Japan Day 2

Yesterday was a long day of travelling so after a good nights sleep and a late start we headed off to our destination Arashiyama. For the first week of our trip we had activated day2-1our Japan Rail passes, however these passes were only available for use on JR trains and while it covered the main rail to Arashiyama, the JR Sagano Line, it did not cover the local lines we used to get from where we were staying to Kyoto station. To cover these lines we purchases a Icoca card, the card initially costs 2000Yen, 500Yen is a deposit for the card and 1500Yen is a balance. The card can be recharged at any station and all you need to do is swipe it going in and out of each stop. The machines automatically calculates how much each ride costs so you dont have to keep track of the fare. The ticket machines can be used in either Japanese or english and are really straightforward to use. When leaving you can get a balance refund and return of deposit for the card.
On our way to Arashiyama we decided to stop off at Kyoto station for lunch. The station is huge and attached is an underground shopping arcade with restaurants, supermarket and stores. We did a quick browse and settled into a restaurant. Choosing is pretty easy as in the restaurant windows, are displays of the meals that they serve inside. Even if you can read japanese you get a fairly good idea of what they serve by looking at the displays. I orded Kareage which is japanese style fried chicken flavoured with garlic and ginger while the others ordered a range of things including Katsu which is similar to snitzel and Unagi which is eel!
day2-3Arashiyama makes a really good day trip out of Kyoto, there are quite a few things to do. Chris and I had been here previously in summer 2 years ago so we had done half of the things that I had listed down on the itenerary for the day. I gave the rest of a group a brief rundown before we split off from the group to go to Tenshi-no-Sato, a doll sanctuary located only a short walk from Sagaarashiyama station. Tenshi-no-sato is surrounded by tall concrete walls, we walked almost all the way around before we found an opening and walked up the rocky path and into the main building. We were greeted by a lovely person who spoke a little broken english. day2-4We handed in our reservation papers and she signed us in and gave us some small brochures and run down of the layout of the building. Walking through the entrance we were greeted by the main hall which had a display and meeting area for people to photograph, relax and enjoy the view from inside the building.

The main reason I rushed out to Jungle the night before was so that I could take Sui in with me to Tenshi-no-Sato. To fit in with the theme I dressed her up in a traditional doll sized Kimono complete with little geta. There was cute little photobooths everywhere to take photos of your dolls.

I spent most of my visit downstairs in the showroom! As this particular doll hobby originates from day2-5Japan, buying items and clothing is almost solely internet based, so being able to browse in actual brick and mortar store was amazing!!! Chris very patiently followed me around with a basket making sure that I didnt spend to much lol!!! I ended up getting some wigs (one also for sui as funnily enough I had forgotten to bring hers, so she was currently bald), volks newsletters and folders, eyes and misc bits and pieces. The range of dolls that had on display was huge and the amount of money needed to buy them kind of made my head spin!! Doll collecting is an expensive hobby! Once shopped out Chris and I headed upstairs to the huge main wooden table were I dressed Sui and put on her new wig. At the end of the room was a a full glass window and the view outside was stunning!

All of Tenshi-no-Sato had to been decorated to reflect Autumn and also christmas! day2Our timing was actually very fortunate, we knew that we were visiting in Winter but we had the lucky of catching the very end of Autumn. The leaves hung on that little bit longer for us to enjoy the amazing colours of the garden that surrounded the main building. The pictures really dont do the gardens justice, it is hard to descibe just how vibrant and colourful the leaves were in real life. To visit Tenshi-no-sato you need to fill in a registration form located on the volks website.

We hung out here all after afternoon, the gardens were so peacful and amazing it was really like you were a millions miles away. It was hard to believe when we looked at our watches it was time to head back and meet the others.
While we were relaxing the rest of the group had decided to head up the hill to Monkey Park Iwatayama where you can feed wild monkeys!day2-6

Once back in a group we head back to Kyoto. We spent the evening walking down the main shopping arcades where we grabbed dinner then head off to our little japanese home!

Othing things to do in Arashiyama
The Torokko line is a lovely steam train that has open carriages and follows the river through the mountains up to Kameoka. Once in Kameoka a short bus transfer away and you can take the Hozugawa River boat ride back down the river to Arashiyama. The ride is in a large wooden boat that is directed down the river and rapids by a person holding a large pole. The water and banks are teaming with wildlife and we saw a host of birds, turtles and monkeys on the trip down. I highly recommend this it gives you an idea of what Japan looked like hundreds of years ago. Check the weather though, its much better to do in Summer or spring, Chris and I did this on our last trip to Kyoto 2 years ago. You need to set aside a couple of hours to do this, to ride the train, bus and boat costs 4800Yen.
The Bamboo Forest is a a large area of forests surrounding a group of temples. There is a path through that you can take that allows you to stop off on the temples on your way through.
The Tongetsukyo bridge is a long window bridge that crosses the river, depending on what time of the year you visit it is often decorated, while we were there they had a winter light celebration. Between Arashiyama station and the bridge are many shops that have some great souvenirs.


Continue on to Japan day 3


♥ Alyssium♥



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