Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Kamakura: Hasedera Temple

While in Tokyo I went for a day trip to Kamakura.When tourists visit Kamakura the place on everyone's list is the big Daibutsu statue, but nearby is Hasedera Temple with it's own magnificent statue. This statue is of the eleven headed Hase Kannon and is 9.18 meters tall. Each face has a different expression, signifying that the deity listens to the wishes of all types of people.

Although it was amazing, personally what I loved about this temple was all the cute little stone statues dotted around the garden. The temple garden was quite big and sprawled up the hillside. As you walk around you will occasionally come across little clusters of statues which look so happy!

There are also plenty of beautiful seasonal flowers and from the top of the garden you get a view of the town down below. When you get back to the bottom of the garden you will come across the Benten-kutsu Cave which is accessed through a red tori. Inside the cave is the shrine of Benzaiten, a sea goddess and the only female among the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan.

I think that Hasedera is a must visit for anyone spending the day in Kamakura.

Location: Take the Enoden train line from Kamakura Station and get off at Hase Station.
Price: Adults (12 and over) ¥300/ Children ¥100.
Time: Open every day. March to September 8am to 5pm, October to February 8am to 4:30pm.
Accessibility: There are quite a few steps up the hill but the main garden is flat. Also inside the cave it is dark and the ceilings are extremely low.

Linking up with Bonnie Rose for Travel Tuesday

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Andy Warhol exhibition and cafe

While in Tokyo I went to the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi where they currently have an exhibition called Andy Warhol: 15 minutes eternal.This amazing exhibition has over 700 photographs, screen prints, drawings, short films and paintings, some of which are owned by the Warhol family and are hardly ever shown to the public. It is the largest exhibition of Andy Warhol's art to have toured Asia, starting off in Singapore and finishing in Tokyo, via Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.

To coincide with the exhibition there was also an Andy Warhol cafe with American food such as hotdogs and burgers. Also, stamped onto the bread were the words Andy Warhol and the dollar sign. To make things even better, the cafe is situated on the 52nd floor so you get a wonderful panoramic view of Tokyo including the Sky Tree and Tokyo Tower.

I would really recommend anyone in Tokyo to visit this excellent exhibition before it finishes on May 6th. If you're there then why not have a hotdog and can of Campbell's soup while marveling at the Tokyo skyline and debating whether you prefer the uber modern Sky Tree or the retro Tokyo Tower.  
Personally I prefer the later, what about you?

Linking up with Nicole and Rebecca

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Trip to Tokyo

View of Tokyo Tower from Mori Tower in Roppongi

Ok, so I realise that I may have abandoned my blog for two weeks. But I was just so busy enjoying myself in Tokyo! If I was a proper organised blogger then I probably would have scheduled some posts... I'm obviously improper and unorganised.

Anyway, I had an absolutely wonderful time and now have plenty of stuff to blog about. While I was there I went shopping in Shibuya and Harajuku and walked down the infamous Takeshita Dori where all the young fashionistas hang out. The next day I went to an amazing Andy Warhol exhibition in Roppongi and then went home to prepare for the early morning the next day...

Tokyo Disneyland! I'm not exactly a massive Disney fan but it's impossible not to enjoy all the fun and fantasy of Disneyland. Plus, it was all decorated for Easter which was so cute. Then, this being Tokyo, there was all the Disney Cosplay. Just, Wow.

13 hours of fun almost killed me off and the next day I just stayed at home and relaxed. The next day it was back to business and I went to Asakusa and walked along Nakamise street, along with tons of Japanese school kids, as we all made our way to Senso-ji Temple. Nearby was the fantastic World Bag and Luggage Museum with a great collection of bags from all around the world. From Asakusa I made my way to Ginza, the area of Tokyo filled with high end designer shops.

On my penultimate day I went to Kamakura, a coastal town often often called the Kyoto of Eastern Japan due to it's numerous temples and shrines and most notably the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. Then, finally, on Sunday I went back to Shibuya and Harajuku and saw lolita girls, punks and a group of rock and rollers in Yoyogi park. Perfect ending to a perfect trip.


Takeshita Dori in Harajuku

Roppongi Andy Warhol exhibition

Tokyo Disneyland!

Kaminari-mon in Asakusa

Pretty window display in Ginza

Kamakura Daibutsu

Rock and rollers in Yoyogi park

Travel Tuesday

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Kyoto Today

I couldn't really think of an appropriate title for this post, as it is just a random collection of photos that I took today on my walk around Kyoto.

The sakura is still in bloom. It is now at the stage where the trees are a mix of green leaves and pink petals which looks beautiful. Also whenever there is a slight gust of wind, petals fall off the trees and swirl to the ground. In Japanese this is called sakura fubuki (桜吹雪 )meaning sakura snow storm. I also think it's lovely the way the petals collect on the ground and float down the river.

Apart from the cherry blossom I also photographed a couple of really cute signs advertising a Maiko costume rental company. Then, later on, I saw yet another couple taking wedding photos. Seriously, it's crazy the amount of times I have seen bridal couples taking photos under the cherry blossom for the last few weeks.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Travel Tuesday: Yosakoi Dance Competition

At the weekend it was the annual Kyoto Yosakoi dance competition. Yosakoi is a type of dance unique to Japan. It originated in Kochi city in 1954 and has gradually spread around Japan. It is a very lively style of dancing mixing traditional and modern together which makes it very fun to watch.

There were seven venues around Kyoto where various universities and dance groups from around Japan competed together. I went to the Botanical Gardens which had the added bonus of lovely sakura. I really enjoyed watching all the dances and, not being biased or anything, but Kyoto Girls University was my favourite. Also their outfits were really nice!

Kyoto Girls University, don't they look so happy and cheerful!

This group were my second favourite. Their routine was great and they were the champions last year.

I like that their outfits are similar to those worn in Awa Odori.

Travel Tuesday