Month: June 2012

Bamboo Groves // Arashiyama

I still recall the first time I saw this place – in a picture gleaned from the Internet. It was then, that I made a mental note that it will be one of those must-visit places if I ever set foot in Japan. And so, there I was, one cool morning, in Kyoto, Arashiyama (京都, 嵐山). Little drizzle accompanied my day in Arashiyama, but it didn’t dampen my spirits or hinder my stroll in this breathtakingly beautiful, and almost unreal place. Standing at the start of the trail into the bamboo groves (嵐山の竹林), or sometimes known as the Sagano Bamboo Forest, I was astounded with how cinematic this place looked. Towering bamboos lined both sides of the trail (竹林の小道). As you looked into each side, you see such dramatic colors – greens so fresh, yellows so vibrant, and oranges so rich that makes this all seemed surreal. Bamboo shoots were sprouting from the moist, fertile soil. Sunlight was lightly streaming in as you tilted your head to look at the leaves atop these bamboo. Yes, some rain …

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Tenryu-ji Zen Temple // Sogenchi Garden

Located in the Arashiyama (嵐山) district in Kyoto, Japan, Tenryu-ji Zen Temple (天龍寺 or “Temple of the Celestial Dragon”) with its beautiful landscape garden, Sogenchi Garden, is a must-go before heading to the nearby famous bamboo groves. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tenryu-ji was considered first among the five great Zen temples in Kyoto. You can read more about its history here. Head here early in the morning to avoid the crowd and truly enjoy the spectacular views that the garden offers. Entry fees are ¥100 for the temple and ¥500 for the garden. Before heading to the entrance of the temple and buying the entry tickets, there is already beauty to behold – smaller shrines with exquisite gardens and the striking Torii (鳥居). Don’t miss looking into each enclave. Get your tickets at the entrance to the Temple, and leave your shoes at the shoes’ pigeon hole before stepping into the tatami-laid grounds of the Temple. For the temple, you can sit and admire the landscape garden with its koi pond, rocks, trees and …

Travel Must-Have #2 // Avene Lip Balm with Cold Cream

Whenever I go overseas, I’m always armed with a lip balm or chap stick. The change in humidity, air-conditioning, cabin air, hectic schedules, and sometimes, drinking less water than usual, causes my lips to peel so bad that I wish there is an immediate solution to relieve the pain and the discomfort. Trust me, I’ve used so many sticks, tried too many brands and even resorted to the hassle of scrubbing my lips and moisturizing every night during trips, when time could have been better used to catch up on beauty sleep. My friend recommended this amazing Avène Lip Balm with Cold Cream when I admired her nice, matte lips. From then on, there was no looking back. This emollient lip balm immediately moisturizes my cracked lips without that icky oiliness that I absolutely hate, and without that fake fruit smell. And because it’s so good, I hardly have to reapply as often as I do with other lip balms. In other words, one stick lasted long. Its antioxidant formula protected my lips as I …