We’ve stumbled upon our fair share of bugs and stuff during our stay here but these nasty spiders are everywhere. They’re like 5-10cm! Are they poisonous? I don’t know but I find it best to stay away from them just in any case.
Previously, I’ve read about all the deers roaming around Nara so we went there to check it out. The JR train took around 45min from Kyoto station and since we got there early, we managed to get a seat.
The first stop on our tour was the Kofukuji Temple but half way there we sort of got lost and asked a couple of old ladies for directions. Without pretty much no english and only my limited japanese, it went surprisingly well. We weren’t particularly impressed with the temple. Seamed like any old temple to me but the Pagoda was quite cool. Outside, we met a school class that enjoyed meeting us gaijin. I think some of the boys wanted to take a picture with us but they seemed afraid to ask.
From the temple we headed further into the park and there were deers everywhere! Martin bought some “deer food” and fed them. To be honest, I was a little bit afraid of them since they were quite determined to get the food.
After a while, we reached the Todaiji Temple and the gigantic buddha statue inside, the Daibutsuden. Oh my, that was one big statue! Just the head itself was 5.3m and the body 14.98m. The temple around Daibutsuden had been rebuilt many times over the years and the current temple were a bit smaller than the previous ones. However, the hight was still an impressive 48.74m and it was 57m wide! Inside the temple we bought a lucky charm for “a long and happy marriage” :)
After Todaiji, we walked up a hill to the Nigatsudo Hall were we popped into a small cafe for some tea and shaved ice. The shaved ice looked good but after eating half of it I was quite fed up. Still feeling hungry, we went looking for a restaurant that lonely planet recommended. Unable to find it, we settled for a shop/restaurant run by a nice elderly couple. The food was nice and after the meal I browsed the store. The old man showed me the incredible knives he had in store and also some nice bonsai scissors/cutting tools. Since we’ve already got a lot of knives at home, I decide to buy a pruning scissor for bonsai and a fabric scissor as well. The old man even inscribed my initials for free!
Filled with new energy, we continued to Kasuga Taisha Shrine, a place well worth visiting. From the shrine lead a cosy path down through the woods and out from the park.
The southern part of Arashiyama was greatly affected by the flooding caused by the typhoon a day before our arrival. This made the Hozu-gawa river look more like Ganges than a clean and beautiful river. However, the people working and living around the river all worked hard to restore everything. Our landlord, Rico-san told us that it would probably take about a month before everything was back to normal.
The first stop on our tour of Arashiyama was the Tenryu temple. To begin with, we visited the dharma Hall which had a very cool painting in the ceiling picturing a huge Cloud-dragon. Because one of the dragon’s eyes was painted right in the centre of the large circle surrounding the dragon, it looked like it was looking right at you wherever you were in the room. After the dragon painting, we went for a stroll in the beautiful garden.
Exiting the Tenryu garden, we found ourselves in a bamboo forest.
After the bamboo forest, we paid a visit to the garden of the famous samurai actor Okochi Sanso. Apparently, he wasn’t a samurai that also did some acting but an actor playing the role of a samurai. His garden was absolutely gorgeous and the entry fee also covered a cup of matcha + sweet, yum!
After the garden, we went to look for monkeys in the nearby park. Unsuccessful in our search, we resorted to the backup plan, namely visiting the Arashiyama Monkey Park. It’s home to around 200 japanese snow monkeys and for ¥500 we entered the park and climbed the monkey mountain. At the top, we even got to feed them!
Since I’m spending the next three weeks in Japan, I won’t be able to give you much sewing related updates. So if you’re not interested in reading about Japan, I suggest you check back in a few weeks.
We’ve been busy exploring the last couple of days so my documentation is lagging a bit behind. After a long flight (~12h), we got on a shinkansen (really fast train) that took us from Tokyo station to Kyoto in less than 3h. After settling in at the house we’ve rented and eating a bento-box from the nearby combini (convenient store), we spent the rest of the evening resting.
The next day, we started exploring the nearby area. It didn’t take long to find the first temple, Kiyomizu-dera temple. I had no idea that the temple area would be so big! I don’t remember what it was called but there was this cool building you could go down into (after taking your shoes off). When we reached the bottom of the stairs, it was completely dark and we had to hold on to a railing in order to walk forward. After a while we reached a holy stone and while holding a hand on it, we made a wish.
In the evening we went looking for food and found ourselves in a pizzeria. Apparently, japanese pizza looks like nothing I’ve seen before. It contained potato, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, minced meat, parma ham and shimeiji mushrooms. It was very delicious!