Dr. Chun
Nara, Kyoto, and Kobe, Japan

August, 2013


I stayed in Osaka, but visited the surrounding cities such as Nara, Kyoto, Himeji, and Kobe by train, taking a full advantage of the 3-day pass for unlimited train and subway rides.  A little bit tired, but excited to see so many landmarks in such a short time...

013 I took a commuter train from Namba Station in Osaka to the city of Nara.  Kofuku-ji temple in Nara Park is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. 023 Todai-ji Temple in Nara Park is also listed on the UNESCO world heritage list.
033 Nara Park, one of the "Places of Scenic Beauty", is full of temples and shrines. 043 The park was too large and has too many interesting places to see in a day, but I walked at full throttle.
053 I walked up a hill to Kasuga-geisha Shrine, which is on the same UNESCO list. The Shinto shrine is famous for its many bronze lanterns as well as many stone lanterns that lead up the shrine. 063 Nara Park has Sika deer that were considered divine and sacred. You can get very close to them and take pictures with, but at your own risk.
073 I had a lunch at MacDonald's, waiting for the next train to Kyoto.
083 At Kyoto train station, I bought an unlimited bus ride pass, and headed to Kinkaju-ji temple, "Temple of the Golden Pavilion."
093 I walked 20 minutes in the rain to Ryoan-ji temple, which is the site of the Japan's most famous rock garden. 103 The next destination was Ginkaku-ji temple, "Temple of the Silver Pavilion," which is famous for its dry sand garden.
113 I was lucky enough to be in Kyoto during the festival of Yasaka Shrine. 123 Yasaka Shrine is also known as Gion Shrine.  I saw many people lined up to pray for their wishes and ring the bell.
133 I saw so many women in Kimono at the shrine during the Gion Matsuri, the festival of Yasaka Shrine. 143 I walked around Maruyama Park near the shrine, and found Chionin temple.  
153 Next morning, I rode a train to Himeji to see Himeji Castle on the UNESCO world heritage list, which is the largest and most visited castle in Japan.  OMG! The main building was undergoing restoration works. 163 I explored other buildings in the castle complex in the rain. The hilltop castle is regarded as the finest surviving example of prototypical Japanese castle architecture.
173 I rode a train from Himeji to the city of Kobe, and visited Ikuta Shrine. 183 I walked from the shrine to the port of Kobe. Along the way, I explored the Chinatown and downtown area.
193 At the port, I took a bay cruise, healing aching feet. 203 Lucky again to be there to see the Kobe Love Port festival.
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