Video: Autumn in Osaka-Kyoto-Nara, Japan – Day 2 Mount Koya, Okunoin, Kongobuji and Toki Sushi (must eat)!

Hi Guys,

I recently wrote about the first day of our 2017 Japanese autumn trip here.


DAY 2 – Remember to watch our Travel Vlog! You just need to click PLAY! 🙂

Here it goes, start of day 2. I hope you guys are ready for this photojournal style post because its full of photos. I apologize for killing your mobile’s data plan.

We started the day walking to Namba station for the Nankai-Koya-Line, we stopped by a McDonald’s for our breakfast because the chilly weather and the long walk to the station made us hungry. So after losing our way a few times at the underground mall, we made it to the station platform.

Claire fell asleep soon after boarding the train… We had to stop at Hashimoto Station and continue the rest of the way on a bus. Its all because of the recent typhoon that damaged part of the Koya-Line and the ropeway.

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And she slept again on our bus ride to Koyasan. That youthfulness, because only kids can sleep anytime, anywhere. While adults like me have to be on alert all the time because there’s someone depending on me. She had it easy, right? Yeah maybe, well we complement each other alright LOL.


KOYASAN – OKUNOIN

The bus took about 1.5 hours to reach Koyasan station where you have to hop on another bus to make your way around the main tourist attractions. I heard walking along the road leading out of the station to the township is prohibited. So we took a bus and decided to just start from the furthest point and slowly make our way back to Koyasan station.

Day2-2 We took the bus to Okunoin and alighted at, well, Okunoin station. I think. Claire was only just woke up from her nap on bus and I asked her to pose along the line of trees before the crowd comes. She reluctantly complies.  The crowd behind us has a high percentage of Japanese tourists I assumed, judging from the language in used. So rest easy people, no horde of misbehaving tourists spitting all over the place.

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We soon realized that we were in a cemetery of sorts. So we sort of stop photographing that much. Shooting the ground though, should be fine.

Day2-7 Right outside Eireiden, we found a small area of maple trees that still has its leaves, too bad its not bright crimson red. As we were taking photos, one leave fell on Claire’s head. She got a little shock and froze briefly, thinking it was something creepy landing on her head. LOL. Day2-9 We continued exploring the place a little more, enjoying the serenity of someone else’s resting place.. Apparently temples are surrounded by cemeteries, well it sort of made sense. Day2-18

Day2-21 Day2-25 Mossy forests growing on sunlit surfaces. Moss do like the sun, unlike what I used to think, because they do photosynthesize.

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While we would generally avoid such places, because of either warnings we’ve got from our parents or their parents and/or from the general media that always paint a scary picture with cemeteries as their canvas.. I actually feel at ease.

Every tomb here is like a proof that this person exists, he/she walked through their lives, doing the things they did. And for the duration of their lifespans, made an mark in this world, no matter the size of that indentation, it was enough that when they finally died, someone erected a tomb in memory of that individual. This is his/her story, in this place, its full of untold stories.

The gentle (frigid) breeze that passes and the rustling of the cedars seems like whispering in my ears. And it doesn’t give me a bad vibe unlike some other places I’ve been to. This place is at peace.


WALKING TO KONGOBUJI FROM ICHINOHASHI  

We exited the cemetery and crossed the Ichinohashi bridge to the main road. From then on we don’t know where else to go from here, because I don’t plan every step in our itinerary. So I just sort of decided to continue walking all the way to the next temple complex.

Below are just snippets of what we saw along the way.

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One of the main points of travelling during autumn is the leaves, the turning of maple trees in particular and some of them presenting crimson leaves. But we haven’t see many of them here as compared to when we were at Nikko some years back. Probably due to the recent typhoon that blew away much of the leaves..  Day2-35 There are temples everywhere in this World Heritage Site.

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KONGOBUJI AND NUMEROUS TEMPLES IN THE AREA

When we arrived at Kongobuji, then we walked through to Konpon Daito which is like a giant pagoda, then on to turn the wheel at the base of the Rokkaku Kyuzo without knowing what turning it means. Along the way we passed by lots of artifact halls, big and small temple buildings and the mythical trees like the trident pine or Sanko no Matsu. We kinda rushed through them because we’re short on time and this area is starting to be touristy due to the high tourist traffic and thus, lose its serene charm.

