Thursday, July 19, 2012

Arashiyama in the rain

These boats were tied to a small dock on the Oi River. Just before the Moon Crossing Bridge in Arashiyama, Kyoto. Taken on our way back from the Monkey park in the hills behind the river.

From our Hotel in central Kyoto we walked to the nearest Train Station and caught a train to Arashiyama Station to go visit some monkeys.

The Iwatayama Monkey Park is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm and costs 550 yen per person. It's worth the small fee and the 10-15 minute walk up into the hills. The walk is a nice sedate (read steep) scenic walk up into the hills that grant views over the city. With the cherry blossoms blooming and a slight mist in the hills it was a magical experience.

The monkeys are wild but tolerant of people. At the top of the walk is a small hut where you can buy food to feed the monkeys. Instead of glass windows the hut has wire so the monkeys climb the cage and you can feed them safely from inside. It's a little odd being in the cage with the wild animals roaming freely outside but a lot of fun! When one larger monkey started to shriek and poop while hanging from the window I got a bit worried but he just went about his business and carried on.

After feeding the monkeys and watching them run around we braved the outdoors to enjoy the views of Kyoto below.

See more monkeys here:

It was raining lightly, but that gave our visit an almost surreal atmosphere. There were only a few other people in the hut with us and the crowds on the Moon Crossing bridge over the river were not so bad.

After visiting the monkeys, Arashiyama still has some great places to visit. The Moon crossing bridge crosses the Oi RIver with Sakura lining its banks. There are local fishermen going about their business and as the above photo shows plenty of boats to enjoy the river on. Further down the road is the Sagano Bamboo forest and also plenty of shrines. The road also leads to the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji) and some amazing old gardens.

From Arashiyama you can catch a small tram that has a scenic route through Kyoto and I believe it links up to Nara, but we didnt have time to stop there. The tram goes through a tunnel of cherry blossoms that is worth the ride.

Interesting stuff: 

  • Arashiyama means Storm Mountain.
  • Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the Peoples Republic of China visited Arashiyama about the same time of year as we did (April) and wrote a poem titled 'Arashiyama in the Rain'. A local park, Kameyama koen, > has his poem inscribed in stone.

For more information and stuff to do in Kyoto check out:

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