O-Torii – A Boundary Between the Spirits and the Human Worlds

As I mentioned from my previous post entitled “Miyajima Island – Island of Gods” that introduced a bit of Miyajima Island, on the way to the island while we were in the ferry, I had a chance to see O-Torii during high tide. And I was amazed of what I witnessed because the sceneries were all picturesque for me.

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O-Torii while in the JR Ferry

From the local restaurant that we had lunch we walked along the pathway near the shore where some local stores are available on the left side and on the right side the O-Torii was already visible from a far.

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O-Torii (Grand Gate) is a symbol of Miyajima Island and the belief that surrounds it is that Great Torii is the boundary between the spirits and human worlds (reference: visit-miyajima-japan.com). Learning that facts is one of the interesting  information I got for the said island and it was a way to understand a bit why the island seems to be sacred to Japanese.

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O-Torii

When we were closer with O-Torii, the water subsided a bit compared to the high tide that I saw while in the ferry. Seeing such structure on the inland of the sea was pretty amazing but to learn more that it stands on its weight was more mind-blowing. Because of that fact, natural calamities that passed by in Japan did not affect the Grand Gate and as we can see, it still magnificently stands to where it is.

After few hours in Mount Misen, we descended the mountain the same way we reached the summit which includes trekking, riding a cable car and taking a bus.

When we reached the ground, we explored the Itsukushima Shrine.

O-Torii and the surrounding area (water subsided)

After the exploration to the sacred shrine of Itsukushima, my sister and I walked down to the O-Torii since the land was dry from sea water due to low tide. We had a chance to approach the Grand Gate and we had lots of photos of it.

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Up close and personal with O-Torii

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Home : Tabunan Beach

Home (Post#25) : Tabunan Beach

Last year of my travel in the island where my family roots begun, I had a quick visit and a bit of walk in Tabunan Beach at Banton Island in Romblon province. Above photo is just one of my collection during my walking tour along the beach. The beach is located at the western side of the Island in Yabawon where my uncle Napo lives. Photo captured last March 2015.

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Precious Moment In The Mountain : Mount Misen

Precious Moment In The Mountain (Post#24) : Mount Misen

While roaming around in Japan, one of the mountain that we had a chance to visit and even had a chance to trek a bit was Mount Misen. Mount Misen is considered as sacred mountain in Miyajima Island (Itsukushima Island). We enjoyed the scenery while we were on our way to the top through gondola and tram lift. And more when I reached the summit of the mountain. The photo above shows some of the islands that are visible from the mountain. Photo snapshot captured last September 2015.

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Miyajima (Itsukushima) Island – “Island of Gods”

After we decided to visit Miyajima Island that day, we walked back to Hiroshima Station from the hotel to take JR Sanyo Line. We used our JR Pass when we took the train and we got off at Miyajimaguchi Station. From the station we walked a little bit and we took JR ferry (other ferry available is Matsudai Kisen) using our JR Pass. The said ferry brought us from Miyajima Guchi to Miyajima Island. The travel time to the island was around 10-15 minutes.

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Onboarding JR Ferry

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Looking towards Hiroshima City while on our way to Miyajima Island

On the way to the island, I felt fascinated with the torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine, while in the ferry I was able to see the gate with high tide that makes the gate so wonderful. When we reached the pier of the island, first thing we did was having lunch in one of the local restaurant in the island not far from the pier which has old township design. Inside the restaurants settings was Japanese traditional home style from its table, flooring, seats and its overall interior has all Japanese ambiance.

Miyajima Pier (Miyajima Port)

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Local Restaurant we had our lunch

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Different variety of Okonomiyaki

When I did my research about Hiroshima, I found that there is famous menu not to be missed while visiting Hiroshima and I learned that is called Okonomiyaki. In the restaurant that we had lunch in the island we ordered variety of Okonomiyaki. I can’t remember the specifics and because my family was not really a food adventurer, I decided to take 3 orders for the 4 of us which was enough as they serve it full in big plates they used. And to be honest, we enjoyed the food. My whole family seems to be satisfied specially my mother whom somewhat picky and does not like to try unfamiliar menus in the table. We’ve got full and enjoyed the restaurant for a while.

After the lunch we started our exploration to the island. I am curious why the island is special and why it was considered to be one of the Best Views or Top Scenic Spots in Japan.

The following significant interests that we discovered while roaming around the island are:

O-Torii (Grand Gate)

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Itsukushima Shrine

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Mount Misen

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Miyajima’s Temples / Halls

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I will post separate articles of the things we saw and experienced on these significant places.

Until then.

 

Hiroshima – An Introduction To The Home of Two World Heritage Sites

Because Hiroshima is very far from Tokyo, I booked a domestic flight in ANA Airlines, where I found the cheapest price available at the time that I was booking the flight because I was able to maximize their offer price for foreign visitors.

