Kyoto – Arashiyama and Sagano – 1

“Within no time, we were getting off the super fast Shinkansen and stepping into the ultra modern Kyoto Station…..There were so many people in and around it that it felt like the entire city revolved around the station. It is one of the strangest building I had ever seen, with glass jutting out of it at strange angles” – Navindd

From luxury in Tsumago, we headed to our backpacker accommodation with tatami floors and folded beds, near the train station. We settled in and after a short rest headed back to the station for some lunch – “sushi”, “sashimi” and “nigiri” at restaurant inside the futuristic Kyōto Station.

We caught the train from Kyōto Station to Arishiyama Saga station. There is something alluring seeing Japanese women dressed in their traditional kimono. Two young women in colourful kimonos complete with “zōri”, slippers and split-toe socks, “tabi” at the station was a delightful sight.

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We planned to take the Sagano Scenic Railway to Torokko Kameoka Station. This area is especially beautiful during the fall. However, we were late. So, we headed towards the famous Bamboo Groves. A contrasting red “torii” led to Nonomiya Shrine, amidst the greenery. A few visitors worshiped here. Nearby, there was a wall of wooden totems with messages. Perhaps, words of wisdom, prayers, declaration of love, get well and words towards happiness – all shared this wall. On the narrow asphalt road, we crossed a railway line. A man pulled two visitors on a cart. A lovely lady in white kimono passed us. Through a sea of velvety bamboo, we reached the densely vegetated and landscaped Jojakko-ji Temple. A traditionally attired elder couple walked past clearly enjoying the atmosphere here. There is tranquility here, calmed by the fresh green leaves. Walking is the best way to savour these serene surroundings. There are several temples and places of interest here.

“The temple was set in the forest, where the sunlight barely penetrated the canopy” – Navindd

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Dusk was imminent. Day turned cloudy as we approached the famed Bamboo Grove. The walk brought us back to the main road. Snack time again. We walked towards the bridge. On the street, the most amazing sight, two Geishas walked along the street. The atmosphere in Arashiyama is pleasant and has a village setting and feel. We walked past Tenryuji Temple that had just closed. The mountains rose above the Togetsukyo Bridge over Hozu River. On the water were a few boats taking tourists. This area is popular during the cherry blossom and fall colour seasons.

“In Japan, you could always expect the highest quality of food wherever you went, and that’s exactly what we got” – Navindd

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