That Day in Japan with Bamboos and Bambis

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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.

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Togetsukyo Bridge

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.

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They swayed a little in the wind, leaves rustling and their long stalks creaking eerily.

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.

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Team blue
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Togetsukyo Bridge in the summer
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It’s the pauses like this that he would remember from the trip
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Another pause to talk to the snail, before they met the slug
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We also stopped to watch her grill the crab leg and I regret up to now that I did not buy one.
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This is the main road where most of the restaurants are, further down is the Togetsukyo Bridge which stretches across the Katsura River
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Dried tofu skin pasta at Akamanma Café Restaurant
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Must-try Macha ice cream

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! 🙂

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Todaiji Temple


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Deer crossing


  1. The Nara deers are awesome, aren’t they! I can understand why your kids wanted to go so bad. Also totally understand your feelings about Fushimi Inari. The last time I went there were so many people it was a nightmare! I think the time of day plays a big part, not only in terms of the crowd but that magical morning or afternoon light!

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    1. Thanks Celia! Oh I really wanted to go early but my kids just couldn’t wake up that early. We loved Nara and wished we spent more time there. The sunset there was beautiful but I don’t know why I didn’t take pictures. I just stood there at the station in awe of the pink-reddish sky.


  2. So lovely reading about this area, which I visited with my daughter recently. She also wanted to see the deer in Nara. We liked it so much that we returned the next day to feed the deer again. The deer were not so hungry the next day. But we had fun. I didn’t recognize the street near the Toguketsuko bridge. Was that near the Arashiyama Bamboo grove?

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    1. Hi! Yes they are all in one place. When you come out of the bamboo grove, the main road, going down, will lead to the Togetsukyo Bridge. Wow you went back to Nara again! That’s what my son wanted to do but we convinced him to go back to Harry Potter instead 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I think we walked the wrong way out of the bamboo grove – we walked kind of slightly uphill then turned right to go down to the station. Darn google maps sent us that way and we missed the bridge. Oh well. Next time maybe. The deers were so cute. We enjoyed our day and a half wandering around Nara.

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