06 September 2013

Bus Trip to Ikaho (Part One)

Hello, how are you guys ? So sorry for not updating this blog for about a week. As you may know from my previous post, I went to Kyoto and was staying there for about 5 days and then proceeded to stay in Osaka for one night. It was a really fun holiday no matter the unfriendly weather we had to encounter that time, and not to mention how completely tired I am right now. But thank God, I feel so satisfied with everything I've done during this summer holiday. I even met new friends and did a lot of fun things together ! I'll tell you more about my Kansai trip later, I promise ! :>

Taking bus trip for the second time, this time together with Cho-chan, a sweet friend of mine from China, we traveled to three prefectures in just two days. They are Saitama, Gunma and Tochigi. It was an impressive bus tour, and the good thing about the tour was that there were only 8 people who joined in it, so we could enjoy every single thing a bit more slowly and no rush at all every time we got on the bus. Moreover, everyone in this tour was sooo kind to Cho-chan and me, may be because we both were the youngest among the tour members (the other six members were in the same age as our parents).


It was raining for a moment but then the rain stopped soon after we arrived at the first destination, Menuma Shoudenzan. Menuma Shoudenzan is a Shingon Buddhism temple located in Kumagaya city, Saitama Prefecture. Its official name is Kangiin Shoudendou. In May 1735, it was designated as Saitama Prefecture's first National Treasure.


This temple is quite unique comparing to some temples that I've ever visited before. The fretwork along the temple's wall is interesting, as well as the colors that make all the things look so vivid.


I forgot the name of the restaurant where we were having our first day's lunch, but I still remember very well how tasty the Okirikomi Udon (thick white noodles), their signature dish. But at first, let me apologize for my stupidity for  not taking the picture of it. I was too absorbed in eating it, period.

Cho-chan felt happy after finishing her meal. 

A delicious warm manju (bean-jam bun) that we got for free as we entered a gift shop. Happy !


We reached the second destination. Ikaho Ishidan Machi, a breezy area located in Gunma Prefecture. Yeah, we left Saitama already ! This place is interesting, kinda look like an old town of Japan. Ishidan means stone steps, so yeah we had to climb the stairs to stroll in this small town. Both sides of the stairways are loaded with souvenirs shop and several ryoukan (Japanese-style hotels) that offer onsen (hot spring). Yap, Ikaho is famous for its hot spring so it is often called as "hot spring city".


If we climbed further till the end of the stairway, we could find a shrine at the top of the town. But unfortunately we didn't make it due to duration. So it's time to go downstairs...


We ended up our first day's trip in this town. Not a really tiring day though, because the first day's itinerary wasn't that busy. 3:30 p.m, we headed to our hotel that located in another place of Ikaho. We spent a great night there enjoying hot spring and delicious dinner. We really loved the hotel ! No wonder that it was the highlight of this tour. It was a Japanese style room complete with a beautiful mountainous view from the window. 

Well, I think I'll keep that story for the next post because I have to do another thing now. So, see ya and take care ! 

xx,

Shabrina

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