Oyamazaki Villa

One good thing about working far from home is the free train pass and unlimited train ride between home and work.

So one fine spring day, I took the train to Yamazaki and check out the much talked about Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Arts.

The main building was built by a wealthy businessman, Shotaro Kaga, and was considered for demolition decades after his death. Fortunately, with the help of local people, the Kyoto government and Asahi Breweries, the Villa was preserved and was opened to the public as Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum in 1996.

Let’s start the tour.

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The tunnel going to the Villa.

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I thought I’ve already reached the Villa, but this turn out to a small resting place and locker to store big backpacks or big luggage since it’s not allowed inside the Museum.

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Beautiful, Sakura tree.

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I’m finally here.

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Entrance.

The Museum houses Monet’s Waterlily collection. Just like any other museum taking pictures inside is prohibited but taking pictures of the outside garden from the inside is not and thus:

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Japanese garden , from one of the glass doors.

On the top floor of the museum is a cafe with a veranda and a view of Yawata city
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I wanted to stay here , relax and enjoy the view unfortunately a group old folks where occupying the whole place and chatting their hearts away.
So on I go with my tour.
I decided to enjoy the view of the garden, and it was a better decision.

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The garden and the pond from another angle.

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A rabbit sculpture. I think its really out of place in a very zen garden and it’s huge too.

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The view of the Villa’s veranda cafe from the garden.

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The green Sakura and the Museum.

You can reach the museum by taking JR or Hankyu Line and stop at Yamazak Station or Oyamazaki station respectively. Free shuttle bus is also available for guest from both station, check the schedule here.

I hope you enjoy the tour and please give it a quick visit when you visit Kyoto.

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Kyoto Autumn Walk 2014

I joined an autumn walk around Kyoto last year and we saw some really nice places. We all met first in Arashiyama and walk all the way central Kyoto.

We passed by several temples and shrine but unfortunately, I lost the list of names that I made. So please enjoy the tour.

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The mountain and river in Arashiyama Kyoto.

On our way to the Golden Temple, we passed by this area

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The sun and the maple leaves

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I think this is the Saga-Arashiyama railroad.

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The maple tree and the train station.

Near the Golden Temple , we passed by a parking area and the trees are around it were very beautiful.

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Yellow !!

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Red!!

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More red maple leaves!

We stopped at nearby local park for lunch

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Ginko Tree.

After lunch we continue our walk to the next shrine. It was a small one , mostly local tourist but it was beautiful. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can remember how to get there too.

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The entrance to the temple or shrine(?). Unless you get inside the main hall , you don’t need to pay to enjoy the lovely trees outside.

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A close up.

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Another close up.

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The fallen leaves.

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The maple tree and the gate.

We continued our walk and on our way we passed by another big temple.

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Let’s check it out.

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This area is not open to the public but they opened the door, to allow visitor to glimpse at the garden.

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It would be nice to have a picnic under these trees.

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A small treat while walking along the Kamo River.

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The Sunset.

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Attempted night shot using iPhone.

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Another one.

We walked more or less 20 km around Kyoto that day. The weather was great, the company was great. It was an amazing day.

Kamo Adventure

Kamo was the the capital of Japan from 740-744.ย  It’s not really a major tourist destination in Kyoto but a really nice place to see some old cultural heritage and a good place to maybe get lost ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Autumn 2014, I missed the first walking event organized by Mr.RB but he was very nice to do it again. Some of the leaves were gone already but we got the place to ourselves. We don’t have to compete with local tourist to see the places. It was cold but the walk warmed us and we saw some really interesting stone carvings along the way.

Our first destination is Gansenji(ๅฒฉ่ˆนๅฏบ). From Kamo Station, we took the community bus bound for ๅŠ ่Œ‚ๅฑฑใฎๅฎถ่กŒใ. It was the last stop and the temple was just 1 minute walk from the bus stop. It’s 600 yen to get inside.

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The Pagoda.

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The Pagoda again with the remaining maple leaves.

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The temple ground.

You can go inside the main temple of Gansenji and see old Buddhist relic or ring the small metal bowl for good fortune.

After we left Gansenji, we went to another temple but this one is free unless you go inside the main hall.
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The panoramic view of the temple.

But before that we found a pottery store and the two girls who were with got so excited and started shopping ๐Ÿ™‚

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Pottery ?

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More?

We walked around as saw some really cool stone sculpture/statues which no ones really knows when it was made

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Like this Buddha statue carved at the side of the mountain. We could not get any closer so this was taken across from it.

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The Laughing Buddha. I guess these carvers or stone masons just randomly start to carve whenever they saw a big stone.

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This one has seen better days. But the outline is still there.

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Can you see the little statues on top of the rocks?

Another thing I like about places like Kamo, is that you can find small unmanned vegetable store. You buy local produce but instead of paying the owners, you put your payment in the box.

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Local farm store. The lady here is really nice, when saw me kept looking this:

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She gave me one. It’s called “Fox Face”. Its not edible and is only used for decoration.

When I came home, my backpack was really heavy. And this is one of the reason.
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In the Philippines, we call it Sayote and yes I made some really nice Chicken Tinola(Stew) with it.

It was a really nice walk. Thanks to RB the whole group had an amazing time at Kamo.

Hiking through Mt. Jubu

Early autumn Mr.R organized another fun hike from Ujitawara going through Mt. Jubu all the way to Kasagi. Well that was the plan, let’s find out if we made it all the way to Kasagi.

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Approaching the entrance to the mountain through this little temple.

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The name. Can you read it? Sorry I can’t.

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On our way to the summit of Mt. Jubu.

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The back of the “Golden Fetus Temple” based on our literal translation of the Kanji.

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A small pagoda, with Miss K ๐Ÿ™‚

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These two were supposed to be my temple models. Can’t seem to get a good shot of them.

