25th August 2015: Arashiyama & Nara {Japan, summer 2015}

Today was a delayed day, actually, as I apparently took over the plans I made last year when VAMPS had the secret live and I skipped back to Tokyo to attend to it. Then again, as I had changed plans from yesterday to today, everything came a little jumbled.

After a nice chat with the Tourism Office lady – in broken Japanese, as I did my best, the fist thing I set off to do was visit the Arashiyama bamboo grove in Arashiyama Chikurin no Shōkei [嵐山 竹林の小径], which is a nice little town adjacent to Kyoto (yep, not a neighbourhood. A town all on its own. That’s Japanese urban planning for you). I had been wanting to visit the area for a while now, and finally made it there. After a nice detour – because taking the wrong turn in Japan always yields to something interesting (then again, people, placing sings of ‘bamboo grove this way’ right behind the map is not helpful, Japan) – and a couple of temples I ended up where I wanted to be, and boy was it impressive.

In the middle of the bamboo grove we find Nonomiya Jinja [野宮神社], a nice little shrine which was at the time overridden by Chinese tourists (that happens, apparently, when you visit a shrine dedicated to marriage).

After a couple of hours wandering the bamboo grove I head back to Kyoto station and once again took the Nara line, only this time I would not be stopping in Inari as I have done before, but took the express to Nara [奈良] itself, which was something else that had been on my list for a while.

Yet another nice Tourism office lady, and way too many Spanish tourists later, I was on my way towards Nara Kōen [奈良公園], Nara Park, where my first impression was one of the things that makes Nara famous… deer. Hundreds of ‘wild’ deer which chase after tourists to get shika senbei (deer crackers) and eat maps when said crackers are not available. Very cute, very… adamant XD

But not my main visiting goal, never mind the creepy American dude who wanted to take a picture of me with them. My goal was visiting the to visit Todai-ji [東大寺] temple, and Daibutsu [大仏] (Giant Buddha) it hosts. Todai-ji did not disappoint me at all. It is a very solemn, very special temple and I enjoyed it.

I wandered around the Nara complex for a while and visited Kofuku-ji [興福寺] on my way back. They have a very famous Ashura sculpture, and a thousand-arm Buddha statue, but no pictures allowed, so I can only show you the exterior.

After some dinner on my way back, I headed off for Kyoto and the hotel which I was to leave the next day to head off to Kobe.