Thursday, 12 January 2012

My Japan Story Part 3: Places that I went in Western Honshu

Nara, near to Kyoto was the next place I love most after Kyoto. We went to Nara on a day trip. The deer roaming around the street around the city was a sight that I can’t forget. They were said to be the messengers of gods.
Todai-ji temple is another great place that everyone should visit. In the temple is a huge statue of Buddha and behind the Buddha is a small hole bored into a large wooden pillar. A popular belief holds that if you can squeeze the hold you will attain Nirvana. My friends and I squeezed ourselves through the hole and it was a hard task. We need the other person to pull us out from the other end. Either we attain Nirvana or not, I was not sure but it was fun. Till today, when I look at the photos of us being pulled out, I can’t help laughing.
I was being pulled out by my friend Mavis from the hole.
The next memorable place that I went was Hemeiji Castle, the grandest of Japan’s 12 remaining feudal castles. My memory of that place somehow waned but I remember the labourious climb up to the top of the castle for a great view of Himeiji city.
The famous torii but we went at the wrong time.

The floating torii at Miyajima Island is another great landmark of Japan. It is one of the three places (Nihon Sankei) in Japan that one have to visit. The others are the sand bar at Amanohashidate and Matshushima Bay. However, when we were there, it was low tide and the torii was not floating. I made a mental note that when I go the next time, I will make sure I capture the floating torii so often we see in posters and pictures. And I will also visit Amanohashidate and Matshushima Bay. We miss it the last round.

The famous building in Hiroshima. I wore navy blue and black that day as a mark of respect to those that died on that fateful day in 1945.

Hiroshima needs no further introduction. My heart was aching as I walked around the famous A Bomb Dome and the Peace Memorial Park. Whoever that has been to its Peace Memorial Museum will sure come out from out with a heavy heart and will condemn the use of nuclear war, not only nuclear war but any kind of war. I always thank my blessings that I am currently living in peaceful places be it I am in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Melbourne where I spent most of my time. We did not spend a long time in that sad city. Life has to move on.
We also went to Okayama, Kurashiki – the Japanese version of Zhou Zhuang in China as well as Kobe. My two friends who took beef told me that they had never eaten such a nice beef before this and the price was dear too. I only watched them as I do not take beef.
My next blog will be about my trip to central Honshu.

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