#TRIPPinJAPAN (Part 4) - Kyoto Day 8 and 9
Thursday, May 14, 2015
On the night of Day 7, we arrived at the airbnb apartment which we were staying at for the next two nights. It's located at Arashiyama, one of the most scenic countryside spots located at the foot of the mountains. It's relatively popular among the tourists and you must visit this place!! Get a hotel or an apartment in the vicinity if you can.
Day 8 - Kyoto (Arashiyama)
We woke up fairly early to the harsh cold. When you live near the mountains, it's still freezing even when you're decked in layers of sweaters or have thick blankets up to your chin. We wore double layers the whole time we were at Arashiyama. It was that cold.
Right outside our apartment is a lush plantation! In fact, we were living amongst a lot of other agriculture. It's about a 20 minute walk from our apartment to the main touristy areas but the morning/evening walks were always therapeutic with all the old houses, cherry blossoms and lush vegetable farms lining the stroll.
This is the super beautiful river (Katsura River) that greets us every time we reach the roadside. Breathtaking isn't it?! If only I could wake to to mornings like these in Singapore...
If you walk along the river, you'll pass by various schools and eventually end up at a street with shophouses selling various souvenirs and street foods. On the opposite side would be the riverside park filled with cherry blossoms.
We tried a couple of street food like the cheese yuba which was really good?!?! And my five flavoured ice-cream which is not just a superficial beau - the flavours, Matcha, Sakura, Seasame, Tofu (wtf?!) and Vanilla complimented each other pretty well.
We also got ourselves a yukata. I don't know maybe it's a typical tourist thing to do LOL but at least I can wear it for the annual natsu matsuri!!
I also lied to Brandon, telling him that I already bought one for him to see his reaction in case he got mad at how I splurged on something he might only wear once a year. He seemed quite happy and didnt seem to mind it at all so I really bought it HAHA.
We crossed the Togetsukyo Bridge to get to the other side of the river since we wanted to visit the Arashiyama Monkey Park first. But what we didn't expect was a super long hike up?! I knew the park was somewhat located on top of the mountains but it really was a long and tiring hike up uneven grounds and I swore we stumbled more than a hundred times.
Half the time I wondered if I would die if I just lost my balance and fell off the cliff. That's practically what they always depict in mangas, and I guess it's not really a cheesy scenario if based in Japan LOL.
But the result of the super, super, super long hike was absolutely rewarding and worth the danger of risking our lives. You get to see the whole city right before you at the mountaintop with wild little Japanese monkeys doping around. It's so picturesque I spammed panaroma shots there.
The ironic thing about the Monkey Park is that the humans have to enter this feeding house or "cage" to feed the monkeys. Otherwise no outside food is allowed because the monkeys are actually quite aggressive.
We spent about an hour or so before we left the place. And oh god the hike down was just as bad and long and tiresome. Wearing slightly heeled boots is a stupid choice for hiking. Not sure if I was thinking.
But during the hike down, the highlight was this super long slide that would allow you to skip climbing a flight of stairs - only if your butt is skinny enough to fit through LOL. It's made for the kids and it's superrrrr narrow. Trisha and I thought that we were probably too fat for it but we actually made it?! At the end of our fun slide we were greeted with Japanese kids giving us wtf looks HAHA.
After the Monkey Park, we made our way to the Bamboo Grooves while stopping by some temples and shophouses for a couple of street snacks. The street stuff is really good.
When we arrived at the grooves, it was pretty packed so I couldn't take much of a decent photo. In fact, it was kinda disappointing because I expected it to be much more... wow? Maybe it's just the overwhelming crowd.
We dined at Yojiya cafe before finally heading back to our apartment since most of the shophouses and restaurants were already closed. With the apartment's wifi, we did some research on the sento located just a 10 minute stroll away and off we went!
