Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Cat cafe

Nara Day Trip

Tuesday morning we set out for the day to visit Nara. Along the way, we stopped at the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. This is one of my favorite Shrines. Fushimi Inari Taisha has many parallel rows of Torii know as Senbon Torii or thousands of Torii gates.

The grounds are so expansive. There are multiple shrines of all different sizes. This was one of the larger ones. Many people were making their wish.

This large Torii near the center of the main shrine leads the way to the Torii paths.

As we walked up, we saw a cute lucky cat on the Shrine. He was there during our entire visit!

The passageways with all the Torii are really unique to walk through. The Torii were donated by local businesses. The writing on the Torii identifies the donor. The smaller Torii cost about ¥400,000 or ($4,000). The larger ones cost well over ¥1,000,000!

We waited patiently to take a few pictures without people. Well, almost with no people. The sweet lady in the last one waited while our picture was being taken.

The Shrine is dedicated to the God Inari, the Shinto God of rice. I also love the foxes serving messengers and sent to protect the shrine.

We left Fushimi Inari Shrine and caught a local train to Nara.

The first stop in Nara was at the Kofukuda-ji Temple. The most prominent feature of this temple is the five story pagoda.

The main temple hall is adjacent to the pagoda. Cindy was able to obtain another temple stamp. While we were waiting for the nice man to complete the stamp, he asked where we are from. Chicago, we replied. With his limited English he replies, America and Trump. Yes, we laugh. America and Trump. 🇺🇸🙄

We worked our way through Nara Park on the way to the Kasuga-Taisha Shrine. Cindy had a chance to see all the deer. Perhaps the best entertainment is watching people feed the deer. Before too long, she was ready to buy them treats.

Quickly they came running!

Oh, how funny. They start out so sweet. Before long they are aggressive and nipping your butt!

The deer were hilarious. Check out this one. He’s sticking his tongue out at Cindy.

Eventually, we found a sweet one.

We continued our walk through the park and worked our way towards the Kasuga-Taisha Shrine. This shrine has many lanterns along the path as you approach. They are so cool with the moss covering them. Occasionally, you will spot a deer with the lanterns.

I loved this picture. I was able to capture Cindy in the middle of so much Japan. The deer, the lanterns, the couple in the Kimonos, and the Torii gate.

The deer fountain to cleanse before visiting the shrine.

After our visit, we walked across the park again to the last temple on our Nara tour. The Tōdai-ji Temple is home to a large bronze statue of Buddha Vairocana. The building is 157 feet high and remains one of Japan’s largest wooden buildings.

We enjoyed our walk through the temple and viewing the Buddha. As we made our way back to the train station, we decided there was one more thing on Cindy’s Japan list we needed to complete. We needed a visit to a cat cafe. With ease using Google Maps, I was able to locate a cat cafe in Nara very close to the train station. For ¥600 we spent 30 minutes pestering and playing with the cute and not so cute kitties.

This guy was asleep in the toy box!!

We caught a limited express train back to Kyoto and enjoyed a delicious pizza for dinner.

This was a great day. We saw 4 Shrines/Temples, deer, and cats. It was a fun day exploring and experiencing Japanese culture!

Harajuku

I went to Harajuku with my neighbor and several other spouses to celebrate her birthday. Harajuku is the common name for the area spreading away from the Harajuku Station in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo.

Harajuku is known internationally as a center of Japanese youth culture and fashion. Most recently, Gwynn Stefani has helped to promote the area. Harajuku is “kawaii” overload. There are many shopping options. Everything from big name retailers like Nike, American Eagle, Gap, Chanel and Ralph Lauren to smaller, youth-oriented, independent boutiques. There are also lots of restaurants and cafés. Not only coffee cafes, I counted three cat cafes and an owl cafe. 

Our first stop was the Dominique Ansel Bakery. There are three bakeries worldwide. New York, Paris & Tokyo. They are famous for their “blooming cocoa.” The marshmallow is cut into a cute shape and then set into a ring of chocolate. The ring of chocolate melts once it is placed in the hot cocoa, causing the marshmallow to appear to bloom. 

Marshmallows in a ring of chocolate

Hot Cocoa

Finished product- blooms in cocoa


To accompany our cocoa, we enjoyed lime custard cronuts. Yummmmmmm



Takeshita Street is the main boutique area of Harajuku. There was so much going on…


We walked off our breakfast in order to make room for cotton candy. Magic Mountain Cotton Candy. It was ridiculous. So many layers! 


