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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Kyoto Day 3: Arashiyama District: Sagano Scenic Railway-Bamboo Groves-Tenryuji Temple-Togetsukyo Bridge-Kyoto Tower

On the third day, we travel to the western Kyoto where we visited the Arashiyama-Sagano area. There are a few ways to go to Arashiyama, we purposely took the Sagano Scenic Railway, also known as the Sagano Romantic Train which is a sightseeing train line that runs along Hozugawa River between Arashiyama and Kameoka.

To take the Sagano Scenic Railway:
Kyoto Station-->JR Saga-Arashiyama Station, change to Saga Torokko Station to take Sagano Scenic Railway--> Arashiyama Torokko Station

I would recommend to buy tickets early to ensure a seat during peak season. We actually didn't manage to get a ticket at Saga Torokko Station when we arrived. So, we decided to try our luck and get ticket from Torokko Kameoka Station (the opposite way) back to Arashiyama Torokko Station.

We took JR train to Umahori Station, took us 5-10 minute to walk to Torokko Kameoka Station. Both stations are far apart but you can enjoy the beautiful view of the area and Sakura trees. We manage to get a train ticket but only standing ticket available, all ticket with seat are fully sold. We actually bumped into a few groups of tourists at the same time depart from here. It seem like travel agencies are taking this route too.

Scenery of Torokko Kameoka Station

You can take horse ride in front of the station too while waiting for the train to arrive.

Since we still have one and half hour before the ride, we had our lunch at the train station. The small cafe is located below the train counter.

Fried Rice
Never thought that fried rice can be serve that plain, I guess I have forgotten I'm not in Malaysia!

Beef Curry Rice
We were surprise that a little shop like this can serve quite delicious beef curry though it only came with few pieces of beef, the curry is splendid. We just can't have enough of it.

While waiting at the platform, you can see these cute raccoon dogs, which is called Bake-danuki around most of the platform. It is said to bring wealth and prosperity, however there are a lot of stories behind this Bake-danuki can always refer to wikipedia.

Arrival of the train

Beautiful scenery during the journey

You may also take the Hozugawa River Cruise other than the train. It cost around 3900 yen per person. Departure point for boat ride is 10 mins walk from JR Kameoka Station. We didn't take the boat river as I scare I might have sea sick.

Walking distance from Arashiyama Torokko Station to Bamboo Groves. A short walking path that cuts through the bamboo forest. Unexpectedly, the place feel quite cool and strong wind blow as well.

Tenryuji Temple
Tenryuji is the most important temple in Kyoto's Arashiyama district. It was ranked first among the city's five great Zen temples. Tenryuji is the head temple of the Tenryuhi brance of Rinzai Zen Buddhism. It was built in 1339 by the shogun Ashikaga Takauji. 
Admission fee is 500 yen per person
Opening hours:8:30 to 17:30 (until 17:00 from late October to late March)

View of Sogen Garden

Main Hall

After the visit to Tenryuji Temple, we walked to the street toward the famous Togetsukyo bridge. Along the way, there are many shop lots selling food and souvenirs. 

As we reached the Arashiyama Station, we saw this old traditional train that is still in operation. The train is still well-maintain.

We were also surprised to see these Kimono fabrics poles around the station rail. It is a collaboration between designer Yasumichi Morita (previously) with Kyoto’s Kamedatomi Corp. to create yuzen kimono fabric patterns. The patterns were then placed inside 600 illuminated poles that were strategically lined along pathways of the station, creating a bright kimono forest. The place will light up at night and beautiful patterns of the kimono shine. 

We grab some snacks (Takoyaki and Chicken Karaage) at the station. There are some food stalls at the station where you can rest and have some food.

Whole street is full of sakura

Togetsukyo Bridge is the most iconic landmark in Arashiyama. It was built during the Heian period (794-1185) and was re-constructed in  1930s. Favourite spot for photo taking because of the background.

Spotted this stalls while walking to Saga Arashiyama Station which is just 20 mins away from Arashiyama Station. This stall selling Japanese rice biscuits at the road side and what surprise me is the non-stop crowd visiting the stall.

Bought one of the biscuit, cost 130 yen per piece. Price are vary from types of biscuits. Taste wise is not bad for a snack.

Ordered ice-cream in the cold weather, just can't resist when passed by the shop that selling variety of ice-cream from green tea to sakura flavour.

Love this fried potatoes, quite similar to Hash Brown but this taste better.

We walked back to the JR station about 20 mins walk from Arashiyama Station and took the train back to Kyoto Station.

Since it is still early for dinner, we visited the Kyoto tower which is located directly opposite the Kyoto Station entrance. You won't miss this tall tower.

Kyoto Tower was built in 1964 and is an unique architectural structure that doesn't use steel frame. The body of the tower is built using special steel plates with thickness of 12mm-22mm to join together into a cylinder. The tower consists of 9 stories with 3 basement floors of shopping area & restaurants.
Admission fee: RM700 yen
Opening hours: 9am-9pm

The view from observation deck

Fast fast take photo before someone come!

We went to the Porta Dining again to try out some Italian food this time. Two days of Japanese food, it is time for a change. We spotted this place since they placed very attractive food sample outside. The place were packed but we managed to get a small place at the corner.

Asahi Beer-529 yen
Finally get my hand with a glass of Japanese beer! How can you miss it when you are in Japan.

Pasta-1069 yen
This is the only pasta with tomato sauce. I can't remember the name but it is recommended by the waiter. The spaghetti was cooked with brinjal and seafood, taste wise is alright, nothing wow to shout about.

Bistecca Fiorentina (T-bone Steak)-2689 yen
He tried the top of the menu T-bone steak, which at that price, I think is quite reasonable for its size. The taste really is quite good, juicy on the inside, yet not too hard even when cooked at medium-well. He just wished there were mashed potatoes or fries to go together, or maybe some special Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce... I had to remind him that we're in an Italian restaurant!

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