Osaka Day 1 - Shitennoji Temple
I am sorry it took me ages to upload my Japan trip's photos to share as we all shot over 2,000 photos in total! Japan is the best country I have ever visited in my life as their history, environment, people and amazing culture is indeed very rich and truly unique. I will hopefully be visiting again soon as we only spent less than RM2,500 each for entire 8 days trip to Osaka, Kyoto and Nara!! Seeing is Believing!
Yes, that was LESS THAN RM2,500 instead of forking out over RM8,000 to join our specialized "Apple-Orange" Tour Agency! My expenses included return air-ticket, all the hotels, train rides, 3 daily meals and multiple baths at Hot-Springs! We all shopped like crazy women broke loose from Hell and that is additional expenses. Their country's tourism has dipped badly due to the earthquake & Sendai's disaster which drove most hotel operators to offer rock bottom rates at 70-80% discounts which was less than RM200 per night for comfortable 3-4 STAR hotels, not kidding!
Ahem! That's the handsome ME looking excited after touching down at Osaka's Kansai International Airport which is the only floating airport in the world that was built on a huge man-made island! I was truly impressed at the sight of their flood-lit runway in the sea from the aeroplane's window. Upon landing, we all took a high speed train from Kansai airport which raced its way to downtown Osaka and we quickly headed to the famous Ramen noodles stall in Namba, Osaka. We had to pay our orders into the vending machine before the young chefs would serve you. It was a cold Spring night and the hot soupy Ramen was really delicious with generous pieces of sliced pork! I stood by the pavement and ate hungrily like all the Japanese guys did.
That night we all slept at a 3 Star hotel in the happening Shinsaibashi area. The room was cozy and small which is a typical standard size in Japan. Next morning, we walked around the clean and spotless streets, breathing the very cool & refreshing Spring air. All the manhole covers are lovely with individual designs and names of every district. Thousands of folks rode bicycles everywhere along the specially paved cycling lanes where pedestrians walked on too. They have neat rows of parking racks for bicycles all over the country (see photo above). We walked a lot daily to save taxi fares after getting off the trains. I estimated that we walked between 10km to 20km by foot every day until I looked trimmed & burnt off 3kgs! That first day, we headed to the ancient Shitennoji Temple.
This spacious temple has very old statues and paintings inside where photography was strictly forbidden! It was founded by Prince Shotoku in year 593 and the Shintenno-ji is believed to be the oldest Buddhist temple in entire Japan. It is said that the Four Heavenly Kings enshrined in Shintennoji which eventually led Prince Shotoku to a victory against the Monobe who opposed the idea of adopting Buddhism.
This is the serene looking deity or saint's statue which the Japanese visitors would bow deeply with respect for minutes. Alas, I didn't carry note pad like our seasoned traveling blogger William who never failed to jot down all details and names to share! I should cart him along my future trips!
Look at my honey, jumping like a bird taking flight. She had many crazy photos showing her in 'planking' or jumping poses everywhere, raising the Japanese eyebrows!
The surrounding compound was spaciously clean and neat with their famous patterned lines of pebble stones.
I learnt that the Japanese regarded deep orange as their auspicious colors whereas the Chinese would prefer bright red colors instead.
There were many stalls outside the perimeter of Shitennoji Temple where the folks were selling art wares, paintings and offered services like massages, face paintings as well as snack & beverages.