋 (also known as Hijiri) - has a soft texture and is often eaten wrapped around red bean paste or other flavours.Made from wheat flour, carbonated water and tasted of sugar and salt.
Assortment of financiers, madelaines, pound cakes and tea.
Specialty food items of Osaka are as colourful as Osaka, and often come in extra large sizes.
Lastly, our prized catches from the "UFO" catchers. These were our loot over the 11 days from Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. Impressive wasn't it? Some of these didn't come cheap as we attempted several times (and spent a sum) before finally getting them. It was the trial and errors and jubilation of getting the prizes that kept us going. Yep, we were a little obsessed but we noticed many Japs also did the same, some of whom looked even professional!
Why didn't Singapore have such nice gaming machines?
Our last photo at Dotonbori, yes in front of the Glico running man billboard.
It has been a great holiday for us, hope that we will be back some day.
Then happily spent the entire afternoon shopping at various zakka shops.
In the evening, we met each other at the Namba Takashimaya food hall to buy some cakes as souvenirs. For our last dinner in Osaka, we couldn't decide on what to eat...
Finally decided on sushi (again). Since seafood is so fresh and afforable, why not? With a good meal of sushi, we ended our last night in Osaka, Japan.
Hubby spent the morning at some fishing tackle shops whereas I went to Tokyu Hands.
For the afternoon, we decided to visit Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan 海遊館, one of the largest public aquariums in the world. Apparently, there is a Pacific Ocean tank inside Kaiyukan which houses whale shark, manta ray, bluefin tuna, sharks and other deep-sea fishes. There is even a Mola Mola sunfish.
Didn't feel too good after visiting the aquarium. Somehow, I didn't feel comfortable watching the sea creatures in tanks. They belong to the deep blue and I prefer watching them swimming freely. But then, don't think I would be lucky enough to spot the rare whale shark these days. I am contradicting myself.
Anyways, we made our way back to Namba and stopped by this ramen store to eat a bowl of hot, steamy ramen as the temperature dropped quite drastically due to the rain. Was attracted by the menu board when we passed by the day before so had made a mental note to check it out.
It was certainly a good choice! The noodle was al dente, meat succulent and I love the hard-boil egg with yolk still slightly runny. The gyoza was also delicious. Oishii!
- Kaiyukan http://www.kaiyukan.com/index.html
Breakfast was served in a dinner room. Here we were, dressed in yukata provided by the ryokan.
Played more "UFO" catchers before heading towards Dotonori Hotel for check-in.
Stayed at Dotonbori Hotel again as we had conveniently left our main luggage bags at the hotel before we went to Kobe and Kyoto. The room for the next 3 nights was a double-room.
As we were tired of eating out, we strolled to Namba City where there was a basement food hall and packed some food back to the hotel for dinner. On our way, we saw a movie theatre and decided to buy tickets for "National Treasure 2" at 9.25pm. So after dinner, rested a while then went to the movie theatre. The seats were spacious and comfy, I say better than the ones in Singapore.
Time to go to Arashiyama 嵐山, a mountainous district on the western outskirts of Kyoto. Initially was hoping that it would snow and we could enjoy the scenery of a snowy mountain but winter was late this year.
We took a tram on the Keifuku Arashiyama Line from Keifuku Omiya Station to Arashiyama Station. This was my first time taking a tram, interesting to be travelling on the road along with other types of vehicles.
The journey took just 30mins and we reached Arashiyama in no time. Along the roadsides, we saw this berry plant which looked ever so sweet. Wonder what is this plant?
We strolled along the banks of Katsura/Oi River in search of our ryokan. This is the Togetsu Bridge.
Board showing the guests staying at the ryokan for the night. And I spotted my name! LOL.
After checking in, we were led to our room. This is the view from our room. Splendid!
Although the size of the tatami room was not as big as the one at Arima Onsen, it was good enough. I was satisfied that we had a very good view of the river.
For dinner, I arranged for Kaiseki Ryori (tea ceremony dishes). Have always wanted to try an authentic Kyoto Kaiseki Ryori, so had been looking forward to this meal. The menu already made us drool.
All the courses were served one after another by the Okami into our room, allowing ample time for us to finish one dish before serving the next. All the dishes were exquisite, typical of Kaiseki Ryori.