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Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 8th - Arashiyama

We both woke up nice and early and headed back over to Kinkaju - AKA The Golden Pavillion. Kinkaju was originally a villa, belonging to a powerful statesman named Saionji Kintsune. In 1397, it was transformed into a Buddhist Zen temple.  Now it's one of Japan's most famous buildings.

There were groups of Japanese high school students with tour guides all over the temple grounds!  This was not the only picture we were asked to pose for - it's just the only one I captured on my own camera!  :)

The Golden Pavillion

The nice part about having a big fancy camera is that it takes beautiful pictures.  The bad part about having a big fancy camera is when I hand it to someone to take a picture for us, it usually turns out really blurry!  This one turned out 1/2 way decent though. :)

Yep, I could live here!  No problem!

The gardens surrounding the Golden Pavilion are so peaceful and serene.  I could have stayed here all day!

As you get to the end of the pathway, leading out of the complex, there are cute little shops with Zen souvenirs and Japanese traditional snacks.  Aaron spotted this though and thought it was funny! 

Just for kicks, we paid "hard money" and got our fortune, which as you can see on the left hand side, it was "EXCELLENT!"  So, we have nothing to worry about!

After leaving the Golden Pavillion, we jumped on bus # 59 and switched to # 11, which took us into Arashiyama, a city just west of Kyoto.  This is one of my favorite areas in Japan!  Aaron and I walked down the shopping street and stopped to have noodles at this little outdoor noodle shop! 

Japanese ramen is my favorite!

The noddle shop, from the backside!

After lunch, we bought some homemade green tea and vanilla ice cream from a little shop at the opening to the Bamboo Forest!  Yum, yum!

The bamboo forest is sooo gorgeous!  Lucky for us, there were hardly any people there, so we could enjoy the peacfulness and tranquility that it offers!  This old Japanese guys was selling handmade wooden dragonflies that balance perfectly on your finger!  They're like magic!  I was so impressed, I stood here for about 5 minutes just playing with them!  Aaron balanced one on his nose!  I think the old man liked it! :)

There's a really beautiful graveyard off to the side of the bamboo forest with this sign.  We decided since we didn't understand what the sign was trying to say, we would let ourselves in! :)

The bamboo forest in all it's glory!

A little smooch amongst the bamboos never hurt anyone! :)

The bamboo forest pathway eventually comes to a dead end, where you can either go right or left.  We went left and walked through the park to this stairway... what a beautiful place, huh?!  We sat here for a long time, just enjoying the greenery and each others company, of course! :)

At the end of the stairway, we continued to walk forward and on the right, there's a little pathway that leads down to the river below!  I took this exact path last time I was in Japan and couldn't wait to hear Aaron's reaction when he saw the water for the first time!  It was better than expected!  He loved it just as much as I did!  It's seriously like an oasis in the middle of the forest!

I dream sometimes about sitting at this restaurant along the river!  I can't believe I was able to come back!

Here's the map of Arashiyama and where we were for the afternoon.  The "Monkey Park" is circled, but we never ended up making it over there.  It was fine though, between Thailand and Indonesia, I think we've both seen our fair share of monkeys!!

We ordered some Sake and a little rice to enjoy, while we sat along the river...

Does it get any better than this?!  I'm not so sure it does!

I love this man!

We decided to step up our adventurousness and get a row boat for the river! 

It was so nice to be rowed along the beautiful waters, with the green mountains surrounding us!

We rowed down the river to this boat, which had drinks and snacks on it.  We rowed up to it, and they hooked our boat, brought us right up next to their and Aaron got a beer!  I know, he was rowing and drinking!

There were a couple traditional boats floating down the river as well.  I'm guessing these are really expensive to rent for the day! 

I'm not sure if we were allowed to row this far down the river, but no one stopped us so we just kept going! The further we went, the more beautiful it became!

We stayed at the river until about 4:30pm and then headed back into town to catch the bus back to Kyoto.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this little schmooch walking with her family!  I couldn't resist a photo with her! 

A couple minutes after we got on the bus, these Japanese girls piled on, in their kimonos, headed for tea in the Gion district!

We stopped off at the hostel first, to re-group and a have some downtime!  Ayado was on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors of this building.

Aaron loves Sushi, so I knew we had to go to this Sushi train restaurant!  It's sooo awesome!  The sushi comes around on a train, and if you see something you like, you simply pull it off the train and eat it!  When you're done, your server comes over, counts your plates (which are each 105 yen) and hands you a bill!  GENIUS!

Not only is there a sushi train, but there's an individual ordering screen at each table, where you can search through the menu, order something you want, and it comes out on a special bullet train!  It's so fun!

He's such a faker!  He loved it!

Most of the sushi rolls looked delicious!  Some were a bit over the top, like this one!

Aaron had 11 plates, and I had 6! 
17 plates x 105 yen = $22.00

I can't get enough of the Japanese decor and the beautiful lanterns!  I actually have two plain white Japanese lanterns hanging in my apartment in Korea!  I never turn on the fluorescent overhead lights... only my lanterns!

The beautiful Gion District of Kyoto

We headed over to Kodai-Ji Temmangu, a beautiful area at the base of the mountain near our hostel, and walked down the completely barren traditional style street...  Yes, people actually live here!  Lucky, huh?!

We paid the 600 yen to see the Kodai-Ji and the beautiful garden surrounding it!  If you ever get the chance to see this, definitely go at  night!  It closes at 10pm, but if you get there by 8pm, you'll have plenty of time to walk through and see everything all lit up!

Kodai-Ji after dark!

Kodai-Ji after dark!

This beautiful Japanese girl was walking through the temple grounds with her proud parents wearing one of the most beautiful and vibrant kimonos!!  I couldn't resist!

The exit staircase, leading back down to the street is so beautiful at night time!

Even though this was my 2nd time experiencing everything I did today, it was so much fun to experience it with Aaron and to see his excitement for a place I had fell in love with years before!


  1. beautiful pictures, Japan looks AMAZING!!

  2. Lyndsea... I'm shocked that your world traveling husband has never taken you!