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  1. #326
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    ^^^ Glad I can be helpful. And SC is pretty sweet. I bikes 20 miles and 2k yesterday and was cold for much of it. Barely even broke a sweat. Loving cool temps and lower humidity.


    Quote Originally Posted by MyNameIsAugustWest View Post
    Welcome home. This has also been a great journey for those of us following along. Thanks again for including us.
    Thanks man. Its nice to have a few along for my taking over a TGR thread to be my own travel diary. I've used this thread a few time sot go back and reference, when someone asks me - Hey, I'm going to ......, where should I eat or what should I do?

  2. #327
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    Our second stop for the day was Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavillon. This place is super popular and can be packed. Arrival 40 minutes before closing worked our wonderful, with just a few other groups strolling about. I would like to come back some day at opening, as the light angles would be insane. Late afternoon was not terrible.



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    Built as the retirement home for shogun Yoshimitsu in the late 14th century. This Pavillon is the only remaining structure of his original complex. This iteration was built in 1955, after a crazy monk burnt it down. The structure has burned down at least three times in its history, usually during periods of civil strife.






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    This tree was planted in Yoshimitsu's day, and had been sculpted for over 600 years. It is intended to be in the shape of a ship, and is today supported by beams because the branches have become so heavy.



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    One thing I really enjoy about visiting these places, are the unintended glimpses. The space is so well curated. Kinkakuji was designed as a Zen garden, where each plant, stone, structure, water and everything was thought out to be blended into a coherent space.




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    There are three stories to the Pavillon, each done in a different style. Shinden (1st floor), Bukke (2nd) and Chinese Zen Hall (3rd). You can not go inside to explore, but the doors are sometimes left open so you can catch glimpses of statues of Buddha and Yoshimitsu.




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    Water features were placed around the grounds. Most of these are actually redirected water from natural sources.



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    Elsewhere, the garden grounds wrap around the pond. Much of the estate is closed off to visitors, but the path you wind through still offers views on different nooks and crannies.




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    The Golden Pavilion was for sure the dominate piece of the garden and could be seen from most areas.



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    From there we mostly biked down hill into the center of Kyoto. It was lovely at first, then a bit exciting as the buses began to mix in with the traffic. Back near Kyoto Central Station, we passed Nishi Hongon-ji again. It is an impressive walled area along this main north south (Omija dori St) street.

    I will put in a note here - this was my favorite day in Japan. Riding around on bikes, checking out some sites, eating food and cruising around the city. I highly suggest this. It was a hot day, but you can easily get water and A/C to cool off, and biking creates its own breeze. Do it. Kyoto on bike was awesome.



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    We were tired after our bike and then walk home. My kid deposited themselves in the apartment, and we Brough them back Family Mart dinner - which was quite good considering its origin in a convenience store. We headed out to a place we had passed a few times. It had only bar seating, so worked well with just my wife and I. QR code ordering and run by two woman and a dude. They were killing it in the kitchen that was lined with bar stools. I can not find the name of this place anywhere and I don't think I ever saw it in English. But it was one of the best meals I had in Japan. On Kyoto-Doro St near the 7-11 is best I can tell you.


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    It was a Izakaya place. Yakitori and other meats, a load of veggies served with mayo and miso, miso poached tofu, and other finger(dish) foods. We paid, and as we went out the front door, besides the usual arigatou gozaimasu, one of the chefs ran out with these take away treats.



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    So we popped into 7-11 looking for dessert. I think we ended u with chocolate, but I really love the variety of offerings in these store.




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    Back at the apartment, I cracked a beer I grabbed earlier in the day when we biked past a liquor store. At $2 a can, I grabbed two different IPAs. This one was a nice West Coast Style. Love trying out these different beers. Well West Coast is not my preference, this was a really good beer.
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    Last edited by Ottime; 07-15-2023 at 12:28 PM.

  3. #328
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    My kid and BIL headed to Hiroshima for the day. Wanting a different experience, my wife and I headed to Osaka for castles and snacks. Osaka is a quick 30 minutes from Kyoto by train, making an easy day trip.



