Today we’ve been to Arashiyama, it’s a fantastic rural area tucked in between some mountains with a large river running through.
We chose to take part in a survey Kyoto tourist board are doing today which involves us taking a mobile terminal(its a phone) equipped with gps so they know where we go and a camera. In return any pictures we take they will print and send to us in an album – nice!
When we arrived, the plan was to take the train, the so called romantic train no less – up through the mountains. That plan quickly went out the window when we found out the hourly trains were all sold out of seats until 16.50 – this was at 10.45 in the morning! That worked out fine though, we bought the tickets and headed off to check out the town in the meantime.
Walking down through Arashiyama was full of interesting spots, a massive bamboo grove for one and a large shrine area seemingly in the middle of nowhere down a small lane.
The bamboo grove
The Shrine in the middle of nowhere
We headed through the local park down to the river which was full of rowboats and walked along the bank to the main bridge. Across the bridge our first destination – Iwatayama Monkey park!
The park was actually a good few hundred metres above ground in the mountains, and the ascent was a killer – on a hot day i’d never manage it! At the top monkeys roam free amongst you. However you can only feed them from within a hut with them sticking their arms through the chicken wire – an interesting role reversal! We were just in time for their daily feeding which was an insane free for all and one of the keepers made one sit for a photo with us! great fun! This park also offers incredible views of the surrounding area and on a clear day like we had Kyoto tower is easily visible!
Entrance to the monkey park
First sight of monkeys! 😀
Hanging on to the outside of the feeding hut
Nooo i’m in the cage!
Posing with our new friend 🙂
Look at that view!
With my legs suitably dead from walking up and down a mountain we decided I may as well even myself out and hired a rowboat for an hour! This was actually really nice and relaxing and we even went in a straight line sometimes!
Some boats I more than likely bumped into!
Afterwards we strolled along the bank some more, picking up some snacks along the way, and sat down for some beers and ice cream. There were tons of dogs here too, they all had some kind of clothing whether it was a jumper or t shirt to hairclips on their ears… Emma seems intent of subjecting Pickles to a similar torment, nooo poor P!
And squirrel nuts!
Now it was finally time for our train ride! this was lots of fun and the views were amazing. On the way up we were in an open carraige which was great but a little chilly! It got dark just as we reached the top so the way down was all illuminated, very nice and relaxing, almost fell asleep! 🙂 Train staff walk around taking photos and give you the option to buy them shortly after, we looked a little tired and chilly in ours but we thought ‘why not!’.
The Romantic Train
Great views down into the valley
Saw one of the boats coming back down the river to Arashiyama – you can either ride the train back or take one of these boats, had it been earlier and warmer we probably would’ve taken the boat as it looks fun!
Zooming past the illuminated trees
Back in Arashiyama, wanted to get a good shot of the engine but boy was it busy!
We caught a train home after, getting off at Nijo so not to have to waste money on subways. Saw some other English people – so loud and annoying – give us tourists a bad name! Walking back through the Nijo area we dropped by a 7-11 for some goodies and also happened upon a strange chapel which looked like it belonged in Las Vegas!
Off to downtown for our evening walk
Totally worn out again so finished off today with a short trip Downtown – had a yummy teriyaki crepe for dinner, and had a stroll down Pontocho street – a narrow fantastically atmospheric street which still has an old town feel even though its 2 streets away from the madness of downtown. After this we hopped on a train home, thinking maybe Nara tomorrow!