Tag Archives: Japan

Byebye for now, Japan!

27 Aug

Looks like it is time to leave Japan again! How Piggletino wishes to visit so many other places in the country!


Guess it’ll mean another visit here someday soon!

Oh look, Piggletino got some souvenirs for himself!

Piggletino193 Piggletino219

Golden Pavilion and the Kyoto Imperial Palace

22 Aug

What? A Golden Pavilion?

Piggletino was excited to visit the Kinkakuji (金閣寺, Golden Pavilion) – this time a Zen temple in Northern Kyoto.

An extravagant structure that overlooked a pond of waters, the Kinkakuji is said to have different architectural styles on each level of the Pavilion. Unfortunately, visitors were not allowed to enter the Pavilion to see the first floor built in Shinden style, the second floor in Bukke style, and the upper floors that was in the style of a Chinese Zen Hall.

Piggletino quickly took a snap – it was such a popular area for tourists, there wasn’t even much space to stand and enjoy the view! What a pity!

After the Kinkakuji, Piggletino made his way to the Kyoto Imperial Palace (京都御所), where the Imperial Family resided until the 1860s.

The complex is highly guarded and one can only enter the palace grounds with a guided tour (be sure to book in advance!) of about an hour. It’s a short and slightly rushed visit, but worth a visit if you’ll like to find out more about Imperial Family and the Palace!


Kyoto Nijo Castle

20 Aug

A short walk from the Nijojo-mae train station, the Nijo Castle (二条城) was built in 1603 for the first shogun of the Edo period.

Piggletino welcomes everyone to the Nijo Castle – first beginning with the traditional Japanese landscape garden, the Ninomaru Garden.



The Nijo Castle has three main areas – the main circle of defense, the secondary circle of defense and the gardens.



You can rent English audio guides to learn more about the Nijo Castle during your visit! Of course Piggletino’s scout went around the tour route that showcased where the highly-ranked visitors of the past would wait for the shogun in the audience rooms, understanding how bodyguards hid in closets to protect the shogun, and other offices or living chambers in the premises.

And Piggletino? That’s right – photos, photos and more photos!

Shrine City – Kyoto

15 Aug

As a historical city of Japan, Kyoto boasts of its numerous shrines and temples.

A popular concentration of shrines and temples in Eastern Kyoto can be found at the Higashiyama district. A great place to experience traditional Kyoto along the slopes of the eastern mountains, Piggletino’s scout visited so many shrines and temples that Piggletino lost count!

He heard several names, such as the Yasaka Shrine next to the Maruyama Park…
the Kodaiji Temple constructed in 1605…

…the Kiyomizudera Temple in the wooded hills…
…the Chionin Temple of Japanese Buddhism…

There were so many places to visit that Piggletino’s scout had a hard time deciding where to go first! And this list wasn’t all there was to the Higashiyama district!

While the scout was figuring out the map, Piggletino was having some difficulties as he busied himself with deciding between…

The sesame or green tea ice creams! If in Japan, don’t forget to grab a green tea ice cream cone, it’s awesome!

Cultural City of Kyoto

13 Aug

Piggletino welcomes everyone to Kyoto! Although ravaged by natural disasters like many other areas of Japan, Kyoto was relatively spared from the destruction of WWII, and today stands as testament to the cultural richness of Japan.



Most of the historical attractions are easily accessible by local train. Only 3 minutes away from the Inari station, this the Fushimi Inari Shrine (recognise the Torii Gate?) No, this isn’t just ‘yet another shrine’ – rather, it is famous for the thousands of orange torii gates that line its walkways and leads into the wooded forests and heads up to Mount Inari.



The Fushimi Inari Shrine is dedicated to the Shinto god of rice. Piggletino highlights the hiking trails behind the main shrine building, which starts with two parallel rows of Senbon Torii – literally ‘thousands of torii gates’ which are donated by individuals and organisations. This forms a covered walkway to the summit of the mountain (it takes 3 hours!) Of course, you can take a 45 minute walk to an opening which offers great views of Kyoto city!




Trip to Kobe: Nunobiki Herb Garden

4 Aug


Whee! Piggletino is taking a trip to Shin-Kobe by Shinkansen! That’s how the bullet trains look like; pretty cool isn’t it?

Guess where Piggletino is?

That’s right! It’s the Shin-Kobe Ropeway (新神戸ロープウェー, cable car) that takes us up the slopes of the Rokko Mountain Chain, towards the Nunobiki Herb Gardens!

