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Photography has changed the way I see the world around me.

Through it I discover new things and rediscover old ones. Like my island, New Caledonia.

This blog is just me sharing my world through my photography.

Hope you enjoy.

Posts tagged restaurant
GION DISTRICT

Kyoto, Japan

After a very long day visiting the Monkey Park and Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama then the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, it was time for us to relax a little. First we headed back to the motel for a shower, dressed up and came down to the Gion District.

We love this neighbourhood. Especially it’s little streets and alleys that run along the back of all these restaurants. Everywhere actually, on both sides of the Kamo River and the main road that lead up to the Yasaka Shrine. In fact, the restaurants’ front doors are in those alley. Lively little streets with lots of, well, restaurants but also bars, cafes, boutiques, people everywhere and the occasional Gaisha or Geiko, as they prefer to call themselves in Kyoto, and Maiko, apprentice Geisha. You’ll also see many Japanese wearing traditional attire.

After wandering the streets and alleys for a couple of hours, we had dinner at Ponto, the third place along on this photo. Not haut cuisine like some restaurants here but what they call an Izakaya restaurant. A type of informal Japanese pub but Ponto looked more like a restaurant than a pub as we know it. Anyway, great food and drink, service is good, the view is magnificent and the atmosphere just wonderful. Oh and some restaurants have Geisha performances but you have to book in advance for those.

Gion District, a must when visiting Kyoto.

28 mm, 1/500th second @ ƒ/2.8, ISO 100

HIROSHIMA AND MIYAJIMA

Japan

day two

Ohayo my friends and welcome to day two of our trip in Japan. Today we leave Kyoto and head to Hiroshima. From there a local train then a ferry to Itsukushima Island, also known as Miyajima.

We had a late night and thus didn’t want to get up for the early train to Hiroshima. We decided to wait after peak hour to avoid the locals going to work and school. We had breakfast at Delifrance (of all places) but ate things that weren’t very French. Delicious though and their coffee brewing method is interesting to watch.

By the time we arrived at Hiroshima Station it was lunchtime. We left our bags at a luggage holder and went looking for something to eat. One of the dishes my friend, Géraldine, had on her to-eat list while in Japan was the famous Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. To our great surprise we saw advertisement for the dish everywhere as we were walking through the station. A couple of floors up and we found a corridor of restaurants with two or three of them specialising in okonomiyaki. We picked the one with the most crowd, Goemon Okonomiyaki, and sat right at the counter in front of the hotplates. A very memorable experience. From watching them prepare the dish in front of us, to tasting the meal, to seeing every single staff member saying goodbye to every single client leaving the restaurant. That was amazing. It was quick, delicious and surprisingly fun.

With our stomachs full, we started our long walk to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial or more popularly known as the Atomic Bomb Dome. Though long, it was nice to see a little of the city along the way. The landmark is quite impressive in itself but to see how everything has been rebuilt around it, is just a amazing. It makes you wonder if there ever was a atomic blast. Walking around the park felt like I was on religious grounds. I’m not a religious person but I felt an inner calmness and peace. A respect for what had happened here and the courage and strength the people of Hiroshima, of Japan, had to get through it. And build a park that evokes peace. A well named park.

On the way back to Hiroshima Station, we walked by Carp Castle, better known as Hiroshima Castle. Actually, it’s the castle’s second compound that you see here. The original castle was, obviously, destroyed in the atomic blast and a replica built in it’s place. Now though it serves as a museum of Hiroshima’s history before World War II. We didn’t get to visit as time was short to get to Miyajima before sunset.

Back in Hiroshima Station, we jumped on a local train to Miyajimaguchi to catch a ferry to Itsukushima Island, better known as Miyajima. This is a gorgeous place. Little town atmosphere on the shores of Hiroshima Bay. The old and the not-so old architecture. The Itsukushima Shrine is amazing and it’s Torii is just a wonder. We got here in time to drop our bags at the hotel before heading straight back down to the torii. We stayed about two and half hours taking photos of it and the shrine, and watching the sun set. What a beautiful sunset it was too. Then we made our way to the town to have a look around and find one of the very few restaurants still open. Both Géraldine and I loved the main street of Itsukushima Town for it’s old look and atmosphere. It gave us the impression of being in a different era. We chose to eat at Mametanuki restaurant. A wonderful little place where the owner is, I think, English but the cuisine definitely Japanese. Very friendly place with good service and delicious food.