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    The Osaka Castle today stands inside a beautiful city park. Surrounded by two moats and two walls, it looks like impenetrable. While it may look that way, it was been sacked and burned many times since first being constructed in the late 16th century.



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    The inner moat around the Hommaru (Inner Bailey). This moat has two levels, as the Outer Bailey has a steep slope up around the northern side. As you approach the castle itself, you climb about 100' in vertical.



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    Sakuramon Gate in the main gate into the Inner Bailey of Osaka Castle. Built in 1626, and burned in 1868, it was rebuilt in 1887. There were once cherry trees lining the entrance in the late 16th century, giving the gate its name.




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    Ryukoishi, or Dragon and Tiger Stones are these huge stones placed inside and outside the gate. The interior stone requires one to move at a right angle to the gate to enter the Bailey offering additional defense. These stones seem unmovable, it was placed here around 1625. The largest is pictured here, known as Takoishi, or Octopus Stone, weighing in at over 100 metric tons.



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    Inside the castle is a museum loaded with artifacts and text heavy presentations. It was worth for us, but it may not be for everyone. The grounds were great to walk around. If you wish to learn a bit about the history of the castle and the Shogunate, it was well worth the 600 yen entry fee.





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    You can not take pictures inside the museum, but you can front the top floor engawa or balcony.



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    The green roofed building in the Inner Bailey is the Osaka Shudokan, or martial arts training hall. The park with Osaka beyond.




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    Early July was pretty quiet in this area. Well worth a visit. It might be a bit much during peak times.



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    The castle has been beautifully restored, most recently in 1997. Besides all the years of infighting that has seen this castle burned and maimed, the US bombing of the nearby arsenal destroyed much of the castle in 1945.



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    The outer gates really do separate the historical and modern places. As soon as you step outside, you are in a modern city.
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    Last edited by Ottime; 07-22-2023 at 10:20 AM.

  4. #329
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    this thread delivers - it's the longest and most comprehensive TR I've read on TRG, and so informative too. I feel like I've learned a ton. Thanks for sharing, Ott!!

    Sent from my Pixel 6 Pro using Tapatalk

  5. #330
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    All it is lacking is some degenerate TRG member to properly document the intricacies of the 4 floors of Orchard Rd

  6. #331
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    Well done Ottime. Excellent TR and looks like you guys had an incredible family adventure!

  7. #332
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    You could seriously publish this and sell it. What an amazing trip.

  8. #333
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    I hope this doesn't count as cunting up Ottime's thread. And my sincere apologies, OT, if this is over the line. But I figure there may be others who, like me, have a short stay in SG and are reading this thread looking for some little bits of info but are left mostly just wanting a lot more time to explore all the great stuff that is described in detail by OT.

    Lodging: I stayed at the Hotel Traveltine and recommend it. it's not high luxury, but it's totally solid and in a good location and cheaper than many/most places around downtown (within US gov't rate for those who care...). Rooftop pool. Major bonus, it's across the street from Golden Mile hawker ctr, which has lots of good stuff. Also a great roti place just past the hawker (egg roti for $1.60 SGD, coffee adjacent for 1.40 = cheap delicious breakfast)

    Taxis are easy and fairly cheap, we always paid by credit card without issue. Subway is awesome and cheap. Just tap your credit card on the way in and out. Seriously, that's it. No setup. Super clean and modern, I never paid more than 2 USD for a ride, none of them very long. Pleasant walking too, other than sometimes getting blocked by construction etc.

    A person can get by just fine with just English. As always, friendliness and effort are of course helpful...

    I used credit card to pay for most stuff other than hawkers where cash is king. The hawker folks far prefer small bills so we quickly learned to plan ahead and stock up. Sometimes they could break a 50, but plenty of them wouldn't do it, or might be bummed to take a 50. Some fancy hawker places, more touristy, are set up for credit cards. I definitely always showed up for breakfast with very small bills / coins.

