On our eighth day in Japan, we left Hiroshima and travelled to Kyoto, a former capital of imperial Japan. Travelling between both cities by super fast, clean and comfortable bullet train – shikansen was again a pleasure.
After arrival in Kyoto, we found our hotel, checked-in, left our luggage in our room and went out exploring. We decided to go to the to Arashiyama, a lovely district at the western outskirts of the town where the famous bamboo grove and some of Kyoto’s most popular temples can be found.
Reaching Arashiyama was easy: we took the JR train from Kyoto station to Saga-Arashiyama station. From there, we’ve strolled through the lovely streets of Arashiyama, passing many small shops, food-stalls and restaurants. We stopped at ice-cream stand and treat ourselves with delicious watermelon-flavoured ice-cream, then we continued our walk towards bamboo grove.
As much we liked the vibe of Arashiyama streets, we were a bit disappointed when we reached the point that was stated as the entrance to the bamboo forrest. The bamboo trees were not nearly as impressive as we imagined them to be!
We followed the path through bamboo forrest and soon we’ve reached Nonomiya shrine – a small shinto shrine that used to be a training place for shrine maidens at Ise Shrine, the holiest Shinto Shrine in Japan. It was lovely, though a bit crowded with tourists.
We continued with our walk, passing entrances to famous temples, as Tenryu-ji. It was quite late in the afternoon and they they were just about to get closed or were already closed. At those few temples we would be able to get in, we would have to rush through, so we decided to rather continue our walk around Arashiyama area.
Following the path, we’ve reached the point where the small unimpressive bamboo trees were changed with impressive thick bamboos that seemed to continue endlessly. A light wind was blowing and the tall bamboo stalks sway gently back and forth, making gentle sounds. This part of the bamboo grove was exactly like we imagined it to be – special mythical place.
We left bamboo grove and walked through quiet and peaceful residential area back to train station. It was already time for dinner. We returned back to main Kyoto station and changed train for subway to get to the restaurant we found recommended online. The restaurant was very popular and we didn’t reserve it in advance. With a bit of luck, we were able to get table. We’ve ordered steaks the restaurant is famous for – what a delicious steak that were – the best I’ve ever had. After equally delicious desserts, we left the restaurant and returned back to our hotel where we we spent the night.