If we thought yesterday was full on, Day 3 proved to be even more so. We had on our list to go: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Iwatayama Monkey Park, and Kinkakuji Castle. As we thought the time would permit, we even added Nijo Castle after Kinkakuji Castle. So yeah, Day 3 was absolutely packed!
Arashiyama is famously known for its bamboo groove, was in my must-visit list. So even though, it is located in a fair distance from where we stayed in Kyoto, we just had to make time for it. Then add Iwatayama Monkey Parkin it, we are sold! The journey took about 30 minutes and two trains to reach Saga Arashiyama station. From there, it took probably 15 good minutes walk across the bridge to get to the bamboo grove side. Just before we got to the bamboo grove, I broke our selfie stick and all the selfie photos we took that day were too close and just couldn’t capture much of the view behind us. What a bummer! Anyway, let’s not let this incident cloud our holiday mood right?
Honestly, it was a little disappointing when we saw the bamboo grove was just that “short path”. I had imagined it to be much longer than that, plus there were so many people. Don’t get me wrong, despite of my expectation and crowds, the bamboo grove was still beautiful. Perhaps it would be really pretty during winter and snowing season.
We also made a stop to Tenryu-ji Temple. This Zen temple was apparently crowned as one of the finest gardens in Kyoto. It’s not difficult to see why when you walk inside, the well-maintained garden, the mountain view. For me, the most memorable point here was that clear lake, which reflects on the mountain and autumn trees behind it. All the pictures we took certainly did not do justice to this beauty.
Iwatayama Monkey Park
With an entry fee ¥550 per person, we finally made our way to the monkey park. The hike to the top was tough, even tougher than Fushimi Inari! They will also close early if the monkeys have returned the mountain or forest earlier. So, perhaps schedule your visit here in the morning or early afternoon.
The famous Golden Pavilion of Kyoto, this is a must visit for us as well. I don’t think there is any train or subways that comes to this area from Kyoto. We took two buses to reach this place from Arashiyama and a one day bus pass had come handy. The Golden Pavilion is grand and seeing it in picture really doesn’t feel the same as seeing it in person. The ground of Kinkakuji Castle is not that huge that requires long time to explore it all, from memory it took us only about one hour until we made the exit.
Once we finished enjoying Kinkakuji Castle, we decided to squeeze in one more place before called it a day. We went to the bus stop and looked for buses to Kyoto Station and saw one of them also pass by Nijo Castle, so that’s it. However when we got to Nijo Castle, the ticket lady reminded us that the main castle area will be closed in 20 minutes 🙁
Oh well, we just had to make use of that little time. Obviously the first stop would be main castle area, then we could take our time exploring the gardens. Oh my, the grounds of this castle was massive with many gardens and pavilions. It’s best to allocate a longer time to visit Nijo Castle and explore it slowly rather than rushed.
What we ate on Day 3
These are what we had for the day:
Then more croquettes and fried fish cake in a canteen across the street from Kinkakuji entrance; which sadly we forgot to take pictures of. They also sell hot soy milk for ¥280 each and this tasted wonderful – so creamy and rich. During colder season they have the soy milk hot, whilst during summer days they have ice in the soy milk. This is a must try if you visit Kinkakuji!