Before I left the bamboo forest, I met a local elderly man who was sharing that beautiful view with me. He kindly advised me to hike to the halfway mark at Arashiyama Park (嵐山公園) for a good vantage point of the rolling hills and the Katsura River (桂川).
After a slippery hike up a pathway of big, smooth rocks, I had a misty view of the Katsura River, meandering through the mountains with a few huts lining the shore. A few lungful of fresh air made me understand what the Japanese meant by 空気美味しい (translated as the air is very delicious).
I made my way down Arashiyama Park and passed little spots of tranquility. If only I could read all those difficult Kanji.
Japanese maples provided the perfect canopy for my walk down, letting slivers of the gentle sunlight through. Last night’s rain and the morning dew made their leaves a fresh green – a contrast from the toasty reds of the fallen leaves.
Upon reaching the end of the measured steps down, I saw the tail-end of the Katsura River (桂川) – calm, clear waters reflecting the greens off the trees of Arashiyama (嵐山). Time to sit, rest and take in this view.
Slender long boats passed by, ferrying visitors from near and far for a gander of the Katsura River, and ending just before the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge (渡月橋), which literally means ‘Moon Crossing Bridge’ (named because a Japanese Emperor loved to view the moon from this very bridge).
Time for lunch before exploring the rest of this stretch. I had a simple bowl of Tsukiji udon (月見うどん) at a little restaurant by the river, offering a wonderful open view of the mountains. This nostalgic restaurant seemed to have come out of a scene from the animation “Spirited Away”.
Thoughtful exterior of the restaurant – For people who want to just have a drink, and enjoy the view.
After lunch, I walked the stretch of the Katsura River, somewhere slightly beyond the restaurant. Two lemon yellow boats were parked at the shore. Makes for a beautiful picture. Snap!
And pling thinks these street lamps along the River, shaped like the traditional Japanese house, are so aptly made to reflect the mood of this ancient city in Japan.
And I will end off the post with an Instagramed picture of a couple, riding on a rickshaw, pulled by those hardworking rickshaw pullers. Their camaraderie is just amazing. This also must have been how ancient Kyoto feels like.
How to get to Arashiyama and Katsura River
From Kyoto Station, take the JR Sagano line (Platform 32, 33) to the JR Saga-Arashiyama Station. The train ride takes about 20 minutes.
From the JR Saga-Arashiyama Station, there are clear signs to indicate how you can walk to the famous Togetsukyo Bridge 渡月橋. Walk takes about 5-10mins.