After our exciting first day in Kyoto, on day two we went to visit the Bamboo Grove in the Arashiyama-Sagano district. It proved to be slightly more confusing than I hoped to get there, but I suspect that was because of some confusing public transport instructions I was given.
The Arashiyama-Sagano district is a popular tourist destination, and it is not hard to see why! Just a short train ride outside of Kyoto, the area is home to some gorgeous temples and an incredible array of natural beauty. The walk up from the train station to the centre of town was lovely. Crossing over the Togetsukyo Bridge, there were people fishing and canoeing in the river. With the Arashiyama Mountains in the distance it was quiet the picture perfect moment! From there you walk up the ‘main street’ which is largely made up of touristy shops and small restaurants. We started at the Nonomiya Shrine and wandered through the complex, which leads to the Bamboo Grove.
In all honesty I thought the grove would be larger, but think I failed to really consider the meaning of the word ‘grove’! Despite being packed with other tourists the Bamboo Grove was magical. There is a lovely serenity to whole the area, and a welcomed break from the city. I particularly loved the way the light peeked through the bamboo leaves, dancing around the grove as the breeze rustled through the leaves. It was a truly unforgettable experience.
From the grove it is a short walk to the Tenryu-ji Temple, one of the areas World Heritage Sites. Considered one of the region’s most important temples, Tenryu-ji Temple was built in 1339. While many of the temple’s buildings were burnt in various fires over the years, the gardens remain almost intact from its original form created centuries ago. These gardens are well worth the visit! Many people start their day in Arashiyama here before heading to the Bamboo Grove.
If you have time, stop by the Seiryo-ji Temple. We stopped here briefly before slowly making our way back to the station. On our way to the station we found a small restaurant that specialised in all things tofu. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant but the food was amazing! Back home there is a limited number of different types of tofu, but in Japan there are more varieties that one can count on both hands! This pescetarian was extremely happy.
That evening we went exploring along the Kamo River. Kyoto feels very different at night, less like a modern city and more like a little piece of the past. My travelling companion (my godfather) had been hinting the last couple of days that our diet of sushi and tofu was not quiet filling enough for him, so when we walked by an Italian restaurant I suggested we pop in for dinner. I had extremely low expectations given that Japan is not a very multicultural country (unless you count the tourists), however, was very pleasantly surprised! Amore Kiyamachi reminded me of a Melbourne restaurant, with its rustic vibe and vintage furniture. With the help of a wood fired oven, the pizza bases were yummy. I must admit, I had mixed feelings about having Italian for dinner when there was so much amazing Japanese food to try- but sometimes you just need a little cheese!