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Asia Europe

How I had five amazing days in Istanbul

After a few tries, I finally ended up visiting Istanbul! A few misadventures prior to that and unforeseen changes of plans that lead to cancel the trip once, this time I flew alone and I ended up having a memorable time in this ancient city! So memorable that I decided to split this article by days.

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Asia

Visiting the Osaka Aquarium

That feeling that things are getting back to normal, when I wake up at 8am and I know that I finally beat jet lag!! I meant to use this day for the waterfalls, but at the hotel they were quite convincing to avoid any where near the mountains, and mostly if traveling alone… Ok, time to improvise! Osaka is a big city, not much of history left due the Second World War, but for sure they have interesting stuff to see. So I ended up going to the Osaka Aquarium.

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Asia

Exploring Osaka for the First Time

After finally getting to the hotel in Osaka and dropping my luggage there, I decided to explore the underground city, Umeda Underground Area, a real city underground where you can find everything!

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Asia

Last day in Koyasan and way back to Osaka

My initial plan for my last day in Koyasan? Wake up really early and go and see the monks praying.

What have I done instead? I woke up really early (for my usual time), and I went to the onsen one last time!

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Asia

Visiting Koyasan’s Okunoin Graveyard

It sounds odd when I tell someone I spend a full afternoon at a graveyard taking photos, more strange when I say that I went to a remote place mostly because of that same graveyard, but yeah, that’s what happened!

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Asia

How to go from Nara to Koyasan?

After a restless night, people snoring, packing during the night, etc, it was my turn to wake up early and even a few minutes before the alarm went of. I packed everything and I double checked if I hadn’t left anything behind, and back to the train station! It was time to visit Koyasan, in the middle of the mountains!

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Asia

The Kōfuku-ji and the Five Story Pagoda in Nara

Kōfuku-ji is another millenary temple in Nara and one of the eight Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The site of the temple consisted of more than 50 buildings, though today just a few remain, one of them is the Five Story Pagoda that is also the second tallest in Japan and considered as a symbol of Nara.

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Asia

Exploring the Tōdai-ji Temple and Kasuga Taisha in Nara

Another day, and again, time to move! It was nice to stay a few nights without having to pack again, but it was time to move to the next city. Kyoto indeed it is a fantastic city, with a lot of history, cosmopolitan, a very good connection with nature! It was a strange first impact, but I fell in love and I honestly think I could live there for a while. But it was time to move, time for Nara!

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Asia

Visiting the Kinkaku-ji Temple and Gion District at night

Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Temple

Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Temple, the temple was initially a villa until one of his owners passed away and by his wish it was then transformed into a Zen Temple. The temple that we can see nowadays is a reconstruction of the original temple, that in 1950 was burned down by a novice monk.

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Asia

Visiting the Nijo Castle in Kyoto

Nine days since my arrival at the land of the rising sun, I was still jet-lagged! Honestly, I am not sure anymore if it was jet-lag, or if it was just tiredness forcing me to sleep earlier and therefore waking up earlier as well. Again, 6:30 and I was wide awake! I did my morning routine, and then I went to the living room to take a look at my still unplanned days. The transportation was mostly the issue, I wanted something central that I could take a option B and that I still had chance to do what I wanted to do. Though, the Nijo Castle was one of my priorities in Kyoto to visit!

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Asia

Visiting the Tōfuku-ji Temple in Kyoto

I kept walking in direction to the city, and I passed through another temple, the Tofuku-ji Temple and the Zen Garden, honestly for me the garden was the most enjoyable part. The Tofuku-ji Temple is a Buddhist Temple founded in 1236, one of the five great temples of Kyoto.

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Asia

Exploring Fushimi Inari-taisha, the shrines hill in Kyoto

It isn’t surprising that I woke up really early, after a long night resting, this was kind of expected. So, why not use that in my favor? If you want to enjoy properly a touristic place, the best is to go really early so that you can be there with fewer people around you. Jet lag can also be a good friend if one knows how to use it properly, and so I did it. My first destination was Inari, to explore the shrines hill almost all by myself!

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Asia

A day for exploring Gion, Kiyomizu-dera and Yasaka-jinja

After so much walking, I decided that it was time to focus on one area and explore it properly. Gion is one of the most known and visited districts in Kyoto, so why not focusing on that area?

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Asia

Kurashiki, probably Japan’s cutest town

The hiking the day before was tough, plus all the walking around, so after my long hot shower I slept like a baby for several hours until 5:30 am. I packed my stuff, I had my breakfast and I went to the train station to head to Kurashiki. Honestly, I almost scratched Kurashiki from my list, the reviews I read sounded like the city was a total tourist rip-off place, but I decided to give it a try, why not? I like small places, probably I’ll enjoy Kurashiki a bit more. At least I know the hotel has good reviews, the Kurashiki Ivy Square Hotel.

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Asia

Exploring Miyajima and Hiking Mount Misen in one day

Another long day ahead, I set the alarm for 5am, to take one of the first ferries to Miyajima and enjoy the day properly without having to run. With time for a small hike and maybe bike. And that kind of happened… I indeed woke up at 5 am, I double checked the flyer with the touristic info for Miyajima and I saw a small detail…, the first ferry is at 8:30. Damn, can I go back to sleep? I did try indeed… I guess I was ready for Mount Misen!