Japan Itinerary Day 3/7: Kyoto – Arashiyama & Fushimi Inari-taisha

Sep 10, 2016

Two of the things that I’m looking forward to see in Japan is right here in Kyoto. The moment I saw pictures of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and the torii gates in Fushimi Inari-taisha, I was completely blown away. I can’t wait to witness them with my own eyes.

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Hello Kyoto

When we reached Arashiyama, I had no idea that it was a huge place with many shrines and temples scattered around the area. The place is so zen. On our way there, I thought that this was just the location of the bamboo grove that I’m so eager to see. When we saw the map (given to us by a personnel at the train station), we saw the different tourist spots that we could check out before we can reach the bamboo forest.

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The map

First, you will be greeted by this bridge.

Togetsu-kyo Bridge

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Wishing it was fall

History Tidbit #1:

This bridge is 400 years old.

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That lush greenery

I want to go back here during the fall season. I want all these greens to turn into oranges and reds.

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Everything about this place spells “chill”
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Takoyaki at last!
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Big octopus chunks
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Takoyaki by the river

On our way to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, we got lost. We couldn’t figure out how to get there it was so frustrating. We tried asking questions and this lady was very patient explaining to us the directions. With the map in hand and the lady’s instructions, we still couldn’t seem to figure it out. The lady advised us to enter the Sogenchi Garden (for an entrance fee of 250 pesos each) and from there we could make our way to the bamboo grove. But some other person was pointing us to a different direction. Turns out, there are two routes going to the bamboo grove. One is through the garden (for a fee) and the other one doesn’t require us to pass through a temple or garden (which means no entrance fees) but it’s much farther.

Tenryu-ji Temple

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aka Temple of the Heavenly Dragon

History Tidbit #2:

One of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto. This temple is said to be caught in fire several times (8 times to be exact) and underwent major reconstructions through the years.

So clearly, we chose the shorter route and bought entrance tickets to the garden. It was a good decision because we get to see a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Sogenchi Garden is breathtaking. It looks very calm and peaceful. This garden is a piece of art.

Sogenchi Garden

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Perfect place to do some meditation or yoga

History Tidbit #3:

For 700 years, Sogenchi Garden retained it’s original form since it was laid out in the 14th century.

At this point, we were still having an argument. I was so pissed at Kenneth because he easily becomes irritable whenever we get lost. Getting lost is part of the travel! And if I’m gonna get lost, I’d rather get lost in Japan. There are so many interesting things to see along the way. He’s so focused on getting to our destination that he can’t seem to appreciate that we are in a different country and that we are being surrounded by things that we can no longer come across once we go back to the Philippines. And if we didn’t get lost, we wouldn’t be able to see this:

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No idea what this is but I find it cool

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He kind of settled down and maybe realized that I’m right (?). But that’s how we are. We argue, then we laugh it off. Sabi ko sa kanya:

“Wag ka kasing mataray.”

“Ikaw din naman mataray. Wag kang mataray.”

“Eh mataray nga ako.”

“Eh mataray nga din ako.”

Then we find ourselves laughing. It’s basically our everyday life in Japan.

Photos before reaching the bamboo grove:

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We thought this was it but it isn’t. But we are sooo close.

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Tempted to buy some charms
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So relieved to see some kind of gazebo to sit and get a short break from all the walking
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We’re almost there!

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

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* huge heart eyes *

AT LAST! The long, tiring walk and all those petty fights are so worth it! Kenneth was completely amazed. Kenneth’s not really expressive so when he likes something that I like, it makes me doubly happy.

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Can’t contain my happiness
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When you look up
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Bamboo heaven

It is true. No photo can capture the feeling of standing in the midst of this bamboo grove. ❤️

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I can look at this all day

As much as I want to assemble a tent and practically live here, it’s already time to go  to our second destination. Some interesting things we saw while heading to the train station that will take us to Fushimi Inari-taisha:

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Wooden dragonfly maker
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Now I look back and think that I should have bought one. This could have been a great souvenir (or those charms perhaps).
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Monks?

We stumbled upon many shrines but this one is free to enter.

