Part 2: Magical Autumn Leaves

4:08 PM artcher 0 Comments

I love trees and now I love the Japanese red maple tree especially!

Osaka's Minoo Park, Nara's Todaiji Temple and Kyoto's Tofukujii Temple's garden have shown me how beautiful autumn can be decorated by all those red maple leaves.

Why did the leaves turn from green to red or orange during Autumn season? My internet research told me that it is because the leaves are reacting to the shortening of daylight hours as winter is approaching. The green chlorophyll in the leaves are breaking down, leaving behind the other color tissues from the leave before it finally fall from the trees…ahh…so that is actually the color of the leaves dying… Sad but still beautiful isn't it.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” 
― Albert Camus

And that quote explain how I felt about the leaf…

My travel to Japan was specially chosen on the 3rd week of November which is believe to be the best time to visit autumn in Japan if you want to see the peak of the vibrant autumn leaf. The chilling atmosphere and vibrant foliage makes the trip all worthwhile. However, the occasional rain did spoilt 2 of our original plan to see more garden and park. But it is part of nature, so we shouldn't complain :)

Notice the wet maple leaves in the pictures, it's because it was drizzling when we visited the location. I've actually picked a few leaves from the floor to decorate my photo album and they've all turned brown but still looking attractive because of their unique star pointed shape.

I think for every effort, time and money spent on traveling, there should always be a focus or a memorable experience that you can keep in your memory bank for as long as possible… and I'm trying my best to collect them...


Part 1: Preparing for Autumn trip to Japan

1:45 PM artcher 0 Comments

 I just came back from my 11 days trip to experience autumn in Japan, mainly Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. It was a long awaited holiday for me to get away from my usual routine in life. It wasn't easy for me to decide and actually go for any tour due to many many nonsense-but-reality-reason in life, which is too bothersome to explain to anyone.

Planning and researching for any self-guided tour is tedious and time consuming. My objective for this trip was to see the autumn leaf and I'm so glad that i did, and I don't mind the crowd of people that had the same idea as me. It's too beautiful not to share the view and my experience with everyone.

Preparation before the trip

  1. Do a digital travel planner, list out all the itinerary (I use the iPad App - Number) and sort them by the day of my 11 days trip. Preferable only 1 to 2 places per day, because traveling in Japan by yourself involve changing multiple subway lines and walking a lot (most of the old subway station only have stairs or if you want to spend extra time looking for elevator and walking extra steps)
  2. I bought my SIA plane tickets about 4.5 months before my traveling date at a promotion deal for 2 at S$1,552 inc travel insurance (SIA provide the shortest traveling time from Singapore to Osaka and return from Tokyo to Singapore in Airbus 330 / 380 when I compare with all other available airline at the time of date.
  3. I booked my 3 hotel stay for 3 different city from which is easy to search and compare hotels for best price, location and good review. (the best prices and option for some hotel get fully booked as early a 5 or 4 month in advance, no joke! Best is to get hotel that provide breakfast also, save money and time!)
  4. Go back to your travel planner and file in all estimated expenses to get a auto calculation for total budget. Expenses will include transport fee (get estimation from Google map that give you the fare between 2 locations), meals, tickets to temple, amusement park, shopping etc. I brought along JPY$218,000.
  5. Prepare good walking shoes, down jacket with hood to protect from rain in Nov. It's cold and occasionally rain. Good lip bum, moisturizer, muscle cream (we had to buy all these from the local pharmacy when we were there..LOL)
  6. Bring minimal luggage, because if you are travelling on budget like us, you will tend to do a lot of walking carrying your luggage up and down stairs between stations when you are traveling to different city, or just bring a strong man with you..LOL)
  7. This is important!!! We booked online in advance our Icoca and Haruka packages consists of a ticket that can be used to travel from Kansai Airport to Osaka and a Icoca prepaid card valued 2000 yen which allow us to use and top up the value on all subway and train in the 3 city except for Shinkansen. The package can only be collected at Osaka airport station with printed copy of your airline e-ticket when you arrive on date. More info here.

Phew~ So much to prepare ya? But if you are reading and considering taking the same route as me, you've already saved quite a bit of time on research already :)

to be continued… time to do some work.