Once full and warm we made our way back to our hotel, Kikunoya. A beautiful hotel with a restaurant and onsens. When we told the receptionist we weren’t going to have dinner there, they happily showed us the locations of restaurants that were going to be open and advised not to eat to late as their kitchens close quite early. Very friendly and helpful. Oh and they have a foot spa at the front entrance.

Well that’s it my friends. The end of another wonderful day in Japan. Hope to see all of you for day 3. Oyasuminasai.

ITSUKUSHIMA TOWN

Miyajima / Itsukushima Island, Japan

The staff at Hotel Kikunoya, where we stayed, were very friendly and helpful. Really can’t say enough great things about this place. They have their own onsen and restaurant. We had dinner in this street though, in Itsukushima Town. The town pretty much shuts down after sunset and only a small handful of restaurants stay open for tourists. It looks very empty here but I promise you it’s packed with tourists and locals during the day. We wandered down this little street and ultimately back up to a restaurant called Mametanuki. The owner speaks English and is, maybe, British but the restaurant is very much Japanese.

Though this is a long exposure photo, I had a couple walk in the frame and stopped just long enough to appear as ghost figures. So I used the first shot I took of the street to mask them out of the frame. Otherwise, it’s a single exposure.

It’s these types of streets and alleyways that really make me feel like I’m in a different country, a different world. We both wished we’d organised, at least, two nights here. So much to see and visit.

41 mm, 25 seconds @ ƒ/11, ISO 50

HIROSHIMA-STYLE OKONOMIYAKI

Hiroshima, Japan

I hope you enjoyed the photos and video of our first day in Japan. With this photo I start our second day in Japan, which brings us to Hiroshima.

I’ve spoken about this dish on a previous post so I may repeat myself a little here. Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake-style dish widely available all over the country. Hiroshima is most famous for their style and, I must admit, I love it. A thin pancake base topped with lots cabbage, fried noodles, pork belly, egg, cheese and other thing I can’t remember. One portion is quite large and I didn’t think I would finish but I did and with ease. Okonomiyaki doesn’t stuff you. I felt full but not bloated. Accompanied with a Japanese beer just tops the whole experience.

Goemon is the restaurant we went to for the experience. Located on the second floor of the ASSE building which is located just at the east exit of Hiroshima Station. You’ll see the advertisement for it as you walk through the station. We can highly recommend Goemon Okonomiyaki Restaurant.

28 mm, 1/80th second @ ƒ/5.6, ISO 1000

FROM ARRIVAL TO KYOTO

Japan

day one

Ohayo my friends and welcome to our first day in Japan. I’m travelling with one of my best friends, Géraldine. If you follow my blog or Instagram, you would’ve seen a couple of photos she’s in. This is just a small video of our arrival, train trip to Kyoto and afternoon visit of the city.

Because of the language barrier, I thought we were going to have problems getting around. I couldn’t have been more wrong. From the moment you land to the time you leave the airport, you are guided and helped. We exchanged our JR Passes with no difficulty and they even reserved seats for the Narita Express train to Tokyo and also for our bullet train (Shinkansen) onward to Kyoto. I highly recommend the JR Pass if your trip to Japan involves a lot of train travels between cities. We bought the 14 day pass for our 10 day trip and calculated we saved between 40-50% on tickets. It’s even valid on some local trains, ferries and buses. 

Not only did we get to see Mount Fuji from the plan on our approach to Narita Airport but also from the Shinkansen to Kyoto. We were pleasantly surprise on our first day in. Another surprise was how delicious the food on the Shinkansen was. My best mate, Marcin, told me to try it out if we ever got the chance to. Not all Shinkansen have the food carts onboard but this one did and it was lunchtime. The bento boxes were fresh and oh so delicious. They even sell beer. What more can a man ask for? 

I was amazed at how huge Kyoto Station was. The number of tracks, the boutiques, cafes, restaurants… didn’t think it was so big nor that Kyoto was such a large city either. As soon as you walk out of the station, you see Kyoto Tower. I was looking forward to get up there.

