Toyama Castle

About 10 minutes walk from JR Toyama Station you can find Toyama Castle.

Toyama Castle
It was built around 1543. It is also called Azumi Castle.

The castle ground is opened to the public but if you want to get inside, you need to pay. Unfortunately, the castle was still closed when I got there so I just roamed around and catch a glimpse of it’s beauty.

Toyama Castle The back of the castle. Toyama Castle
These stones where used in building the castle.

Toyama Castle

Front view.


Retro Osaka Buildings : Arai Building

新井(Arai) Building was original a bank back in 1922. It then became a restaurant in 1976 but unfortunately due to some safety issues the restaurant closed.

In 2005, a patry shop , Gokan opened in the first floor.

The building has 4 floors and 1 basement floor. Currently the upper floors are now office space for rent.

After we left Ikoma Building, we walked about 5 minutes passing by Nomura Building and met the building manager of Arai Building.

Nomura BuildingNomura Building, Side Design Walked up to the second floor and check some of the offices there. No getting inside though, just a peek. Then we walked all the way to the top floor and got a short history and overview of the building. Arai Building, going up
Going up!

The hallway!
Arai Building , the hallwayA cat design in one of the offices Arai Building , the cat :)

Arai Building, taking pictures of people taking picturesA short description of the window (?)

I found yelp ! Arai Building and Yelp

Here too!
Arai Building and Yelp

It was a fun day. I got to see another side of Osaka’s Historical Buildings and get to checkout how it looks inside.

Demon Shrine?

“A what?” was my reaction when Ms. A mentioned it to me.

Well, it’s time to investigate it.

Sorry to disappoint, but no it’s not a Shrine for demons. It’s a lion-shaped stage of Yasaka Shrine.

Tada !!!.

This is called Shishi-Den or a Lion-Shaped Stage which is found in Namba Yasaka Shrine.

This stage was completed in 1974. It is believed that the lion eats everyone’s suffering with it’s big mouth and brings happiness to people. These days, it is also believe that the lion attracts success with its big mouth and therefore it is popular among students studying for entrance exam, athletes and business people.

The mouth serves as the stage, while the nose is the speaker and eyes are the lights.

The local deity protecting the area: Susanoo-no-Mikoto is believed to enshrined inside the mouth.

So if ever you get to visit Namba in Osaka, take a small detour to Yasaka Shrine and checkout Shishi-Den.


Touring Yashima(屋島)

Yashima is part of Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture Japan. One of its main attraction is the Yashima-ji located at a lava plateau northeast of Takamatsu.

Late last year (2013), T and I join a tour, a Fugu tour actually, and one the places they took us was on this plateau to get a really good view of Takamatsu.

Let the tour begin.

Welcome to Yashima.

Watching the people as they enter the gate.

Beautiful stone carving.

A view from a far.

A raccoon? a male one if you noticed 🙂 , guarding the torii.

The female one.

The Main Hall of the Thousand Handed Kannon.

We walked all the way to the end of the plateau and this is what we saw.


and another

There were several Sakura trees there, so it would be really pretty this coming spring.
One of the cherry blossoms.

Going up to the plateau is not free though. The charge is per vehicle so you can packed everyone in vehicle and go 🙂

One of the thing that our guide pointed out was this very old cherry blossom tree.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the description beside it so my memory is a bit vague. If I am not mistaken, I think this tree is more or less 600 years old and was planted by a noble person who visited this place a long long time ago.

I am not sure if they are open in the evening but it would be really pretty to see night view of city of Takamatsu.

So if you ever get to Takamastu City, try to check out this part.

Hope you enjoy the tour. 😉

Rainy at Fushimi Inari Taisha

Inari or Inari Okami is a Japanese god of foxes and Fushimi Inari Taisha(伏見稲荷大社) located at the South part of Kyoto is the head shrine of Inari.

If you have watched Memoirs of the Geisha, where young Sayuri was running among red gates then you have seen a glimpse of Fushimi Inari Taisha.

I remember the first time I visited the place, years ago I was in awe of the gates that are place all the way to the top of the mountain. We got there a little before 7pm so it was a very interesting experience. I think the main temple was already close but the way to the mountain was not since there are people living on top of it. It was dark but we made it safely to the top and the night view of Kyoto was beautiful.

Early this month I joined a group of amazing people to take a walk starting from the Fushimi Inari Taisha to Chushojima. There was big snow storm the night before and then the next day, it rained and snow so it was really cold but it did not stop us.

The whole group in front of Inari Taisha. Can you find me?

Fushimi Inari Taisha
Entering the Shrine Vicinity. The roof is still covered in snow.

Fox Statue @ Fushimi Inari Taisha
The Fox Guarding the  Main Shrine. No taking of picture of the Main Shrine.

The Fox @ Fushimi Inari Taisha
The other Fox and this one is holding a stalk of golden rice grain.

Gates @ Fushimi Inari Taisha
The gates. Choose which way to go. Can you find Sayurin?

Gates @ Fushimi Inari Taisha Kyoto
The Side. It’s a long way.

Gates and a girl in Kimono @ Fushimi Inari Taisha
A girl in Kimono.

Wet gates @ Fushimi Inari Taisha
Water Dripping.

There are several ways to go there. If you are coming from Kyoto, Take JR Nara Line and stop at Inari Station. From Kyobashi or Yodoyabashi Station in Osaka you can take Keihan line bound for Demachiyanagi and stop at Fushimi Inari Station. There is also a bus from JR Kyoto Station but it leaves every hour only, a bit inconvenient so taking the train is the best way to go.

If you visit this place, try to walk all the way to the top of the mountain and check out the view of Kyoto City.

Till the next Kyoto adventure.