And as a result, it was ginormous! 


How about this little cutie! 


Harajuku is on my list of must return and on Julia’s tour when you visit. If we are lucky we might see a “Harajuku Girl” or boy… 


Rainy Day = Cat Cafe

What better place to spend a rainy day than a cat cafe? My friend, Laila, and I went to the Cat Cafe in Kamakura. The building is easy to spot, although, I didn’t realize it was a cat cafe until a couple of weeks ago. The train the cat is holding is the Enoshima Electric train that takes you from Kamakura to the small island of Enoshima. One of the stops along this train line is the Great Buddha. 


This cafe was a little bit different than the one we visited a couple months ago. For starters, they served food. Yes, food. The thought of eating at a cat cafe grossed me out. Especially, when all that was served was curry. The pictures alone are unappetizing and the thought of a cat hair in my food. Blah. Gross. 


On the third floor was the cat cafe and on the second floor was the gift shop. We went to the cat cafe first. You don’t have to order food, you can just order a drink. I ordered a green tea latte. I was pleased it came with a lid and it tasted alright. 

There were fewer cats at this cafe. They were however, more playful than the cats at the other cafe. I think there were six total cats. 

The cats had no boundaries. Once we saw them climbing on the tables, we were happy we decided not to eat. 


One of the other customers bought a bag of kitty treats. They all came running when she opened them. 


This picture makes me laugh – she’s taking a picture with her flip phone. Notice the charms dangling!! 


A couple of the cats were bold and would come over for pets.  


Or to clean their butt. On the table. Yeah, definitely glad I’m not trying to eat food.


None the less, it was fun to get a little cat love and spend some time relaxing. 


After we left the cafe, we went to the gift shop. There were all types of cat souvenirs. Including a GIANT cat. 


A huge Zen cat and of course lots of maneki-neko. 


When you visit and you fancy a trip to a cat cafe, I will suggest we go to the one in Yokohama. Despite being a little further away, I like the atmosphere and the larger space and more cats. Plus, as I mentioned, the food factor was pretty gross. 

Must Love Cats

One experience that is truly unique to Japan is the opportunity to visit a Cat Cafe. Dave gave me a thumbs down a couple weeks ago when I suggested we visit the closest one in Yokohama. Hmmm… Although, I could do this solo, I thought having a friend experience the adventure would be more fun(ner). Fortunately, I met my new cat loving friend, Laila, at Ikebana a couple of weeks ago. 

Off we set on the train to Yokohama! 


When we arrived at the Cat Cafe Miysis, we were greeted by a happy and English speaking Japanese lady. She explained to us the pricing structure. The base price is ¥1300 ($13) for 70 minutes in the cafe. Included is a beverage of your choice, coffee, tea or oolong tea and unlimited pets. We were also provided a set of rules in English. We left our shoes at the door and our purses locked in a locker. When we entered the cat room, we were greeted by a happy cat who meowed and walked through our legs while we washed our hands (part of the rules). After that, we had 70 minutes to relax and pet the numerous cats. Although, there were three cats we were warned about and told not to pet because of their bad tempers. 


The other cats were more than friendly and enjoyed hanging around. All enjoyed pets and a couple would come to you and sit on your lap. 


On their collars they have name tags. The big Maine Koon Cat, Kyle, was my favorite. He was like a puppy cat. Although, he was more cat in attitude. 


Cat cafes have several purposes. They act as a shelter for some cats who are hoping to be adopted. Also, they provide a place for people who can’t have pets to relax and enjoy time with furry friends. For my Neko Atsume friends, look what I saw at the entrance. 


I asked the owner where I could find the Neko Atsume Nekos. She pointed at the “gumball” machines behind me. In these, I asked? Iie- no. In others? Hai – yes! I now have a new thing to be on the search for during my travels!! 

Honestly, the Cat Cafe Miysis was pretty fun. As with most Japanese establishments, it was clean and tidy. A nice feature they had available was a lint roller to remove the cat hair from your clothes when you leave! I can definitely see a return trip in the future. Might as well, I have a couple stamps already on my point card and I can’t wait to earn the red star! Wonder what my present will be… A free cat or just meow mix?!? 

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