Second day for this autumn trip was dedicated to Kyoto. I wanted to visit Arashiyama again without a crowd (read my 2017 visit here) so we got the earliest Shinkansen from Nagoya i.e., the Nozomi line at 06:20.
NOVEMBER 22, 2018
I was running at just 3 hours of sleep and the day didn’t start well because when we were already at Fushimi Station (nearest station to the hotel), I realized I forgot my mirrorless camera. Train bound to Nagoya Station leaves at 06:04 and it was 05:53. I had 11 minutes to run back to the hotel and then back to the station… and so I did with a bit of beating the red light at pedestrian stoplights. ☹ I was able to return to Fushimi Station at 06:02 then continued running up to the ticket gate. But, instead of swiping my ICOCA card, I swiped my BEEP card instead (for Metro Manila trains). WTF. I had to exit the gate and swipe the correct card instead. We reached the platform at 06:03 and I was so relieved because if we didn’t catch the 06:04 train, the next one was at 06:16 and we wouldn’t be able to ride the Nozomi train… which we already paid for. I didn’t mind the muscle ache I got after because that was nothing compared to shelling out ¥12,000 for two new tickets.
We were able to make it to our Shinkansen ride with still plenty of time before it left for Nagoya Station. It was my first time to ride a bullet train, by the way! The ride to Kyoto Station only took almost 40 minutes whereas non-Shinkansen would take about 2 hours. From Kyoto Station, we transferred to JR Sagano Line to reach Saga-Arashiyama Station and from there, there are two options to reach the entrance to ARASHIYAMA BAMBOO GROVE: take a cab or walk.
I initially wanted to take a cab because that was how we did it in 2017 but the cab driver probably thought I was asking for directions when I showed him the picture of the place. He told me, “2 minutes only”. Haha, I was too embarrassed so I ended up walking for less than 10 minutes.
You’ll know you are at the start of the trail when you see food stalls selling oden, ramen, mochi, daifuku among a variety of Japanese food. Picture below was at past 10AM when the shops were already open.
Not sure if it was due to autumn being a peak season in Arashiyama but I was shocked to see plenty of tourists at 07:40. During my visit back in 2017, there was only a couple aside from our trio at that time in the morning.
It was good that it wasn’t too crowded yet so there was still some semblance of tranquility despite tourists talking to each other. There was some drizzle also but not enough to get me soaked.
Always in awe of this place and how I can feel small with all these towering bamboo around me. Glad to be back here and still find peace here.
Interesting to see the difference of 10-15 minutes in this place. Pictures below show the increase in number of visitors.
Upon reaching the end of the trail and retracing our steps back to the entrance, I walked more slowly and this time, without so much distraction from my camera – taking in the sight of this majestic bamboo grove that seemingly sheltered me from the noise and chaos of the world.
I wouldn’t get tired of going back here again and again, even if I have to wake up really early just to enjoy its quietness. I highly recommend visiting this early in the morning to avoid the crowd. ❤