Our last day of this very impromptu trip was spent in beautiful Kyoto. A city so rich in history and culture, we knew a day trip simply wouldn’t be enough. Still, we couldn’t resist traveling there, if just to get a glimpse of Kyoto’s wondrous landmarks.
It was difficult to narrow down to just a few landmarks to visit. Our first stop was the Gion district, where we strolled amongst the lovely little shops, enjoyed traditional Japanese green tea and sweets, and visited the Yasaka Shrine.
Then, we cabbed over to Kiyomizu-dera, one of the most famous temples in eastern Kyoto. We loved the narrow street leading up to the temple, full of small shops and eateries. We definitely spent more time there than the temple itself. 🙂
Our final stop in Kyoto was Arashiyama, to see the famous bamboo forest there. I had wanted to see the monkey park too, but it closed so early that we didn’t make it in time. We arrived near sunset, and found lots of people with hard core camera equipment all set up near the water. Clueless but curious as to what they were waiting to photograph, we tried asking them in English, but received only awkward answers in Japanese. We later found out that parts of the mountain would light up once it got dark, and though it didn’t appear to be very mesmerizing to us, I guess it was a big deal to others.
It took us over an hour to walk through the bamboo forest, because of the massive amount of people that were there. Fortunately, the locals in Japan are self-disciplined to maintain order, so it was much more bearable to inch our way through the forest in the dark.
We really weren’t able to get any good pictures of the forest as there were simply too many people around us, and we were all expected to inch forward without stopping. I hope to go back there another time, perhaps on a weekday, where it would be less crowded and I could really stop to look at the bamboo!
We ended our evening at the Kimono forest in Keifuku Arashiyama station, which was beautiful.
We left Kyoto that evening and rented a small space at the airport lounge for a few hours of sleep before hopping onto our super early flight back to Hong Kong.