Look!! That is the 43metres Nunobiki Waterfall. Did you know, that it got its name because it looked like a hanging cloth? Ah, what a great view Piggletino has from here! Don’t miss this if you ever come to Kobe!



And after the Ropeway ride, Piggletino welcomes everyone to the top station of the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden!


Here, you will find local produce of honey, a rest house, beautiful rose gardens, a fragrance house that teaches you about the flower extracts used in perfumes, and a glasshouse growing seasonal fruits and flowers!


Remember to take a day to enjoy the beautiful sights of the Nunobiki Herb Garden when you’re in Kobe!

Osaka Museum of Housing & Living

1 Aug

Hidden from the usual ‘tourist’ attractions, an intriguing sits in the Kita area of Osaka, on the 8th floor of a building somewhere along Temjimbashi. Easily accessibly by local trains as well, this is no ordinary museum – it is a remarkable re-creation of the past of Osaka!


This museum has streets that made Piggletino feel like he was back in the Edo period… Look! Even the cats on the roof are models!

You can check out the life of Osaka’s past as the museum highlights various facilities such as an ancient apothecary, fabric shop, traditional Japanese kitchen, poor man’s house vs rich man’s dwelling…


An interesting thing to note – the museum lets visitors experience day and night in an ancient Osaka street, through the use of awesome lighting and sound effects! Don’t be surprised if it turns dark all of a sudden!

The Osaka Museum of Housing & Living is definitely worth a visit. While there might be small problem of the absolute absence of English or other translations (everything including the descriptions comes in the local language), Piggletino is sure that you will still enjoy looking around these wonderful remade models of a town!

Miyajima: Itsukushima Shrine

30 Jul

Welcome back, everyone! Piggletino would like to show you the giant torii gate set out in the Seto Inland Sea, up-close!


They say at high tide, the gate will look like it is afloat in the waters. Too bad Piggletino didn’t get a picture of it this time!

Today we visit the Itsukushima Shrine which looks out to the sea. The shrine has several wooden plank walkways and is designed to look like a pier.


After visiting the Shrine, Piggletino chanced upon a long flight of steps upwards and decided to explore:


See, the scout was so slow that Piggletino was so far ahead! This strong little pig made his way all the way up to the Senjokaku Hall, which literally translates to ‘the Pavilion of 1000 mats’. The hall has no ceilings or entrance; as it turns out, it was unfinished following the death of its commissioner, Hideyoshi.

Directly adjacent to the hall was the 5-storied Pagoda…


There are many other walking trails around the island but Piggletino was so exhausted from the blazing sun. Looks like we’ll have to come back to visit this quaint little island another time in the near future! (EXCUSES THE LITTLE PIG MAKES TO GET MORE TRIPS!! 😉 )

Making it to Miyajima!

25 Jul

Look, a ferry…


…and a Piggletino!


Welcome, everybody! Piggletino has decided to be the tour-guide for everyone reading this post 🙂 Live commentary from the pig himself!
Today we head towards Miyajima Island, approximately 10 minutes by Ferry away from Hiroshima. The term ‘Miyajima’ means ‘Shrine Island’, and we’re here to see the giant torii gate!


Remember when the silly scout was trying to figure out the story behind the torii gate? How very silly – there’s a giant one appearing to float on the water! And the torii gate is a traditional Japanese gate that marks the entrance of a Shinto Shrine.

Here, we arrive at Miyajima Island –

… (Piggletino is sitting on a map of the island) where wild deers stay! But please don’t feed them!

Now that we’ve arrived, let’s take a short break before we continue to walk on! Don’t wander too far off from Piggletino!

Heading towards Hiroshima

23 Jul

Rise and Shine! Piggletino got up early and hopped onto this:



Looks like a plane? No, no! This is the Shinkansen, Japan’s Bullet Train that can take you from one city to the next within a matter of hours! Look! It’s great!


Piggletino, of course, wouldn’t be concerned about flight or train; except when he is on the train, he gets a little more scenery!



Today, Piggletino heads towards Hiroshima. In 1945 when the A-Bomb arrived in Hiroshima, many believed that the city would no longer be habitable. Much reconstruction and effort was made; today it is host to a large park that sits in the centre of the city: the Peace Memorial Park.

Piggletino’s scout wandered off to read about its history and the aspirations of the city, and an interesting sight came about. The A-Bomb dome in the picture below is one of the few buildings that remain standing from the explosion. Much of the wall shows hints of the attack, and today it continues to stand as a link to the past of Hiroshima.


Piggletino wasn’t ready for such heavy stuff, so he went a-hiding!