Nonomiya Shrine

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So zen
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Wishes and prayers hung on wooden plates (wooden plates not free)
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“Sana magustuhan na tayo ng mga crush natin”
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Envied these guys. We were so DEAD tired at this point.

I’m not quite happy with how I approached our trip overall. I wasn’t able to take it all in and truly experience these historic sites around me. I’m more focused on getting great pictures that I forget to stop and savor it all. All those history tidbits, I only learned about it when I tried Googling all the places that we went to. It would be so much better if I knew the meaning and the story of what’s right in front of me.

Fushimi Inari-taisha

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Fushimi Inari Shrine

Tried their street food. It was quite expensive (250 pesos) compared to our isaw which is only 5 pesos. Unfair.

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Not sure what this is
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What I ate: chicken in skewers. It was bland.

I think the reason why I bought this was because the guy selling these asked me my nationality. When I said Filipino, he replied with, “Ganda.” I was sold. LOL.

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Rice cake wrapped in strips of pork

Done with snacking. Just a few steps away and we’ll reach our final destination for the day.

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Greetings from the foxes

History Tidbit #4:

And I thought, why foxes? Upon googling, foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues scattered across the shrine grounds. And who’s Inari? The Shinto god of rice.

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Another travel goal unlocked 😁

It’s my ultimate dream to have my picture taken with these torii gates alone. With so many tourists walking along the same path, it would be difficult to achieve this shot. Kenneth’s patience was tested while taking this photo. Before taking the shot, I instructed him to hold up the camera so the people behind us would stop and let Kenneth take my picture. It was kind of embarrassing because it took about an awkward 30-45 seconds before all the people ahead of us disappear into view. But I’m so happy with the result!

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Photo goal unlocked 📸

Kenneth is not really “the photographer” and doesn’t care if he has that perfect shot. As long as that thing or place is in the photo, it’s good enough for him. But I’m not like that, so I had a plan. A few months before this trip, I already briefed him that I want my photos to look like this and that; then I showed him sample photos so he will have an idea on how to frame the photo and stuff. And in fairness to him, he did a really good job; and I appreciate him for that (even if I can see him low-key frowning while doing it). 😅

History Tidbit #5:

So those orange things are called torii gates. Thousands of these torii gates lead to Mount Inari. (*Google Google*) These gates are donated by companies or individuals and each gate costs ¥400,000. The bigger ones could reach up to 1 million yen each. And those Japanese characters written in each gate are the names of those donors

We didn’t finish the trail because it would’ve taken us one and a half hours to reach Mt. Inari and another 1.5 hours to return. So I encouraged Kenneth to head back. Few more photos before going back to Osaka:

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Closer look at the shrine
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Idk why I get cheerful whenever I see a takoyaki stand
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Bye Kyoto! Mwahmwahmwah!

Dotonbori Part 2

Dotonbori has a lot to offer when it comes to food so a single visit wouldn’t be enough. This time, we tried okonomiyaki and soba at Mizuno.

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Looks can be deceiving

ANG SARAAP! Especially the soba. We thought we wouldn’t be able to finish everything because the servings were huge but we devoured every last bite. They were closed when we got there but we still fell in line. The manager was evidently annoyed because people kept on falling in line even if there’s already a ‘closed’ sign blocking the entrance. Thankfully, he let us into the queue. Maybe because we’re tourists and he thought that this would be our last chance to try their famous okonomiyaki. I chose the variant with minced meat, squid, shrimps, scallions and octopus bits. Sarap talagaaa.

I can say that this is the most tiring day of our 7-day trip. I’m not sure how many miles did we have to walk to accomplish our Kyoto itinerary. Even if we researched ahead of time and have all the navigation apps that you could think of, we kept on getting lost. And this resulted to countless arguments; plus the scorching heat is not helping with our tempers.

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Hoping I could see you again 😢

This is also the day when two of our friends will join us for our last day in Osaka before heading to Tokyo. It does get tiring arguing with Kenneth so it’s really fun seeing these two argue with each other for a change. 😂

This is how we spent our 7 days in JaFUN (Sep 8-14, 2016):

  • Daily Expenses (soon)
  • Personal Notes, Tips, Whatchamacallit (soon)

 

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