Arashiyama

I said yesterday that today we would probably get up to something tiring and BY THE BEARD OF ZEUS DID WE EVER. I’m very tired. And very impressed with myself to be writing this blog post right now. So we got up and went to Arashiyama, a beautiful district of western Kyoto that feels a little more rural than the more central area. It is situated beside the Hozu river, and we had beautiful weather for it today, with bright sunshine and the horrific humidity we have become somewhat accustomed to. We went walking through the Bamboo Forest, down through Arashiyama Park, across the Togetsukyo Bridge, and up to the Arashiyama Monkey Park. Honestly, I thought the climb up to the Monkey Park could be my last. I was wearing shorts to try and keep my legs cool, but the sneakers I was wearing made my feet hot, and then the rest of me felt like lying down and dying, just so I wouldn’t have to walk anymore. I decided against it however, as I have a few things to live for. Up the top, you get a fabulous view of Kyoto, and a fabulous view of the bright red monkey butts of the Japanese macaques that live on the mountain. You can feed them, and take photos if you are respectful and stay away from them and don’t touch them – they are lovely and cuddly-looking, but they are wild animals. I am extremely glad I went up to the top.

We stopped to refuel with a coffee, iced chocolate, and complimentary origami supplies, then caught the bus back to Kyoto for an early dinner at Ippudo (aka our second home). We joined a huge crowd at 5.45pm in Gion for a show at Gion Corner which demonstrated seven types of Japanese performing arts – tea ceremony, flower arrangement, Kyo-mai dance performed by maiko, Koto Zither (a harp type instrument), Gagaku court music, Kyogen theatre (a comic play), and Bunraku puppetry. It was a beautiful display, but I feel it was too crammed – the whole performance was less than an hour. Also, get there EARLY to get a seat at the front. Otherwise you will spend the whole show trying to see over the sea of camera phones held aloft.

THEN we came home for showers and onsen. I am attempting to pack for Osaka tomorrow, and also to get an early night. Time will tell!

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