We went on the Sagano Bamboo Grove & Arashiyama Walking Tour (8900 yen per person) by Sunrise Tour. This tour is cheaper than the one the previous day since it is a walking tour. Price covers the JR pass and tickets to the attractions. I think this tour is overpriced since the distance between each places are so close together. Our first stop is a Zen Buddhism temple called Tenryu-ji. You can actually tour inside the building for 100yen extra but my tour only covers the garden area. It’s very beautiful garden with a large koi pond. I think I would’ve gotten nicer landscape photos if it wasn’t too sunny at the time.
Very close to Tenryu-ji is Sagano Bamboo Grove. This was supposed to be the highlight of the tour. I showed Fred dreamy and tranquil stock photos of this place and we were both really looking forward to it. However it was very crowded. It’s a pretty long path with bamboo on both sides. Bamboo is actually dusty teal up close. I always thought it’s a bright yellow green. This place also has illuminations at night but Fred and I are too chicken haha. Once you’re inside the grove, it’s a lot chillier, scary.
After we exited the Bamboo grove, we walked 10 minutes to Jojakko-ji Temple. This place really impressed me. I’m pretty difficult to please whenever I go on vacation, something always did not exceed my expectation, i.e. why isn’t Puerto Vallarta water beautiful aqua blue like the stock photos? I booked my Japan trip in November because I wanted autumn leaves viewing and this place did just that. The entrance to this temple is filled with maple trees with lateral branches with various shades of yellow, orange, and red leaves. It’s a glorious sight when sunlight shines between each leaves. I’m so glad the one non cloudy day spent in Japan was when I booked this tour haha.
After leaving Jojakko-ji Temple, we hiked down toward Togetsukyo Bridge in Arashiyama. The bridge itself isn’t that impressive but the view is rather nice, probably much nicer if it wasn’t noon at the time. Our booked tour ends here, we’re given the option of leaving with the guide or stay behind, Fred and I opted for the latter since we have nothing else planned for the day.
Fred and I saw a lot of girls in kimono so we searched around for a rental shop. We walked through several streets and finally found Akahime. I pretty much walked in and said kimono rental. The middle aged lady managing the shop speaks no English but we figured things out through hand gestures lol. I wasn’t wearing any tank top underneath so she wrapped the kimono over my sweater and skirt. My hair was too short and too blonde but she made it work anyways haha. It costs 4200 yen total for the kimono and hairdo. The bag, geta (sandals), and tabi (socks) are all included. I was pretty dumb at picking a bag that looks good on its own but clashed splendidly with my kimono.
We wanted good ramen since I’m sick of eating soba. For some reason, ramen is extremely hard to find around Kyoto station exit. Fred and I looked up Ippudo Ramen off TripAdvisor and took the city bus for the first time. We actually found the main entrance of Kyoto Station on the way to the bus station, on our last day no less. Kyoto Station is actually very high tech looking. There are open air escalators taking people very far up.
Ippudo Ramen is located near Shijo Dori, a really big shopping district of Kyoto. It reminded me of San Francisco Union Square. Fred and I went to Takashimaya and Daimaru. They are both nicely decorated department stores. One of them has a gigantic REAL Christmas tree. Diamaru pricing is similar to Nordstrom. Takashimaya on the other hand is for really rich people. Fred and I left after browsing through a couple floors because we couldn’t afford anything there haha.
I convinced Fred to buy a suit in Japan because all Japanese business men we saw wore very well fitted suits. We went to The Suit Company and spent hours in there. There was some language barrier in the beginning but Fred and I used the google translator apps on our phones to type whatever we wanted to say. The sale girl did the same on her iPad. She had to run up and down the stair in her kitten heels finding suits to fit Fred. Things weren’t looking good because if the jacket fit, the pants didn’t and you can’t split up a suit set. I definitely didn’t want to spend money on a suit that Fred isn’t going to wear and we both feel really bad for her so I told the sale girl that we’re going to buy a jacket separately. We finally decided on a blazer and a really nice trench coat for Fred.