Wednesday morning we decided to venture out to an area of Kyoto called Arashiyama. It is an area of Kyoto I had never been. So, this was an unscripted part of Julia’s Tour. It was an easy 16 minute train ride followed by a short walk to our first destination.

The first location I had in mind for us to visit was a bamboo forest. I’ve heard many good things about it and thought it would be a good addition to Cindy’s growing Japan list. The forest was beautiful.

As we were walking through the forest we happened upon a cute little Shrine.

The Nonomiyama-jinja Shrine was first used as a location for imperial princesses to reside during their purification process. There are mentions of the Shrine in several Japanese tales and poems.

This next picture made me chuckle. I have seen umbrellas used for so many reasons in Japan. Rain, snow, and blocking the sun. This is the first time I’ve ever seen one covering a shrine! It’s just so cute.

After we left the Shrine, we continued our way through the bamboo forest. Before too long, we came to a Temple. We decided to stop and take a walk around. Again, we were amazed with the beautiful gardens.

We had a good laugh with seeing another set of stairs. We have definitely walked a lot a stairs over the past week!

One of the main features in the temple grounds was a pond. The still morning air created a perfect reflection.

As we came to the exit, we realized we were at the entrance. The entrance of a really large temple! Tenryu-ji Zen Temple. We apparently found the back entrance from the bamboo forest! Funny.

We came to a cross roads of sorts and could either head back to the bamboo forest or walk in the other direction to the Arashiyama Monkey Park. I left the decision up to Cindy. She choose the monkeys! Ha!

On our way to the monkey park, we passed a cute exhibit known as the “Kimono Forest.” Each of the poles are lined with a Kimono. The fabrics were beautiful.

we continued on our way to the Monkey Park.

Again, we laughed at the stairs. The joke was on us though. The monkey park was located at the top of a hill 160m high. Better get to stepping!

We finally made it to the top. It was worth it to see the view and the monkeys. The monkeys are Japanese Macaques. They same type of monkeys as the snow monkeys. These monkeys are just lucky because they don’t live so far north!

At the top, there is a rest house where you are permitted to feed the monkeys. We purchased a bag of cut apples and a bag of peanuts so we could feed the monkeys.

It was fun to feed the monkeys. They were so cute. I took a video as we were leaving. The monkeys started to argue. It lasted for about a minute. Notice at the end of the video the Japanese worker comes over and says something very softly to quiet them. Cindy and I decided he was the monkey whisperer.

One last funny story from the monkey park. We were walking down the hill and there were two monkeys lounging. One was grooming the other. I started recording them. All the sudden, one makes the “angry” face we read about on the way up the mountain. At first, I thought he was smiling at me. Then Cindy says, he’s making the angry face. Oh! Yikes! I think we should all be able to make an angry face when we’re annoyed! Tell people to leave us alone!

By the time we left the monkey park, it was time to work our way back to Kyoto Station. We needed to retrieve our bags from the hotel and grab lunch for the train home. Mission accomplished with ease.

The ride home was enjoyable and despite the cloudy skies we caught a glimpse of Mt. Fuji!

The Shinkansen train ride took about 2.5 hours to Shinagawa Station. We had another hour on the train home. Once back on base, we dropped our luggage and met Dave for Cindy’s farewell dinner. Sushi at Sushiro! Ironically enough, we saw my friend Miki as we were waiting for our table. She kindly offered to take our picture.

We had such an amazing time sharing Japan with Cindy during her visit. I will never forget our adventures, laughs, and experiences. It truly was a trip of a lifetime for all of us. Japan is a beautiful country with a wonderful culture. I’m happy Cindy could experience the beauty. I sent her home with extra love and hugs for everyone. Hugs and smiles across the many miles!