We made our way through little alleyways to get to our hotel, the Karasuma Rokujo Hotel. We did have the help of an extremely nice lady, who went out of her way to walk us to the front door of the hotel. She was actually heading in the opposite direction. We were a little bothered but greatly appreciated her act of kindness. We found the hotel very well placed in Kyoto. Only a ten minute walk from Kyoto Station and Kyoto Tower. And not even five minutes from the grand Higashi Honganji Temple. Yet located in a very quiet area. We were very pleased with the Karasuma Rokujo Hotel.

We literally dropped our baggages and headed back out. We visited the wonderful Higashi Honganji Temple. I thought I was amazed at the entrance to the temple but when I saw the interiors of the founder’s and Amida Halls, I was literally in awe. These halls are stunning from the ground up. The structures, the tatamis, the decorations, the amount of gold… the beauty and wonder of it all really struck me. Unfortunately, we were not permitted to photograph nor film the interior of the halls but you can see some photos on their website.

Our next stop was Kyoto Tower to checkout the view for potential photos at blue hour. Unfortunately, as we approached the tower, police arrived and stopped everyone from entering. The policewoman that stopped us, later approached us with a translation on her phone saying there was a bomb scare and to move away of the area. So we went for a walk around Kyoto. Saw the torii (gateway) of the Fushimi Inari Taisha Otabisho and a couple of Geisha or Maiko, or just a couple of women dressed in Kimonos, I don’t know. We did head back to the tower in hopes it was all over but it got a little more serious. The police had moved across the road from the tower and men in black were now positioned at all entrances. We ended up taking photos from the Kyoto Station side and was pleasantly surprised by a small water, light and music display.

After blue hour we looked around little for a place to eat and stopped at Saikatei restaurant. We ordered sashimi, dumplings and a few other things, and a couple of Japanese beers. Service was quick, food was delicious and quite cheap for the quality of the food and service.

Well that’s it my friends. Thank you for joining me on our first day in Japan and I hope you will join me for day 2. In the meantime, head over to my website or Instagram to see photos of the trip. Oyasuminasai.

MUSIC : Zen Garden from Adrikm (YouTube)

OKONOMIYAKI

HIROSHIMA, JAPAN

photo of the day

Okonomiyaki is a dish Hiroshima is famous for. A thin batter topped with lot of cabbage and other ingrediences such as squid, prawns, scallops, cheese, pork, egg and so on. Lathered with their special sauce and all cooked over a hot plate. Delicious! Quite large serving but you don’t feel blotted afterwards. Goes down well with a Japanese beer. The workers were fantastic, which made for a great atmosphere. I’m not sure of the name of the restaurant as it wasn’t obvious and in Japanese but it may of been Goemon. You can find though on the second level of the ASSE building in Hiroshima Station. Highly recommend it.

1/80 second @ ƒ/2.8, ISO 400, 75 mm

NEW ZEALAND: NORTH ISLAND

WAITOMO CAVES

day 11

A fresh, foggy morning on day 12 at the Taumarunui Holiday Park. Alain and I went for a stroll to the Whanganui River. Today we keep heading north to Waitomo to check out the glow-worm caves.

We didn’t have far to go so we weren’t in a rush this morning. After breakfast we tidied up the campervan and all the necessary maintenance before hitting the road. We thought it was going to be overcast today, which didn’t bother us as we were going to be underground most of the day, but the clouds broke up and the sun peaked through throughout the day. It was a nice drive. We arrived in Waitomo before lunch but ate anyway because we didn’t know if we were going to have the time between caves visits. And we’re all glad we did.

Our first cave was the Aranui Cave. The tour group was small and our guide was fantastic, right from the get-go. We started with a little walk in the forest before arriving at the entrance. A fairly narrow cave that opens up into some high ceiling areas. A lot of small stalactites hanging from the ceiling and much larger ones on the walls of the cave. There were some beautiful formations. We were assured none would fall on our heads, hence no helmet, but nonetheless we were a little apprehensive.

