We woke up again to some gentle snow and overcast skies, glad we hadn’t booked a cycling tour or hired some bikes. Brr! Enjoyed another brekky at our hotel (Super Hotel Shiji-Kawaramachi) with some warm pastries, corn soup and salad.
I had nothing planned this day and asked Sime what he wanted to do. He decided it would be nice to check out Kyoto’s Central (Imperial) Park then head to Arashiyama to see the Monkey Park and check out the Bamboo Forest. Let me just say right now, I don’t like monkeys. In my experience they are aggressive, dirty and steal things… ugh.
We caught the subway to Imperial Park and had a wander around, walking around the Palace which we viewed through the gates. Some of the plum trees were already in blossom and the gardens were beautiful. We visited a couple of small temples and paid admission to a Kimono clad lady to visit a beautiful old tea house on a pond. This tea house was somewhere the Emperor would sit and bring visitors to enjoy many years ago. It was a wonderful old building.
We then took the train to Shijo-Omiya station, then took a connecting train to Arashiyama station. The second train trip was quite lovely in an old wooden train that moved pretty slowly above ground. There weren’t many tourists on the train so it was quite nice just to take in the local sights.
We arrived at Arashiyama and enjoyed lunch at one of the restaurants outside the station. The waitress didn’t speak English so we just pointed at a plastic meal in the window. The food was delicious with efficient service and was very reasonably priced.
Arashiyama seems like a bit of a tourist haven, lots of gift and Omiyage (souvenir) stores. Still, it has a beautiful setting at the bottom of the mountains and has a river running through the town.
We walked up to the Monkey Park (Iwatayama) and paid admission (550 Yen each). As usual there were signs advising you not to make eye contact with, take photos of, or get too close to any monkeys. Nice.
It’s actually a bit of exercise as it’s an uphill walk to the top of the monkey park. On the way up we did see some monkeys, Sime was sneaky and took some pics but I kept walking as I was convinced he would be attacked or something.
We arrived at the top for a wonderful view of Kyoto, the city itself and the mountains beyond. I did get sucked in and buy some food for the monkeys which we fed to them through the cage of the wire compound. Safe and clean, with no risk of eye gouging, fleas or biting. That’s the way I like my monkey encounters!
We headed back down to town and tried for quite some time to find the bamboo forest. Eventually when I thought we were really lost, there it was. What a beautiful experience to walk through a forest of slowly swaying bamboo. Quite lovely. We managed to get some nice pics of this too.
After a nice afternoon out of the city, we had dinner at an Izakaya (bar with food options) back in the Central Markets. Cheap and yummy with some sake on the side.
This was our last night at Super Hotel Shijo-Kawaramachi and we were sad to be leaving. We had a wonderful time in Kyoto and I’m sure if we’d stayed longer we would’ve found lots more to keep us amused.