2016 Japan fall trip (day 13)

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December 9

6:05 am – Got up

7:24 am – Off we go
Ok, I have to admit, I got lucky with this one. When I booked my tickets, I didn’t really plan on seeing Hanatouro. In fact, I only learned about it while I was doing research a few months after I had booked my tickets.

We spent the entire day at Arashiyama.

Arashiyama is a small town on the north west side of Kyoto. There’s a lot to see in the place. I won’t be listing them all here but Japan Guide has an excellent resource on that. Add the Hanatouro event and you have an entire day of fun-filled sightseeing.

8:37 am – Arashiyama

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Keifuku Railways’ Arashiyama station

How to get there: I think the most convenient way to get to Arashiyama is via the JR Sanin line from Kyoto station. The train ride to Saga-Arashiyama station takes around 15 minutes and costs 240JPY. Then from there, it’s just a short walk to most of the attractions.

We went via Keifuku Railway as it was more convenient for us.

8:51 am – Bamboo forest

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Early is good

How to get there: If you’re coming from Saga-Arashiyama station, it’s a short walk going east from the station. There are maps and possible tour guides outside. Just follow the crowd and you’ll get there.

The walk from Keifuku Railways’ Arashiyama station is shorter as the station is closer to the center of the town.

This is one of the places that if you want to avoid the crowd and have the place ‘all to yourselves’, go early.

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The lanterns are for the Hanatouro event later that day

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Nonomiya Jinja up ahead

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Nonomiya Jinja

How to get there: The shrine is located somewhere along the bamboo path. Hard to miss, really.

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First (?) visitors

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Omikuji

I believe there’s a story behind this tiny bridge and lone stone lantern.

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This is the real version…

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…of this one

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Still nobody else in sight

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Other visitors, and a giant yellow tree

There’s a sort of stage with flowers arranged beautifully at the end of this straight segment.

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The man in red is guarding the flowers

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More people coming in

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This is the last straight segment of the bamboo path

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Look up

After the bamboo path, we went to the park to see the view with the river.

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This one

We took a break before heading to Torokko Arashiyama station to get tickets to the Sagano Train.

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On break

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Old train on display near Torokko Arashiyama station

We decided to not get the tickets yet as the original plan was to ride the Sagano train from Torokko Kameoka going back and we weren’t sure what time we will be arriving there.

So we proceeded on going to Hozukyo station.

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Waiting room at Saga-Arashiyama station

10:59 am – Hozukyo station
This station’s layout is the closest I can find to that of Okuoikojo’s in Shizuoka.

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Hozukyo station

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The train came out from this tunnel

There was a short hike towards the place with the awesome view of the station and the surrounding foliage.

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Exiting the station

Oh, and this was probably the first unmanned station I’ve been to.

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We crossed this red bridge

At first I thought this was the view.

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Not it

Then we decided to try and go further up the road.

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Not it either

We saw an opening between the trees, but it still doesn’t look anywhere near the photos I saw during my research.

I wasn’t going to give up so I went further. Then I saw this…

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…found it

The train’s timing was a bonus.

We went back to the station and hopped on the train to Umahori station. From there, it’s a short walk to Torokko Kameoka station.

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Scenery on the way to Torokko Kameoka station

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Torokko Kameoka station entrance

I remembered I saw a Japanese show somewhere sometime ago that featured horse carriage rides. I can’t say if this was the place though.

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Horse carriage rides

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Saw these on the other side of the tracks

If I remember correctly, we took the 1:35 pm train. We got lucky too as we were assigned on the open (first) car.

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Sagano Train

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The train’s first car

You can check out the sightseeing train’s web site for more information.

It was an amazing train ride. The scenery was amazing throughout.

We got off at Torokko Arashiyama station and made our way back through the park towards Hozukyo river. We then walked towards Togetsukyo bridge.

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Heading towards the river

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Riverside dining

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Parked boats

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Maple tree along the river

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Hozukyo river

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Kyoto trail post hiding behind maple leaves

We rested for a bit on the park on the other side of the bridge. There were some more pieces for the Hanatouro event.

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Are these lanterns?

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Togetsukyo bridge from the other side

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Pretty flower design

We returned to the station to get some food and rest before heading back to the bamboo forest for the light up event.

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Cloth designs for kimonos

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Maple tree surrounded by kimonos

While she rested at the benches near the station, I dropped by Tenryuji for a quick visit.

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Tenryuji

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Tenryuji entrance

I opted not to go inside as it was starting to get dark and the light up event was about to start in a few minutes. I went back to the station and then we were on our way back to the bamboo forest.

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Randen Arashiyama station

Here are some photos of the bamboo path that night.

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Illuminated maple tree among bamboo

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Yellow light

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Blue light

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Green (?) light

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Another yellow one

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Lanterns along the path

This is the part where it started to get a bit crowded.

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Excuse me

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View from a different angle

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Look up

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Still looking up

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My neck was starting to hurt at this point

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A lantern

We went the same way going back to the station. While on our way back, I took another picture of the illuminated maple tree near the beginning of the path.

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I think this one looked better than the first

Back at the station, the ‘kimono forest’ was also illuminated.

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‘Kimono forest’ at night

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Some of the kimono patterns

8:03 pm – At apartment

11:45 pm – Sleep
It was a tiring but very eventful day.


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