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Otagi Nenbutsu-ji: Kyoto’s best kept secret

November 21, 2016

cool-buddha

Apparently some dreams do come true as I visited Kyoto, Japan this year. It was the most amazing experience of my life but I’m positive though that one of the best places to visit was the remote Otagi Nenbutsu-ji temple in Arashiyama.

The temple itself is about 12 centuries old and has been destroyed three times. The last time was in 1950s when a typhoon hit Nenbutsu-ji, leaving it in terrible state. In 1955 a famed sculptor and restorer of Buddhist statues named Kocho Nishimura became the head priest of Otagi Nenbutsu-ji, which was then a forgotten and desolate temple in the North of Kyoto. Nishimura didn’t have the funds to restore the temple to its former glory but in 1981 he had a magnificent idea.

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Travel Inspiration  • 

Blue flower season in Hitachi Park, Japan

April 17, 2015
flowers field japan

Photo: Azure

Late April to early May is the blooming season of 4.5 million nemophilia (baby blue eyes) in Japan’s Hitachi Seaside Park, which got everyone’s attention after tons of blog posts last year. The blue flower fields get lots of visitors which is perfectly understandable when you look at their beauty, but the Hitachi Park offers colourful sights all year round – just check out their flower calendar!

blue flowers field

Photo: kobaken

hitachi blue fields

Photo: Yumi

blue flowers

Photo: kobaken

 

Culture, Travel Inspiration  • 

Dogon country, Mali

April 16, 2015

The Dogon people living in Mali’s Dogon country are an ethnical group with distinct traditions, including mask dancing, wooden sculptures and architecture. As they refused to convert to Islam a thousand years ago, they had to build settlements in defensible positions, along the walls of the Bandiagara cliff. Their religion which involves animals, spirits and androgynous creatures, is separated into several sects who worship different gods or totems.

Dogon society has experienced many changes during the last century, as Dogon’s country became one of the main tourist attraction of Mali. The main sights include mud huts and shrines, cave paintings and funeral masquerades.

dogon_dance

Photo: El-Len

 

Travel Inspiration  • 

A temple on an island – Tanah Lot

March 27, 2015
tanah_lot_bali

Photo: Manu Hume

A picturesque Tanah Lot island just off the coast of Bali is home to a temple called Pura Tanah Lot – where Pura simply means temple. It is a part of balinese seven seas temples, each of the structures built within an eyesight of the next, and used to worship Sea Gods. Pura Tanah Lot itself is believed to be protected from evil spirits and intruders by venomous sea snakes. Whether it’s true or not, only residents of Bali can enter the temple, though it remains one of the most popular tourist attraction on the island.

Editorials, Travel Inspiration  • 

5 most incredible places in Sardinia

March 25, 2015

Sardinian beaches

Sardinia, an Italian island on the Mediterranean, is mostly visited for its top-rate beaches and great weather. What most of the tourists are missing though is one of the oldest and most mysterious cultures of Europe, deep forest ravines and one-of-a-kind natural wonders. Each day of my visits to Sardinia was a great adventure and it was hard to choose the most unforgettable experiences, but here goes:

Su Nuraxi

Sardinia nuraghes

Sardinia had for centuries remained the home of a mysterious Nuragic civilization, who built distinctive megalithic towns, fortresses and temples, generally called nuraghes. Though they left over 7 thousand of those monuments around Sardinia, little is known about those people, their religion, origin or even the purpose of their constructions.

The most famous place to explore the mystifying nuraghes is Su Nuraxi site near Barumini town – maybe you will be the one to solve the mystery of ancient Sardinian people…?

Golgo plateau

Donkey in Sardinia

The best place to get to the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia – Cala Goloritze and Cala Sisine. Golgo is interesting by itself, with its San Pietro church, donkey pastures, natural swimming pools and… the biggest sinkhole in Europe. Su Sterru might not look impressive, but the though that this 270 metres (885 ft) deep hole was used for human sacrifice can give you the chills.

Capo Caccia

Neptune's Grotto Sardinia

The peninsula near Alghero town has a lot to offer to the tourists who visit it: panoramic views on the sea, great beaches and the famous Neptune’s Grotto. This 4 km long cave, with many of its chambers hidden under water, is one of the most prominent attractions of the island. Even the steep stairs by the sea are worth a visit.

Orgosolo

Sardinia Orgosolo

This town in Sardinian mountains is famous for murals created here since 1968. The paintings tell the history of Italy but also engage in political and social discussion. Artists, even from outside Sardinia, are encouraged to add their own murals.

Visiting Orgosolo can be interesting from another reason: its locals are native Sardinians, unlike the Italians on the coast. Though they now speak the same language, their heritage is different from the rest of Italy which is clearly visible in small towns like this one.

Cala Goloritze

Cala Goloritze

Cala Goloritze remains my favourite place on Earth and I still can’t even believe I’ve even been there! Turquoise waters and rock formations distinguish Cala Goloritze from other beaches in Sardinia and, as it’s unaccessible by car, the number of tourists isn’t overwhelming. You, too can get to this paradise by taking a trekking route from Golgo plateau (1,5 hour one way) or renting a boat.