August 21, 2011

[Keihanshin] Kobe: Arima, Kachoen, Kyoto

August 20, 2011

Weather: Cloudy

<Section 1>
Location: Kobe Arima Onsen (有馬温泉)

Woke up at 5:30 a.m. (yes, this early again), I prepared myself for a nice buffet breakfast. The weather was still cloudy; it looked like it's going to rain anytime.

The hotel's breakfast area was large. I posted a few hotel pictures in the last article, and you could see how beautiful the hotel was. I believe I forgot to mention the name. It was Kobe Portopia Hotel, and we were told that the hotel could be used as a place for international forums, VIP meetings, etc.

Anyhow, I guess I would start the second day by introducing my delicious semi-Japanese breakfast.

=D (sorry for the ham)

We got on our touring bus and headed directly to Arima, a region in Kobe known for its hot springs. Arima is a sub-urban region. Most of the buildings were old and made by wood, yet there were still some tall buildings such as the Arima Toy Museum (Japanese) which I will get to it later.

The nice and quiet Japanese style street

Oh by the way, I also saw some crazy things in a frame entitled "Famous People Who Came to This Hot Spring," and out of those few famous names listed, I saw Sun Yat-sen (孫文) and Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石)! This is getting so cool XD

Arima Onsen, Logo: "Golden Hot Spring"

In second column from left, first two on the left column!

Because I didn't go into the hot spring (and I was blamed and yelled at by my friends for not going into it...but people, you gotta be NAKED! I CAN'T STAND FOR IT!!! Okay anyhow), I had enough time to walk around the area with my mom and younger brother.

The street was really beautiful thanks to the ancient Japanese houses; the road was narrow and only one car could pass at a time, but we Asians could always somehow figure a way to squeeze our vehicles into an area even if it's only half a meter wide.

Magazine shop (ancient ver.)

Japanese street (ancient ver.)

Another Japanese street (ancient ver.)

Beautiful eh? So we went to the Arima Toy Museum after the hot spring event (Sam! Where is your fancy phrases for transitioning between paragraphs!?). The Toy Museum was kind of boring but was gorgeous (somehow). It is amazing that ancient children could play around with those toys for a day (no sarcasm, seriously), and it is really wonderful to how those toys were played.

One of the most impressive exhibition was a really large Europe-style manor. It was very detailed and the crafting was beyond awesome.

Nice European manor

Making me feel nostalgic D=

Our tour in Kobe city ends here.

<Section 2>

The next stop was Kobe's Kachoen. Kachoen was designed to exhibit special-looking plants and animals, as well those that are not special but not usually seen in real life.

In Kachoen, we saw lots of crazy looking birds; those birds are not scary but cute looking. Most of those were really well-behaved and doesn't attack people easily unless they were really provoked. Another thing worth mentioning: I think the animals were trained to look at camera whenever the lenses appear. I found that most time they were more than willing to look into my lenses than just fly away from me.

Beautiful garden

Crazy looking beautiful flower

A weird looking bird (or chicken) (or peacock)

Love this creature! So boss-ish looking!

These two were so lovely and made me want to kill them O_O


For some reason, I feel that this creature has a pretty perverted face...

Cool looking owl!
There was not much to blog about Kachoen as most things couldn't be described by words. You will see a slideshow at the end of this post and be able to view most photos I've made public. Hope you will enjoy it.

<Section 3>

Kyoto was one of the few cities in Japan that have preserved many ancient buildings. The one we visited was Nijo Castle. It was a really cool castle; the material they used to build the floors was really sophisticated (at the time) for its weird noises. The material was selected so that assassin or murderers' footsteps could be detected.

Nijo Castle front gate

Ticket to the Nijo-Castle

A pool inside the Nijo Castle.

It was a very gorgeous castle, but not as gorgeous as Osaka Castle (will talk about in the next post).

<Section 4>
Location: Kyoto Downtown

Kyoto Downtown

We left the Nijo Castle and we went directly to Kyoto's downtown area. The downtown of Kyoto was really busy looking, much like Tokyo's downtown, although Kyoto's atmosphere is much younger.

We first got into the Kyoto Station, one of the largest and most beautiful transit stations I've ever seen. It is said that the station was once nearly destroyed in 1995, and was thus rebuilt to meet the demand of mass transport. The rebuilt was, in my opinion, extremely successful and from the looks of it, new Kyoto Station really attracted many tourists to the city.

Kyoto Station, from top

Outside of Kyoto Station

Outside of Kyoto Station

Kyoto Station, bottom view

After we were toured around the station, we went to see the Kyoto Tower. It was not as beautiful as Tokyo Tower so I will not talk too much about it; however, I would still post a picture of it.

Kyoto Tower

The izakaya we went to
Our dinner was at a really nice izakaya (居酒屋). The name of the restaurant was called "醉心"; since I don't know how to translate that into romaji, you would have to either DIY or just whatever the two characters.

Izakaya is probably one of the most popular and representative culture of Japan. The food in izakayas are normally light and simple, mainly consists of skewers and roasted/fried food. Most of the time when you go to izakaya, you would want to order rice-based wines (sake) or beer (or, at least, coke/juices/other drinks) because the name really means "a place for alcohol."

Pictures below are some of the "special contents" from me since I want you guys to envy me =P:


Chicken skewers

Inside of the restaurant; not really a "traditional" izakaya but with good enough decorations

Before we went back to our hotel, we had a really nice after-dinner snack...the Matcha Latte!


The trip to downtown Kyoto ended as we finished our nice snack. The hotel of today was a bit smaller than the one last night, but was still a very nice hotel. It was also a high class place, and the decorations make you feel "OMG SO BEAUTIFUL" but "meh not really as good as expected" after you entered the room.

Nice entrance

So-so hotel room

Thanks for reading, will see you next day!

Bonus Content: Second Day Picture Slide Show


  1. LOOL at your captions for the bird pics. The lovebirds are so adorable > < and I love the feel of the old streets so peaceful looking!! I wonder how they picked the different materials to differentiate between assassin or not LOL

  2. HAHAHA yeh i love that green birds, they were like squeezing into each other LOL the old street was really nice, just like something we usually see in Jap dramas that take place in counties or sth; the material was called "Uguisubari(鴬張り)," hear the sound at