Hello hello! We're still in beautiful Kyoto. Temple and shrine visits are a must-do here. I had time to wander around the other day and stumbled upon random ones but today, we'll get down to business and see the most famous and top-rated places in Kyoto.



April 11th, 11AM - Ryoanji Temple (龍安寺, Ryōanji), Kyoto.

Firstly, the famous zen rock/dry garden and my personal favorite, Ryoanji. The picture above shows the pond surrounding the temple and is not actually the temple yet. Why I absolutely adore this place is because in addition to the temple itself, you will find various breathtaking views in the area. Let's start with the pond area:



 Same pond, different framings.

The place is also rich in greens. Tall trees surrounded paths and luscious moss covered the ground. I can almost smell the fresh air and serenity from here. It's a huge place, so it won't feel overcrowded. However, I'll still recommend to visit early in the day or at the end of the day for best experience.



Mosses and sakura petals look so good together.


These are all the views on the way to the temple. Now, let's go see the temple.

The Kuri building, previously the temple kitchen, now serves as the main entrance.

Miniature of the rock garden, providing a bird's-eye view of the layout. You can try to zen-out and interpret the garden's meaning, but the popular interpretation is "a tiger carrying cubs and crossing river/pond/sea".

The actual garden. The sakura tree makes the view more spectacular.


Behind-the-scenes. Since no one is allowed to step foot onto the lower area, people gather at the corridor to take pictures and stuff. Not so zen after all eh? If you really want to zen, come early in the morning or right before closing time.

Leaving the temple.

It's not the end of beautiful sceneries yet. Ryoanji has gardens on the path out too. I was not expecting it at all and was in such awe of the views.

How can I not? I stepped out, thinking the visit is over, and was greeted by this. 

I've never seen an exit path look so welcoming.





The stuff HD TVs in the stores have on display.

Almost entirely covered by petals.

Close-up of the mosses.


Alright, that's all for Ryoanji. Moving on to the next attraction, but before that..

Ice-cream break!



April 11th, 12PM - Kinkakuji (金閣寺, Golden Pavilion), Kyoto.
This is the magnificent Golden Pavilion that is completely covered in gold leaf (top 2 floors). 

It is one of the highest rated attraction in Kyoto. I can see why, this place is super photogenic. But that's about all. Personally, I ranked it rather low in my list because taking photo is all you can do there. Almost like camping across the Angkor Wat puddle for a photo, only this time it's across a pond. From the photos, you can't tell how many people are there with their tripods and selfie sticks, but there are many.

It was a touch-and-go visit for most people, 15 minutes top. We entered and were directed to the photo-taking spot, where everyone else is. The Golden Pavilion is so far across the pond but it looks amazing with its surroundings. 

The other photo spot with a closer look of the structure. Kinkakuji is yet another Zen temple and believe it or not, it has burned down many times throughout history (since 1400's!) This structure you see here was rebuilt in 1955.

The first floor is built in the Shinden style used for palace buildings during the Heian Period. The second floor is built in the Bukke style used in samurai residences.The third floor is built in the Chinese Zen Hall style, with a golden phoenix on top some more!


On the way out, you can see the White Snake Pagoda, a small structure in the middle of the pond. 

Outside, there's a small rest area with souvenir stands and FOOD, of course.

Dango covered in sesame sauce and a sprinkle of gold flakes. After seeing the Golden Pavilion, must eat some gold also ma, correct?

Mitarashi dango - chewy bland dango with sweet-salty sauce.

Okay, since this post is so lengthy thanks to the pictures, I'll call it a day for now! See you again, hopefully in a day or two!

~ヾ(^∇^)




ALL JAPAN 2015 POSTS:
Day 0.5 - Getting There. And Tsukiji.
Day 1 - Ueno Park. “Hana Yori Dango”.
Day 1 - Sensoji. And an Adventure at Night.
Day 2 - All Things Ghibli (Museum).
What to do when you lose your JR Pass.
[SHORTS]: My First Airbnb Experience.
Day 4 - Hello Kyoto! (Intro).
Day 4 - Eastern & Downtown Kyoto.
Day 5 - Ryoanji and Kinkakuji.
Day 5 - Arashiyama & HORSE SASHIMI?
Day 6 - Fushimi Inari-taisha & Nishiki Market.
Day 7 - Gotta Catch 'Em All in Osaka. And they don't have mints at Mint Bureau.
Day 8 - Kaiyukan & Umeda Sky Building.
Day 9 - Universal Studios Japan.
Day 10 - Osaka Castle and Den Den Den Den Town + Dotonburi.
Day 11 - LAST.





