Arashiyama is another great area on mountain edge of Kyoto, it’s a scenic place, mountains on one side, with the Hozu River merging into the start of the Katsura River, marked by Togetsukyo Bridge. The area has lots of great landscapes, parks, the bamboo grove, and several temples with great gardens. The day was quite overcast, eventually it did rain as well, adding a cool mist over all the mountains.
Again not going to go too in depth here as I’ve written about a lot of it Here.
Arriving this time from Osaka meant coming in from the Hankyu line on the west side of the river, rather than the JR station from Kyoto on the east side of it. The Hankyu station exits straight into a large park, which at the time had lots of sakura near to full bloom.
A nice restaurant on the edge of the river, right on the corner of Togetsukyo Bridge served a massive bowl of udon as fuel for the day. And after a quick tour around the small shops, kimono gardens and rinse of the hands in the Dragon Pond (really refreshing and said to bring luck), it was time for a return to Monkey Mountain! (It’s actually just named Arashiyama Monkey Park, but I think Monkey Mountain sounds more fun)
Monkey Mountain (yes I’m sticking with calling it that), is actually more of a big hill, but it still offers a great view of Kyoto, though a bit less on this particular day due to the rainy / misty conditions. The monkeys though were still out in full force, no surprise being it is their home, and they get fed a tonne of food from everyone! They were as usual fun to see and feed, the highlight though was a monkey giving the middle finger to everyone that didn’t feed him (or her)!
The other highlight on the walk down was a young child from a family in front of us had started a conversation with another tourist (speaking English), and was just innocently tearing into him by speaking with no filter, saying things like “If your wife is walking that far in front of you it might mean she doesn’t like you”, and “If you fall down there you’ll die”, all in a fairly plain tone, which was hilarious to listen to! (the tourist he was chatting to took it well and played along)
Inevitably a pit stop for ice cream was needed before heading into the bamboo grove, which seemed a lot busier and more touristy than it had been last year. But still a great sight, taking a slight detour out of one of it’s remote exits though revealed more fun as the path cut through a small village, past rural fields and small cafes before winding back toward the main areas. It’s a shame to think so many people probably never see these places as they don’t venture off the main path around the grove.
With lots of ground covered by foot over the previous few days a reward was needed as a bit of a break, Arashiyama had just the solution in the form of a combined café and foot spa onsen! The price was pretty cheap as well, just 300 yen for a coffee (about £2.10), and then only 200 yen (about £1.50ish) for access to the foot onsen. The onsen itself is an area of benches with a submerged pool about ankle height, of steaming hot onsen water. Which is needed as you have to first rinse your feet under an icy cold tap before walking in! Once sat in there it really does remove any aches and pains from your feet!
In this one you have to finish the drink first as you can’t take it with you into the foot onsen, there is one round the corner where you can drink while your feet soak, but that one is only indoors, in this one the onsen is outside with a nice view of the mountains.
By now it was near the end of the day and raining a bit, but that worked out well as it meant no-one else was using the place, so it was peaceful to just sit there and watch the world go by.