After watching Sumo event and after spending time in Akihabara, when we reached the hotel, we immediately packed all our stuff back to our luggage since that night was the same as our last night in the hotel. We woke-up early in the morning as our flight was around 7AM and our airport was Haneda Airport, which is another airport located nearer in Tokyo compared to Narita Airport, the entry point we had in Japan.

From Kayabacho Station, we took Tozai Line to Nakano, transferred at Nihombashi, changed to Ginza Line to reach Shimbashi Station. At first we planned to take Monorail Line which mean we plan to go to Hammamutso station. When we were waiting at Shimbashi Station for the next train, we found out that the next train goes directly to Haneda Airport, I asked one officer in the train to confirm if the next train goes to Haneda Airport, and he confirmed it. We took the said train. When we were inside the train, my sister and I checked the next station that the train will stop by and we quite surprised because it seems it has too many stations on its route. Then, my sister and I keep monitoring the next train stop and we were thankful because it bypassed many stations, as time really matters for us in that situation because we were catching up with our flight schedule.

When we reached Haneda Airport it’s just right time, we’re not too early nor too late. The flight from Tokyo to Hiroshima took at least an hour and that flight actually saved us a bit of time. We touched down at Hiroshima Airport passed 8:20 AM in the morning and got off the plane passed 8:30 AM. Because we’re new, we did not realize that the bus schedule to Hiroshima Station is closer to our arrival schedule, therefore we were left behind even before we can buy our bus ticket (which can be get through automated machine) and we waited for the next schedule which was after an hour. When the next bus arrived, we boarded the bus immediately. The airport does not have train station and the only way to go to Hiroshima Station is through bus. The bus travel from the airport was around 45 minutes to reach Hiroshima.

At Hiroshima station, since it’s our first time again in another city of Japan, we really don’t know where to go to reach our hotel in the city. That problem was forgotten a bit after I saw the JR Train Line office at the station. I booked our ticket train from Hiroshima to Kyoto to reserved our seats the next day we travel. We scheduled to spend almost 2 days to go around in Hiroshima.

After booking the train ticket, we got off at the station and followed few people as we thought they were exiting the station. We ended up leaving the station in a wrong way. We passed the station docking area and underground way since we still did not realize where majority people goes when passing the station. We learned the right way later that day.

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River View from our Room

Even we used the wrong way in getting off the station, we were still able to find the way to our hotel. We did not take a cab as I booked a hotel just near Hiroshima Station. We reached the road Johoku Dori and turned left and then we crossed the bridge. After crossing the bridge, the hotel accommodation were after comes next. We stayed at Hotel Century21 Hiroshima located at Hijiyama Dori. In that hotel, we got a room with tatami room and river view. I really like the room that was assigned to us by the hotel.

The only plan that I had in mind initially in Hiroshima is to walk around in downtown to see the city and its historical places. I checked some brochures that I picked-up from the airport so I can plan and add more to the basic itinerary that I had.  My sister and I talked about what we’re going to do for the day while we were in the hotel. I had Miyajima in mind as additional to Hiroshima city. We discussed which one will go first, at first my plan was the city then Miyajima Island. My sister thought opposite. Her idea was more sensible than mine since the afternoon of the next day, we’re planning to go to Kyoto which is another famous city of Japan and very far from Hiroshima. So we decided with agreement that we will go and explore Miyajima Island first and followed by the city the next day.

Because of limited time we had, the major places we visited within Hiroshima Prefecture where two of world heritage sites can be found, they are:

1. Miyajima Island, Hatsukaichi City

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2. Hiroshima City

Hidden Panorama - Hiroshima Prefecture

Japan Highlights At The First Visit

I know that it’s been a while since my last post. After being busy in a project at work, I was busy planning my next out of the country adventure this year together with my family.

Traveling in a country with visa is most likely a dream to me because your chances to see that country is whether the visa application is approved. If the visa approved we are really lucky. If not, the hope will probably gone as there’s no way to come to that country in a normal and legal way.

When I heard that Japan loosen a bit of its strictness in processing visa specifically for tourists visa to promote their tourism, I put some thought to visit the country since last year. Then, I waited my chance for cheap airline ticket since I am planning to travel together with my family (with my parents and my youngest sibling). Last February this year, I received alert email from one of the budget airline in my country and I grabbed my chance to book tickets for myself and my family. Honestly, it was difficult to get cheap ticket with combined promo rate both for departure and arrival flight but with perseverance I was able to find combinations of dates for our travel.

