red paper umbrella in Arashiyama
Kyoto, day three (March 26th): After stopping at Nishiki-koji for a brief breakfast time stroll, we headed to Arashiyama in northwest Kyoto. I had foolishly left my Lonely Planet guidebook behind in Gunma and figured that I would be able to recreate my previous trip to Arashiyama from memory alone. However, we took a turn down tourist lane, and I wasn’t able to find my way back to the Arashiyama that I remembered. For future reference, the route I had been intending to take was the Kiyotaki-gawa hike from the LP guidebook. Oh well…
sakura – taking a ride on a jinriksha
Arriving at Arashiyama station, we finally saw what we had been looking for for the whole trip until that point: cherry blossoms at last. There were a few trees near the station in full bloom, so we took the opportunity to take a few pictures. Further on we saw another, quite large this time, tree in full bloom before the small bridge leading to Arashiyama park. Then, by the Togetsukyo Bridge was a weeping cherry that was just beginning to bloom. Here they were, the famous springtime cherry blossoms of Japan.
From there, we did some shopping in Arashiyama, and then some more shopping, a stop for icecream, followed by more shopping. Here we saw a young girl in kimono and her grandmother taking a jinriksha ride. We had lunch at a tofu restaurant called Anju. Tofu seems to be one of the local specialties in Arashiyama, as there were quite a few tofu restaurants along the main street in town.
After lunch, we wandered through the bamboo forest for a bit and then decided to check out Horinji Temple. At the top of the steps, we were surprised to find that the cherry trees here were in full bloom. The temple was not crowded at all, so it was an excellent spot to get some great photos of the sakura (cherry blossoms) and enjoy a quiet afternoon. So even though the day didn’t go as I had planned, we certainly enjoyed some lovely sights. Of couse, I am still hoping to get back to Kyoto this summer or fall. Hopefully we can explore around the less touristy areas in Arashiyama then.