    Food is awesome. Hawker centers are awesome. I honestly never ate a restaurant meal. Nasi Lemak was probably my single favorite food item -- indonesian chicken with amazing tangy spicy sauce. But roti for breakfast was certainly a food highlight. Beyond that, Ottime has it covered in a big way. So many delicious things. And cheap.

    Hawkers: I/we ate at the Golden Mile a few times due to convenience. Lau Pa Sat a few times largely due to it being open later than many (lots of hawkers get pretty quiet by evening, and may be totally shut by 8pm), plus wide variety. Lau Pa Sat is pretty touristy, it's adjacent to Satay Street that OT speaks of, but I thoroughly enjoyed my meals. Then again, I don't have the full breadth of experience to judge dishes critically. Beyond that, various other hawker ctrs, none of which really stick out to me right now.

    Cocktails at the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel are spendy but a nice option if you're with a crew and want everyone to be happy (other than maybe with the price) -- it's a lovely patio scene for high rollers but also degenerates such as me (and upstanding folks such as the group of colleagues I dragged there). Also lots of wacky, mostly super high-end, shops in there, a cool art gallery tucked away upstairs, etc. Various other swanky bars around the city, unsurprisingly. Pony and Jigger was nice. Plenty of good happy hour deals to be found. What I/we didn't spend on food, we did spend on drinks sometimes.

    Interesting little nightlife zone (just some bars, nothing crazy) along Haji Lane, near the Turkish zone. Local beers at bar Good Luck.

    I strongly second Ottime's praise of sugarcane juice with lemon (so good!) and avocado juice. It's plenty hot and humid in SG, ya gotta rehydrate.

    Joo Chiat street is indeed cool. I didn't end up finding anything there to bring home, but I did enjoy the diversion from my conference. There's a record store which was interesting to check out. I was too late to sample the prawn vidai at the hawker that Ottime mentioned, but I got one nearby and enjoyed. Nice beer garden and ok beer. Lots of bustle. I wish I had had more time there. Would be fun at night too, I'm sure.

    The botanical gardens were a highlight for me, especially the orchid section.

    A bike ride from near the singapore flier, across helix bridge, past the domes, across the bridge/damn thing, and eventually to the east coast park and along the beach a ways was another major highlight. I rented a beater bike from Go Cycling - twas cheap, and it worked (barely). I did a one-way rental, returning along the beach (one of two locations) and then walking up Joo Chiat, then hopped on the (gloriously air conditioned) subway back to downtown. Really nice little outing.

    No pics here, as this ain't my thread. Plus, anything I might post would almost certainly be redundant with what Ottime has already posted.

    Again, thank you very much Ottime for all the great info and inspiration. Singapore is a really unique and great place to explore. I'd be glad to have had more time.

  9. #334
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    ^^^^All good info. A positive contribution to this thread. I really do think these type of threads as an opportunity for further visitors to get information nd ideas for their travels. Its been fun sharing here, and like I said this is almost like my travel diary serving my own purpose.

    It's been an incredible adventure of a year. Already missing some Nasi Lemak, Prawn Mee, Fishball Noodle, Thunder Tea, Lor Mee and more. Golden Mile is a pretty awesome center - classic urban food centre with several Michelin stalls. For other night time fare, Newton, Chomp Chomp and East Coast Lagoon are also open late for dinner (Chomp Chomp has nothing open until 5pm). But a lot of centers are focused on breakfast and lunch only. Lau Pa Sat is for sure a bit touristy, but nothing wrong with it. A bit pricier, but basically the same fare. You can get $8 local craft pints, or $20 jugs, at Hook Coffee.

  10. #335
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    Oh, one additional Singapore thought: folks are really friendly and helpful there, overall. Cab drivers seemingly genuinely friendly and nice, hotel staff the same. Random strangers at hawker markets helping the rookies figure out how it works, you name it.

    Perhaps the best example was when a few of us were having dinner at Golden Mile and a couple of us had local brews from the stall that has a handful of tasty offerings on tap, served in iced pint glasses. Mid-way through our beers, the proprietor of the beer stall cruised over with another set of chilled glasses right out of the freezer, and poured our remaining beer into them for us to enjoy more fully. Pretty spectacular service in my book. And really nice in a place that's mighty hot. I'm pretty sure I've never had that experience anywhere.

