Travelling

The Humble City, The Beautiful One

We arrived at Kyoto, our first destination. The train trip had been mesmerizing, stunned me with its speed, so swift and soft, almost felt like taking a road trip using a super fast car in a well-maintained long toll road. I never tasted such a speed from a train in Jakarta. Technology.

We used JR Pass ticket for the shinkansen and all the local trains managed by JR, and it helped so much. We only spent more or less 3 millions rupiah for train trip for whole week, including the shinkansen which actually cost 1.5 millions per trip. See how much we saved by having this pass.

Stepping out of the train, I can see that Kyoto is much more lively than Osaka, but in the same calm atmosphere that you can only get in a humble old city, a traditional one. Let’s say Jogja, for a comparison. The moment we arrived at Kyoto, we straightly took another train, a local one, to Fushimi Inari Taisha. It was one of the most famous destination for tourist to visit, a shrine with long torii path across the mountain.

Before we got in the shrine block, we had to cleanse our hands first.

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I did no research so I had no idea what this shrine was about, so I just enjoyed the weather, the nuance, the sound of the crows passing through the trees, the steps of people climbing the stairs, the sound of the bells of the little shrines rang, the sound of people chattering. The place gave the feeling of peace somehow.

I don’t know either it was because the time I came to this shrine is a holiday time or what so that the shrine had a crowded torii path. The peace of the shrine was gone in that torii. Still, we eager to take photos in that famous spot.

One interesting thing I found was, when I was there, there was this old woman who moved from one little shrine to another, praying. I couldn’t help but following her around. I know, I know. I am as weird as that.

In Fushimi Inari, there were so many alternatives for us to send wishes to God. I always love the idea to send wishes. 🙂

Rows of bars of wood behind me were all written with wishes. Every November, the wood bars would be burnt as the wishes sent to above. The white knots and red mini shrines were all written with wishes too. The idea of wishes was just so romantic that I almost bought one of them for myself (and wrote my wishes, and hoped the wishes would come true, but I didn’t buy it though).

Fushimi Inari indeed was a huge and interesting shrine, but Kyoto was more than that. We moved to another shrines that we chose randomly and took a walk along the city, enjoying the view of narrow streets and calm people wearing kimonos walking around. Kyoto was effortlessly beautiful. I fell in love with it in its every inch.

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Also, there were an old path in Kyoto, near the shrine we visited, Kiyomizudera, named Higashiyama District. It was a beautiful and neat path, filled with little stalls selling kimonos and its accessories.

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After walking for hours, we moved to an even outer area of Kyoto, Arashiyama. Arashiyama is so touristy, I couldn’t think of a single reason for not visiting this place. The place was full of bamboo trees caressed by the summer breeze softly. I hardly heard voices. So serene.

There were a bicycle rental in the town, so we rented bikes and cycled around. The town was small and quiet with beautiful little houses and flowers in front of the doors. When I cycled around, I saw no one in the block. I only saw people when I got near the station. There were people coming out of the station, students, employees, and housewives, all greeted each other when they met. What a lovely view. It made me wonder though, “How come people really know each other here?”. And then I myself answered that that should be the result of the habit of using public transportation for years. I mean, this is the town where you really meet people on the street, not cars, so you are really able to know each other, to greet each other, at least with a smile. In a town where all you can see on the street are cars, how can you greet each other? By honking the horns?

 

Write to you later,

Aulia

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Travelling

There Was No Sakura Left, and That’s Perfectly Fine

Last June I went to one of the place that I have in my bucket list: Japan. It was a 5-day trip, but 5 days were enough for me to do what I need to do. Or not. I was planning to come back to that confusing-but-friendly country right after I landed in Jakarta. HAHA.

This trip was an impulsive one. I bought the tickets with the intention to watch Coldplay concert, which was held on June 12th, but the ticket selling was a little bit different with what I expected. Strange may be a better word to describe it. People who want to buy the tickets have to put their name to what seems to be a lottery then the names that get the tickets will be announced 3 days after. The only ticket selling in my country that I know following this kind of rule is only the tickets to watch JKT48 show in their theatre. Well, now that I think of it, I should’ve seen that coming. Long story short, I didn’t get the Coldplay tickets and lost all my motivation to go. But I went anyway, with all the tickets and visa and JR Pass and itinerary–which I didn’t really care about.

It was Monday morning when I flew from Jakarta, and I landed in Osaka on Monday midnight. I used Air Asia and that was quite a decent flight. Yay for Air Asia X! It was 8-hour flight, 2 hours to Kuala Lumpur (love the new airport), and 6 hours from Kuala Lumpur to Osaka.

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I don’t know what it takes to have a jetlag, but 8 hours may be not that hard for me to handle because when I stepped in Kansai Airport, I didn’t feel like leaving home. At all. Seriously. It felt like I just arrived in–well, let’s say, Bandung. I slept in airport that night–super safe and decent. Really. They have these benches covered in clean upholstery all over the airport so people can sleep worry-free about bed bugs and stuff. I think Osaka is a Muslim friendly city. Kansai Airport has 4 floors, and there’s praying room on 3rd floor. They even provide brochures especially for Muslim visitors, telling about halal food we can eat. And about safety, I can see koban (police) office 200 m from where I sleep, and they come to check us once, telling us to be careful, and their gestures were so nice. When the dawn came, I took a bath in airport lounge. By paying 500 yen you get everything you need for taking a bath, even a hair dryer, and a coin for 15-minute water. It’s more than enough time. The bathrooms were kind of strange, simple and sophisticated at once. They were made of plastic, even the floor was plastic, and when I put the coin into the slot, the timer counted down. I was like, “Okay, technology, I’m coming!”.

After that, a little bit shivering due to the slightly cold weather, I use my JR Pass to take shinkansen train to Kyoto, my first destination. Passing through the quiet Osaka with a super fast train, that’s new. And exciting. And also confusing, considering it was 9 AM but I rarely saw people, let alone cars, walking on the narrow streets. It was so different from where I came from.

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Quiet Osaka

Write to you later,

Aulia

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