We left our hotel early to visit the beautiful 해동 용궁사 Haedong Yonggungsa Temple 海東龍宮寺 located by the gorgeous coastline (see the feature image above).
It was a 30-minute subway ride to 해운대 Haeundae Station 海雲臺站, followed by a 10-minute cab ride. It was already quite crowded when we arrived at 9am (the temple opens at 5am till sunset and there’s no admission charges).
We made our way through the stalls selling snacks, souvenirs, and even vegetables, before reaching the entrance. We were greeted by the stone statues of the 12 zodiac signs, plus many other stone figurines (some were seats!). There were also some beautiful cherry blossoms, and it was really pleasant 🙂
Despite the crowd, things were quite orderly. There were many statues and small figurines within the temple, and we found the visit quite interesting. The ocean view was really gorgeous, and we spent a fair bit of time enjoying the scenery. We’ll let the pictures do the talking 🙂
Today is 初一 (First day of the Lunar month), and our parents wanted to have vegetarian food and visit a temple in the morning.
The famous 龍山寺 Longshan Temple is one of largest and oldest temples in Taiwan, and quite near our hotel, so this was our top choice. Also, there were other places of interests in this Mengjia (Monga) 艋舺 area, so we figured that we would spend the morning here.
We reached 龍山寺 Longshan Temple around 8.30am, and it was already pretty crowded, with prayers on-going, and the whole temple engulfing in incense smell and chantings of prayers.
Once our parents were done, we went to the 祥光健康美食 Xiang Guang Health Delicious Food across the street, which was highly recommended by the hotel staff when we researched for vegetarian food.
We had initially wanted to visit another island 直島 Naoshima Island today, but we realised that the ferry and bus timings were too few and not too compatible, and decided to give it a miss. After getting some suggestions from the Tourist Information Centre at 高松 Takamatsu, we decided to go to 琴平 Konpirasan (or sometimes spelt as Kompirasan), the location of the famous 金刀比羅宮 Kotohiragu Shrine, as there was plenty to shop, eat, see, and… Climb! Oh yes, it was a good 785 steps one way to the main hall of the shrine 😛
We still had a valid JR Rail Pass, so it was free for us to travel there. We took the 8:25am train from 高松駅 JR Takamatsu Station, and arrived at 9am to a still sleepy 琴平駅 JR Kotohira Station… There was hardly anyone around. The train station building itself was quite different from others, as it had this European-style to it.
During our 1 day stopover in Kyoto, we had originally planned to go for the night illumination at 清水寺 Kiyomizu-dera. However, it had been a rather hectic itinerary for us so far, and 清水寺 Kiyomizu-dera seemed rather far away.
Instead, after hearing great reviews from a colleague, and also read many good things, we decided to go for the nearer 高台寺 Kodai-ji Temple instead, as we wanted to be nearer to the 祇園 Gion area.
We wanted and had hoped to try to catch some 紅葉 autumn colours from the maple leaves during our trip, but it was so difficult to find reasonably priced lodging in 京都 Kyoto, so we decided to stopover at 京都 Kyoto for 1 day (and stayed in a capsule hotel) before returning back during the later half of the trip. 東福寺 Tofuku-ji Temple was the place to try our luck for the day time… and we were so so glad that we made the effort to come here!
As we had our JR Rail Pass activated, we took the train from 京都駅 Kyoto Station to 東福寺駅 Tofuku-ji Station on the JR Nara Line, and from there, it was an easy 10-minute walk to the temple as we basically just followed the crowd.
While the peak was probably over, it was amazing to see the red, orange and yellow colours all around us… simply stunning, and totally worth the ¥400 per adult entry fee! We’ll let the pictures tell the story 🙂
After our sumptuous lunch at the Farmer’s Market, we took a train to Asakusa and visited the 浅草文化観光センター Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center observation deck first.
This was a new building and it wasn’t there when we last visited Tokyo individually (but then it was really really long ago that both hubby and I visited Tokyo individually). 🙂
From here we could get a bird’s eye view of the 仲見世通り Nakamise Shopping Street which is a lead-up to 浅草寺 Senso-ji Temple.
Asakusa is a nice area to visit, with an impressive 雷門 Kaminarimon Gate leading to a street of cute, traditional Japanese fares and wares, right up to an equally impressive 浅草寺 Senso-ji Temple which is the oldest temple in Tokyo and one of its most significant.
During our previous trip to Hong Kong, we enjoyed the Ping Shan Heritage Trail 元朗屏山文物徑 very much. This time, we decided to check out 筲箕灣 Shau Kei Wan, which was a fishing village in the olden times, and now, a place quite popular for food. We roughly followed the guide by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, that would bring us to various places of worship (link below).
But first, we needed breakfast! We took the MTR to Shau Kei Wan Station 筲箕灣站. From Exit A2, we walked along Aldrich Street 愛秩序街, and turn left into Kam Wa Street 金華街 to the Shau Kei Wan Street Market 筲箕灣街市. It was a very bustling place, with many locals doing their groceries, fishmongers with their fishes jumping around… What a sight!