  11. #336
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    We were hungry, so grabbed a subway using our Suica card and headed over toward Dotonburi. Exiting the underground was a challenge and we kept coming upon different gaming centers.



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    These looked like a bit of fun.



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    For sure the Japanese love their arcades. this was the third floor of arcade as we were heading above ground. I was sure we were a story above ground, but turns out we were just at ground floor.


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    Finally, we emerged out onto the street.



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    This district is loaded with food outlets, as well as alleys leading to them.




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    I kept looking down these ways, but I first needed to get some food in my stomach.


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    We emerged out on the main road that is lined with street vendors. And giant displays of fake food. Fake food is a huge industry in Japan, and many restaurants include displays of their menus.
    Last edited by Ottime; 08-09-2023 at 12:02 PM.

  12. #337
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    Takoyaki. Fried balls stuffed with octopus. I just loved this district in Osaka. Walked, ate, walked, drank, walk ate. And nothing was all that expensive. In fact, things were actually pretty cheap. This snack was a couple hundred yen.




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    How can you best advertise the freshness of your fish? Put the head and tail out in front and have your potential customers notice how it does not yet stink.



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    This place is a chain, but was a lovely place to enjoy a cup of coffee and tea. Even ordered a egg salad sandwich to split. Again, very reasonably priced. We got out of here for less than US$10.




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    We had researched a sushi place we wanted to try out. It was somewhere down this lane, but when we found the location, there were actually four sushi places - one on each floor - and all of them had their shop name only in Japanese. So we had to guess which one to go to.



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    Which ever we chose has great fish and huge pieces. We had a hotate and a maguro. My favorite was hamachi sashimi served over tomago kake gohan - basically rice, soya and raw egg. One thing I love about sushi in Japan is always, always getting plenty of green tea.







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    Back on the street, we were full, but continued to check out the other eateries. This area is almost like an amusement park for food lovers. Big signs, dragons, and plenty of places to get great food.



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    This shot really captures it for me. We were not in the cosplay district, where every day is a reason to get dressed up. But it spills over. I also love the billboard and all those damn wires. The Japanese dude I met and drank beers with at Kyoto Beer Lab had told me that Japan is basically a first world country, but also still kind of developing world -and I had no idea what he meant, until I noticed all the bundle of wires reminding me of Chaing Mai.



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    The river that cuts through the area is narrow, and lined with LED billboards. Being day time, we could not enjoy the lights. The yellow building on the right is actually an amusement ride.
    Last edited by Ottime; 08-10-2023 at 10:36 PM.

  13. #338
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    The next day we stayed in Kyoto and visited the Nishiki Market, This market is for sure for tourist, with signs reminding you to not walk and eat. BTW, this is pretty frowned upon in Japan, even in the street food scene Buy your food, and hang out near the vendor to eat and then throw away you plate, napkins, etc with the vendor.



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    This market was not cheap, and at times 50% more than what we were paying in Osaka. It as still great to walk around and check out the fare - like these huge oysters.


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    Nisiki is a long covered market, several blocks log, with innumerable eating options. Tako with roe. Baby whole octopus was very common in Kyoto and Osaka.


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    As touristy as the market felt, there were plenty of Japanese visiting, and plenty of people purchasing uncooked foods. The fish and meat markets we filled with gorgeous looking flesh. Had I a bigger suitcase, I am sure I would have picked up items from he various dried good stores to bring home.




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    When traveling in SE Asia, if you see green, it is likely pandan. In Japan, it is matcha. This towers was in a store completely dedicated to matcha products.




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    Takoyaki being made in the special pans. This place offered over ten different toppings for your takoyaki.




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    For our first treat we stopped for some chicken teriyaki and grilled wagyu beef - on a stick. We were hungry and our kid was ready to eat.




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    The beef shop had truly beautiful options and you may notice they keep the meat under plastic wrap to keep is fresh and so it does not discolor while sitting in the case all day.





