It was another early morning, and we drove out of Matsumoto towards Nagano. As we got farther from the city center, we were able to see that Matsumoto lies in a basin — surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides. Green mountains with patches of reds and oranges near the lip of the basin, snow capped mountains farther on.
Zenko-ji at Nagano City
We arrive at at the Zenko-ji Temple, where we were met with Mr. Mikinori Komatsu, a representative of the Nagano Prefectural Government. Along with our tour guide Yoshi, he took us around the temple grounds and answered our many questions.
Continue reading Chubu Day 3: Nagano, Obuse, and Matsumoto
I woke up relaxed and refreshed, thanks to our dip at the onsen the previous night. After a heavy breakfast at the hotel, we were soon pulling out of the drive and into Takayama. It’s Sunday, which meant that there’s a morning market by the Miyagawa river. Our bus driver parked beside the Takayama Betsuin Shourenji, and together with the group, we walked down Yasukawa Street. It was the same route I took in April 2012, and once again, I felt grateful for the opportunity to come back.
Something hot to keep you warm, yet there is also an ice cream stall right behind.
Continue reading Chubu Day 2: Takayama, Shirakawa-go, and the Shin-Hotaka Ropeway
We felt the cold weather as we stepped off the plane unto the jetway. Stuck in the middle seat for three and a half hours, I made a beeline for the toilet as soon as I am inside the airport terminal, and was reintroduced to the wonder that is the Japanese toilet seat. Mmmmm, warm and toasty.
Beautiful autumn colors on the drive from Nagoya to Gujo
Continue reading Chubu Day 1: Gujo City and Takayama
I am back from Japan, missing the cold weather and my daily dose of Hot Lemon. The trip was a great way to cap my year, as I turn 34 tomorrow.
By the riverside in Takayama
The Chubu region lies in the center of Japan, with Nagoya as its main domestic and international gateway.
Continue reading Getting to know Japan’s Chubu Region
A couple of years ago, I have given up on going to Japan. Back then, it seemed like an impossible dream. Then I won round trip place tickets to Osaka. I took that as a sign that I am indeed meant to fulfill one of my travel dreams. After that first trip to Japan, I felt elated and so empowered: if I were able to achieve that dream, I can go and visit the other countries in my list.
I was starting to go down from that high, and I started putting off going back to Japan further and further away, when I received an invite from the Japan National Tourism Organization. It’s hard to ignore when the universe throws you such an obvious sign, along with a multiple-entry visa.
So here I am, back in Takayama, a place I said I must visit again. As a bonus, I also get to visit Shirakawa-go once more, and discover other destinations in the Chubu region. It also seemed as if the universe has something up its sleeve, when Cebu Pacific announced their flight to Nagoya, the gateway to the region just days before we left Manila. You are awesome, universe.