Japan Diaries: Day 16 and 17

Day 16:   January 3, 2015 Meeting the Deer of Nara City Good morning Japan ! We woke up to the aroma of Mr. Toshi's home-cooked yakisoba . After the hearty meal, Mr. Toshi told us that we would go to Nara Prefecture and that we must prepare immediately. (Lucky for us we got used to surprising plans like this already.) Nara City, here we come! The welcome to Nara Prefecture sign! After just a few minutes of packing up our stuff, we were ready to go. The trip was smooth and fast as expected. We only had a few stops for toilet and coffee breaks before reaching our destination. However, we forgot to note that today was the last day of the Japanese religious activity of visiting temples after the New Year. Hence when we got to Nara Prefecture we had a hard time looking for parking space. It took us almost half an hour before we found a place to park our car. One of the deer at Nara Park My wife posing with one of the deer Our first destination was Nara Park . It is

Kokawadera - Wakayama

Located in 2787 Kokowa, Kinokawa City in Wakayama Prefecture in Japan, Kokawadera   ( 粉河寺 ) is temple #3 of the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage of Western Japan . Kokawadera   ( 粉河寺 ) Kokawadera History Kokawadera was built during the 18th century during the mid-Edo period. However, its original structure was established in 770AD under the supervision of Otomo no Kujiko of the Tendai sect. Kokawadera - Kinokawa City, Wakayama The pathway going to Kokawadera Kokawadera tourist map Structures to see in Kokawadera: Kokawadera Daimon (Main Gate) Nenbutsu   念仏堂   Jorokudo   丈六堂 A shrine in Kokawadera Garden Another shrine in Kokawadera Garden The  Mizuko or water babies of Kokawadera It is said that Kokawadera Temple is one of the largest temples in Wakayama Prefecture and in the Saigoku Pilgrimage Circuit. Its temple complex includes smaller temples, shrines, gardens, and halls dedicated to Buddhist Monks. There is also a Daimon (front gate) and another beauti

Food Trip: Sake

To most people, a visit to Japan would not be complete without trying out the sake . Sake Sake is an alcoholic beverage of Japanese origin. It is made from fermented rice and is usually misreferred by English-speaking countries as "rice wine" when in fact it is made by the process called brewing (much like that of a beer). Sake  with a modern packaging Sake sold on Mt. Kongo (looks like perfume to me) Shochu / Distilled Sake For those who don't know, sake is the national beverage of Japan . It is often placed in a small earthenware or porcelain bottle called a tokkuri  and sipped from a small porcelain cup called a sakazuki . Kampai ! The origin of the sake is unclear. Some believed that the probable origin of the beverage is during the Nara Period (710 - 794 AD). because the beverage is mentioned several times in the Kojiki , Japan's first written history, which was compiled in 712 AD. The more traditional sake packaging Dassai 39 -

Food Trip: Osechi

New Year, new experience. Spending the holidays in Japan has its own perks and privileges... and one of them is trying out plenty of traditional Japanese dishes (and I really mean PLENTY). Osechi   ( 御節料理 ) Every New Year, the Japanese eat a set of traditional Japanese foods called  Osechi-ryōri   or simply  Osechi  ( 御節料理 or お節料理 ). The tradition started in the Heian Period (794 - 1185). The Osechi-ryōri or simply Osechi ( 御節料理 or お節料理 ) My wife was also delighted with the osechi The box came with this... (a guide to what's in the osechi ) Choose what you want to eat! Yup we all look like we just woke up Even my daughter is excited to taste the osechi ! Osechi is very recognizable because of their special boxes called jūbako ( 重箱 ). The jūbako resembles a bento box, and like a bento box, it is also kept stacked before and after use. Team Nicerio tries out the Osechi Going back to the different dishes that make up an osechi , each dish has a sp

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