We got an early start today because the forecast called for rain mainly
in the afternoon. We were hoping we could get through most of our
sightseeing before the rain started. First up was Arashiyama.
Arashiyama is a small town on the western outskirts of Kyoto. It is
well known for its bamboo groves, which was our first stop after
getting off the train. The way to the bamboo groves wasn't obvious, but
thankfully there was a tourist information booth outside the station.
The attendant gave us a map and showed us the route to follow to get
there. It was a short 10-15 minute walk from the station. We saw a nice
little shrine or memorial on the way, so I stopped to take a couple of
This area was a lot less touristy than some of the areas we had been to
so far. There were more residential buildings and fewer businesses. The
map helped and we managed to find the bamboo groves without getting
lost. None of us had ever seen bamboo growing in a natural setting
before and we all enjoyed it.
Arashiyama Bamboo Groves
In addition to the bamboo, there were some flowering trees that were in
We continued walking through the bamboo groves. Since it was relatively
early in the morning, it was very quiet and peaceful. It was really
nice to be away from the crowds we had at most places in Japan for a
We walked to the end of the groves and reached a nice little
residential area before turning around and heading back the way we
came. We then decided to walk through Arashiyama to see what else was
there. We explored the area and found some nice looking buildings and
lots of small shops.
We tried a couple of food items that vendors were selling and continued
through Arashiyama until we reached the main bridge over the river. We
walked across to the other side and looked around a little, but didn't
see anything too interesting, so we headed back to the train station.
Arashiyama River Area
The next activity on our list was a scenic train ride up the river
canyon. It leaves from a small platform outside the main Arashiyama
train station. We purchased our tickets and waited for our trip to
start. The train that runs is an old model and the train goes along the
old tracks which have been bypassed by a newer, faster, and more direct
Arashiyama Scenic Train
The train pulled into the station and we boarded it and started off on
our trip. Tyler took a picture of Erin and I enjoying the train.
Enjoying the train ride
We saw some sightseeing boats coming down the river. We had originally
thought about taking the boat ride back down after the train, but the
inclement looking weather and the expensive cost made us reconsider.
The boat ride takes about 2 hours and we didn't think the rain would
hold off that long, so it didn't seem worth it.
Boats on the river
The train winds through the river gorge and goes over many bridges and
through several tunnels.
Hozu River Gorge
We enjoyed the ride, but it was just a little cool sitting in the
outside car with no top on it.
Enjoying the views on the train
We got off the train in a small town from which you can catch a modern
train back to Arashiyama/Kyoto. You have to walk between the two
stations and it is probably about 2/3rds of a mile. On the walk, we saw
a sign for the boats that you take down the river. I was pretty amused
to see Tom Sawyer mentioned in rural Japan.
Tom Sawyer boats
On our way to the station, we decided it would be good to pick up some
lunch from a restaurant in town. As soon as we ventured off the main
path to the station, a couple of Japanese people started pointed and
telling us we were going the wrong way. We knew where the station was
and tried to communicate that to them, but I'm not sure we were
successful. There weren't many restaurants around, but we did find a
bakery where we were able to get lunch to go.
We took the train back to Arashiyama and ate our lunch, then headed
into Kyoto to Kinkakuji. Kinkakuji is a very famous temple in Kyoto
that is covered in gold. As with most things in Kyoto, it isn't easy to
get to by train, so we rode the train to the nearest station and got on
the bus headed to Kinkakuji. The bus was packed and not very easy to
use when you don't speak English, but we did manage to get off at the
correct stop for Kinkakuji. It's a short walk from the bus stop to the
temple. As we got off the bus, it started to rain. We purchased our
tickets (¥400 per adult, ¥300 per child) and headed in.
Kinkakuji in the rain
We walked around on the designated path and took a few more pictures. I
bet it would have been much more impressive on a sunny day, but
sometimes you just have to deal with the weather you have.
Kinkakuji - Golden Temple
As you continue on the path, you walk through a nice garden area. We
didn't spend much time there since it was starting to rain a little
We headed back from Kinkakuji and caught the bus back to the station.
If it hadn't been raining, we might have just walked it as it wasn't
too far and the bus is pretty expensive for just a short trip. We got
off the bus and took the train back to Osaka. We had a little time to
relax before we went out and just ate a quick dinner at a Japanese
version of McDonalds. Nothing too exciting, but it got the job done.
Afterwards, we walked around the Namba area some before heading back to
the hotel and turning in for the night.
Continue to Day 7
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