Tuesday, April 21, 2009

JAPAN SAKURA TRIP April 2009 2/9

DAY2, 7th/April Tuesday: Arashiyama, river trip, Tenryuji, Bamboo grove and Trokko romance train

Kinporo was a nice, Japanese style hotel practising true Japanese hospitality. We were all pampered by their bowing and personalised excellent service.
This standard size room we stayed can house a maximum of 5 persons.

They spoke highly of their Ofuro, or big common bath, which was filled with green tea ;)

Breakfast was typically Japanese, and was quite fascinating for the first timers.
However, many could not take the cold half boiled eggs, and cooked them instead, much to the astonishment ( and probably great disappointment ) of the chef.

You pour your soya sauce here, ma'am.....
while my wife bowed and whispered " domoarigatou......"

After breakfast, we boarded a long boat drifting down the Katsuragawa river.

This took us 90 minutes, with occasional rapids to shoot.

The water was clear, swift, and deep at some parts.

Along the way, there were many scenic spots.
This hugh sakura blossoming among the green pine trees provided a beautiful contrast.

The Trokko train runs across this bridge to offer fair view to passengers on both sides of the train.

Our boat ride ended up here, where the water was calm and crystal clear.

Looking left, a little shop sat among a serene, beautiful surrounding. What a sight!

There were also many people, especially couples, rowing here.

This place was just next to Tokugetsu bridge.
Choon Ping, we crossed the same bridge before, remember?

Lunch was at Okutan, a toufu specialist shop.
However, I included some tempura for my dear brothers. I know them better.

Top view of our set lunch.

This fire-proof white paper contains toufu, and it was lit by fire from the bottom.

After lunch, the ladies had a gala time shopping for souvenirs for an hour. Those were mainly edible staffs.
Then a short walk to Tenryuji, a UNESCO world heritage temple. The first sakura to catch our eyes was this weeping cherry tree.

As the wind blew, the sakura petals fell into a small pond below, and formed a piece of art. The feeling of 'zen' was obvious.

Tenryu-ji has a 14 century old zen garden and a big pond, with a handsome pine tree next to it, and a pretty lady too.

The garden was full of flowers, spring had just begun.

But these flowers were beyond my little knowledge on flora & fauna ;(.

This was a very special red and white coloured sakura blooming on the same tree.

Coupled with the purple flowers below, this became the hot-spot for tourists to photograph.

We then took a short walk through the bamboo grove, made famous by the movie " Crouching Tiger & Hidden Dragon"

Many tried to imagine taking photos with Chow Yun-Fat, holding on tightly.........

while the other three brothers were way ahead:)

Along the way, Tsih Ern found someone special.

We finally boarded the romance Trokko train. It was packed like sardins.

Traveling along the same Katsuragawa river, but high up this time, offered a totally different view. This was what we saw from the train, a similar boat we were in just a few hours ago.

I think the train traveled too fast and was too packed to really enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way.
Many managed to catch these yellow wild flowers before we headed back for dinner.

#6 and wife too.

Dinner at Morita ya: Kobe beef sukiyaki, shabu shabu & yakiniku

We all love the sukiyaki, voted "Best Dinner" by #6 and #8
Look at the marble beef. Sukiyaki beef was thicker than that for shabu shabu.

This is how you cook sukiyaki...

Suddenly, #6 felt extremely hungry, and a little shy too.

Second round started, with some vegetables.
Time to move away to shabu shabu table ;)

Some salad to start with......

Yakiniku beef was the thickest among the three, but the size was small, probably the weight per piece remained the same. High tech Japanese!

#9 said," Very good neh! I ate 6 pieces ;)"
No wonder so many of us didn't have any bite of the yakiniku :(

Shabu shabu symbolizes the sound of shaking thinly sliced beef in boiling water.
These were the raw material, did you notice how thin it was?

The moment the beef changed colour, it's time to enjoy.

We shifted to Holiday Inn today.
After checked in, #8 suddenly crazed for coffee.
We tried hunting around for coffee specialty shop, but failed to locate any.
Ended up in a doughnut shop taking coffee, tea and doughnuts.
The coffee standard was not up to our expectation.
OK lah. Let's call it a day.
Good night.

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