Today we went to Kyoto! We took the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto, then another train to Arashiyama with Bryan’s family.
I had been looking forward to Arashiyama for pretty much the entirety of the trip since I had heard a lot of great things about it from Bryan’s cousin who had just recently been. I was so excited to ride a bicycle around to see the sights but… well, I kinda messed up.
I thought I could ride a bicycle, but turns out I can’t remember how LOL. Not sure whether it was because these bicycles were really different to what I was used to, but LMAO. Can’t believe I forgot how to ride a bike. I was so sure I could! We even rented bicycles but I had to return mine (luckily they gave us a refund for it). Sooo embarrassing, but oh well. It was still a fun day out — we visited some temples, the Togetsu river & the Bamboo Forest before returning the bicycles.
The bamboo forest is really serene, the air feels weirdly fresh! The only thing is that it was quite crowded – not so bad that you can’t move but it is difficult to bring bicycles through and I wouldn’t recommend bringing them in next time. It’s definitely a great experience though.
Next was the Monkey Park which was the highlight for me! We were greeted by a pretty red entrance:
It was a surprisingly long walk up to the top of the mountain where the monkeys were. If you’re planning to visit the Monkey Park, make sure you wear walking shoes and be prepared for a little hike – it is very much worth it though! I was worried the monkeys would be mischievous but they were cute little angels, hahaha.
The path up the mountain eventually branches off into different sections, but we chose the one that was a longer walk because Bryan’s dad had a feeling it would be a lot better or something. I definitely recommend the longer path though – the view was breathtaking! Picture spam time:
The monkeys were so cute and so close too. There were baby ones which were adorable! I took a lot of pictures, and even fed some in the special little feeding enclosure. Bryan even got pushed by a monkey a little as it ran away
Afterwards, we had lunch at a random udon place. Idk, I feel bad for saying it, but I’m already sick of udon/the benito/dashi flavour! I actually find myself craving fries/chips and pasta more and more. It was still yummy, but I’m missing the variety of Aussie food.
We then went back to the station and returned to Kyoto again, for Inari Shrine. It was pretty cool there, the thousand gates were impressive and we ate some shrine food — preserved strawberries (they tasted yummy like jam) and mochi.
At around 3pm we said our goodbyes to Bryan’s family, and Bryan and I headed off to our Ryokan in Kyoto: Ryokan Izuyasu! It was sooo lovely there, such a Japanese experience — like what you see in anime and TV with a tatami filled room, the most awesome heated toilets & tea. We were given yukatas, and the place had three communal onsens that you could basically reserve for your room (no need to book the onsen ahead of time though). Too bad my camera ran out of battery by the time we got there, so I couldn’t take any HQ pics – but I took on my iPhone.
I love how peaceful it is here! The walk here was only 10 mins from Kyoto station (a straight path from the exit near to Century Hotel Kyoto), and it was a little scary because the streets seem so colourless compared to Tokyo and even Osaka, but the Ryokan stands out with it’s traditional decor.
We were greeted with sugar snacks and tea, and our room has it’s own private garden. Ahh, it’s beautiful. Breakfast is included with the room price, so I am looking forward to that tomorrow.
[Grabbed this pic of our room from their website, just so you can get a better idea of what it looks like:]
After getting settled, we went to Kyoto Station for a bit of shopping and bought some white choco covered strawberries from Muji and a caramel bamkuhen (it’s a rolly layer cake). We had tea in our room with the little cakes, and relaxed for the afternoon.
We didn’t book dinner at the Ryokan, so we went out to Kyoto station to grab a bite to eat. We had monjayaki, a specialty of Kyoto in terms of okonomiyaki. I was craving beef, so we had some of that — although I wasn’t that big a fan of it because it tasted just like basic Aussie beef (I may even go so far as to say I prefer the beef we have at home! Lesson learnt: don’t order regular beef in Japan again when there are so many other foods to try). We also had an okonomiyaki of course – we ordered a pork one, and it was tasty.
My legs were dead by then, so soon after we went home and used the private onsen!
I find it pretty gross using the same water as everyone else tbh… I don’t know if I could deal with a public onsen. I loved the temperature and everything though, it’s very relaxing. We wore our yukatas (traditional clothing) and went to bed with what Bryan calls “cloud” blankets — very soft and puffy blankets. Looking forward to tomorrow!