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    I watched this guy for quite some time. The process of making a Japanese omelet was pretty interesting to me, having had a background in food and as a chef. Egg is added in batches to the cast iron rectangular shaped pan. As each batch is cooked it creates a layer. The layer is then rolled up, flipped and more egg is added. In the end it creates this light, fluffy, layer egg. All prepared with the help of massive chopsticks.



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    I ended up snacking here on a fresh grilled scallop. Plenty of options for seafood (or meat or veggies) on a stick in this market. I went for the scallop on a shell. Super fresh and buttery. I shied away from he urchin, but tried some at a sushi place later. Not bad, but I don't need to spend the money or urchin again anytime soon.



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    My wife opted for this delicacy for her second snack. Matcha waffle with goodies.




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    Nissiki is not only food, but is basically a shopping arcade. Plenty of activity across the entire market mid week mid day. Kyoto is hot in the summer, but the market is a bit of a respite from the sun.


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    And it has its own shrine at one end if you need to stop and pray during your day of shopping and eating.
    Last edited by Ottime; 08-12-2023 at 09:54 AM.

  14. #339
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    Being our last day in Kyoto, we had to visit another temple. Easy ride on the bus brought us to the northeastern part of town and the Silver Pavilion.




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    This space is much less about the structures and very much about the space. The garden was both compact and spectacular. The suna was immaculate, and also the home to a hive of burrowing bees. I pity the person whose job it is to keep the sand perfectly raked.





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    These gardens are really nice for resetting from travel fatigue. It was quiet here during our visit. Perhaps the most quiet of any Kyoto temple or shrine. And it was mid day. We really enjoyed our time walking and exploring this space, and basically chilling as a family.



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    Kyoto is built in a wide river valley between looming mountains. This temple was built right where the steep mountainside meets with the sloping valley floor. This required just a little bit of climbing, but your will barely notice because of the tranquility by design.







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    Looking out over the temple grounds with Kyoto beyond and below.






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    It was not rainy enough during our visit to get the cascades really going, but even the drainage here was quite wonderful. Ginkaku-ji is a special place. Built in 1482 as a retirement home for the shogun Yoshimasa, it was covered into a Zen temple after his death. The main structure and grounds were built in the style of Kinkaku-ji, but were in fact, never silver in color. What is most interesting is the main hall has survived fires, earthquakes and wars over the millennia - something very few of these Japanese temples have been able to achieve.
    Last edited by Ottime; 08-17-2023 at 12:36 PM.

  15. #340
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    I decided to walk home through Kyoto, expecting a few hours stroll. My family joined me along the first leg, the Philosophers' Walk. This path runs along an irrigation canal that is lined with cherry trees. Very popular in the sprig with couples, it gained its name from two philosophy professors who were known to get exercise here in the 20th Century. I'm sure it is beautiful in spring with all the blossoms out, but even mid summer, it was a lovely place to walk.




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    At its southern end, tucked into the mountains, is Eikan-do Zenrin-ji. I do think this captures a bit of the feel of Kyoto. There are loads of temples and historical grounds, many of which are well preserved. They are everywhere you look and jump out amid the power lines and concrete structures of the city. It might be worth noting that this is in part due to US Secretary of War Stimson who removed Kyoto from the potential target list for the atomic bomb, because he had honeymooned here and considered the war objective not valid in comparison to the importance of cultural heritage of this place.




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    My family hoped on a bus at the end of the walk, but I continued on. Kyoto is really a pleasant city to walk through. After a quick stop at 7-11 to grab an onigari (if you don't know these are rice triangles, stuffed with goodness and wrapped in nori) and some more water, I was on my way walking along yet another canal. Again, a lovely place to walk.




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    Just another covered market place. This street had more restaurants and general shops when compared to Nishiki. It was quiet in the mid afternoon hours.




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    All roads lead to Kyoto Beer Lab. This Sour IPA was a great late afternoon snack.



