So you want to see the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, the Monkey Park and see the sun set over Kyoto all in one day? If you’re prepared to do a lot of walking up steep inclines and are equipped with a good night’s sleep then it is possible! So grab yourself a Pocari Sweat and let’s start!
We woke up in the morning in our Tennoji house and got ready. The best part about Japan is that business doesn’t start until 10:00 to 11:00 AM (a practice that I would love to see in Australia so I don’t have to wake up before 6 AM for work/university) so we took our time getting ready and helping ourselves to breakfast at a Japanese-French fusion cafe. I recommend heading to the bamboo grove in the morning so you beat all the tourists and don’t have to spend hours of your time shouting, “get out of my shot, onegaishimasu.”
To get to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove catch the train to JR Saga Arashiyama station. As you exit the station there will be a lot of signs pointing you in the direction towards the bamboo forest. You will come onto a walking path through some back streets, just follow that all the way to the end. Along the way you will come across a bike hire, riding bikes around Kyoto did sound like a romantic prospect, but a lot of the walking in our day-trip was uphill so we decided against it (also my girlfriend can’t ride a bike). It’s about 1500 yen for the whole day ($15 AUD approx).
Now the bamboo forest is phenomenal. It is one of those places where you can feel the essence of nature, it’s almost spiritual. I could go on describing how the wind caresses each bamboo stalk creating a syncopated ambience of woody timbres, but it’s something you have to just hear for yourself. At one point I just had to close my eyes and feel the bamboo sway around me.
As you see, most of the bamboo forest walk is fenced off, but if you look hard enough you will be able to sneak into the forest itself! Be careful though as there are a lot of ditches that you can fall into and break a leg and trip wire everywhere to catch intruders. Unfortunately for my girlfriend none of these hindered her, but a slippery stone caused her to fall on her ass. But nonetheless we ventured into the bamboo. No stone left unturned, right?