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We ended up at a nearby family mart and settled our super late lunch. Convenience in the purest form. There is a outdoor seating area in front of the Konbini and we can’t help but notice the awesome autumn foliage opposite the street while our tropical blood freezes in the frigid wind.

Day2-49 After the meal, we went opposite found this little shrine just behind the bus stop. I think its the Yuyadanibenzaitensha according to Google map. We just missed our bus, so we just went ahead and set up my tripod for a photo together.

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After which, I realized the next bus will come like 1.5 hours later. We do not have that luxury, so we had to walk back to the main road where we’ll have a better chance at another bus. It took us 15mins to get to that other bus stop and another 30mins for the next bus back to Koyasan station.

We ate some awesome ‘kusamochi‘ and bought some souvenirs before the bus arrives, then from Koyasan station, its a 1.5 hour journey back to Hashimoto Station, due to bad traffic I believe, then another 1.5 hour train ride to Namba station.. Time to zzz.


TOKI SUSHI NEAR NAMBA STATION

This is awesome food, that’s why I took pictures of it and so I’m talking about them sushi. On Claire’s friend’s recommendation, we went out looking for this sushi place after our grueling journey back from Koyasan. The grueling part is just the bus ride down Koyasan though, train is generally quite comfortable. But throughout the journey Claire slept like a baby, on me. And each time we need to move to another place, I have to wake her up. Its quite an effort waking this young lady up.  So after getting her out of the station, she’s sleepy and hungry, while I’m tired, cold and hungry. All these made us an angry couple. And it didn’t help that there’s a queue when we arrived and the people queuing are checking us up like we are a couple of animals in a zoo. We’re Chinese, I can’t help it, we will spit on you if you stare somemore.  Ok ok, we didn’t do that, its all just theoretical. It helps when the restaurant staff can speak English, for that I am grateful. After a 20mins wait, we were finally seated and we quickly ordered the 1.5pax Nigirizushi set and the Premium Nigirizushi set plus 2 glasses of Asahi draft to go with our food! This must be what paradise look like! Day2-53 1.5 pax Nigirizushi set looks like premium stuff to me!

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And the premium set looks darn exotic to me!

The sushi was really really good. I’m sorry we haven’t had sushi in Japan before because they were usually over our budget for meals. We only had ramen and konbini meals, only recently in Odawara did we try rice bowls with fresh fish on them, and they were super good too! These sushi were on a different scale when compared to the more affordable options in Singapore. The freshness of the fish on the rice was like they just fish them out of the ocean and sliced them for us here.

I don’t how to describe it, its like those popular sushi chains in Singapore serve us fish that were washed in some antibacterial solution before serving. The fish here at Toki Sushi taste raw, like really raw. Wild. With all the flavours left there for our palate to experience. While Singapore’s were like an over protective parent who removed all the germs and stripped off all the flavours in the process.

I’d say its a must-try. Its pricing is not as steep too comparing to the few restaurants we came across and scared us off with their menus. We spent about S$50 for the 2 of us here, half of that amount went to that premium set. I don’t really like the premium set as well because I’m not that into raw food, the uni and all taste too ‘exotic’ to me, although they were not fishy, too fresh to taste fishy. If there’s a next time for us, I’ll order 2 1.5pax Nigirizushi sets instead.

Toki Sushi ときすし 本店

 Japan, 〒542-0075 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Nanbasennichimae, 4, 中央区難波千日前4

DOTONBURI REVISITED

 We walked to Dotonburi from Toki Sushi to digest, nothing much happened, just some photo-taking going on.

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And eating of course. The takoyaki from Takoyaki Museum were bad, this means that you can’t always trust what the youtube people says. I rather go for Gindako anytime than these..

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Then we queued for some Melon Pan Ice Cream Sandwich. The melon pan is just a regular bun, but the matcha ice cream stole the show on this one!

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Day2-66 Day2-70 And with this, we end our 2nd day in my favourite country. If only I was born here, but that would mean I won’t meet Claire and my parents won’t be my parents anymore and my NS life.. So ok lah, I’m still grateful to be born where I was born.

Good night folks, till my next post. Day 3. Simon Tey

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