08 July 2014

5D4N Osaka, Japan: Day III.

Update: You can now find the other days here: Day IDay IIDay IVDay V and first ONSEN experience!

So, if you were reading on my Part II, you would know that the three of us stayed at one room for a night, tatami style. It means on the floor like traditinal Japanese style. I also mentioned that we had a private onsen at our balcony for our usage. 

Last night we all went  to the public onsen and this morning we decided to take turns to use the one in our balcony. 

It was our last onsen for this trip because days ahead are all in the city and city no onsen. Duh..

My view when I woke up at 530am. The sun is so bright you know. Really Land of the Rising Sun ah.

Our balcony overlooking Japan's largest lake, Lake Biwa.

After spending some time soaking one last time in those mountain-hot-water while enjoying the view of the lake, we had yet another fine dine breakfast. I finished everything that was served. Something about soaking in onsen that makes you hungry. Or maybe it's just me.

Today, we head to Kyoto Prefecture. Itinerary for the day is mainly of shrines. Japanese people take very seriously of the gods they worship. I don't know their names or history because I'm just not good with remembering names. Even for humans. So, the first place we went was nearer to the mountains so the weather was cooling, which was just perfect for touristy activities. We took this tram up and walked up a little.

This kind of place can only be taken with panorama mode. It is believed that when you stand in the middle of the big circle in front of the temple with your both arms lifted, you receive power from the gods. Kuramadera Temple.

We went to a few more temples up there and once all that was done, we went to check out a public onsen place. Yes, there is a minimal fee if you would like to have a taste of what it feels like, or if the hotel you're staying do not have onsen. After that, we made our way to lunch. THIS IS THE BEST LUNCH FOR THIS TRIP. It's so unique and beautiful you will go crazy if you're there. Yeah, it almost blew my mind when I was there. I couldn't believe that I was gonna have this kind of experience.

Lunch at Hirobun, by the river.

Restaurants built on top of the river waterfall. People are sitting directly on top of streams of waterfall while having their lunch. This is one of the most exclusive kind of meal in my life. So special. My photos doesn't really do the justice. I don't think video can even show you how real and superb it is. 

The 'lunch' is separated into two sections. First, you will have the appetizer while looking at these gorgeous mini waterfall. What is the appetizer you may ask?

These restaurants are only open when it's not winter. Imagine that time was summer but it was super freezing cold. Coming from a place where it's hot all year long, this place became my favorite place to be immediately. Ahhh I wanna go back there!

I tried to be somewhat 'artistic' with a family shot of this young couple with their baby girl. I tried. The baby girl is just too adorable lahhh!

Patiently waiting for our turns to enjoy the appetizer. 

Finally it was our turn. We being Asians very kan cheong and excited. So, as you can see, all we've got for our appetizer are just this. A small cup with their Japanese style dipping sauce/cold soup, with some wasabi and some chopped spring onion. We mixed all that inside the cup and wait for our food to come. And I meant wait and attack. Yeah. Fun and must really concentrate if not your food will say bye bye to you and no more food for you. I kid you not.

Very quickly after we sat down, our appetizer came out from these bamboo tubes. Somen noodles. Somen noodles are white Japanese noodles made with wheat flour. They are usually served cold. They came quite fast okay. So, when it comes, you quickly use your chopstick and scoop them up and put it in the cup and eat. Okay, click this to watch the short video my Japanese friend posted. Then, you'll get the idea of how it works. Super fun and super yummy. I always thought cold noodles are weird but that changed me totally.

After the appetizer, oh wait I haven't told you guys how we will know if the somen is finished and no longer flowing through our tubes. If the red somen came out, that's the signal. Means appetizer over and time to move on to the higher ground and have the main course.

Not only does the ambiance gets a perfect score, the food also scores 10 out of 10. Of course the price also pricey. In RM, it definitely be in three digits. BUT I THINK IT'S WORTH IT! I would go again if I ever visit Kyoto Prefecture.

After makan, more shrines nearby to visit. Kibune shrine, Kamigamo shrine and Shimogamo shrine (World Heritage site). A lot of walking but in those kind of temperature, I don't mind walking everywhere. In almost every shrine in Japan, you will see these small wooden rectangles where people write their wishes on and hang it. Wishes like 'I want to marry a good husband' and 'I want to stay pretty always', as translated by our tour guide.

Yet, another 'artistic' shot tried at the Kibune Shrine. I think if put black and white sure nice d but I too lazy to edit. Hah.

Shrines gone modern. Now with social media channels. Not bad.

On the way to the city, we made a quick stop to the 'mosque'. Not the typical building kind of mosque you see in Malaysia. 

Then, we were brought to our hotel for check-in. Hotel Granvia Kyoto. The hotel is huge. Like really huge and the place is most strategic already. Connected to the train/subway (I can't remember) station and walking distance to the shopping malls. 

I love the rooms. My room was superb! Everything was just two thumbs up. Just when I thought I could jump on the bed and take a quick nap, we had to run downstairs to meet with our sponsors and some of the local agents. Like a mini workshop and then dinner after that.

Their walkway to another building also super grand.

One hour of feeling like a VIP. People taking turns to see us and talk to us about their products/services. Super cool.

After dinner, Mr Nagaoka suggested that we take a walk around Kyoto and he even volunteered to bring us to the happening place at Kyoto. And walked to the happening place we did. I think the place is called Kiyamachi.

It was really nice to walk the streets of Kyoto at night, about 8-9pm. Everyone was just walking along minding their own business. I remembered at one point, I even skyped with my sister and Koay. Yay to free wifi at one of their happening area. 

We had supper at one of their famous local restaurants. Something like Kim Gary where. Everything also ada. We enjoyed our desserts and then took a taxi back to Hotel Granvia Kyoto. One of the best hotel I've ever stayed for sure. Love it. Too bad only for one night. 

So, there you have it my day three in this foreign land.

Two more days to go! I can do this!