Otsu trip

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Carly and I previously had the opportunity to take the Biwako tour, with Hashizume-San as our guide.

This tour allowed us to see some of the old and the new parts of Biwako.

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★First Stop:Karahashiyaki

Karashiyaki is a small pottery shop in Otsu-shi. It's main theme in pottery is the owl, or Fukurou, which is a symbol of scholastic achievement.

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The designs of the pottery reminded me of something you'd see in a whimsical-like movie.

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During our visit, Carly and I were invited to take a pottery class and make our own cups.

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Our instructor was a nice man, who we'll call Mr. PPAP, and was also really funny -- he made a PPAP cup in reference to Piko Taro's song and cracked lots of jokes.

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We ended up having to leave our cups to dry, for them to be mailed to us when complete. Before leaving I made a purchase of my own, and hope to return to Karahashiyaki someday before I leave Japan.Next Stop: The Calendar!

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★Second stop : The Calender

Next, we stopped for lunch at The Calendar. The Calendar is a restaurant that's connected to Otsu Station.

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The restaurant had a modern contemporary setting, with a relaxing vibe. On the inside you could find two different seating areas -- one Japanese style and the other side Western style. A bookstore was also included inside the restaurant, but one would think that the books are for show upon first glance.There was also a beautiful outdoor terrace, in which BBQs are held during the warmer seasons.

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For the food it seems that the menu may be weekly or maybe even seasonal, with only a few select entrees that come with a small cup of soup and a tiny salad.

I found it interesting that there was a capsule hotel attached to this restaurant. Next stop: Omi Jingu!

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★Third stop: Omi jingu

Omi Jingu, constructed in 1940, is a shrine dedicated to Emperor Tenji. This point of the trip will be one of my most cherished memories.

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Carly and I had the opportunity to pick out our own Yukata and walk around the temple.

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The process allowed us to see how to properly wear a Yukata. Although cold, the experience was amazing. Final stop: Illumination Show!

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★ Last stop: Illumination Show

Our last stop for the evening was an Illumination show held at Biwako Ostu-Kan.

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Biwako Ostu-Kan used to be a hotel, but has since shut down the rooms for booking. Instead, people can now book the hotel venue for weddings, class reunions, and art seminars.

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The illumination show was beautiful, but cut a little short due to the incoming snow storm -- which was even more beautiful in that it started to look like a winter wonderland.

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All in all, with the guidance of Hashizume-San, this trip was amazing. Carly and I hope to return when the weather is warm.