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    There are loads of beautiful, ancient and picturesque shrine in Kyoto. And there are just as many small, unassuming, neighborhood shrine. This one is in Tofukuji, near the larger more famous Tofuku-ji which we never got to, even though it was 10 minute walk from our lodging. So many temples, and so little time. Being the 4th of July, I was headed to Dragon Burger to eat a proper American meal of burger, fries and a beer. I ordered a burger with pickled turnip and yuzu pepper - so American, and so delicious. If you are in Kyoto and craving a burger, check out this spot near the Tifukuji train station.


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    My wife and I made coffee at home each morning. My BIL waited for January to open each morning. On our final morning, we were out of coffee and all joined him at January. We came here our first morning in town, and it is wonderful. Service is slow, but they tell you this before you sit down. What they do not tell you is how wonderful the food and coffee are. Again, well worth a visit.




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    Then we were on the tran back to Tokyo. Fuji was willing to pop out of the clouds for a moment as we whizzed by on the Shinkansen.
    Last edited by Ottime; 08-20-2023 at 10:46 AM.

  16. #341
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    Even with the bullet train, it takes a while to travel with luggage. We arrived at Tokyo Station in the later afternoon. Weather was lovely. Warm, but not hot. Overcast, but not rainy. Perfect fro a travel day.


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    We lodged in the Suidobashi district, just north of Jimbocho. My BIL and I used my skill at finding craft beer, and ended up at Craft Beer Market Jimbocho. They had an extensive list of Japanese beers. I worked my way down the IPA list while in town for three nights.




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    What was great about this place, is it was packed with Japanese. Kyoto Beer Lab was great, but was 95% foreign tourist. I finally found a local beer joint that the locals love. The hard part was finding a place to sit. This was a Wednesday evening around 9:30PM. LIf you enjoy big city life, I do not think Tokyo would disappoint anyone.




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    The next morning we walked to the gardens of the Imperial Palace just south of Jimbocho. We crossed the moat at the Takebashi Bridge. The grounds are historical, but mostly we just enjoyed the day as hanging in an urban park. It was warm, but not crazy hot. At least in the morning. What struck me about Chiyoda, was the mix of very old and very new. How tall office glass towers surrounded this large green space, as well as the Imperial Palace. All protected by an ancient moat.




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    Hirokawa-mon Gate.

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    Being our second to last day before our return home, and day 27 of travel, we were happy to just stroll around the East Gardens and play some tag. In the heat. I found this lovely tree to hide (from my family and the sun) under. The gardens are wonderful. There is a ton of historical ruins to check out, but we mostly were done being tourists and just needed a walk in the park.




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    Before Tokyo's many towers, from this building, one was able to see Mt Fiji. The next day we were atop the Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuko and could not see Mt Fuji through the city haze. It was a clear day, but surely not a high pressure dome, but Fuji was one with the background. BTW, defiantly worth visiting this observation deck if you are in the area. It was free, not very busy and they have a grand piano you are allowed to play. Its a enclosed space, so please only play if you have appropriate skills.



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    The Ninomaru Gardens are a wonderful green space to walk around. Lush, and with trees donated from each prefecture.






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    Tokyo is not a green city in the way Singapore is. Still, there are large areas of green space blended into this densely packed urban space. On this hot summer day, strolling through foliage was a good call.
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    Last edited by Ottime; 10-09-2023 at 12:02 PM.

  17. #342
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    Ninomaru Garden was dates back to 1636. It was destroyed by fire in 1867. Fire is for sure a real threat in Japanese history. So many of the places we visited had previously been visited by fire. When it was rebuilt in early 1900's, they used a plan from the 9th Shogun (1712-1761). It incorporates a lot of water features and elevation changes.



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    Soon we found ourselves hungry and began our walk out of the gardens and back into the city.



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    Ginza Kagari was listed as nearby and highly rated ramen. It was a touch more expensive than other places and in the basement of an office high rise. Very rich and buttery broth. Wonderfully efficient (you place your order before you are seated) and the first place we ate where they offered you bibs. As I looked around, all the professionals that were having a late lunch we bibbed up, so I donned mine. This place was a bit different than the other ramen we had. I actually prefer the more basic, but awesome ramen. Still, it was great to taste this refinement in the art of noddles.




