Summer 2014 : A brief stop at Nagoya

For my summer escapade this year , Miss Y decided to join me in my crazy idea to used the 18 kippu all the way to Matsumoto City.

We met first in Kyobashi station and then catch the 6:14 am train from Osaka Station . 3 hours later we arrived at Nagoya Station. We decided to take a quick stroll around the city and get some much needed breakfast.

Miss Y found Gordo Cafe , an underground cafe near Fushimi Station (Subway). We got there a little before 10 unfortunately, breakfast was already over.
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We did not make it to their breakfast time.

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Underground Shopping District in Nagoya.

After walking a little bit, we found a little nice cafe run by an old couple. We had some coffee and sandwiches before heading out to Nagoya Castle.

We had a long nice walk to the castle but unfortunately, unlike Osaka Castle where you only pay when you get into the castle itself, you need to pay starting at the outer moat. I have been to Nagoya Castle and even though Miss Y has never been there, we decided to pass it this time. We walked around the parking area to find a nice view and we did albeit a little bit far.

Heading back to our train ride, Miss Y and I decided to get some of the infamous Nagoya’s friend chicken wings(手羽先)

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We grab some other fried chicken from other store, get into the train station found the spot at the end of the platform, ate our lunch while waiting for our train.

By the time the train finally arrived, Y and I were full and ready for our sleep 🙂

Kyoto’s Path of Philosophy

The Philosopher’s Walk (哲学の道 Tetsugaku-no-michi?, lit. Path of Philosophy) is a pedestrian path that follows a cherry-tree-lined canal in Kyoto, between Ginkaku-ji and Nanzen-ji. The route is so-named because the influential 20th-century Japanese philosopher and Kyoto University professor Nishida Kitaro is thought to have used it for daily meditation. It passes a number of temples and shrines such as Hōnen-inŌtoyo Shrine, and Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji. It takes about 30 minutes to complete the walk, although many people spend more time visiting the sights along the way. On the northern part of the walk, there are good views of the nearbyDaimonji. The walk is a popular destination for tourists and locals, especially during hanami.

My very first visit to this place was during Sakura(Cherry Blossoms) time many many moons ago. After that time, I have not visited this place again or have seen it in a different season. When a dear friend M, invited me to join their very long walk around Kyoto (about 18KM) , I jumped at the opportunity.

When the Sakura’s are in full bloom this place looks so magical ( old pictures) but it gets really crowded especially during the weekend . On a different season or after the Sakura are all gone, this place looks so green and so refreshing.  Join me as we talk a short walk along the Philosopher’s Path.

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The board that says it all. Welcome to The Philospher’s path.

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Walking under the Cherry Trees.

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An inscription on a Stone. Sorry i could not really get what it tries to say.

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Cherryss !!!!!

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Cats on Vacation. The signs say “Today it’s our rest day.” 🙂 But these cats are not scared or skittish around humans. It seems that you can freely feed the cats around this area so when they see somebody they always taught, FOOD!!. They are really well fed cats.

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Mr. Ducky taking a rest under the shade of a Sakura Tree.

There are several shops, small cafe and restaurants along the way so you can take a really relaxing walk.

It seems that the Philosopher’s Path is also famous for Hotaru(Firefly) viewing during the summer.

Have you visited the Philosopher’s Path yet?

Handweaving in Kyoto

Ever since I saw this post in Uncovering Japan, I have been planning to go and try it. Finally the day arrived.

Nishijin Textile is located in Kyoto, looks like any other office building but as soon as you step inside, you will be taken to the world of wonderfully designed Kimono.

The Free Kimono Show is schedule every 45-50 minutes starting from ten in the morning till four in the afternoon.

Hand Weaving Experience @ Nishijin Textile Kyoto

We got there just as the show was starting.

Hand Weaving Experience @ Nishijin Textile Kyoto

Hand Weaving Experience @ Nishijin Textile Kyoto

We did not finish the show since we got called by the staff. Time to do some weaving :).

Hand Weaving Experience @ Nishijin Textile Kyoto
My working station.

Hand Weaving Experience @ Nishijin Textile Kyoto
Mr. P and Miss R , working really hard on their weaving.

Hand Weaving Experience @ Nishijin Textile Kyoto
Miss J and her blue table center piece.

Yes, we are making a simple, small table center.

Hand Weaving Experience @ Nishijin Textile Kyoto
I’m done.

Hand Weaving Experience @ Nishijin Textile Kyoto
The Nishijin Staff, putting some glue and finishing my table center piece.

Hand Weaving Experience @ Nishijin Textile Kyoto
Lots of mini-looms. I think there are about 80 looms in the room. These looms are used only for weaving introduction.

We went back to the main building were the shop is located and where you can see some of the weavers while working.

Hand Weaving Experience @ Nishijin Textile Kyoto

Just to show that in one master piece, it will take more than just one thread.

There was a girl there working in this huge canvass , unfortunately no pictures allowed while she is working. When she saw us, she came and show us her nails, they were very uneven.

There are also hand made products, beautiful and expensive in the shop. A great gift or souvenir from a place called Kyoto.

Hand weaving requires some advance reservation and cost 1800 yen for each person.

Hiking Mt. Ikoma (Again)

My apologies for the very long hiatus. Last year, I was not able to anything much during Spring because of my allergies but this year I’m back with a vengeance. My allergies is still here but it more manageable, or I have learned a trick or two to manage it and still enjoy Spring here in Kansai.

