Wednesday, 19 November 2014

KYOTO | The Magical Bamboo Forest | Arashiyama

I never realised how much I was taken aback whilst standing amidst the tall swaying bamboo grove in Arashiyama, Kyoto. 

Before traveling to Japan, I researched a lot about this place and seen many pictures and blog posts from many different travellers, and Instagram was my best friend as it allowed me to find #hashtags pictures from many people’s viewpoint of the bamboo grove, giving me an insight to the place without actually being there. 

In person, and if you are in the right frame of mind and not rushed for time, it can feel other-worldly, especially if you have a quiet moment to yourself in the forest without other tourists around you, as they can quickly take you swiftly back to reality.

A bamboo forest is not something I have come across in my life until now as the UK does not offer this type of forest or landscape and I was incredibly in awe once I set foot in this Bamboo Forest surrounding.

Kev and I thoroughly enjoyed the peacefulness and tranquility (when we had the chance!) as we delved deep into the forest, you’ll hear the sound of the bamboo leaves ruffling in the wind above you as you walk along the path and the sun glistening between the tall green stalks catching your eye…something you will enjoy and appreciate when it is completely serene; it feels like you have the whole entire forest to yourself, albeit for a short time before another person comes along and spoils enter the realms of your world.

Actually, you can’t help but think there are ninja’s and warriors fighting deep in the forest; you can’t see them, but you feel them there (in my imaginary mind). Crouching Tiger & Hidden Dragon and all that jazz…

The enchanting forest of light at the Randen Arashiyama Station designed by artist Yasumichi was inspired by the nearby world renowned Bamboo Grove. The scale, the patterns, the soft light and the unanticipated location for art makes for a pleasant surprise for visitors arriving at the railway station.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden | March 2014

We were in search of Japan's coveted flower trees - the Cherry Blossom. We had a pleasant walk to the local park - the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden located about 15 minute walk from our hotel.

The park is Tokyo's largest and most popular Parks, with spacious lawns and meandering walking paths and tranquil scenery provide a relaxing escape from the urban surround. Being surrounded by hundreds of cherry blossom brings joy to our hearts ❤

Sensoji Temple | Akakusa | March 2014

Sensoji Temple is one of Japan's greatest cultural and oldest Buddhist temples in Tokyo. It is located in Akakusa close to Sumida River. As you enter the 'Kaminarimon Gates' (through and under a large red lantern) you will pass between the god of Fujin (The god of wind) and Raijin (The god of Thunder). This gate serves as the entrance to the Sensoji Temple precincts and is the outer gate of the temple.

It was incredibly busy as we had visited Japan during the popular Sakura Season so there was triple the amount of tourists than there normally would be. It was like swimming in a sea full of humans.

We passed through Nakamise-dori, the famous shopping street full of freshly-made food, drinks; there are handbags and brick-a-brac stalls, and ornament stalls to ninja suits for adults or kids. A great tourist stop for stocking up on souvenirs and sampling some of Japanese well known snacks such as the Senbei rice cracker (made fresh) and Agemanju (battered and fried soft cake filled with sweet red bean paste) , or delicious homemade mocha to freshly brewed green tea to quench your thirst.

As we approach Sensoji Temple, it is compellingly huge and beautifully distinct. Being such a important centre of worship, it attracts over 30 million visitors each year - definitely a must-see in Tokyo

The five-storey pagoda within Sensoji grounds