Sunday, June 15, 2014

Kyoto - 23rd November 2013

This was the day for our Kyoto Cycling Tour. Based on the great reviews from Tripadvisor, we signed for this and the route covers from Kinkakuji, to Ryoanji, NInanji, enroute towards arashiyama.You can in fact rent a bike from them and explore by yourself or go on with a guided tour..

We met our guide Hiroko-san . She's an excellent guide with good English and always trying hard to see if there is any discomfort, and tried to explain each site which we visited in full details to us. Kudos to her service!

I must say cycling in Kyoto is not very easy although it is flat for most parts, but there are many up the slope moments which was a challenge to our stamina. We always wondered why the bikes in Japan look so beautiful and elegantly designed and were really happy to have this experience to ride on one of these.. A Tokyo bike in Singapore costs near SGD1000..not so cheap!

Kinkakuji and Autumn Foliage
Our first stop : Kinkakuji( the Golden Pavilion ) look at the shimmering gold and its reflection in the pond...everyone was mesmerised by this which explain the huge crowd that day!

Us at the Kinkakuji temple garden.
After visitng Kinkakuji and walking through the garden, we cycled about 15mins to Ryoanji..

we know it's famous for the isolated rocks within the given dimension..upon reaching, everyone sat by the temple stage and view the rocks at various angles..definitely will give you the zen feeling..
Me and Hiroko-san at the entrance of Ryoanji, approaching the temple entrance gate, and the route was filled with beautiful autumn foliage accompanied by pretty weather.

So we sat as well to view the various rocks which are supposed to represent islands in this universe. There are 15rocks, but at any angle you can only see 14 rocks.

This is the garden we saw at Ryoanji temple..amazing sight!

Next up is Ninnaji temple..which we had a photostop with our lovely bikes.

And from there, it's all the way riding past Hirosawa pond, a very beautiful sight which you can see the pics below..And along the way, we saw the following..

Raccoon Spotted!

Cycling Cycling
Hirosawa Pond's beauty

And we finally reached Arashiyama!!

The famous Arashiyama bamboo groves. That day was a Saturday and it was the peak of autumn foliage. It was the only rare opportunity we had to take pics at Arashiyama without showing the crowd!

Although they claimed walking through the bamboo groves would make you feel peace and calm, we couldnt feel that due to the crowd. I guess it is better to visit it in the weekdays.

Hiroko-san brought us to various scenic spots in arashiyama and we bade farewell to her at the bicycle terminal in that area. We were famished by then and decided to go for Yu-tofu.. a famous Kyoto cuisine.
Yu-tofu set lunch.

Every dish is made of to-fu. Be it grilled, steamed or in pudding or soyamilk form. It'sreally an eyeopener and a very healthy meal. After getting enough calories and rest, we continued our adventure in Arashiyama. Manoeuvring around is not easy because of the crowds!!...

We initially wanted to visit Otagi nenbutsu ji temple, located at far north up at the Sagano area, but could be acceasible by walking. But by the time we reached somewhere near to the destination, the sky had turned dark and it was just 5pm. But the temple had already closed. This was one of my greatest regret as we didnt get to see this rather untouched and interesting temple. I saw a blogpost about this place which you can refer via this link. Hopefully, I will get to see this in my next trip to Kyoto.

Ending off our adventure at Arashiyama with this owl picture I took at this beautiful place. Owls represent symbol of wisdom in Japan. Some people will buy it and put at home instead of the beckoning cat which is known to welcome wealth!

Omu rice at Kyoto station to end off this wonderful day!

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