So back to the original topic of this post.

Mt. Ikoma. Another hiking event organize by “Hiking In Kansai” group and I got to see Mt. Ikoma in Spring Season. We met we everybody at Ishikiri Station at 9:30 am, but we were not able to start until 10 am. From the station we took the same route we used last time so we passed again the Watermill again but this time the Sakura were in bloom so it was really very pretty.
Sakura
The big Sakura tree gave a very nice backdrop to the watermill.

Sakura

Another one but just started blooming.

Watermill
The Watermill.

Sakura
The same tree, from a different side.

Stone Buddha
The little stone Buddha on road. Keeping a watch on us.

Last time we went all the way to the theme park but we never really found the peak of the mountain. This time we/I did and took a proper photo as a proof 🙂

The Peak of Mt. Ikoma

The reason we did not find the mountain peak last time is because it is hiding inside this ride.
Peak of Mt. Ikoma
The theme park staff will let you in to see the peak.

There were lots of Sakura Trees on top of Mt. Ikoma but unfortunately it was just starting to bloom. It was really a cold day when we started and by the time we got to the top, it was even colder. We had a quick lunch , a visit to the loo and we continued on our hike.

A few minutes later, just outside the theme park we found this strange looking edifice. There were no sign explaining what it was but there were new air conditioning system installed so I guess it was still currently in used.

A weird building

After passing the building we came out to this small skyline park and the view was marvelous. On the left side you can see Nara Prefecture and on the right side, you can see the East Side of Osaka Prefecture. Then, of course , we have to take our group picture here.
HIK
So can you find me? 😀

To continue :
Directions
Where to go? Back to Ikoma or Kuragaritouge ?

Japan's Highway ????
Kuragaritouge serves as the boundary between Osaka Prefecture on the East Side and Nara Prefecture.

Nara - Osaka Border
I am both on Nara and Osaka. 😀

Our hike continues but this time we are walking in one of Japan’s narrowest and steepest National Highway.
Probably the narrowest and steepest Highway in Japan

Rice field
Rice field on the side of the highway.

walking along the highway
Yes that is still part of the National Highway.

A few minutes of walking down we found these group of stones with a gate in front. We are not sure if this is somebody’s private graveyard, but it looks so old and then everybody just started snapping pictures of it 🙂

stone and gate

Then we found this small temple/shrine and I was able to get the permission of our leader to explore it for a few minutes.

a waterfall?

The waterfall
I guess this is the waterfall.

The Stone Buddha
More Stone Buddhas on the side .

The Main Deity

The Holy Stone
Power Stone?

where to go?
Directions !! Where to go this time.

Sakura
Sakura everywhere.

Shidare Sakuru
Picture is Edited. I enhance the color that is why it looks so pink.

Sakura
Up close and personal.

It was really a great day.We had lots of fun chatting and getting to know the members of the group. We ended up having a plate of Oden near Ishikiri Jinja before calling it a day.

Till the next hike.

Light at the end of the tunnel.

Literally.

I found another interesting place again from Heart of Japan and since I do not have any specific plans for my winter break, I asked some friends if they were interested. Five gave a positive answer, so on the first day of my winter vacation we were off to explore the abandoned railway of the Fukuchiyama Line.

There are two ways to approach the old railway, from JR Namaze Station or from JR Takedao Station. The latter is much easier to navigate but we opted to start from the former, following the  direction given by Heart of Japan.

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Let the hike begin

The warning
The warning sign. To summarize it : “This is not a hiking trail so Enter at your own Risk”, and we did. If you are coming from Takedao station, you will see the same warning.

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Beautiful view of the river. This would be a great place during spring and autumn.

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Another warning this time it says “Be careful of falling objects”.

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Notice the pieces of wood?. Those were the old railway.

First Tunnel
It’s time to enter the first tunnel. I found out that my head lamp was useless and that my iPhone camera was much better. It was a bit scary for me, I’m kinda afraid of the dark but this time it won’t get in the way of this adventure, so in we go.

Inside First Tunnel
We are going in. No turning back now.

Going Out of the First Tunnel
We made it. We can see the light 🙂

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Another warning: ” No lights inside the tunnels.”.

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I’m doing it 🙂

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To the second tunnel we go. This would be very beautiful during the spring.

Entrance to the Second Tunnel
Entrance to the second tunnel and I think the longest one. There are lots of wooden tracks inside so you really need a good light to make sure you don’t stumble and hurt yourself.

what's waiting for us?
After coming out of the 3rd tunnel we found this. A close track crossing the river.

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It would have been really interesting if this was open but unfortunately the other side of this was blocked by a big tree.

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There was a small bridge on the side to cross the river and the side view of the track bridge. At the end of this track you can find some of the wooden track drag to the side and turn into semi-benches. So we decided to make a stop and have some lunch and warm drinks before moving on.

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The other side of the track, trees were blocking the way 🙂

After we came out of the fourth tunnel we saw again the big warning sign and a very nice view of the river.
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We found some old charcoal so somebody was probably making a fire near the it.

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Need directions? The Sakura Trees are just 300 meters away.

5th Tunnel
The fifth tunnel. You can already see the end of it from the entrance.

JR Takedao Station
JR Takedao Station. We safely made it.

It was definitely a very interesting hike. It is very easy but dark and you just need a good walking shoes and a very good flashlight 🙂