Next up on the journey to Fukuoka included a short layover in Osaka. We arrived in the early morning and our overnight bus wasn't leaving until much later that night, so we decided to do the usual Osaka bits: mess around, shop, eat okonomiyaki & takoyaki, shop more, etc.
The highlight of the layover and possibly the whole trip was the final hours before we left spent unwinding at Spa World Onsen. If it's not apparent from my facial expression, we love onsen and this was the most amazing onsen experience I have ever had. This 8 story building/hotel is complete with an outdoor swimming area, water slides, separate mens/women's floors, an arcade area, and a floor just for eating. Are you in awe yet? Good.
After 5 blissful hours in the onsen we caught our overnight bus and headed over to Fukuoka. Moral of the story: if you're gonna have a time gap somewhere, have it in Osaka.
Can I blame it on the heat? Am I allowed to blame this inexcusable absence from the blog from the sweltering heat that has hit LA for the past few months? Well that is what I am blaming it on. not my laziness to edit and upload photos or the start of the new Uni semester but the indian summer. Will you forgive me if I offer up more peeks from my trip to Japan? Good.
After a week in Kanazawa we headed off to visit other cities on our trek down to Fukuoka, and one of the stops was Nara. Famous for their slightly domesticated free-roaming deer, Nara offered up traditional sights, a lantern lighting festival, LOTS of deer, and a night of heat exhaustion. What more could one ask for from one of the most famous cities in the Kansai region.
Another university term begins and I am already looking forward to procrastination by way of blogging, baking, and cooking. Promise to read about it here afterwards? You're the best.
Tell me you're not singing/humming/dancing to that song after reading the title of this post. Okay maybe just me. Marvin Gaye might have been talking about the obstacles of love but I'm talking about the physical obstacles that we faced hiking the Japanese Alps.
Due to rainy weather my sister and I along with a friend were limited to only hiking 2 of the 12 peaks in Toyama, but make no mistake that we were dying by the end. The endless elevation of stairs and steep hills was only abated by the breath taking natural scenes that we were allowed.
The top of the first peak, which featured a graffiti decorated rest area, rusty abandoned play area, fields of tall grass, and a gusty wind to cool us off.
The second peak was smaller but the greater elevation that we gained provided an amazing view of the entirety of Toyama prefecture as well as the outline of the next prefecture over.
On the return hike we were hit by unexpected downpour and took brief shelter until the rain let up. Definitely one of the most memorable events from this trip and after anticipating it for so long I can say I was not disappointed at all. This hike was the beginning of my sister's vacation time and the start of my second week there. What a way to begin vacation... sore and exhausted, but in full awe of God's creation!
Phase two (and the bulk) of my trip to Japan took place in my sister's city, Kanazawa-shi. For the first week that I was there I was able to explore ktown freely on my own during the day while my sister was at work. Honestly I expected the capital of Ishikawa prefecture to be a little larger than it is, but I came to love how convenient the city is laid out. Sights, shopping, and eating were all within a 15-20 minute walk from my sister's apartment situated close to the awesome Omi-cho fish market and M'za shopping center.
During my partyofone days in ktown I visited the famous sights including Kanazawa's Castle and adjacent Kenroukuen Garden, which was snug in the center of town; Oyama Jinja shrine, famous for the stain glass windows atop the shrine's highest tower; and Myoruji Temple, a temple famous for it's hidden staircases and trap doors. My favorite of them all was definitely Myoruji Temple, also known as Ninja-dera(Temple), with all of it's secret passageways and perfectly translated tour, it was an excellent 45 minutes well spent.
One of the mornings my sister guided me to Higashichaya on the outskirts of town. Kanazawa is known for producing 99% of the gold to Japan, so naturally everything in that district was covered in gold, gold leafed, or had flakes of gold in it ... even the bread. It's also famous for their self produced soy sauce, and one of the things that they have incorporated it into is ice cream !! Naturally we had to have one at 10 am.
The last highlight of my partyofone adventures in Ktown was their street festival for the Obon holiday. The event included group dancing competitions, singing, fencing demonstrations, taiko music, and food vendors lining the 6 city blocks through downtown that hosted the festival. Thanks ktown for an awesome time and some killer food!
Have a wonderful Labor day! Mine is spent relaxing, eating, family time, and more eating. CHEERS!
It is currently 4am in LA so I should be taking in my beauty sleep, but instead my mind is more engaged than usual because for 3 weeks it was adapted to the time in Japan where it is 8 pm. My body is now at a loss as to which time zone it should be catering to. As mentioned in an earlier post, all this new found energy at odd times of the day allow me to edit and share my time in Japan. Contrary to my trip to Thailand, this was purely vacation and a chance to catch up with my sister who is living there.
I got in to Tokyo late Monday night and a friend's family was generous and not only hosted us for the first two nights, but also took us sailing near her home in Kamakura off the coast of Zushi. The beautiful heat and humidity that accompany Japanese summers meant spring-break-like crowds on the beaches and perfect weather for taking on the open sea.
After a few hours of cruising along the coast and seeing the small islands close by we decided to call it an afternoon and have lunch. Deliciously prepared for us, it was a wonderful first meal in Japan. The entire afternoon was lovely and set the course for smooth sailing the rest of my time there.
Stay tuned for the rest of my trip! Have a marvelous weekend!
lots of lovee
p.s. apologies if you are not a fan of collages as the images are not as clear, but they have become my good friend in helping to condense days weeks worth of photos into a few blog posts.
The Sunday that I left on vacation to Japan some girl friends took me out to brunch at Urth Caffe before church. Since it first opened I have been curious to go could it possibly live up to all the hype but I had yet to venture out and try it because I am a poor college student. However I was delightfully impressed with their fresh menu choices and strong coffees. On their sustenance side, I recommend their heirloom breakfast potatoes, paninis, and brioche bread with jam. As for their coffee I was very pleased with their Thai Red Tea Latte and Divine Spice Chai.
After being in Japan for the past 3 weeks I am still trying to recover from jetlag, which has offered time to download all of my photos. Sadly the heat induced sleepiness laziness has taken away my energy to sort them, but with unforeseen rain and the weekend I am now ready to share my trip with you all. Anticipate!