A Japanese Adventure: Towering Brilliance and Bite-Sized Beauty

After having petted and fed deer, and after having found some unique souvenirs (special post on that coming soon), it was time for another Japanese lunch!

Now, I have to confess, I don’t remember the name of the restaurant.. which I feel quite guilty about and I’m going to have to do some research… research done… itinerary consulted…  it was called: “Matsumotoya” .. 🙂 (Couldn’t find an appropriate web site/link)

It’s a restaurant as well a snack and souvenir store. They had a sign out front, with our name on it… literally! What a lovely welcome.

It was refreshing, and quiet.. just what we needed. The food was simple and delicious. I savoured every bite. It’s amazing how much you can grow to love a cup of cold water after the outdoor adventures!

Verdict: Bento = Fabulous! Loved every bit of it (and yes, I helped myself to what my sister didn’t finish off.. haha!)

There was quite a bit to see in the store. As always everything was ‘Kawaii’! 🙂

The beauty about Japan, and this came as a surprise to us, and to those we told after our trip, a lot of this snacking and shopping is not particularly expensive.. in fact, coming from Dubai, you may find a lot of goodies that are much cheaper than what you’d pay back home.

After lunch, we headed to the Horyu-Ji Temple!

Background:
Horyuji Temple (法隆寺, Hōryūji) was founded in 607 by Prince Shotoku, who is credited with the early promotion of Buddhism in Japan. Horyuji is one of the country’s oldest temples and contains the world’s oldest surviving wooden structures. It was designated a world heritage site in 1993. (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4104.html)

Prince Shotoku (574-622), a member of the imperial clan, exercised political leadership from the end of the sixth century to the beginning of the seventh century….[…]…He created Japan’s first constitution, known as the Seventeen-Article Constitution, which established rules for officials engaged in political affairs. For example, it stipulated that officials serving in the imperial court must obey the orders of the reigning monarch and that there must be fair trials. Prince Shotoku also devoted his efforts to the spread of Buddhism in Japan, building many temples and dispatching envoys to China. (http://web-japan.org/kidsweb/explore/history/q1.html)

It’s actually just a 5-10 minute walk from the restaurant and on the way we came across a little untouched beauty:

The temple is an architectural, historical and engineering marvel… of that there is no doubt…
One can only wonder at how they were designed to be able to withstand natural disaster and the passage of time… it seems the only weakness that all ancient wooden structures we have come across is… fire.

Our tour guide, was helpful as always, making sure we went through the brochures and guides we were given, and making sure we understood the significance of each structure, each statue and each site.


We also visited a museum area, however, photos were not allowed, and words cannot accurately describe the well preserved artifacts: statues, tools, clothes, tablets, and structural models – a fascinating experience!

As we made our way out of the temple we stopped at one my favorite Japanese delights:
A vending machine! 🙂  Unfortunately, the pictures aren’t clear due to the lighting used in the vending machines – they add a bit of a flicker.
– Interesting things to note: ‘Fanta Melon’ – never seen that before!
– I asked a Japanese group member for a recommendation of a drink to try… Something ‘Japanese’ and they recommended ‘Calpis’ ..!
I did try it and it was refreshing and delicious!

Background:
Calpis (カルピス) is a Japanese uncarbonated soft drink…[…]…The beverage has a light, somewhat milky, and slightly acidic flavor, similar to plain or vanilla-flavored yogurt or Yakult. Its ingredients include water, nonfat dry milk and lactic acid, and is produced by lactic acid fermentation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calpis)

Our next stop was a shopping district followed by a delicious Moroccan dinner… which I’ll cover in my next blog post.. 🙂

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