Arashiyama, Kyoto

DSCF0802 We spent a whole day in Arashiyama, and it was really cold. The December wind really rattled the bone, and at this moment, I thought the importance of having a good pair of winter gloves. Mine was purchased in Australia, and it's good enough for Australia's mild winter, I constantly looked for a hot beverage vending machine, so I could hold a warm can of coffee in my hand (and spend quite a lot of money for hot tea, coffee, and lemon drink).

To reach Arashiyama from Kyoto, one will need to ride the Sanin Line, and stop at Saga-Arashiyama station, about 30 minutes later. While most stations in Tokyo Yamanote line stop exactly where the crowds are, it is a bit different in Kyoto. We have to walk a little bit to reach the Sagatenryuji, the tourist centre of Arashiyama that houses many stores, restaurants and gift shop. This stretch would serve well as a your bearing.

There are several interesting shops along the street. In particular a place that sell many figurines and toys. Of course being a Japanese shop, everything they have is overwhelmingly cute.
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If you go along the street to the south, you will pass through a bridge that connect the street to the mountain. This is where you can find the monkeys that inhabit the area. Since E has no interest in interacting with them, we gave it a pass, and just stop at the bridge to admire the river.
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Just a few steps away, you should visit the Tenryuji temple, and pay for the Japanese Garden entry. It was SO beautiful in winter, that I can only imagine the visual feast it offers every spring. However, if you visit on spring, it is a big chance that you will rub shoulders with throngs of tourists.
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From the Tenryuji temple, make your way to the bamboo grooves. In winter, the tall bamboos cover the sun, and it was a wee bit dark amidst these grooves. You can pay a rickshaw to pull you around, but unfortunately, they might not be able to communicate in other language aside from Japanese (all the more reason to learn)
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Our last stop is the gift shop. Arashiyama housed a chopstick store that actually customise the chopstick with any name you gave them. So we really spend some dough here for our friends and family back home.
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Photos by me and Edwina

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