Some days just feel more magical than others, don’t you think? The kids are happy, the stars align and you are in perfect harmony with hubby. There are no meltdowns or arguments, only loads of smiles and miles of fun. We recently had one of those days: a perfect day in Kyoto.
Kyoto itself is a beautiful city with inexhaustible charm, full of traditional experiences and something different around every corner. It is known as the city of the City of Ten Thousand Shrines and it certainly lives up to its name.
On this perfect day we decided to venture out to the Bamboo forest in Arashiyama. I really wasn’t sure how long the kids would last but thought we should give it a try. As soon as our taxi pulled up in the main street of Arashiyama I knew we’d come to the right place. The streets were teeming with shops selling traditional wares and the smell of the food stalls was deliciously overwhelming. We were directed down a small passageway to the start of the bamboo forest by our taxi driver. We got there at about 10am in the morning which turned out to be a great time because the bamboo walk wasn’t overly crowded. Everywhere we looked there were people dressed in traditional kimonos which added to the overall colour and beauty of the place. No one was in a hurry, people were blissfully strolling along stopping to take photos amongst the vast greenery of the bamboo forest. It was a surreal experience. I felt very privileged to be there, breathing in the fresh air, taking in all the beauty all the while sharing it with the people closest to me.
When we got to the end of the bamboo forest we kept wandering down the small laneways that eventually, and quite purposefully I feel, led us to the Jojakko-Ji Temple. Something made us gravitate towards that temple in particular. There are so many beautiful temples to see in Kyoto that it’s almost impossible to decide where to go. Jojakko-Ji Temple is one of the quieter temples and mostly visited in Autumn when the leaves turn and give a spectacular show of colour. Whilst it was Autumn when we visited, the leaves hadn’t turned yet, but that didn’t dampen the experience for us at all! It was simply stunning. At every turn there was a must see view, another beautiful nook or a quiet spot to reflect. I feel immensely glad that we decided to visit the temple as it turns out it was my favourite memory of the entire trip.
Even looking back at the photos from the temple it almost feels like the serenity is seeping out of the page and washing over me.
After we climbed to the peak of Jojakko- Ji to check out the amazing view we ambled back through the bamboo forest and decided to take a rickshaw ride. You could not wipe the smile from the kids faces. What an amazing feat of strength and ability to pull a rickshaw with a couple of adults in it. Our rickshaw operator was very knowledgeable and anticipated our every need – even stopping to put the cover up when the sun came out! My five-year old Max still says that this was his favourite part of our trip to Japan (which is enormous considering we went to Universal Studies and Disneyland!!!).
We finished off our perfect day in Arishayama with a quick shop and a walk over the Togetsukyo Bridge which was simply stunning as the sun started to go down, reflecting off the river.
Have you got a perfect travel memory? I’d love to hear about it!!