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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Kenji no Nippon Yasumi Pt 3

From where I left off last time I am still in Kyoto. Some of well known touristy areas that I visited are as follows:
Arashiyama: this small and quiet location is around 15min-20min west of Kyoto. The fastest way to get there would be by train and the JR pass will cover that. To get there you need to travel on the JR Sagano line (also known as the JR Sanin line), once you get there it is a 5-10 minute walk to some of the main attractions.
The main temple at Arashiyama is Tenryuji Temple, and is a short walk from the station. The entry fee is about 300 Yen. The temple has statues dedicated to Buddha throughout the temple grounds.  Unfortunately a lot of the signs and tourist information are written in Japanese so I wasn’t able to understand fully the history of this temple. Having walked the designated path around the temple, I reached the exit and entered the Bamboo Grove. 
 The Bamboo Grove was the main reason why I wanted to visit Arashiyama. However left feeling abit disappointed as the walk was extremely short. Still it was an experience just to be there and be surrounded by all the kind of makes you feel like you are part of the movie House of Flying Daggers. At the entrance to the grove, you can’t help but to feel that when you take a step in you are transported back in time. As you are walking through the grove you feel really relaxed and you have no care in the world. This feeling was soon to be dashed as I came to the exit. Walking at normal pace it would have taken no more than 5 minutes to complete. But I took my time, so I ended up taking 15 minutes. ^^
Whilst in Tenryuji temple I lost track of Rose…she’s old enough and could take care of herself. But we soon found each other at the end of the Bamboo Grove and headed towards Arashiyama town centre for lunch. We both entered this delightful little restaurant. I can’t remember what I ordered but I did take a picture of what I had, but it tasted fantastic. I had the traditional fare, misou soup, rice, and grilled fish. All of this came out on a wooden tray...and I had hot cup of green tea to wash it all down. All this cost around $25 Australian dollars.
After lunch we headed towards Hozu River, but again, we lost each other. Rose has a tendency to dive head first into a shop.  Sooo I ended up leaving her in which ever shop was in, and continued towards the river. One of the famous landmarks at Arashiyama is the Togetsukyo Bridge (Crossing Moon Bridge). Unfortunately the Sakura hasn’t fully bloomed at this point in time. Otherwise the entire area would have looked magnificent, with Togetsukyo bridge and the mountains as the back drop draped in a fabric of pink…whoa I can sure dream there.

After about an hour and a bit i met up with Rose again on the other side of the river. Since I had gone across the other side and had gone exploring for a bit. It was actually great to get away from all the crowds and noise. After we had met up, Rose told me that she had dropped her little point and shoot camera. I suggested to her to get a dslr as the camera had a huge crack across the LCD display. With out little adventure at Arashiyama done, we decided to head back to Kyoto. There are other attractions there, which sadly I didn't get the chance to do. If you ever get the chance to go, you should try out the Hozu River Boat Tours, and the Sagano Romantic Train.
After getting back to Kyoto, we had a bit of rest before we decided to head out and pay a visit to Kinkakuji (The Golden Pavilion). From the Aoi-So Inn, it was roughly a 3km walk, which was actually good since it allowed me to explore the area on foot, so should I ever walk the streets of Kyoto again at least the area would be familiar to me. So, after about a 45min walk, we did arrived at Kinkakuji.
The Golden Pavilion itself looks just like in the images that I had seen before coming to Japan. The Golden Pavilion itself had been restored a few times due to fires and just the wear and tear of the elements. The entry fee to the site is roughly 600¥. The short walk from the main entrance opened up to the main attractions. For me, the sight didn't disappoint, with the body of water in the foreground and the building in background it looked magnificent. Like I mentioned earlier, the building itself has been restored a few times, but the garden itself hasn't been altered since it was first made. Kinkakuji was listed as a World Heritage site back in 1994.

Thats it for the time being, check back again soon, I will have more posts about my trip to Japan soon enough.

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