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If you are in for an adventure paired with lengthy, quirky, brutal honest thoughts then you are in the right place.

My name is Arisa and was a cosplayer for 12 years in Malaysia before settling down in Kyoto, Japan. Exploring Japan full time has been a long time dream of mine, so let's explore it together!
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Jonangu Shrine (城南宮) | Spring 2019

Our family trip last week brought us to Jonangu Jinja, and by now the shidareume should be in full bloom; during the time we were there it was about 60%, still a decent amount and quarter the usual amount of crowd too which is a good thing as i'm not too fond of crowds and having a baby along with us being mushed like sardines in a can isn't a very good idea. Towards the end of winter offers a beautiful view of plum blossoms which looks rather similar to the famous sakura trees, air tickets and accommodation around this period is also rather low; many would assume there isn't much to see since it's still too early for sakura viewing but the next closest thing you can experience is plum blossoms. Anyway when you take photos with one, not many can tell the difference lol often these 2 plants are mistaken as each other due to their similarities and to tell them apart one must observe its petals.

 These particular species of plum blossoms are called "Shidareume" or like how the danna likes to call it"gudeume" a.k.a lazy plum blossoms lol

These are normal plum blossoms, their grow outwards instead of downwards

Plum blossom petals are rounded 

Definitely easy to spot because sakura petals have indentations on each side of its petals

It also starts blooming early February (late Jan) and reaches it's peak during the 1st week of March (more or less depending on the weather changes yearly).

Can't miss this stone, from here just walk straight. 

Mostly private line buses passes by this route, apparently one of the buses i got on doesn't accept our usual ICOCA/SUICA pre-loaded cards unless it's WAON card (cashcard under AEON) or cash.

As a Kyoto local (for 10 months), believe it or not i have not heard of this place before (so sad lol) so it was a refreshing sight to try something new during my off day. Easily accessible from Kyoto station by bus, but one must plan their timing right as the bus frequency on an hourly basis is probably 1-2 only compared to normal city buses that can be caught every 10-15 mins.

Inner part of Jonangu Shrine

Jonangu has a rich history on it's own, being one of the oldest shrines around Kyoto established during Heien period; it's name literally translates to "The shrine south of the capital". The popular practice of Kyokusui-no-Utage (Wandering stream banquet) is carried out here during spring (April 29th) & autumn (November 3rd), this annual reenaction completed with historical garments is a sight to behold, it enables visitors to experience how things were carried out by ancient nobles.

You can read the full details about Jonangu shrine on this website i found, it's pretty impressive that they listed out every single detail about the shrine: http://jpmanual.com/en/jonangu
It's basically your Japan's e-manual instead of taking those paper pamphlets from the entry gates lol.

On the shrine grounds, there is this little pop up stall where you can get seasonal wagashi
We bought the "Tsubaki mochi" only available during tsubaki season (winter) for 540 yen

You can even buy and bring back your own ume plant! 
For overseas visitors, you probably need a special permit to export these guys out lol
Was so tempted to get one for the house because it is quite cheap, my only concern is that it would die under my hands.

 Aside from offering a spiritual experience, visitors can take this opportunity to stroll around their extensive garden- Rakusuien
It's roughly 30,000 sq. meters garden offers beautiful seasonal views all year round, so happened that right now one can catch a glimpse of Tsubaki (Camellia) coinciding with the Shidareume blossoms; a mesmerizing contrast of colors indeed. In Jonangu they have roughly about 150 ume trees planted here in, giving it a floral curtain view for one walking down the garden pathway, can totally imagine this sight during full bloom but i'm just too scared of the crowds!!

The garden's vast collection of plants earned the nickname as the "Garden of Tales of Genji" because 100 plants that was mentioned in the books can be found here as well. I can't exactly remember all of their names as much as i love flowers but if you can name them all (without googling) you definitely deserve a flower power medal lol.

Walking around the garden

I like this picture but unfortunately my camera decided to focus on the oji-chan's butt.

Fallen Tsubaki under shidareume

Take pictures with all the beautiful ume plants, it does give a "sakura" feel to it!! 
My first time catching them as i always had no luck with flowers, either too early or too late for it. Hmph!! Who else is like this too?

This is the Rakusui-ken (Tea house-楽水軒)

A garden view facing Rakusui-ken tea house

A mini rest stop to recharge after all that walking

These rocks and pebbles are just so aesthetically pleasing to look at lol

A miko (shrine maiden) will serve you matcha & wagashi for only 300 yen at Rakusui-ken tea house!

Jonanrikyu-no-niwa (dry landscape garden)
See nobody in sight, so peaceful to come during non peak period

The danna praying at one of the sub-shrines -Karawatari-Tenman-gu (唐渡天満宮)

Last Ume shot, i promise lol!

What surprises me most is how Jonangu shrine closes at 4.30pm which was rather fast for a somewhat "tourist" area, as we left around 3.30pm for late lunch and came back to a rather deserted area. Think the best time to do sightseeing is always in the morning before 11am because that's when crowds are lesser and the sun lighting isn't too harsh to take nice photos as well. It's really hard for use to leave the house super early these days because lil penguin is a late sleeper, so her highness wakes up only at 10-11am; if you wake her anytime before that she'll be super grouchy (i've tried and regretted it lol)!

I also learned something new, these special public phones are meant to only call taxis and it's FREE
FOR ALL TO USE! Not kidding, such omotenashi service provided; one of the many reasons why i love Japan. They have solutions for problems that you never knew existed in your life (yet) lol.
It's actually meant for the ageing population who don't bring mobile phones around and can also be a useful service for tourists in case your phone runs out of battery. So keep a look out for these public phones next time!

Though the surrounding area may seem rather quiet with not much eateries around except the prominent McDonald's signboard near the bus stop where we got off; but if you walk straight out from Jonangu shrine grounds (upon exiting the garden) there is a nice family friendly Japanese restaurant to dine at called Minetora!
We stumbled across this place thanks to google maps lol, everything can be easily googled these days.

 Minetora Japanese restaurant

Sets that are super affordable! 
To me one set can be easily eaten by 2 people

My first time seeing sesame seeds being served like this lol, i learned that the reason why they do this is that so customers can enjoy the freshly pounded scent of sesame seeds before it's being eaten.
Like how some places allows you to grate your own wasabi so that it's still fragrant & eaten fresh.
This all makes sense now, something you'll find #onlyinJapan

We came to a conclusion that babies like what all adults are holding, look at that chubby mischievous face

The danna's tempura set

Their fried squid is so yummy! 
Reminded me of the ones i had back in Fukuoka last year!

My nabe+ udon + sashimi set for only 1,600 yen!! 
This is too cheap seriously.

Do drop by here for a meal after visiting Jonangu! 

More details and updates on Jonangu shrine can be found on their official website page: www.jonangu.com/english.html

Yours Truly,

1 comment:

  1. Looks so magical!! I love how the cherry blossoms look so pretty, and your macro shots look so crisp and vibrant! 😍


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