Tour around Ky­oto’s his­toric sites

Cebu Daily News - - LIFE! -

KAN­SAI is well es­tab­lished as the cul­tural cen­ter and the his­tor­i­cal heart of Ja­pan, but I think the South­ern­cen­tral re­gion has much more to show off than its vivid past. Osaka, the sec­ond largest metropoli­tan area in the coun­try, is a must-go for Pot­ter­heads who dream to chug on a but­ter­beer at Three Broom­stick with a scenic view of Black Lake and Hog­warts. Ky­oto trans­ports us back to an epoch where geishas and nin­jas walked the streets, aside from show­cas­ing a cre­atively in­ter­est­ing modern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the fa­mous Ja­panese noo­dle soup dish.

Osaka: Of food and magic

Have you had a box of Pocky? How about a bite of the fluffy smooth, melt-in-your mouth Pablo cheese­cake? Or the fa­mous ball-shaped snack called Takoy­aki? You may not re­al­ize it but, yes, you’ve al­ready been in­tro­duced to Osaka. But when you fi­nally get the chance to visit

Osaka, Do­ton­bori is a good place to start. Since the Do­ton Canal’s com­ple­tion in the 1600s, Do­ton­bori has been a ma­jor place for com­merce, trade and en­ter­tain­ment. It still serves the same pur­pose to­day but much more fo­cused on food cul­ture. Do­ton­bori is teem­ing with stalls, shacks and restaurants sell­ing street food, ra­men and other spe­cialty dishes—Osaka ra­men, takoy­aki, kushikatsu, puffer­fish, desserts and many oth­ers. Do­ton­bori is truly a gas­tro­nomic utopia. So how does one spot the best restaurants? Pay at­ten­tion to the long wait­ing lines.

Are you ready for a mag­i­cal ad­ven­ture? Spend­ing a full day at Univer­sal Stu­dios Ja­pan is a must when in Osaka. And what ex­cites me the most ev­ery visit is … cue the "Harry Pot­ter" theme song "The Wizard­ing World of Harry Pot­ter" … the near­est Hog­warts to visit for Pot­ter­heads in the Philip­pines. Get your wands ready and learn the proper way of swish­ing and flick­ing to get the magic spells right. Ready? Lo­co­mo­tor!

As­sum­ing you passed the wand lessons, cel­e­brate with a feast at Three Broom­stick with a mug of cold, or hot, but­ter­beer. Then head to Hog­warts for “The Harry Pot­ter and The For­bid­den Jour­ney” at­trac­tion. Be sure you let the food set­tle down a bit though be­cause the ride can be a bit ex­treme.

And be­fore go­ing back to the mug­gle world, bring back some mag­i­cal good­ies with you. A can of ‘But­ter­beer drops’ and a box of ‘Ev­ery Flavour Beans,’ per­haps?

Just 45 min­utes by train from Osaka is Ky­oto City. Known in Ja­panese his­tory as the former Im­pe­rial cap­i­tal of Ja­pan for more than a thou­sand years, tourists flock this part of the Kan­sai re­gion for its well­p­re­served tem­ples and ar­eas rem­i­nis­cent of Ja­pan’s rich cul­ture and his­tory.

Modern and re­sem­bling a mall, Ky­oto Sta­tion is not telling you much what you are about to en­counter when you visit tra­di­tional tem­ples in its area. Be­fore go­ing around, be sure to get a Ky­oto day pass. For only 600Yen, it sure would save you a lot (and I mean A LOT) of money on bus fare. It’s avail­able in Tourist In­for­ma­tion coun­ters in Ky­oto Sta­tion, and in many con­ve­nient stores in Ky­oto. Ex­plore dif­fer­ent sites for two days.

First head to the stun­ning Kinkakuji

—a Zen Bud­dhist tem­ple that houses one of the most fa­mous struc­tures in the re­gion—Kinkaku or The Golden Pav­il­ion. The build­ing’s top two sto­ries are cov­ered in pure gold leaves which when hit by sun­light gives a ma­jes­tic gleam.

Then you may hop on a bus and make your way to Kiy­omizud­era. It’s con­sid­ered to be one of the most impressive tem­ples in Ky­oto and is fa­mous for its wooden stage where you can get a scenic view of the lush maple and cherry blos­som trees. Founded in 780, its name was coined from Otowa Wa­ter­fall which is sit­u­ated in the very com­plex.

Pretty close Kiy­omizud­era are Yasaka Shrine and a “Star­bucks from the past.” You may walk from Kiy­omizud­era to these two spots. On my sec­ond day in Ky­oto, I went to the far west side, at Arashiyama Bam­boo Grove. I smiled in amuse­ment as I walked along this bam­boo trail as it re­minded me of scenes from one of my fa­vorite anime "Samu­rai X" where the pro­tag­o­nist Ken­shin Himura fights off thieves and bad guys. You should keep in mind that Arashiyama is a bit far from Ky­oto’s cen­ter, and to max­i­mize your time here, I highly rec­om­mend for you to visit nearby tem­ples and at­trac­tions like the Zen tem­ple of Ten­ryu-ji, Okochi-sanso Villa, Ni­son-in Tem­ple and Gio-ji tem­ple.

Then hop on a bus to Fushimi Inari Taisha, a tem­ple that sits at the base of Inari moun­tain. Inari is the god of rice and wor­shipped as the pa­tron of busi­ness. The tem­ple is dis­tinc­tively fa­mous for its bright or­ange torii path that leads up to the peak of Inari moun­tain. Mid­way to the sum­mit is a view­ing ledge where you get a glimpse of Ky­oto’s ur­ban district.

I al­lot­ted two days to roam around Ky­oto’s his­tor­i­cal sites dur­ing my re­cent trip and ev­ery night in this his­toric city was spent around Gion, on the look­out for geishas and spe­cialty ra­men. CON­TIN­UED NEXT SATUR­DAY

PRE­SERVED his­toric street in Ni­nen­zaka Ky­oto HOGSMEADE at The Wizard­ing World of Harry Pot­ter

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.