This is our first legit sento experience since the previous ones have always just been a small little public bath with a hot tub. This one was really huge with all sorts of baths and facilities (spa, face treatment machines, restaurant etc). I also liked their concept of having this key/barcode where you scan all your purchases and pay only when you're leaving the sento. That way we don't have to carry cash around.
We spent the entire night there, dipping ourselves in the 40 degrees celcius water before cooling ourselves and then dipping again. The cycle repeats. It's the most relaxing. While you're in Japan, do try their onsens or sentos. It's another 'you must' thing again.
Before we left, we had a great supper before walking back to our apartment to crash comfortably under the warm sheets. It's been a pretty eventful Day 8.
Green tea - 150¥
Day 9 - Kyoto (Arashiyama)
Ebi Mayo stick - 275¥
Peanut mochi - 200¥
5 flavoured ice-cream - 650¥
Yukata - 4860¥
Brandon's yukata - 3220¥
Entrance to monkey park - 550¥
Apple juice - 130¥
Chopsticks - 756¥
Dango and strawberry daifuku - 550¥
Cheese yuba - 300¥
Potato katsu - 75¥
Chicken kaarage - 300¥
Yojiya cake set - 950¥
Candy - 216¥
Water - 120¥
Onsen entrance fee - 1020¥
Meiji milk - 120¥
Supper (katsu curry and yogurt) - 1190¥
We spent Day 9 covering the temples which we didn't manage to cover the day before, as well as try the different foods that we missed. It's a pretty chill day with loads of shopping and eating. The only downside of it all was when it started to rain. In fact, from Day 9 on, the showers in Japan got pretty intense.
We gave the Sagano scenic railway a skip because it was raining that heavily but if you do happen to be at Arashiyama, you should probably give it a go. I've only read positive reviews about how romantic the whole ride is. It's a pity if you miss it.
So during our shopping, I got myself some skincare products from this brand called Yojiya. Apparently, it's highly raved among the Japanese and they have some really hot-selling products such as their blotting paper and facial scrub. I read a couple of reviews online before deciding to myself some of them and I DO NOT REGRET IT AT ALL.
Ever since Japan, I've been trying a couple of skincare products and the best so far is Yojiya's facial wash (comes in the form of a bar soap or paper sheet that foams up under water) and Innisfree's super volcanic pore clay mask. I cannot live without these now, after I've seen the miracles they are doing to my hopeless ugly dying pimply skin. The best part is that it's friendly to sensitive skin!!
While at Yojiya, I got myself their blotting paper, moisturiser, facial wash and hand cream. Ever since I started using their blotting paper for the long days at school when my face would get really oily, I never stopped. It's really that good!!
Anyway we had our lunch at this restaurant where I had my gastronomical tofu experience, as well as the best strawberry parfait ever. If you are a sweet tooth please don't ever miss out on a parfait in Japan. You must.
And as I've mentioned previously, always choose strawberry flavoured stuff because it will never disappoint. Even though Singapore's strawberries are kind of sour, the ones in Japan are really sweet. They take these seasonal fruits to a whole new level.
And that pretty much sums up our day! We packed our luggages towards the evening and made way back to Kyoto Station, where we had our very first overnight coach experience!
We took Willerexpress and booked one of the cheapest rides but it was still very comfortable. They have this shield thing to make sure your sleep remains undisturbed by lights or moving commuters. We slept really peacefully before arriving at Tokyo after the 10 hour long ride. One ride costs us about $70 each so it's really worth every penny!
Umbrella - 550¥
Coin purses - 1200¥
Yojiya products - 4748¥
Lunch (tofu rice) - 1550¥
Strawberry parfait - 700¥
Strawberries and water - 700¥
Sandwich - 300¥
The next Japan post will be on the next seven days in Tokyo. Honestly there's not much about Tokyo to blog about because we mostly did shopping and we didn't really visit all the places the guides recommended us to.
But it's gonna be one or two more post/s to the end of the Japan trip!
Labels: Japan, travel