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    After some chill time at the hotel, my kid and I we off to the Tokyo Dome City Amusements to buy a night pass. It was cheap. We both had unlimited rides for a total of about $35. The park is limited and the real draw are the Rollercoaster and the Ferris Wheel. We rode the the Thunder Dolphin seven times and we were stoked to get a ride in both the front and rear cars. The Thunder Dolphin has an 80 degree initial drop of 217 feet. The front seat was exhilarating, and well worth the price of entry. It flies through a hole in the adjective building and through the center of the center less Big-O Ferris Wheel. If you are wondering why the Big-O was such a draw for us - two words - karaoke cars. Every third car or so has a karaoke machine and ride lasts about 12 minutes. Bohemian Rhaspody was a hit with our group.




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    The food inside the Tokyo Dome area was fine. A Shake Shack was on offer and a Mo's. We opted to try Hidakaya across the street. More fine food. We opted for Udon and Gyoza.



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    Looking back at Tokyo Dome City Amusements. It was a great night for the kid. After weeks of temples and gardens, good old fashion kid fun.
    Last edited by Ottime; 10-09-2023 at 12:22 PM.

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    Takeshita is where all the cool tourist go. A very busy district and plenty of cameras. You can see yourself on CCTV as you exit the train station and enter the district.



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    My kid loved the concept of Gashapon Machines. Mostly filled with crap, they spent a good forty minutes in here trying to decide which piece of plastic they wanted to purchase. Two floors of these machines packed tightly. Basically any thing you can imagine ws made miniature and put inside a plastic ball.



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    Boba Teas originated in Taiwan, but this treat is super popular all over Asia. The Japanese take it to a new level. This was actually a Taiwanese chain, but my Brown Sugar Boba was cartelized by Godzilla. You can see my kids Matcha, Puffed Cream and Berry Bursts on the counter. Mmmm. Sugar and caffeine.




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    This district is known for its dog and cat cafes where you can spend a little money to hang out with these creatures. My kid 100% wanted to get in wit the dogs. From their report the dogs seemed kind of mellow. Either sedated or just bored with so many visitors each day. Still, it was reported, it was well worth the visit.



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    I opted to walk the city and grab a beer. This 'Shinshujihen' Hazy Apple IPA from Shigakogen Beer was really quite tasty. 6.5%. I found it below ground at a small eatery called FAM333. I chatted with the two chef's behind the counter. They were super friendly and kept apologizing that their English was so poor. And here I was trying to apologize about my complete lack of Japanese. And there is point I want to make here - at least among the younger folks I met, the Japanese seemed very welcoming and interested in foreigners despite its reputation of eschewing outsiders. Perhaps there is a change afoot. Perhaps it was the beer. But this place is sure worth checking out if in the vicinity. The food on the menu was Japanese inspired pasta dishes. I kind of wish I had been hungry and not holding off to eat later with my family.



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    Last edited by Ottime; 10-09-2023 at 12:35 PM.

  19. #344
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    The beer selection is Japan is excellent. I had enjoyed a number of sours and IPAs (West Coast, East Coast, British, Sours, and more). I put back on my American weight during my two weeks in Japan, and it was 94% hops related.







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    On our final night, we headed out for a baseball game at the Tokyo Dome. As I walked past the amusements, I grabbed a few shots of the Thunder Dolphin and Big O.




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    You can se where it goes through a hole in the wall. I think you are moving well over 100 kph at that point. I am not a huge amusements fan, but do enjoy a good rollercoaster. If you are in that boat, well worth a ride, or several, on this one.




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    Last edited by Ottime; 10-14-2023 at 11:09 AM.

  20. #345
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    The Japanese seem to have approached beer like they did whiskey: wait until they can absolutely crush, then release it. We really enjoyed finding their takes on stuff in Hokkaido too. In Tokyo we found a fantastic hole-in-the-wall bar that had all kinds of amazing Belgian beers on tap, somehow. $$$, though.
    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

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