As the day wore on and having just finished my proposal, it was time for us to move on to the next stops in our itinerary: the Golden Pavilion known as Kinkakuji and Arashiyama’s bamboo forest.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Even if it look as though the rain had no plans of stopping, that didn’t stop us from visiting the two sites in Kyoto. Unfortunately, our JR passes did not cover the routes we were planning on taking and decided to take the bus (later on I would find out that there is a JR station for Arashimaya but it entails a long walk).
When we reached Arashimaya, it was another long walk and if we hadn’t asked around, we would have totally missed the bamboo grove. Even if we did miss out the grove, there were still a lot of interesting things to see and do around. There were shops on both sides of the streets leading to the grove that were filled with restaurants, souvenir shops, and mochi stops.
When we did finally reach the bamboo grove, I was pretty underwhelmed. In a lot of pictures and even the desktop wallpapers of computers, the bamboo grove was always portrayed as a grand vista of bamboo shoots stretching up into the heavens with only nary a sight of the sky. Instead of that grand expectation, there were some pretty sad looking bamboo shoots and heck of a lot of tourists. There was no opportunity to really marvel, gawk, and stare at it, how could I anyway when most of the time there were just people going to and back from wherever the grove led them.
Underwhelmed and feeling the tourist trap, we decided to turn back and head off to another destination. Before I left, I made a mental note to drop by when it is less crowded and probably follow my brother’s suggestion of visiting the grove in the evening.
I have been mentioning that the rains just wouldn’t stop. We got a brief respite from it in Arashiyama, but upon reaching Kinkakuji we were bombarded with heavier rainfall. Once again, that didn’t stop us from enjoying this weird but surprisingly beautiful structure.
Kinkakuji also known by its other name, the Golden Pavilion, is a historical structure garnished with gold leaves. On that day, the pavilion had this mustard/sickly hue that didn’t do wonders for the structure. Add the heavy rainfall, the structure wasn’t much to see and behold. Despite the heavy rainfall (which I can’t seem to stress enough), we still took our time strolling the pavilion’s many gardens. The whole place was filled with lush greenery, sakura trees dotted the garden here and there, and the trees were alive despite the dreary weather.
Shoes wet, socks water soaked, and pants absolutely drenched in rainwater, we finished our first day tour of Kyoto. Despite the bad weather, I would have to say that it was an enjoyable day filled with fun and excitement. I was learning and taking in every part of what Kyoto had to offer and I was eager to find out some more in the coming days.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Ukyo Ward, Kyoto Japan
Entrance fee: Free
1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto
Entrance fee: ¥500 (Php. 250~)