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.

Yamazaki Villa
The tunnel going to the Villa.

Yamazaki Villa
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.

Yamazaki Villa
Beautiful, Sakura tree.

Yamazaki Villa
I’m finally here.

Yamazaki Villa

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:

Yamazaki Villa
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
Yamazaki Villa

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.

Yamazaki Villa
The garden and the pond from another angle.

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

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

Yamazaki Villa
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.


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.


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


Walking under the Cherry Trees.

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


Cherryss !!!!!


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.


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?

Some Random Sakura

The Sakura on my way to work

Sakura @ Daito

Close up version.

Sakura @Daito
The Sun and Sakura.

The Sakura @ Nozaki Kannon Temple

Sakura @Nozaki Kannonj

Sakura no toorinuke @ Osaka Mint Bureau

Let us take a short break from all the manhole covers and enjoy some cherry blossoms (Sakura) for this year 2014.

During this season, I call it Sakura Season,  I love walking early in the morning and just enjoy the beauty of what Spring could offer. Every year the Osaka Mint Bureau opens their gates to the public for 1 week to share the beauty of the Sakura inside the complex. They currently have 350 trees and 130 varieties inside. Unfortunately it’s very famous , thus the crowd.

The very first time I visited the place many moons ago, I could barely moved much less take a decent picture. The second time, I was there even before the gates were open and I was able to enjoy the beauty of the Sakura and was able to get a decent picture so I was satisfied.

After returning to Osaka , three years ago, T and I tried to see the blooms once more but turned back after we saw the crowd. For this year I decided to create a meetup event to force myself to go 🙂

Here are some of the pictures I took.

The Lamp and the Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau
I love the lamp among these fluffy Sakura.

Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau
This place would have been perfect for a picnic , unfortunately it is not allowed.

Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau
It looks like fluffy pink marshmallows 🙂

Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau
I was underneath it. I wished I could have stayed longer underneath it.

Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau
A close up shot.

Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau
Another one.

Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau
Fluffy little white clouds 🙂

Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau

The whole place is less than 600 meters long but you could easily stay there for hours just taking pictures of these lovely Sakura.

If you are in Osaka at this time of the year make sure to include a short visit to the Osaka Mint Bureau, I’m sure you will enjoy it, minus the crowd 🙂

Till next year.

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.
The big Sakura tree gave a very nice backdrop to the watermill.


Another one but just started blooming.

The Watermill.

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.
So can you find me? 😀

To continue :
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 everywhere.

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

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.