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I’ve been wanting to go and see the famed momiji trees in this shrine at the earth fort called “Odoi”. And so when I saw the news that today was the peak time to see the momiji in Kitano Tenmangu, I immediately planned my visit. There was an entrance fee of 700 yen which included a tea and a snack at the end of the route.

It was my first time to see many momiji at its peak of kouyou so I was really awestruck at the colorful display of leaves. Everywhere you see was like a painting with hues of reds, oranges, yellows and some light greens! The shrine’s bright orange constructions even exudes a rather unique atmosphere. I also liked how you can view the leaves in the canopy and at the bottom part of the garden.

The tea was probably houji-cha while the sweet had a characteristic ginger taste.

Actually, the Kitano Tenmangu is more popular for its ume or plum blossoms but they’re not in season now. They will probably bloom by around early February. Interestingly, I’ve read from the shrine’s Facebook site that there were already some ume blossoming which is unusual. So I checked the ume trees after momiji viewing to see if it’s true.

So there were really some early bloomers… nice! But I will come back again for more.

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This festival is held in honor for the famous Gion Kouta or Ballad of Gion song from the film “Gion Kouta Ehigasa” and was created by Mikihiko Nagata in the Yoshiuta ochaya of Gion Kobu. This year’s maiko representatives were from Kamishichiken, the first-year Ichitaka and the more senior Umechie. The Ookini Zaidan president, kabukai presidents from the five hanamachi and the Yoshiuta ochaya okaa-san were also present to pay tribute.

Ichitaka and Umechie recited some of the lyrics of the Gion Kouta and then the participants offered flowers to the memorial stone where the lyrics of the song were etched. Finally, they gave away Gion Kouta lyric pamphlets as souvenirs.

I actually have no plan on going to Maruyama-koen to see momiji. I went here to see the Gion Kouta Matsuri that would be held at the memorial stone located at this park. But I arrived a little too early and so I killed time and went around the park and see the landscapes. Maruyama-koen has a different atmosphere, but in a good way, probably because the landscapes are Zen-inspired. It’s a different kind of beauty from the mountain scenes of Jingo-ji. Nevertheless, I enjoyed looking and taking photos of the fall sceneries.

 

Jingo-ji or Jingo temple is one of the Buddhist temples that can be found in Mount Takao in Ukyo,ku, Kyoto. I went with my international friends here for momiji-gari or viewing the momiji but we were too late as almost all of the leaves have already fallen. But there were still a few trees at its peak and the mountain scenes were serene and breathtaking so I guess it wasn’t too bad.

The origin of Jingo-ji goes back to 824 AD and has gone through many disasters throughout the history (like fire). I will quote what was written in the pamphlet that was given to us during the visit:

Wake-no Kiyomaro, who was in charge of building the new capital at Heiankyo (now Kyoto), established Takaosan-ji Temple on this site at the end of the eight century. In 824, Takaosan-ji and Jingan-ji Temples were combined as Jingo Kokuso Shingon-ji Temple.

Before the merger, Takaosan-ji Temple had played a key role in the Heian School of Buddhism, including visits, as guests of the Wake clan, by Tendai sect founder Saicho (Dengyo Daishi) and Kukai (Kobo Daishi). In 812, Kukai gave esoteric teachings of Takaosan-ji to Saicho and 190 others, laying the foundation for the establishment of the Shingon sect.

Hooray for beach summer getaway! We went to Camaya beach resort in Mariveles, Bataan just yesterday. Although I am from Bataan, I’ve never been to Mariveles. So it was my first time to experience the steep zigzag roads along the mountains of Mariveles. But we were also welcomed by a beautiful view of rocky mountain formations and terrains. And I could tell that the mountains of Mariveles are teeming with rich flora and fauna. No wonder that researchers conduct regular biodiversity surveys in these areas. During the travel, I saw collared kingfishers, bee eater, some swallows, egret and soaring falcon-liked birds which looked like Brahminy kites.

And here comes the resort experience. Although the beach facilities were generally good, the food was disappointing. The entrance to the resort included an eat-all-you-can lunch buffet, and so since we’re in a beach, I was expecting seafood, dessert, and cold refreshments. However, each guest was only offered rice, pansit and two viands. I was expecting a more lavish menu. And I was not able to pick my own serving (since I eat less than average). The beach wasn’t so great as well. The water was not very crystal clear. There weren’t many intertidal and marine organisms, but of course it was expected since it is a beach resort. But I was still hoping I’d see some sea stars. There were a few jellyfishes though.

I spent all morning and early afternoon under the sun swimming and mostly by collecting sea shells. Collecting sea shells has always been my hobby, however, I’ve been in the beach only a few times. I will make a post soon about the shells I’ve collected.

I just had my graduation picture photoshoot which included toga, formal wear, sablay, and creative shots. For my creative shot, I thought of doing a steampunk cosplay which I decided after I bought a teal-colored dress. My sister disapproved at the choice of my dress so I asked her to help me create and workout the theme since she knows a lot about steampunk stuff. And so without further ado, we started our project by buying materials such as chip board, brown Japanese paper, etc. Our budget was really tight so we weren’t able to buy laces and other accessories. However, I was able to borrow the tall black wedge boots and leather bag from my roommate and the wide black belt from my other roommate. I also have some leather belts, black arm warmers, paper beads, and gray stockings while the rest of the accessories: hat and arm band were done by my sister.

She was really incredible. Look at the details of the hat! Everything is epitome of resourcefulness and creativity. Or maybe because she is just so passionate over cosplay and steampunk stuff. Whatever it is, I am very grateful for her help. I wouldn’t be able to pull off this creative shot successfully without her.