in Japan, Japan2013, Ntrips, Trips
For our third day in Kyoto, while we hadn't seen everything in Kyoto, especially all the temples, but quite frankly I think we had seen enough to get a good idea :) so I elected to go to nearby Arashiyama after a recommendation, and that was a great tip.
Arashiyama is just outside of useful biking range (we'd have killed our batteries going there and back), so we took a train there, and we walked to the non JR Arashiyama station which had a bike renter with electric bikes (the others weren't electric, and considering how far we had to go for some things, electric definitely helped).
We started by going to Togetsukyo Bridge towards the Monkey Park, although I got lost with a bad map and we ended up at a random temple where the people were super nice in helping us even if we kind of walked into a church asking how to get to disneyland :)
Eventually we did get to the real monkey park. They had signs explaining how not to aggravate the monkeys in the forest, and not to ake them feel threatened, but somehow that didn't quite work out and poor Jennifer got attacked by a monkey that scratched her leg pretty well (poor thing still has a scar today).
One we got to the top, we could feed the monkeys from inside a cage for our protection probably more than theirs :)
they were afraid of attacking me, but they went after Jennifer when she wasn't close enough to me, and starred at them when she was worried instead of turning her back and walking to them
even the small ones learned to pick up food :)
After the monkey park, we went to see the rest of Arashiyama, and got to see a lot more temples: Bamboo Groves, Jojakkoji, Nison-in, Saga Toriimoto Street, Adashino Nenbutsuji, and high up the hills for Otagi Nenbutsuji and its many cool statues. On the way back down from top of the hill, we stopped at a nice sake shop on Saga Toriimoto Street to get and buy some samples for Jennifer :)
After some amount biking up hill, and only thanks to a combination of google maps and OSM offline on my tablet, did we get there (the local Japanese maps and directions were limited to say the least). I was very out of the way and well worth the effort:
This wasn't bad, but Otagi Nenbutsuji ended up being better even
After being off the beaten path, we went to Daikakuji which was used to be a vacation residence for the emperor (very nice and worth seeing):
nice wall paintings with gold leaves
you can get to all the rooms without setting foot on impure ground
Tenryuji was last, just by the train station. It's supposed to be very nice, but it was being renovated, so there wasn't that much worthwhile seeing, especially after having just come from Daikakuji:
There was more to see in Arashiyama, probably 2 days worth at more leisurely pace, we got to see most of it, and it was definitely a worthwhile sidetrip from Kyoto center. The electric bikes were absolutely a lifesaver to cover that distance, especially for going uphill.
After Tenryuji, we took the train back to Kyoto, and from there to Nara where we spent the night to be onsite for the next morning's activities.