April 10th, 3PM - Philosopher's Path, Kyoto.

Philosopher's Path is my favorite place of all time. It was actually 5 minutes walk away from my Airbnb in Kyoto, so I could conveniently explore it at my own time. It is a path lined with cherry trees, with several temples and shrines nearby. 


I remember feeling super serene walking along this path and exploring the area. Partly because it was drizzling so I had the entire place to myself.



I walked through many houses too and kept smelling miso soup. Miso soup on a rainy day, mmmm. There were some small shops among the houses too and I saw this one with a chalkboard stand outside with the words "apple cake" on it. Wah, apple cake sounds fantastic. I must be pretty hungry that time, because these memories stayed on my mind vividly.

 More shrines and temples.

A video of the surroundings, just as a gust of wind came and created a blossom fall.




I didn't plan any places of interest to visit at all in this area. The shrines and temples you saw in the previous post and the one below, they were all chanced upon.






 April 10th, 6.30PM - Downtown Kyoto.
I forgot the exact street name but it was somewhere around Shijo-dori and Sanjo-dori, where all the nightlife is. At that time, I thought I was in Gion but it was actually a bridge away.

There were plenty of shops and restaurants. Some bars and dodgy looking places too. Looks like a good place for strolling. But first, dinner!... at a random restaurant. 



The soba was hands down the best soba I've ever had, no exaggeration. Maybe it was cold and I was hungry? Unfortunately, I totally forgot the place where I had it. I even tried looking for it again but failed. ( ˃̣̣̥ω˂̣̣̥ )

Alright, no point crying over missing soba. Here are some pictures of nicely illuminated sakuras along the street. 



The food street and sakuras are located somewhere behind Shijo-dori, it could be Sanjo-dori but I can't be sure. Shijo-dori on the other hand, is a main street filled with franchises and places to shop.


 Another muted McD's!

That's all for my free and easy first day in Kyoto. The zen vibe of the city felt great, especially since I just experienced the hectic Tokyo.

On a side note, I really need to wrap up my 2015's Japan trip ASAP. I got back from my 2016's Japan trip a few weeks ago and I can't wait to start documenting the even awesome-r stuff already! I've planned out the remaining 2015 posts, and it looks like I have about 7 to go. ٩(•̤̀ᵕ•̤́๑)ᵒᵏᵎᵎᵎᵎ



WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THE REMAINING 2015'S JAPAN UPDATES?

Abandon! Who needs 2015 when you have 2016 anyway?
Don't give up halfway! Proceed with the planned updates.
Don't abandon completely but don't waste too much time either. Try combining the remaining 7 updates into 1?
Quiz Maker



ALL JAPAN 2015 POSTS:
Day 0.5 - Getting There. And Tsukiji.
Day 1 - Ueno Park. “Hana Yori Dango”.
Day 1 - Sensoji. And an Adventure at Night.
Day 2 - All Things Ghibli (Museum).
What to do when you lose your JR Pass.
[SHORTS]: My First Airbnb Experience.
Day 4 - Hello Kyoto! (Intro).
Day 4 - Eastern & Downtown Kyoto.
Day 5 - Ryoanji and Kinkakuji.
Day 5 - Arashiyama & HORSE SASHIMI?
Day 6 - Fushimi Inari-taisha & Nishiki Market.
Day 7 - Gotta Catch 'Em All in Osaka. And they don't have mints at Mint Bureau.
Day 8 - Kaiyukan & Umeda Sky Building.
Day 9 - Universal Studios Japan.
Day 10 - Osaka Castle and Den Den Den Den Town + Dotonburi.
Day 11 - LAST.



Attended a hi-tea event at New Chapter by Owl Cafe the other day, organized by Watsons Malaysia. It was a beauty date with Steven Sunny, featuring new and exclusive online beauty products from Watsons. 

 Oh stop it, you. (˘v˘· )¬

Look at all these beauties! Can't wait to try them all! *drools*

Steven was going to use the products provided to demonstrate.

Here are some key takeouts from the session (just those which can be understood through text):


Face:
  • For better coverage, apply concealer using your finger by dabbing it on, and not swiping it around.
  • Apply blush in a circular motion.
  • When filling in brows, smudge the parts near the nose down towards the nose bridge slightly to contour.

