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Kansai(Kyoto, Osaka)

Day 1-2: A total of 15 of us left Honolulu for Tokyo, a cosmopolitan city of about 13.6 million people in Japan. Although we arrived late at night, some people still had energy to explore the area closed to the hotel in Shinjuku. Day 3: After a sumptuous breakfast, we were all ready to explore the city. We first headed for Tokyo Tower, lead by our bilingual guide, Kimiko. The weather was cloudy but we could see the massive expansion...

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Day 1&2:  A total of 21 people met at Honolulu Airport around 10:30 am.  The airport was unbelievably busy with so many tourists going to places during Spring Break.  After extra long lines at the JAL check-in counter and the security check point, we could finally reach inside the airport around 12:30 pm.  After about 9 hours of a long flight to Kansai Airport, we encountered another long line at the immigration in Osaka. It took...

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Temples are one of the most recognizable and ubiquitous sites in Japan, but did you know that big temple complexes have smaller sub-temples?  Just as you’d guess, a sub-temple is a smaller temple on a larger temple ground. In fact, some temple complexes do not have a main temple, but rather are a group of sub-temples on temple grounds. This is actually quite common for many of the larger temples, such as Daitoku-ji Temple....

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When you set foot in the Land of the Rising Sun, you’ll notice the ubiquity of temples. Temples, temples, temples everywhere; from the heart of Urban Tokyo to the depths of Kyushu’s jungles, from the rustic country side to the scenic mountains, temples are everywhere. These historic monuments are all unique and rich with history and culture, but each one tells a different story— what’s your favorite?   Tofuku-ji’s story starts in...

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You’re probably wondering what could be so controversial about a Zen temple, just like I was. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ryoan-ji Temple (Temple of the Peaceful Dragon) is home to one of the most famous “Karesansui,” or Zen rock gardens; the origin and meaning of this garden are still contested by historians. The garden still remains today; the only plant life being the moss around the rocks. Sitting on an...

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Fushimi Inari Taisha has become one of the most visited and reviewed shrines in Japan. Situated in Kyoto, the shrine was founded in 711 during the Nara Period, being one of the oldest shinto shrines in Japan. Fushimi Inari plays a key role as the headquarter of the 40,000 Inari shrines scattered across Japan. Inari is “the god of rice” and represents “success and prosperity in business.” Therefore many...

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