A few minutes later we got to the summit had our lunch and short rest.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbmcONnisEU Here is a short video taken by Mr.RB (outdoorholic) of Mt. Jubu’s summit

After lunch it was decided that we will take the “interesting” way down to the mountain. It was an exhilarating experience that made my knees weak and shaking.

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We ended up at the end of the trail and all I could see is this boulder of rock. Mr.R told us that the waterfall is just below this cliff but I could not find a way down until he pointed this ..

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This is the way down. As soon as I saw this, my first thought was “I’m too young to die.” Okay, I’m exaggerating but I was scared to hell but it do our turn around alone.

I could not take some decent picture of our decent as my hand were busy grabbing the roots and rock and holding out for my dear life ๐Ÿ™‚ but as soon as I reach a more safer area, I was able to get a shaky picture of these two , having fun. Boys ๐Ÿ™‚

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As soon as we reach the bottom , Mr. R lead us to this boulders of rocks and we are supposed to pass through it. Don’t worry I did not have any problem passing through it ๐Ÿ™‚
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Of course Mr. R was there to lend a helping hand so nothing to worry about.

We finally reached the “Thousand Hands Waterfall”.

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At this point my knees were like jelly, I was really surprised I did not fall on my face. It took a lot of control and concentration to command each part of my body not to give up on me.

A little later, we reach Tea Planet again ๐Ÿ™‚

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So the question now, did we reach Kasagi? Well, the 3 girls did not through walking but by train.

After we reached foot of the mountain, S had a big blister, P had to go back to Osaka for some other appointment. So the group decided to just walk to the bus stop passing through the tea plantation and catch the bus to Kamo Station.

On our way we took a short detour and admire this very old tree.

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Sorry I forgot the name of the tree or how old it was.

When we reach Kamo Station , the boys decided to call it a day and us girls decided to travel all the way to Kasagi and enjoy the onsen.

All in all, it was a really great adventurous day. Going back if we decided which route to take again, I definitely will still choose the route we took. Of course, it will depend upon the group but with this group, definitely.

Thank you guys for a great day and to Mr. R for organizing and help. ๐Ÿ™‚

Till the next adventure.

Hiking to Wazuka (ๅ’ŒๆŸ)

Ever since one of T’s student told us about Waduka(pronounced as Wazuka ๅ’ŒๆŸ) , we have been trying to visit the place but kept putting it off . So when Mr. R organized another hike going to Waduka, I know this is a chance I could not missed. It was unfortunate that T was not able to join because of work, I’m sure he would have love the place but hopefully we can go visit there again this coming autumn (fingers crossed :D).

Based on the last hike with Mr. R, I know this was not going to be your normal hike with normal trail so I almost canceled when the back of my right knee kept on giving me pain. Fortunately, massaging it every night a week before the hike abated the pain a little. Now I’m just hoping that it will hold up till the end of the hike and not cause anybody trouble.

It was a very humid day with an impending rain, a nice for a hike right?

S, P and I arrived on the same train in ไธŠ็‹›(Kami-Koma) Station around 9:30 and I was already sweating profusely and was already feeling really tired.
We started our hike and a few minutes later, we entered this beautiful bamboo trail.
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Unfortunately, bugs were following us, buzzing in my ear. I was just happy we did not met any hornets.

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There were some areas that I find really challenging and the three of them were just walking through it like nothing. Darn so jealous. I was already using both hands , fortunately Mr. R was there to give a helping hand after I shouted for Help :D. Yes I’m not shy in that area ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyways, after we passed that area it was all good. It was still drizzling so at least it was a bit refreshing and the forest smelled so fresh and looks greener. No more bugs buzzing around too.

After we came down on one of the steeper area with stairs, I felt my knee wobbling and shaking. S was also feeling suddenly tired, I guess the heat was making us very tired. After discussing our options with the boys, S and I decided to keep on going. Although instead of using the mountain trail, we decided to take the road to the top instead, it was not as interesting as the mountain trail but it gave S and I to recuperate a little bit.

We got to the top and this is our view:

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It was very beautiful.

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We had a long break here, while having our lunch and by the time we finished S and I were all set to take on the next challenge.

And after an hour or so later…

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We arrived to the tea planet :).

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A few more minutes of walking we found some these statues :

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There were several of them with different hand poses , I guess these are used for pilgrimage or something.

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And more tea farms in Waduka.

From Wiki:

Wazuka (ๅ’ŒๆŸ็”บ Wazuka-chล?) is a town located in Sลraku District, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.

As of 2008, the town has an estimated population of 5,011. The total area is 64.87ย kmยฒ.

Wazuka is mostly a farming town and prides itself in its top quality green tea actually said by many connoisseurs of tea to be no. 1 in all of Japan[citation needed]. Wazuka is home to roughly 300 tea growing families. The area was selected in the Kamakura period (1192 โ€“ 1333) for tea production and has enjoyed an 800-year history as one of the main production areas of Ujicha. Today, while Ujicha comprises only 3% of the tea produced in Japan, it enjoys royal status as one of the most highly prized and respected teas in the country.[1] Also a considerable crop of rice is produced among other agricultural products.

Wazuka’s band of top tea farmers known as the Yukichaken and the local community are in cooperation with NICE one of the major volunteer program companies and hold together the biggest annual work camp at the end of August lasting 2 weeks. The program is open to about 12 foreigners per year and an equal number of Japanese work campers.

If you are visiting Kyoto, I highly recommend visiting or taking a tour in one of tea farms here and try the local tea. It’s absolutely fantastic.

This coming November 1-2, 2014, there is a Chagenkyo (Tea) Matsuri. Hopefully I can go there again.

The hike was amazing and the destination was definitely worth it.