Apr 4, 2010

Catching Hanami in Japan

I'm back from my one-week break in Japan.
Ah... I still miss Japan to bits!

It was an eventful week, as I not only saw sakura, I saw and touched snow as well! That's my first!

Okay, here're some snippets and tips to share from this family trip:

Luckily for us, we were in time for the sakura season. Though, the sakura were not in full bloom, it was enough to brighten up my entire trip. :P

The tour guide shared with us that there are 900 species of sakura.

A famous park for hanami would be Ueno Park, just a few steps away from the Ueno JR Station.

I want to dance under the drizzle of falling sakura petals the next time.

Disney Sea
Situated next to the sea, it's really really cold in spring. Not sure, if this was the normal temperature, since when we touched down in Tokyo, the temperature was 4°C. Hence, do dress warmly when you visit during this period.

Long queues outside the attraction. Do not be fooled, there's another winding queue inside, for most attractions!

Avoid weekends. Otherwise you will bump into the huge Japanese crowd. We spent 3h just waiting for an attraction.

It was totally unexpected! In the morning, we will still in spring time, with sunshine and breeze. Then in the afternoon, on our way to Mt Fuji, we met snow!

The amazing part? It was not snowing when we reach Mt Fuji area.

The short video taken while on the coach.

Okay, this is not exactly rare. But to see 3 rainbows at the same area, umm.. that should be not common, right? :P

Here are the 3 rainbows caught when we visited Otodome Waterfall:

Salmon Swimming Upstream
At Otodome Waterfall, pretty near the rapids and waterfall area, I managed to spot 3 salmon swimming against the strong currents.

Many times, the currents were too strong, and they were swept sideways. But they persevered. I really admire their spirit - trying their best to travel back to their birth place to procreate their next generation. Wonder how they manage to remember their birth place after 5 years? (typical life span of a salmon, according to my tour guide.)

Mount Fuji

The magnificent Mt Fuji holds great significance to the Japanese. According to my tour guide, it's every Japanese's wish to climb the dormant volcano. The volcano signify perseverance and strength.

To climb Mt Fuji, go during summer. During this season, it's opened for climbing. There are steps to climb up, hence you will not need ropes and stuff to hike your way up.

Japanese Temples
We visited a few temples when we are in Kyoto and Nara. :)

Kiyomizu Dera 清水寺

To pray, clap your hands once. Make your wish. Clap your hand twice.

After that, you can make a donation, by dropping 5¥ coin (represent 结缘) in the wooden box.

You can also light one incense stick and place it horizontally in the censer.

Praying for a divination lot (求签) is done at a stall within the temple compounds, and not in front of the idol. The container will have a hole, hence after shaking, you would have to hold it vertically to allow one stick to drop through. Somewhat different from Toaist temples.

Find out if your love story will work out using the "Love Stone 恋占いの石" at Jishu Jinja 京都地主神社, situated next to 清水寺.

The two rocks are about 6m apart. Walk from the starting point, with your eyes shut, meanwhile thinking of your love. If you manage to reach the other rock, then your love will work out. :)

Feeding Deers
Next to Toda Ji 東大寺 is Nara Park, which has unusual inhabitants- deers. Many will proceed to buy biscuits or bread to feed the deers, after their visit at the temple.

Like our monkey inhabitants at Bt Timah, these deers are accustomed to human feeding. Hence they are rather brave, and will approach you once they see that you have food. They are also attracted to bags, especially hand carriers, like plastic bags. To let them understand that you have no intention to feed them, simply show them that your hand is empty. They will leave you thereafter.

Catch more action via my facebook photo album. Do let me know if you have other travel tips to share too! :)