Almost 7 months had passed and I’m still not sure if we can really travel to Japan for many reasons. And last August, I processed all our visa applications and submitted it to one of the authorized travel agency of Japan Embassy as their office does not accept anymore applications directly from applicant. I completed all the requirements and prepared for the visa fee. I applied a single entry for all of us. And after 3 days of processing, the agency called me and notified me that the visa were already approved. I was ecstatic when I heard the news, because the major worry of the travel planning if we can push visiting Japan got resolved. When I returned to pickup the passports, I was surprised for one thing. I received a multiple visa for 5 years in Japan while the rest of my family just got single entry. For me and my family, being approved even for single entry in Japan was one of the great things happened because it gave us a chance to see the country even for once. I just thought that if there is a need to re-apply for visa, it will be probably easier because we’ve had a record that we had visited Japan.

Even before visa application processing, I already started searching places to visit in Japan. Since after the booking of our flight, I have hope that I will be able to see Japan. When our visa approved, that’s was the time I made a real itinerary. I planned the places to visit and the accommodation where were going to stay. I aligned all the accommodations that we need to all places we planned to visit. Since I’m always on a budget, I selected hotels walk able to and from the train station, as I learned that taking a cab in Japan is quite pricey. I also bought necessary advance tickets such as train pass and sumo ticket to reserved guaranteed slot for my family.

My family and I traveled the country within 10 days, these includes two flights to and from Japan. In total we spent at least 8.5 days roaming around in Japan.

Here are the following places we’ve  got a chance to visit.

1. Tokyo

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Akihabara

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Ueno

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Asakusa

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Tokyo Skytree

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2. Yokohama

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3. Mount Fuji and Kawaguchiko

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Kawaguchiko

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4. Miyajima and Hiroshima

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5. Osaka

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6. Kyoto

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Our trip was really quick by I tried to see as much as we can since I was with my family. In the next coming post. I will described the experience that myself and my family had in our first visit in Japan.

Until then.

View At My Window : Strahan – Risby Cove

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View At My Window (Post#23) : Strahan – Risby Cove

When I got a chance for 3 days adventure in Tasmania, next biggest island to the mainland of Australia, I had opportunity to experience the island. Part of the itinerary is to stop over for a while in Strahan, a small town located near the cove. For me after seeing the harbour from upper area, I had a glimpse how beautiful the places is. For me it is a perfect place for a rest house used for a getaway from busy life in the city. Photo captured during my adventure in Tasmania last June 2013.

Home : Capones Lighthouse

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Home (Post#22) : Capones Lighthouse

During summer of 2009 (March 2009), the mountaineering group where I belong used to schedule summer adventure every year and that year was quite a lot. One of the itinerary we had that time was Capones Island where historical lighthouse built. It was historical because it is one of the oldest light station exist in my country. It was first lit last August 1, 1890. The light station still active until today and its lenses has been replaced, but the sad things about it is its surrounding area was left ruined and as far as I know it still the same as of this writing. We took a boat to reach Capones Island to visit this historical site from Anawangin in San Antonio Zambales.

Name Of The Place : Flinders Chase National Park

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Name Of The Place (Post#21) : Flinders Chase National Park

When I visited Kangaroo Island in South Australia, one of the National Park we visited was Flinders Chase National Park which includes two geological monuments such as Remarkable Rocks and Admiral Arch. After seeing the two geological monuments, I also enjoyed the nature within the park, some areas nearby Remarkable Rocks had captivating scenic views and discovered the other life form that lives in the island. Photo snapshot captured last May 2013.

Life Of Others : Kangaroo Island – Sleepyhead Seal

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Life Of Others (Post#2) : Kangaroo Island – Sleepyhead Seal

It was my second day in South Australia and I was in Kangaroo Island when we saw this one. Seal which was sleeping at the time we went to Seal Bay. This was just one of the seal we saw, and majority of them did the same thing as if the bay is their hibernating area after coming from the sea. Photo taken last May 2013. One thing really confused me was its similarities of seal and sea-lion, until I searched what’s the difference. I found out that seal has small flipper, wriggle on their bellies on land and lack visible ear flaps while sea-lion has large flipper, walk on land using flipper and have visible ear flaps.

This post has been updated to add the link of and to participate in the following:
Saturday’s Critters – February 27, 2016

Name Of The Place : Port of Benoni

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Name Of The Place (Post#17): Port of Benoni

As we were traveling to Camiguin through ferry, I saw this port name before we dock to the island. The port is part of Mahinog Municipality and one of the ports in the island. Photo captured last October 2012.

Home : Boracay West Cove – A Boxer’s Champion Mansion

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Home (Post#16) :  Boracay West Cove – A Boxer’s Champion Mansion

When we did a beach adventure while in Boracay, I never expected to see this mansion in Boracay West Cove, I heard from friends that this is owned by our famous boxing hero Manny Pacquiao. I did a little bit of searching in the net and it seems what I heard is true. Anyway having this kind of home in prime island in my country such as Boracay shows the wealth of the person. Photo captured last March 2012.

