Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji, Kyoto

If you’ve been to Kyoto, chances are that you’ve been to Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺). It is one of most visited places in the ancient capital of Japan.

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The Golden Pavilion has three levels, each carrying a distinctive architecture style: shinden (11th century aristocracy) on the first level, buke-zukuri (warrior residence on the second, and Chinese Zen (Buddhist temple) on the third. Continue reading “Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji, Kyoto”

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Plum Blossom at Kitano Tenmangu, Kyoto

Kitano Tenmangu (北野天満宮) is a Shinto shrine located in northwest Kyoto. It is built in 947AD to honor Sugawara no Michizane.

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An important scholar, poet and politician of the Heian period, Sugawara no Michizane (菅原道眞) read poems at the age of five and wrote Chinese poems at the age of eleven.  Continue reading “Plum Blossom at Kitano Tenmangu, Kyoto”

Gion Kawakami, Kyoto

After making a brief stop in the snow laden Kanazawa, we arrived in Kyoto late afternoon to a brilliant sunset.

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For dinner, we went to Gion Kawakami (祇園川上). It turned out to be one of the most satisfying meals we’ve had in Japan this time around. Continue reading “Gion Kawakami, Kyoto”

Churchill, Canada

When our Saab 340 turboprop landed in Churchill, the captain switched off cabin lights, and the world around us turned pitch black.

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Churchill is a remote town in northern Manitoba, on the west shore of Hudson Bay – the second-largest bay in the world. Continue reading “Churchill, Canada”

Elliott Bay Trail, Seattle

Elliott Bay Trail is a short walking/biking trail, twenty-minute walk from the touristy Pike Place Market. It is ideal for visitors of the Seattle area who wish to enjoy a great view without the crowd.

The trail starts from the Olympic Sculpture Park, goes through Myrtle Edwards and Centennial Park. There are interesting Pacific Northwest artifacts along the trail , such as a totem pole Continue reading “Elliott Bay Trail, Seattle”

That’s a Wrap – 2016

2016 isn’t a big travel year for me. I’ve only been to three countries: Japan, Iceland and Greenland. Both Japan and Iceland were re-visits.

My top 3 most memorable moments in Japan are all related to snow:

#1 seeing the elegant red-crowned cranes in the snow in Hokkaido:

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#2 snapping tons of photos of the Japanese snow monkeys:

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#3 staying at a farmhouse in the village of Shirakawa-go and waking up to snowfall: Continue reading “That’s a Wrap – 2016”

Fête des Lumières – Lyon, France

At night fall, the festival begins.

According to the program, there are 78 performances, displays and light shows around the city of Lyon. It is daunting, if not impossible, to see all in one night. So we decided to focus on one area and see as much as possible in that area.

Since we were already in Vieux Lyon, we started the walk from there…

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Encounters @Saint-Jean Cathedral As you arrive to the square lighted at 360° from a mysterious monolith, you will enter into a flood of light and discover the architecture of the cathedral and the buildings around the square in a new way. Variations in colors, intensity and patterns trace pathways across the city to the accompaniment of interweaving musical compositions.

Then we moved across the Bonaparte bridge, following the opening theme of Lawrence of Arabia (see video recording below), to this grand symphony show on the banks of the Saône river. Continue reading “Fête des Lumières – Lyon, France”

Christmas in Seattle

It is true I don’t write enough about Seattle. I figured everyone else has already done that. Only this past Sunday when the rain finally stopped, I decided to venture out and play tourist for a day.

First things first, a good lunch at the Pike Place Market Atrium Kitchen.

Continue reading “Christmas in Seattle”