Walking and drinking :)

 As it gets cold so suddenly, I felt the urge to drink in a bar a few days ago. It might have been better go by train or other transport, however, I prefer to get there on foot. I walk all the way from a business city Shinjuku to Nihonbashi, right next to the Tokyo Station. So, let's have a look something I shot in the evening :)

 On the way, I dropped in at Omote-Sando, where sophisticated boutiques and jewelry shops are on the streets. Decorated with Christmas illuminations, it was fantastic and gorgeous atmosphere. I definitely like it :)

As I passed Ginza district, I felt a bit hungry and needed something to eat. So...

 Here it was :D Newly inside, Tsujihan (つじ半) is a budget friendly place to eat. (Ranges from $10 to $20) A variety of chopped fish topped on the rice with sesame, I put soy based sauce on top, then ate it. After finishing it, they poured hot soup stock with smooth taste. It was so nice, especially when it's so cold outside ;)

 Now that I'm full, let's have a drink in the bar.

 With nice warm bar, the bar was filled with people chatting. I guess drank a bit too much at that time :) No regret!



A day trip to Fushimi Inari-Taisha and Byodo-in, late 2015.

 Kyoto has always been my special destination. Once it was supposed to be my residence. It was a long time ago, of course, but even now, I promise myself to come to visit Kyoto every now and then, take a day walk, or just spend time in a small sophisticated cafe.

 A few weeks ago, just before leaves began to change their colors, I hit the road to Kyoto. As always, I suddenly decided to get there a day before.  Since my ordinary destination is the central city of Kyoto, I wanted to visit temples where I had never been. So I drove to a shrine called "Fushimi Inari-taisha (伏見稲荷)", located in southern Kyoto.

 Parking a car nearby, I began to walk slowly. Taking a walk is something like feeling connected to the world for me. By stepping one by one, I gradually realize I'm a part of this place.

 On the road, I found so many visitors, especially from abroad. Perhaps almost a half of all visitors are foreigners. That's not surprising because this shrine is chosen "The best spot for foreigners visiting to Japan" in 2014 and 2015. The exotic red gates and architectures, easy to access from the nearest station (only 3 minutes or so), and you can visit there almost anytime, even in the evening. Listening to their language, Chinese, English, French, I went across the main gate to go deep inside.

 Fushimi Inari-taisha is famous for its countless gates. Actually, they have about ten thousand gates in its territory, and they are all offered by ordinary people as well as companies across this country. They are placed along narrow roads in its mountainous are, and you can walk and take a rest inside.
Like hiking, I started climbing and immediately found it wasn't as easy as I imagined at first. According to the maps hung around the shrine, we have to walk hours to get on the top and come back to the main gate. "Well, it's okay because I came here to just walking :)" No music, no smart phone, just take steps.

As I continue to walk, I noticed some gates were under repair. It reminds me of this religion Sinto respects something new. Considering the fact that most gates were built within 30 years, maybe they destroy some of them and build it again.

 Keep climbing up, I saw some rest spaces with tiny shops and places to sit. They also sell alcohol, including beer, snacks, so it's not inconvenient if you just come up and visit unexpectedly, like me :)

 Not yet?

 Not yet?

 And finally....

We're on the top :D It wasn't that special than I expected, you know...but it's all right ;) Okay, time to go back and visit another place to walk :)

 This world heritage temple Byōdō-in (平等院鳳凰堂) was originally built in the 10th century in Uji city, Kyoto, although it had been burned out many times because of wars and other disasters. That's not unusual for most of historical architectures in Japan, and we often find them under repair partly. This time, fortunately, I could see new one which construction was completed last year 2014. The temple was so famous that you can find the icon on a side of 10 yen coin.

So, why don't we have a look :) The city of Uji is a famous place for matcha, and you could see so many old tiny matcha shops along the streets. As a green tea fan, I was eager to drop in as many as possible, however, I couldn't make it due to my late arrival. For the record, there are a plenty of shops for selling it in Kyoto.

 Before getting back to my car, I wander around the temple. The small city turned the lights on, and like many other historical city, shops were already closed. I love this kind of mood, and couldn't help but walking a bit. If there was a river to walk along, it must have been the best....

Oh, here it was :D

 I spent another 20 minutes or so before leaving for my home in Nagoya. It was way behind my prior schedule, but still, I was so satisfy that I'll do another day trip by car :)