June 7 (Day 10) Highlights & Instagram

IMG_9123cToday we went to Arashiyama, an area on the outskirts of Kyoto with lots of interesting and fun things to see and do. It was kind of rainy, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the day. Here are some highlights, followed by the photos I posted to Instagram that day:

Our top priority was to go to the Bamboo Grove. There’s a small shrine there, but the main draw for me was just walking through the paths. It’s incredibly beautiful, and the rain just added to the atmosphere.

Then we walked through the town towards a famous bridge called Togetsukyo, and along the way there were lots of cute shops and restaurants, like a seaside vacation town. It was already pretty busy, but I bet this area is packed with people on weekends and when the weather is nicer.

Then we went to Monkey Park. To get there you have walk about 3km up a really steep path, but when you get to the top you’re on this mountain overlooking Arashiyama and all these monkeys just live there. They’re adorable, and mostly pretty mellow. They occasionally freak out or get in a fight with each other, but they don’t bother with people too much.

There are a bunch of signs saying not to look them directly in the eye, or touch them, or crouch down near them. But you can feed them as long you go into this house where they climb on the outside walls and reach I’m through a fence and you feed them chestnuts, apples, peanuts, etc. that you buy there in the building. So, essentially, you go in a cage to feed them, and they run around outside. It was a pretty great deal for ¥550.

Then we went to take a train ride on the Saga Romantic Train (I’ve also seen it described as “Scenic Train”). In nicer weather, you can take the train to the top of the river, and then take a boat ride back down. But we did’t want to sit in a boat for 2 hours in the rain. So we rode the train there and back – it’s a little old train that rides through a mountain valley that’s quite picturesque. I imagine it’s even more lovely when the cherry blossoms are out, or the fall leaves are changing color (apparently that’s also a popular leisure activity in Japan).

The little shops in the town were mostly closed when we were done, but a couple places were still open. We stopped to get some treats – ice cream for Jason, cold yuba soup for me. And then I soaked my feet in a foot spa that was in the adorable train station/shopping arcade. The foot spa was right on the platform, and it had signs saying “Your feet are probably tired after a day walking around Arashiyama. You should soak them here.” You buy a ticket to the foot spa at the train ticket office, and they give you a towel you can keep, and you go wash off your feet and sit with a bunch of strangers soaking them in a super hot pool. It’s weird, but kind of great at the same time.

We finished our day by going back to our place, gathering up some clothes in Jason’s suitcase, and going to a funky little laundromat to do laundry. When we were done, we got some food in a funky little late night restaurant in the neighborhood. These were both places on a map that our kind hosts had provided.

Walking tally: Fitbit says I walked 23k steps today, which is almost 10 miles. That’s a total of 101.5 miles of walking for the trip so far. Over a hundred miles in 10 days!

And here are the photos I posted to Instagram on this day:

And there are a lot more photos from this day in this set on flickr (with photos from June 6th also).

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