Day 9 in Kyoto, Japan, took me on a boat trip to Arashimaya, a visit to the monkey park and finished with the Tenryu-Ji temple.
We started our day in Kyoto, bright and early, with a train trip to the Arashimaya region. We arrived to a boat ride down the Oi River, on the rapids, taking us down to the Arashimaya Monkey Park.
Boat ride down Oi River
We got on the boat from the Arashimaya train station and I was dubious about it at the start. It looked like a rough ride but in the end, it was more like a bumpy ride down a river. The rowers were actually brilliant and despite not speaking any English, entertained us throughout the ride with stories about the region and explaining the river’s history.
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Arashimaya is in the western district of Kyoto and also refers to the mountain that sits behind the river. It truly is beautiful and as soon as we arrived, I was eager to explore and see more of it. We wandered down the high street and I got some lunch at the Miffy Bakery. It was unbelievably cute, with rabbit shaped pastries and pizzas too.
Iwatayama Monkey Park
The Iwatayama Monkey Park is a short walk up the hills in Arashimaya’s city centre. We walked up through the forest, eagerly awaiting our first look of the Japanese macaque monkeys. They were adorable, jumping all over the place and grabbing food from the visitors. We bought some fruit from the park and fed them through the gated windows.
The Tenryu-Ji temple is the head temple of the Tenryu-Ji branch and it is famous for its bamboo forests. We arrived and walked around the grounds, wondering at the red gates and loving the cherry blossom trees, framing all the stunningly beautiful sculptures. The garden has a beautiful pond and is incredibly peaceful. We sat and watched the reflections of all the plants and flowers on the water for a while.
Arashimaya Bamboo Forest
The Arashimaya Bamboo Forest is a natural bamboo forest which is open for visitors to wander through and take a thousand photos. It feels like another world to look at the huge bamboo trees and you get lost in the sunlight shining through them.
Calligraphy Kyoto Workshop
We finished off our day in Kyoto with a calligraphy workshop and I enjoyed every moment. We could try out writing simple phases and later, writing our own names in Japanese. I surprisingly loved using the different brushes and learning the intricate strokes to create these prints. We even got to take one home!