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Where to stay, what to do and see in Bali – do you want to party, relax or do both?

October 3, 2017
where to stay, what to see and do in Bali

Bali is amazing place. It offers you everything you can dream of.

I used to live there, so let me share some of my knowledge with you. Here you can read about my life in Bali post. So you got your tickets booked, but the real dilemma is: deciding where to start your trip from, and then choosing which places to visit. You need to think about what you want to get out of your trip and what are your expectations. Be realistic, and hopefully with  reading this post it will be easier to fulfill or even surpass your travel expectations.

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Travel

Lantern Festival in Nara

September 3, 2016
lantern festival in Nara

Every year for ten days in August in Nara about 3,000 lanterns are placed around Kasuga-Taisha Shrine and along the pathways leading to the shrine. The effect is magical – if you’re in town on these dates, you can’t miss it !!!

This event is called Tokae Lantern festival which has continued for 800 years and most of the lanterns have been donated by ordinary citizens of Nara city. The main days of this event are on 14th and 15th of August.

Lanterns are believed to guide the souls of the deceased back to their families. The wishes and prayers of the living are conveyed to the gods and the spirit world by writing them on the lanterns, giving them the greatest chance of being fulfilled. In order to share that tradition of fire Nara created the Tokae Lantern festival, a 10-day long lantern festival.

One of the best events is the Night Visit to Todaiji’s Great Buddha on the 13th and 14th. The most interesting feature of this event is that the small window at the front of Todaiji is opened and the giant Buddha statue’s face can be seen peeking out, glowing due to the candles’ illumination.

lantern festival in nara

lantern festival in nara

lantern festival in nara

lantern festival in nara

lantern fesitval in nara

lantern festival in nara

lantern festival in nara

All pictures taken by me;

 

Getting There

  • Kintetsu Line – Kintetsu Nara Station is the closest station to the main festival grounds. It is also the terminus of all Nara bound Kintetsu Line trains from Kintetsu Kyoto (¥620), and Osaka-Namba (¥560) Stations. Getting a bus from there to the Daibustudenmae Bus Stop (¥210) is the fastest way to get to the main Tokae Festival grounds. Walking from there grants the opportunity to see the displays at the Prefectural Office or Kofukuji Temple
  • JR Lines – Yamatoji Rapid and Direct Rapid service trains depart from Osaka Station 4 times an hour and terminate at Nara (or pass through it on their way to Kamo,¥800). From Kyoto Miyakoji Rapid service trains depart for Nara twice an hour (¥710). From JR Nara Station go out the east entrance and get a bus from platform 2 (¥210) to Daibutsudenmae. Getting off at Kenchomae allows one to take in the displays at the Prefectural Office and Kofukuji Temple before continuing to the main site.

memoirs of justina ko hanko japanese signature justina ko red ink inkan

Travel

Hidden streets of Dotonbori in Osaka

August 21, 2016
dotonbori

Once the curtain of darkness has fallen, Osaka transforms itself into a showy, neon lit city teeming with exciting and fun places to visit.

There are so many options available for entertainment and dining that it is hard to know where to begin. Sampling Osaka’s nightlife is something that you must do, if you ever find yourself in this wonderful city.

hidden streets of dotonbori

glico dotonbori

A logical place to start is Dotonbori.

This is the most well known street in the Shinsaibashi drinking district. When you stand on Ebisu Bridge overlooking Dotonbori Canal, you will be able to see the famous Glico runner crossing the finishing line with his arms raised. This billboard is one of the most photographed and iconic images of Osaka.

dotonbori

dotonbori

In addition to having hundreds of bars, this area is also a gastronomist’s heaven as it is filled with many affordable restaurants. They all serve mouth-wateringly delicious Japanese cuisine, too.

I wouldn’t be myself if didn’t recommend that you check out some of the little side streets as well. After all, some of the best places are usually the ones that are just off the main track.

 

dotonbori

As you walk along Dotonbori Street away from the Ebisu Bridge and Glico Man you will come to an arcade, turn left at its corner and walk for about 3 minutes then turn right. You will come to a place where few tourists venture even though it is close to a main street.

hidden streets of dotonbori

 

dotonbori osaka

dotonbori

This magical street has a local vibe and was recommended to me by my good friend (thanks Miaka!). Getting lost in the small bars in this area is where I have had some of my best experiences ever.

Brace yourself for some serious bar hopping and remember that you should be able to get good deals on Suntory Whisky.

Finally, don’t forget, what happens in Osaka stays in Osaka! 😛

dotonbori osaka

You can find small bars filled with different kinds of sake from all corners of Japan, truly a heaven for sake lovers!

dotonbori osaka

“Showa Bar” -cozy and inredibly small shot bar with friendly bartender

dotonbori osaka

dotonbori osaka

dotonbori osaka

In Japan , it’s forbidden to take pictures of places and strange people almost at every occasion so you can guess what was this poor waiter saying

dotonbori osaka

“Boys of the night” who entertain female customers in famous hosts bars in Japan

hidden streets of dotonbori

All pics above are taken by me.

 

hidden streets of dotonbori

Picture taken by Kumanosuke Photography