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    How to have the best three days in Takayama

    Takayama - Old Town

    Takayama is a city nestled in Hida region of Gifu prefecture. Despite it being a city, Takayama’s scenery is the opposite of what you could usually see in busy metropolitans. Instead of sky-high buildings, you’d find yourself travelling to mountainous areas, lush forestry and charming villages. Whether you want to visit the Japanese Alps, see the famed Shirakawa-go or relax in an onsen village, Takayama is an excellent starting point for you.

    I went to Takayama during Christmas break last year. Being there during winter made it extra special to me. Winter after all is the best season (at least for me).

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    A Review of Mozumo & Okuhida in Gifu

    Mozumo & Okuhida

    Similar to most of the wonderful things I’ve experienced, I stumbled upon Mozumo by accident. I’ve been eyeing a visit to Okuhida onsen for some time now. I was looking forward to a much needed onsen break, after all a girl can dream of the soothing atmosphere an onsen has. Despite the limited budget I had, I used tax return and my birthday as reasons to treat myself to Mozumo. Splurging is a bit difficult to do if you are extremely frugal like me.

    Many are familiar with Okuhida onsen  because of  its open air baths and ryokans where you can enjoy views of the Japanese Alps. Okuhida is quite close to Takayama and Matsumoto so this area is a perfect excursion for those who are planning to visit these two areas.

    I ended up going with a heavy heart initially, but then I had a massive turnaround once I dipped into the hot springs. My own one. Inside the room. Here’s a brief rundown of my experience in Mozumo.

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    Best and Free things to do in Kyoto

    Are you on a budget holiday in Kyoto? Maybe you are searching for free things to do in Kyoto. You don’t need to fret because you can actually enjoy some of Kyoto’s landmarks for free!  Take Arashiyama for instance. Japan is considered as an expensive destination but like I’ve mention before, a well-thought out itinerary is the key to saving money. There are many things to do in Kyoto whether you love gardens, curious about Buddhism or excited to explore Japanese cuisine, it is possible to find places that fit both your interests and budget. Here is my list of free things to do in Kyoto.

    Free Things to do in Kyoto

    1.) A stroll in Arashiyama  and Togetsukyo Bridge

    Free Things to do in Kyoto-Togetsukyo

    I love Arashiyama for its relaxing vibe. Its proximity to the river in addition to the surrounding forests and the rural surroundings make this area one my favourite places to visit in Kyoto. Can you believe  this lovely place is one of the free things to do in Kyoto? Yes, it can get awfully touristy but  visit early in the morning or just enjoy a stroll late at night, you will see the place’s serene side.

    You can enjoy a picnic by the riverside. For a more active option, one can opt to cycle around Arashiyama and see the hidden gems of the area. Walk through the preserved district and you can also visit the two temples, each just a few minutes’ walk from the district.

    Get in: Take the JR Sagano/San-in Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station and walk for about 10 minutes. Read more…

    Cheap Guide to Kyoto: Before you Go

    Japan has a reputation for being an expensive travel destination. A trip to the country is also worth every penny so regardless of budget, I always encourage people to go. My cheap guide to Kyoto is a series that I hope will help my fellow travelers out.

    It may appear daunting to the pocket at first but a budget trip to Japan is possible. I’m a student hence I’m conscious with how I spend money and I try to research as much as I can by reading various cheap guide to Kyoto and asking people for tips.

    After several trips to Kyoto, I’ve come up with my own cheap guide to Kyoto for those of you who are interested in going to Kyoto on a budget. These are all practical tips without any extremities. Remember, do not compromise your well-being for the sake of savings. Travel is after all chance for you to immerse to another culture not be in danger. Read more…

    Rustic traditions: Oki Kagura

    Location: Nishinoshima Island

    The performance of Oki Kagura remains to be one of my most memorable experiences in Japan. There were instances that kagura was shown in anime but the performance in Oki was my first time to witness it in real life.

    Kagura, is a type of Shinto dance performed by selected individuals collectively known as sha-ke. Usually, sha-ke refers to the head priest of the shrine but in Oki, sha-ke are the local families appointed to preserve the tradition of the Kagura. Oki Kagura is quite unique, while it has remains true to the traditional Izumo style, Oki’s isolation from the mainland had an influence on how the ritual was perform.

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    Coastal sojourn at Oki Islands: Dogo

    Location: Dogo Island

    Just like a typical person, I dislike it when my computer has system errors. However, for this one time, I’m actually grateful for an error. This error led me to Oki Islands ( Dogo, Nishinoshima, Ama & Chiburijima)

    I was creating a route plan for my Kyoto trip when my computer froze and just went crazy. The focus shifted from Kyoto to the Sea of Japan. As this crazy computer calmed down, a group of islands were displayed on my screen. Four islands that looked intriguing and mysterious that I momentarily forgot my Kyoto route. I did my research and voila! Months later I arrived in this hidden gem in Japan. Read more…