Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Monkeys in Arashiyama and the Sagano Bamboo Forest

Today we trekked our way to Arashiyama to check out the monkeys that live there at the Iwatayama Monkey park. They are wild but tolerate us humans. They are pretty happy to let you roam around and pose with them... as long as you dont look them in the eye. Seriously you dont want to look them in the eye... they get angry.

Once in Arashiyama, you cross the Togetsukyo (moon crossing) bridge over the Oi River and after a climb (about 140 metres) up into the hills you get to a hut with mesh on the outside. While you are in this cage you can feed the monkeys without fear of getting mauled for the food.

It was maybe a half hour journey from our hotel in Kyoto and it only cost about NZ$5.00 each!!!

Once we had run out of food we left the Monkey feeding hut and popped outside to take in the misty view of the city surrounded by majestic hills below.

It was raining lightly so we pretty much had the place to ourselves... and the monkeys. The view of the city was great but what was even better was the hills around us. The mists rose up out of the forests, these forests have a sprinkling of Cherry Blossom trees, Sakura. They add a dash of magic to the scene like fairy dust sprinkled over the hills. The monkeys like them too... they like to eat the blossoms.

After the monkey business we headed back down the hill and navigated around the tourists to go to a more out of the way restaurant that we had spotted on our way from the train station (this was a lot cheaper and much quieter)

I had a great pork tonkatsu donburi that was sugoi! Rachel munched on a croquette set that looked tasty.

Now with full stomachs we put our weary legs to the test and wandered back to a Zen shrine we had seen on the way to the monkeys. We were looking for the bamboo forest but this shrine didnt seem to be the right way. The lady at the shrine shop showed us where to go. (Rachel thankfully understood the directions thanks to her awesome Japanese)

Further down the road (turning left out of the shrine) we found the entrance to the bamboo forest.

It wasnt huge and only took about 15 minutes to wander around a bit. There were so many people I couldnt replicate Trey Ratcliffs stunning photo but I got a few. Here is a shot of the tall bamboo trees:

We went back to Arishiyama a couple of days later after we had been to the Golden Pavillion. It was about 5 pm so there were a lot less people around. Here are a few more shots:

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