Eyes:
  • Always curl lashes before applying mascara, as curling after applying might damage the lashes if the mascara has fibres in it.
  • For stubborn lashes, heat up the lash curler slightly (with a lighter or something) before curling - for that perming effect.
  • Apply mascara in a zig-zag motion.

Lips:
  • If you're using a lip ink which comes with an applicator (like Peri Ink), you can control the amount better by using your finger to transfer the product from a spatula/applicator to your lips. This will create a subtle look suitable for daily wear. 

Steven and the two ladies he demonstrated on.

With coussie Rachel. I was wearing a little of Peri Ink. 

We were served food after the workshop, and I must highlight this waffle. It was so so souu good! Earl Grey ice-cream some more, my favorite!

So that was the event. Now it's time to review and test the products on my own. There are a couple that I really wanted to try. Alright, let's begin the rollcall!

The super adorable Physicians Formula Happy Booster blush! Look at the heart shapes! How can you not love? The name is not just for show, this product might really put a smile on your face as it is infused with Happy Boost Blend which features Happy Skin and Euphoryl, natural plant extracts which have been shown to promote a feeling of happiness by mimicking the effect of Endorphins. Sounds so canggih right, maybe I'll smile more often now :) Also, you might not be able to tell from the photo, but it has a mirror and brush inside + it smells so good!

Kate Powdery mousse BB. Similar to BB cream, only it's in mousse form which magically turns into powder and firmly adheres to skin.

Bourjois City radiance foundation. It is the first anti-pollution + skin care foundation, and has anti-grey formula with brightening effect. And of course, SPF 30 with PA+++.

Bourjois City radiance concealer. What I find interesting about this is that it uses water from the glaciers of Mont Blanc and hyaluronic acid to provide 24-hour hydration.

  • Maybelline Barbie mascara. Gives the fluffiest volume and extreme length thanks to its buildable and weightless properties. It contains Arginine serum for lash care too. Though it's not entirely waterproof (easy removal with warm water), it's smudgeproof.
  • Maybelline Power Black liner. If you think the previous Hypersharp liner (the yellow/gold capped one) was black, this is even more so - really intense blackness! The 0.5mm precise tip feels rather similar to the yellow/gold one when used. 

Kate Designing Eyebrow. Three shades for shading the eyebrow and nose bridge, or you can use it for face shading as well. 

Kate Forming Edge Eyes. The lightest shade is for highlight, which is often applied onto the inner corners of the eyes. The medium shade is for the entire eyelid, especially the centre. The darkest shade is for the creases of the eyelids and outer corners. But of course, with the tagline "No More Rules", feel free to use it anyhow you like. Kate is well-known for its strong pigments so you don't have to worry about looking all washed out.

Peripera Peri's Ink. Does this need further introduction? The widely-adored lip ink which is super pigmented and stays put for the longest time. You can go for low intensity using the method mentioned earlier in this post (don't apply it directly). If you're into the Korean tinted gradient lip look, this ink will make your life easier.

That's all for the product intro. I'm now going to show the before after for a few products, namely the Maybelline Power Black liner, Maybelline Barbie mascara, Physicians Formula Happy Booster blush and Peripera Peri's Ink.

 Face set using own concealer, eyebrow pencil and Casio portrait effect.

 Drew a simple liner with the Maybelline Power Black liner.

Pretty pleased with the outcome. For liquid liners, I usually have the problem of getting them super close to the lash line. But you can see in the photo above that there's no gap between the line and lash!

Tested the Maybelline Barbie mascara next. I know I said to curl your lashes before applying mascara, but I couldn't even find my lash curler so I skipped that entirely.

 Still look rather good! Suddenly my eyes are now prominent and.... fluffy? 

 And now, on to the adorable Physicians Formula Happy Booster blush. I feel like I can just omnomnomnom it.

Circular motion circular motion!

 Do I look happier now?

Finishing touch, Peripera Peri's Ink. Since I tried the subtle lip look during the event, this time I went for a fuller lip look by outlining the upper lip clearly. Love the outcome and the long-lastingness!

Look completed!

You guys can now easily purchase beauty products online, on www.watsons.com.my, in addition to the many other products sold there. Some products and brands are EXCLUSIVE to Watsons and Watsons online store only! Go see for yourself. 

Thanks again, Watsons Malaysia for providing this opportunity and experience.