Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Travel: Sagano Romantic Train

We make our way from the Bamboo Forest to Torokko Arashiyama station, where the Sagano Romantic Train will depart from and make our way to Kameoka Torokko station.

We get here early and purchase our tickets, which costs us just under 1000 Yen for the two of us. We are able to book a seat on the open carriage, but it quickly sells out after us and then there are standing room only tickets left.

We decide to wait the time out by browsing the gift store and buying some lunch. We have a good giggle at the Caution Crow sign, crows seem so tame to us in comparison to magpies!

When it’s almost time for the train to arrive, we are allowed down onto the platform. The train arrives at the platform and everyone is so efficient at getting on the train.

We settle in and the trip begins. Not long into the train ride, it starts to rain! Surprisingly we don’t get wet as there is some shelter. The scenery is amazing and I’m quite disappointed with the way my photos turned out as it doesn’t do the trip justice.

We stop briefly at Torokko Hodukyo Station, but I’m not sure why as there appears to be absolutely nothing here, except for a bridge across the river into the wilderness.

Oh look, here’s Kate and I. The lovely couple across from us took this photo as we’d taken one for them.

I wish this photo showed the true colour of the water. It’s was beautiful and aqua. So pretty! You can catch one of these boats back, but Kate gets motion sickness quite easily, so I wasn’t going to chance it!

After we disembark at Kameoka Torokko station it is raining quite heavily. Luckily for us the gift shop are selling umbrellas as there’s a 10 minute walk to the JR Umahori station to get back to Arashiyama.

 We get back to Arashiyama and then make our way towards Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Travel: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Tenryuji Temple

The taxi from Kinkakuji Temple drops us off right at the entrance to the Bamboo Forest at Arashiyama. The first part of the forest isn’t as heavily wooded as I thought it would be, and there aren’t a lot of people here either.

We come to a fork in the trail and we head off towards Tenryuji Temple as this was somewhere we had on our itinerary. We pay the admission and proceed onto the grounds. The grounds here are beautiful. They are possibly my equal favourite of the whole trip, equal with the grounds at Ginkakuji Temple.

After we have finished here, we only spent 20 minutes walking through the gardens; we head back out into the Bamboo Forest. Here the forest is much denser and so it feels colder. It is also very crowded with tourists, but that’s to be expected as it is a very well know tourist destination.

With that part of our day complete, we point our feet in the direction of Torokko Arashiyama as we are going on the Sagano Romantic Train.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Travel: Kinkakuji Temple

We started off the morning with a hearty breakfast of noodles. Ok, so maybe not so hearty. So how about a tea from a vending machine as we walk to Kyoto station? Uhh nope, certainly not my idea of a nice strong cup!

Today is the only day that I’ve been really confused about our travel arrangements to get to a location. I researched and checked timetables and maps, but I still couldn’t work it out. So we thought we’d cover our bases and buy a 500 yen all day bus pass. We find the right bus as it’s very well signposted about which bus we need to catch, and we are off on our way towards Kinkakuji temple. The bus ride takes about 45 minutes.

We hop off the bus and walk the 100-200 metres to the entrance and we are greeted with the most beautiful autumn foliage. The grounds are so pretty and I am in awe.

We pay the entrance fee and as soon as we walk in and we are greeted by the golden temple. It is simply stunning. These photos do not do the temple justice. It is majestic. The shimmering gold is really a sight to behold.

After we’ve taken our obligatory photos, we move on into the grounds. We had a go flicking some coins into Buddha’s coin basket. I am far more ass than class, and I got three in from five coins. I guess that means I’ll have lots of luck?

Kate and I even get a photo together, there is supposed to be a small waterfall in this picture.

And one last glimpse of Kinkakuji.

And to make up for the crappy can of tea this morning, I decided I deserved an ice cream.

And afterwards I am still none the wiser how we are getting to our next destination. So we hop in a cab and make our way to the Arashiyama district. I’m going from memory here, but I think it ended up being about $30AUD. And considering I can work out any route ordinarily, but I couldn’t work this one out, it was worth the cost.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Travel: Rengeoin Sanjusangendo

Rengeoin Sanjusangendo was definitely on my bucket list of sites to visit while in Kyoto. So, I was pretty excited walking there from Tofukuji Temple, although that could also be because I’m in freaking Japan and I’m still pinching myself!

The reason why I was so excited to see Rengeoin Sanjusangendo is because of the 1001 life-sized Buddha statues. I must admit, when we first walked up to the building, I was extremely disappointed to see the no photography sign, and so me being me, I didn’t take any photos inside. Which is a shame, because it would have been awesome to get some shots of the Buddha statues. I did buy some postcards though, so good enough.

The building that they are housed in is massive!

And then we just wander around the grounds.

The giant bell, it is way bigger than it looks!

And then we check out the shrine on the grounds.

By this stage, we are exhausted and feel like it’s time to go back to Kyoto station and collect our bags from the lockers and make our way to our first Airbnb apartment of our trip. We decide to walk as it’s only 20 minutes according to Google maps. Everywhere today seems to be only 20 minutes away!

The walk to our apartment is 15 minutes from the station. It’s a pleasant walk, even though night is falling. The view from the balcony is amazing, you can see Kyoto Tower. The room is a reasonable size, but the bathroom is tiny, something we will need to get used to while in Japan!

Now, for some food! We wander around and find a tiny, little restaurant. So little, there are only 4 tables, with 4 seats at each table. We pick from pictures and I somehow end up picking squid. All I really want is some chicken. Not to worry as it tastes so good.

And finally we creep back to the apartment and sleep really, really deeply after all that walking.