Shrines. Bamboo. Torii.

In Asia, it is really popular for tourist to go to different cultural places, such as shrines, nature sites, and food spots. The shrines that are in and around Osaka all look the same in some aspects, but have unique features that set them apart. We went to a couple of shrines in Osaka and Kyoto. When I went to each of them I really liked the feeling that was surrounded in each space. There were some that were very quiet because it wasn’t a tourist’s hotspot and some that were very loud and bustling with crowds of people. Being in some of the shrines was very relaxing and a great experience, while others we just wanted to visit quickly and leave because of the crowds.

One of the Shrines we went to was the Shitennoji Temple in Osaka. When we got to the gates of the temple, we saw schoolgirls coming out of a school that is located right by the temple. There were different statues around the front of the temple grounds, where people could pray and reflect. One of the statues was a water hole where you cleanse your hands and body using the holy water that is coming from well. We did the process wrong at first, but we know that we were all still in the right mindset. We walked around the temple grounds and looked at the different shrines that were around. We had to be very quiet because there were a lot of older people around praying and enjoying the peace, so we didn’t want to disturb them. After we left the shrine, we walked to another one that was very close by. The Namba Yasaka Shrine was different because it was smaller and had different aspects. When we got there, there weren’t a lot of people around and it was also quiet. We just relaxed a little bit and then left for the day.

The best part so far of Japan in my opinion is the nature around Osaka. Since Hong Kong doesn’t experience changing colors of the leaves, it was really nice to be in a fall state just like back home. Wherever we go, there are always different types of leaves on the ground and a beautiful mixture of color. We went to Kyoto to visit the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, and the Bamboo was beautiful. It took us a little over an hour by train to get to Kyoto from Osaka, but it was worth the ride. On the train, we saw the countryside and the houses in Osaka and Kyoto, which was really nice to witness outside of busy Dotonbori. Being able to see real bamboo all around was great! I really liked being able to see the way that they grew and how tall they grew. After walking through the grove, we stopped by some of the shrines that were in the area. The scenery by the river was so peaceful and relaxing, so we sat there for a while. We took some pictures to remember the scenery and our time in Kyoto.

The last shrine that we went to was the Fushimi Inari Taisha also in Kyoto. I was really excited to see the shrine because I have seen pictures of it online before. At this shrine, it was very packed because it is such a popular place to visit. Unlike the other shrines, it was very noisy, so I felt it wasn’t that relaxing. We kind of sped through the shrine to leave quickly because we had other sites to knock out and to get out of the crowd. The torii path was nice to walk through because of the color and the experience. We took pictures on the path and walked as far as we could. It was nice to get to see something I have always wanted to see because it is just the start of me visiting more places in the future. We have a couple of more days in Japan with exploring and also studying of course, but I know we’re going to be doing some more cool adventures.

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