The Golwworm Caves were our next visit. The entrance to the caves is a cocoon-like architecture over a wooden structure. There are cafes and souvenir boutiques and a large area sitting area. Unfortunately photos and filming are not permitted in these caves. A shame really because it’s beautiful but I understand why. There are at least three groups in these caves at once and if they had to wait for everyone, they would never get out of there. Apart from the cathedral area, a huge chamber, the rest of these caves and pathways are very narrow indeed. We finished this tour aboard a small boat in pitch darkness and silence, under millions of glowworms. Absolutely stunning! It would’ve been impossible to take photos anyway. Moving boat, low light (no light), handheld... impossible. Hence no video nor photos. This cave is very different to Aranui Cave. Though there’s limestone everywhere, there is very little stalactites and stalagmites. Very impressive nonetheless.

Our last visit was the Ruakuri Cave. The entrance to this cave is spectacular. A spiralling walkway heading down, I don’t know, about 40 metres deep. This cave is a combine of the last two. You get stalactites and stalagmites and glowworms, small passages, cathedral ceilings and great history to go along. You’ll notice there’s no video of it, that’s because my phone died. It pretty much confirmed the possible battery problem I thought I was having on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. I had a touch more time for photos on this tour as there was quite a bit of narrative. I was very lucky though, my second and last battery died just as we were leaving the cave. I didn’t think I took that many photos but I think the cold used them up quicker.

So the caves are a must and I highly recommend doing all three. It takes about 4 hours to do the walking tours of all three but may take longer if you intend on doing the abseiling or tubing in the caves. They cost more too.

It was mid to late afternoon by the time we’d finished so we searched for a free campsite for the night and found the Roselands Restaurant. They offer free parking for campervan in their carpark. Which is pretty smart because I think every campervan that was there ended up eating at the restaurant. We did too. They had a buffet but you could also pre-order your meat for a bbq that they cooked. It was well worth the price and delicious. We were pleasantly surprised.

Once again, the end of the day has arrived. Tomorrow we keep heading north back to Auckland. Goodnight.

p.s. you know what this is all about, a big thanks to Alain for the use of his material.

BLUE ARCHITECTURE

As I was waiting for my golden hour shot, I wanted to take a photo of these blue buildings before the end of blue hour. And I love those pillars so much I had to include them once more. They do make a great foreground. Love those purple windows too. At the end of the pier and the bottom of the buildings is the beginning of the Newquay Promenade which runs to the left of the photo. It’s a nice stroll along the pier and you can dine in wonderful restaurants and stay in beautiful residential apartments. And a great place for photos too.

As I mentioned before, the pillars make a great foreground, leading the eye to the buildings. I decided to compose my shot in between the pillars so as to show more of them and these were the only ones with crossbars. I was hoping for a more golden sky on the right side but I guess it just wasn’t time yet.

0.4 sec @ ƒ/8, 18 mm, ISO 100

THE CAUSEWAY

These are the little alleyways full of cafes and restaurants that I just love. One of many of course. This is The Causeway (Melbourne, Australia) at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Quite a busy alley and a lot of people already seated for dinner. My mum and I had lunch here that afternoon, in a little Italian restaurant, delicious! Just after I took this photo, we had coffee at the french patisserie the other end of the alley. I had been at this french place before and, oh boy, you’re so tempted to try everything you see. Anyway, one of my favourite little places to visit when in Melbourne.

For the shot, I had to bump up the ISO quite high for the lack of light in the alley but even that wasn’t enough so I stopped down as wide open as possible to let more light. It was enough for me to get the shot I wanted.

1/50 sec @ ƒ/5.6, 55 mm, ISO 1600

BANK PLACE

I just love these kinds of little alley ways with restaurants, cafes, bars and outside seatings. I’m the kind of person who like to sip an espresso, watching people walk by. And on rare occasions, I like to write. Bank Place, Melbourne, Australia. There are many of these alleys in the city. At lunch time and after work they come to life with hundreds of people. They get so busy, it’s hard to get from one end to the other. Great places.

I went with my own version of sepia on this photo, only because of the old buildings and the stone pavement. Most of my street photos contain only one, maximum two, colours. There are always exceptions. It’s just my way of appreciate the scene more.

 

 

KOU-BUGNY SHADE

A lazy afternoon under the shade at the Kou-Bugny bar/restaurant in Kuto, Isle Of Pines (New caledonia).  Situated on the beach of Kuto Bay, the view is just magnificent. Sunsets are magic. A must visit if you ever get the chance. You can get there either by boat (2 1/2 hrs) or plane (30 mins) from Noumea. Both offering a unique view of New Caledonia.