After spending a few days in Mount Fuji and Tokyo, we took the Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo Station to Kyoto, our base for the next four days.
I had a few ideas for the family – temples, bamboo forest, Inari shrine, riverside restaurants, deer at Nara Park and one day-trip to Osaka to see Harry Potter. My kids and husband wanted just the deer at Nara Park, a brief moment at the bamboo forest but two full days in Osaka with the wizard, Harry Potter. Hmm, I should have guessed that, I could have made Osaka our base instead. Good thing Kyoto is only 30 minutes away from Osaka and we had Japan Rail Passes which covered all our train rides.
I’ll just touch on the bamboos and the deer on this post, and Harry Potter on the next one.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Our accommodation, Citadines, was only one stop away to the main Kyoto Station and so it was easy to move around. At Kyoto Station, we took the JR-San In Line to JR Saga-Arashiyama Station to reach the bamboo forest.
The forest was a short and busy but pleasant walk from the station. Many travel guides would say to visit very early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowd and perhaps that would be best. We were there around 10am and it was beginning to get crowded. It was interesting although not a magical experience that many claim but I blame it on the time of day and maybe the time of the year.
It was in Arashiyama that I tasted one of the best and most refreshing pasta I’ve ever tasted. It was light, olive oil-based, with crispy yuba (tofu skin), Arashiyama’s specialty. The Macha ice cream is also a must-try in the area. We walked down the main road and reached the Togetsukyo Bridge which stretches across the Katsura River.
Apart from the famed bamboo forest and delicious pasta and ice-cream, a day in Arashiyama also offers a 25-minute sightseeing tour on Saga Romantic Train or a 2-hour scenic boat ride along the Hozugawa River. We didn’t do the train or the boat, my kids really just wanted to see the deer in Nara already.
Bambis at Nara Park
From Kyoto Station, Nara Park is an hour away by train (Kintetsu-Nara Station). We were immediately greeted by, yeah, deer oh dear. Some of them were huge and we felt intimidated at first except for Joaquin who found an immediate connection with the Bambis and Falines. We had a surprisingly enjoyable time with these animals and we would certainly recommend this interactive attraction not only to families with kids but to everyone. Enjoy the rest of the pictures! 🙂