A Travellerspoint blog

Odaiba

sunny 15 °C

November 20. 2005

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Went to Odaiba. Enjoying the atmosphere of Tokyo Bay. We were there the whole afternoon, and after sunset the view changed to beautiful lights. Took pictures of the Rainbow Bridge and met a nice (and also cute) guy who offered his help to take our picture with the Rainbow Bridge as the background. A few minutes later he came again and offer to take our photo again, now using his tripod - he put my camera on his tripod and took our picture and the bridge - beautiful! [and he's] beautiful beautiful beautiful what a sight for my sore eyes ahh.......

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Posted by zags 01:15 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Yokohama, Tokyo, and Kamakura

sunny 15 °C

November 17, 2005

Left Nagoya in the morning and took a shinkansen heading east to Yokohama. Met with Rani at the station at lunchtime, had lunch, then went to the next station where my friend Kenshi waited for us. We went to the Landmark Tower in Minato Mirai 21 complex, which is currently the tallest building in Japan (296 m). We went to the top by the elevator that is said to be the fastest in Japan, but the ride was so smooth we didn't feel that we were being taken in high speed to the top, the Sky Garden on the 69th floor, where we could see the view of Yokohama City.

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View of Yokohama bay from Landmark Tower 69th Floor.

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CosmoWorld.

Yokohama is a nice city. There are tall, modern buildings, bay area and parks that are nice places for a walk, date, or hang out; and according to Ken there is almost no traffic jam. It's a city but it's not as crowded and polluted as Tokyo. I may be wrong but that's the impression I got.

Late in the afternoon the wind was cold, so we couldn't stay long outdoors. Ken was going to take us to Sankeien but because it was windy and cold we headed to the bay for some coffee after taking silly pictures in front of the big cruise ship.

In the evening we went to Chinatown. It wasn't like most Chinatowns that are usually sell cheap stuff. Yokohama Chinatown is a town with expensive food and souvenirs. It was interesting that I found Indonesian instant noodles being sold 90 yen each!!! (Back home it's only about 10-15 yen.)

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Yokohama Chinatown.

After having dinner (not in Chinatown), Ken drove us to Tokyo. We hadn't checked in; we were looking for our hotel (a weekly mansion, actually) when policemen stopped us. One of them asked for Ken's driver's license and the other searched the car. He also asked for my passport and checked my visa status Thank God I was still in Japan legally, not overstaying. But what I remember is, the policemen were polite. After searching they thanked us and helped us find the hotel.

November 18, 2005

Went to Senso-ji in Asakusa. Near Kaminari-mon (gate) I found shops with Studio Ghibli stuff that made me drool but perhaps I should be thankful they were expensive so I didn't buy anything - just refreshing my eyes by seeing the cute stuff: keychains, dolls, handkerchieves, etc. Entering Kaminari-mon means we must be ready to pass a street with souvenir and snack shops along the way until we reach the temple.

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Kaminari-mon, the gate to Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa.

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Swords for sale in a shop along the way to Senso-ji.

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Lanterns at Senso-ji.

After spending time around the temple, we had lunch near Kaminari-mon. A nice Italian restaurant hidden in the basement. Good pizza, non-smoking, moderate price.

Then off to Akihabara, the electronic town. So many anime stuff, including hentai (if you know what I mean) but just too much that I didn't have the appetite to look for anything.

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Akihabara, the electronic town

November 19, 2005

Met with Ken again in front of Higashi Kanagawa Station, then off to Kamakura. First, Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine. There was a wedding at the shrine! What a good timing. A Japanese woman & a western man. An interesting ceremony.

Then up in the shrine we watched people tossing 50-yen coins and praying. As in other shrines, there are wooden tags hanging with wishes written on them (one pays a fixed amount put it into a box then picks a new wooden tag and writes their wishes then hangs it with the other tags). There was one interesting wish, it says (in Japanese): "I wish to be Ultraman".

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"I wish to be Ultraman."

From the shrine we walked the small street where there are many shops and restaurants almost like in Kyoto's Gion area. Had lunch at an udon/soba restaurant. Then went to Daibutsu Kotokuin to see the famous huge statue of Buddha, the remains from Kamakura shogunate.

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The Great Buddha, Kamakura.

It is said that the Buddha statue used to be inside a temple building, but a tsunami came and destroyed everything but the big statue. (Was it too heavy for the tsunami?) So now the statue is outside.

