Monday, July 25, 2016


Springtime in Honshu, Japan, means it's Sakura time. Made a trip there for 8 days from 2 April to catch the Sakura trees in bloom. To the Japanese, Sakura (cherry blossoms) is a time to rejoice, to spend time with the trees admiring the blooms, to picnic and so forth. It's symbolic as a national institution of sorts. Unfortunately, when I was there I read that the Japanese media slammed some PRC visitors who climbed up the trees to take photos/videos or shake the trees to get 'Sakura rain' for their recording. Sakura blossoms only for 7-10 days dependent on the weather.

The Deer Park in Nara (which is also famous for the Todai-ji Temple). This park was established in the 1300's and is considered one of the oldest parks in Japan. There are some 1,200 Sika deer within its compound of about 560 ha.

A well-manicured garden in the Todai-ji Temple grounds.

Todai-ji Temple which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also historically significant.

The Mudra is a position of the Buddha's palm normally made with his left hand. It stands for charity, compassion and  boon-granting. It also symbolises a desire to devote oneself to the salvation of mankind. The five fingers stand for perfections - generosity, morality, patience, effort and meditative contemplation. This image was captured within the confines of Todai-ji Temple.

Osaka City traffic is comparatively light?

Osaka City from the Abeno Harukasu, the tallest skyscraper there. 360 degree views of the city can be made from its observation deck. The largest departmental store in Japan is also found in the building.
Dotonbori in Osaka which is famous for shopping and seafood. The vendor here is selling chestnuts. He uses steam to 'roast' the chestnuts.

A seafood joint specialising in octopuses, perhaps?

Many visitors throng there day and night to shop and feast.

Dotonbori Canal runs through the shopping and dining area.

Having my green tea with a sweet snack, compliments of the hotel in Osaka. Tatami mats are nice to sleep on.

Morning breakfast at the hotel. The tofu famous in this region is still cooking in the pot. Many regions in Japan have their own unique and special dishes, like the tofu here.

Opposite the hotel are high rise apartments. The area doesn't appear as congested in Tokyo. Sakura trees in blossom line the river.

The Thousand Torii Gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto.

Walking through the tunnel of Torii gates.

The Torii Gate to the Thousand Torii Gates.

Many stalls like this sell snacks and other delicacies on the way to the shrine.

Skewered crab sticks go for 500 Yen each.

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