On our second day in Kyoto we got up quite early and headed to the west side of the city to Arashiyama.
We hopped on the Sagano Romantic train to get there (Japan is as creative as Hong Kong when it comes to naming its tourist attractions).
This train line runs along the Hozu river for 25 minutes, offering beautiful views, as long as you are sitting on the correct side of the carriage. Which wasn’t our case… So we chose to stand to be able to enjoy the scenery.
Arashiyama is famous for its sightseeing train, bamboo forest, monkeys and “moon crossing” bridge.
Once we got off the train we wandered around a little, looking for the bamboo forest. We eventually stumbled onto the bamboo grove.
Pictures on the internet had led us to believe we would be walking in the middle of a bamboo jungle, but the path is in fact quite short and extremely crowded with tourists and selfie-sticks. It’s still very beautiful and zen.
Continuing with the peaceful mood, we took a look around the garden of Okochi-Sanso Villa.
The villa belonged to a 1920s Japanese actor and the garden is meticulously looked after. We even got a nice cup of matcha green tea and a small treat.
We then walked along the river shore, crossed the moon crossing bridge and walked up steep steps, to Senkō-ji Temple.
The long walk and uphill steps must have kept tourists at bay, because there were only a handful of people at the temple and the resident Shiba dog.
The temple sits halfway up the mountain and overlooks the river. It even has a beautiful study room with a balcony to let you take in the view!
We returned to Kyoto city and once night fell walked around the northern part of Higashiyama district.
We were lucky again as the Shoren-in Temple was open for night time viewing, along with beautiful illuminations of its garden and bamboo grove.