From Kamakura we drove back to Yokohama. Ken still wanted us to ride the giant ferris wheel in CosmoWorld in Minato Mirai 21 area. I was surprised that there were so many people lining to ride it! The bay area is a nice place to hang out with friends or date, and it was Saturday night so the atmosphere was alive. (Some people were crazy enough to ride the jet coaster in the cold evening.)

After queueing for about half an hour, we finally got on the ferris wheel. The view from upside was very beautiful!! I like Yokohama.

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View of Yokohama lights from CosmoWorld's giant ferris wheel.

I almost never see the city lights in Jakarta although there IS city light at night but the traffic is too bad and the city is too unsafe to be outside at night. :(

Posted by zags 23:41 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Osaka Castle, Tagata Shrine, Inuyama Castle

sunny 15 °C

November 15, 2005

Went to see Osaka-jo (castle), one of the castles in Japan that was erected in the middle of a city (not on top of a hill for its real purpose?). It is not an original building anymore, has become a concrete museum with modern elevator (although they say there was originally an elevated part of the castle). The bridge that leads to the castle, Gokurakubashi (Paradise Bridge), has also been rebuilt, from wooden to concrete.

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Then in the afternoon I was off to Nagoya. Hashi-sensei and Midori-san took me to a big dinner at a nice Italian restaurant, where I ate much - I hadn't really had any meal earlier that day, so I could eat everything they served Starting that evening and during my stay with them, I got something I call "perbaikan gizi"--"nutrition fix"(?) because during my travel I don't really care if I eat healthful food. The most important thing for me is that I'm not hungry, and the food (AND the price) is acceptable to me.

November 16, 2005

Midori-san prepared good breakfast - soup, salad, toast. Then sensei drove us to Inuyama. On the way, we dropped by a surprising old shrine called Tagata Jinja (Tagata Shrine). Thise shrine is estimated to be at least 1500 years old. I saw sooooo many objects with phallic theme or representations! These objects have been traditionally loaned out to those individuals searching for spouses, needing diseases cured, or wishing for a child. When the desired result was produced, these objects were then returned to the shrine together with a new phallic symbol as a token of gratitude.

In Honen-sai festival, a big wooden phallus was paraded, carried by several poeple with a portable shrine. Then the phallus together with the portable shrine reside in the shrine as the principal object of worship. The size of the phallus has grown to nearly 2.5 meters long and weighing 280 kg, so it protrudes from both ends of the portable shrine.

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From Tagata-jinja we went to the women's shrine, Oogata-jinja. But no, no objects representing women's reproduction 'device' there. As any other shrines, there is the main shrine, and a few subsidiary shrines. And there are tall trees, as where there is a shrine there should be tall trees from where the gods descend to earth.

Then we were off to Inuyama, a hill where there is a real, still original, castle called Inuyama-jo (Inuyama Castle). All the stone steps up to the castle is still original. And the castle is originally a wooden one.

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There are 4 levels, and to get to each level we must climb a steep wooden stairs and reach the level with wooden floor. (I imagine samurai climbing the stone steps up the hill then still had to climb such steep steps inside the castle.) Sometimes the floor shrieked as we walked, and we could hear the floor of the upper level above our heads shrieked too when someone was walking up there.

From the top of the castle we could see a 360 degree view of the city below.

Then we drove back to Nagoya and visited the castle in the city, Nagoya Castle. Sensei the history professor told me that this castle was just like Osaka castle--it was not original anymore. Himeji-jo is still original, unfortunately I didn't see it. Hopefully on my next visit to Japan I'll see it. (But when it is, I don't know...)

Posted by zags 20:41 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Testing Moblog on the Train

12 °C

OTW back to Utsunomiya. Soon will be back to Jakarta :( Wish I could be on vacation forever. That's a dream

Posted by zags 03:20 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Nara

overcast 18 °C

Went to Nara today. First, Todaiji temple. There is a park near the temple where there are so many deers, and they're so tame! The park looked beautiful because of the colourful leaves. Saw the giant Buddha statue in Daibutsuden that is said to be the biggest wooden structure in the world. From Todaiji, the big Shinto shrine called Kasuga Taisha. Despite Nara's status as the most important place for Buddhism, especially with the Daibutsuden, there is also a very important great Shinto shrine there.

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Todaiji, world's largest wooden structure, where the Great Buddha statue resides.

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Lanterns outside Kasuga Taisha.

Tomorrow's plan: Osaka-jo (castle), and don't know yet what else, then move to Nagoya.

Posted by zags 02:36 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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