Home : Kayangan Lake

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Home (Post#15) : Kayangan Lake

When I got a chance to return to my country while I was assigned in Australia for work, I grabbed the opportunity to visit some part of my country which really famous to both local and foreign tourist. I am referring to Coron Island. Coron Island per Philippine Geography information is part of Calamian Group of Islands which located at Northern part of Palawan province. The said island is not only popular for its pristine beaches but also of its paradise lakes which hidden inside the island itself. Kayangan Lake is one of the lakes that are hidden and before you will be able to see it, there is a little bit of trek which is worth to be doing to see the paradise scenery. Photo captured last August 2013.

Chromatic Outlook : Race Rocks Lighthouse

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Chromatic Outlook (Post#14) : Race Rocks Lighthouse

Photo above was the Race Rocks Lighthouse that I saw while I was still in whale watching adventure when I visited Victoria City in British Columbia province of Canada. As per Wikipedia, this lighthouse is just one of the lighthouse that was built on the west coast of Canada between 1859 to 1860 which is quite a historical lighthouse because of its age. Photo captured last June 2008.

This post has been updated to add the link of and to participate in the following:
Black and White View – Jul 11, 2016
Black and White Wednesday – Jul 13, 2016
The Weekend in Black and White – Jul 15, 2016

Home : At Mantigue Island Nature Park

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Home (Post#5) : At Mantigue Island Nature Park

The photo above was one of the view to appreciate and enjoy while at Mantigue Island (Magsaysay Island) Nature Park. The island is near in Camiguin Island province which located at Bohol Sea in Philippines. Our visit in the place were part of our Camiguin Adventure which includes Mount Hibuk-Hibok (Catarman Volcano) climb. This photo captured last October 2012.

This photo is related to my post under Name Of The Place category:
Name Of The Place : Mantigue Island (Magsaysay Island)

Name Of The Place : Mantigue Island (Magsaysay Island)

Name Of The Place (Post#3) : Mantigue Island (Magsaysay Island)

I captured this photo when I joined my mountaineering group to travel in Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin last October 2012. Mantigue or Magsaysay Island is part of Camiguin province which is an island province in Philippines located in Bohol Sea.

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Home : Twin Lagoons, Coron

IMG_2603Home (Post#2) : Twin Lagoons, Coron

Coron in Palawan is one of my bucket list to see in my own country. Coron dream materialized last year Aug 2013, when I was scheduled for two weeks holiday back to my country. I thought that my sister and I wont make it to arrive in the island, during my original flight and tour schedule, my country had been hit by a major typhoon, I tried to rearrange the schedule and since I had justification for not able to come in the place due to weather conditions, the schedule has been moved and at last we finally able to visit this wonderful place around Coron. The photo above was one of the lagoon and there is another one behind me when I took this photo, wherein we did a quick swimming as it was high tide that time to pass through a cave like entrance to see its twin lagoon.

Whale Watching, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Race Rocks Lighthouse

After I arrived in Victoria inner harbour through floatplane, my first scheduled activity was whale watching. From inner harbour airport of Victoria I was instructed where to go next so I can meet the group that I will be joining for whale watching. It was my first time to join such an adventure and I never seen a whale for real.

I arrived at the dock station where the whale watching tours that I will be joining was located. At first, I thought I am the only one in the tour because I haven’t seen much of people where I was standing. I met the guide for the whale watching adventure and then he gave me an overall uniform. At first I was confused why I need it, but when I saw other people in other boats wearing the same thing, I just followed as what instructed to me. Then, people coming by one group and another. When all of us were ready wearing our track suit and warm jumper uniforms, we hopped on the boat. I sat near the rear side of the boat. When every body were on boarded we almost filled up all the space in the boat. The next thing happened was, we started moving away from the harbour.

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Snapshots during whale watching

After few minutes passed and we had some distance from the harbour, our captain and tour guide in the boat gave us a warning to hold on tight which I did and then we hit the sea as if we were racing with another boat. Every time there’s a big wave our boat didn’t slow down and I knew that was one of drivers trick for us to made us feel we were like riding a roller coaster. Everyone seems enjoying it, I enjoyed it. While we were looking for the whale I also took the chance to look around the surroundings and took a quick snapshots. We moved from one place to another, still trying our luck to catch a glimpse of whales. It took us a while in the sea. And I estimated 30 to 40 meters from us, we saw whales, there were two whales that we saw. They showed their selves to us trice but it’s really quick, and for those times I was not lucky to take photo shots as we don’t knew when they going to appear again. But even that was the case I was still lucky to see them in their natural habitat, in the sea.

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Race Rocks Lighthouse and surrounding rock islands

After looking for whales, we went around the Strait of Juan de Fuca at Western part of Vancouver Island. I like the sceneries from the boat. Some shots that I got were looking towards Vancouver Island, while other shots looking towards USA as we were near at the border area. We also visited the Race Rocks Lighthouse were we found small islands and rock islands in the area before going back in Victoria harbour.