Satoshi had the day off, so we went to Arashiyama.
Most areas were decorated for Tanabata on the 7th. (See the large bamboo poles with decorations hanging from them?)
It's ayu (river smelt) season too, we saw this old man fishing with a really long pole.
Last year, we came about the same time to see the hasu no hana (lotus flowers). This year, they seem to be a little late.
There were some blooming, but I think in a week or two they will be in full bloom.
There were some tombo (dragonfly).
From Tenryuji, we walked to Sagano-yu. I think I heard about this cafe from Tamakikat. This building used to be a sento (bath), but was renovated into a cafe.
The interior was kept with the sento theme--with the tiles and mirrors to make you feel like you are inside the bath.
I had the curry 1200 yen (about US$12), this came with a salad.
Satoshi had the parma ham with tomato hot sandwich--950 yen (about US$9.50). The portions are a bit too small for guys.
Drinks were separate. My ice coffee was 600 yen (about US$6), look at the size of the ice, it was huge! We both agreed that this place was expensive but worth it for the atmosphere.
After lunch, we walked to the JR torokko station, inside the station is an exhibition of older SL (steam locomotives).
It was weird seeing a piano, a gorgeous chandelier and the SL together in the same room.
As we made our way back to the Hankyu station, we noticed a sign advertising a great view.
We decided to check it out. The Arashiyama Monkey Park is located at the top of Mount Iwata.
The admission is 520 yen (about US$5.20) per person and it is worth it.
For the most part of the "hike" it is a steep climb up the hill. You can hear the monkeys rustling in the trees.
Before you go in there are several rules.
1. Don't stare the monkey in the eye
2. Don't touch the monkey
3. Don't feed the monkey outside of the feeding area
4. Don't take a picture on the way
I didn't read the 4th rule and Satoshi disregarded all of the above.
As we got to the top, there were two monkeys along the path, doing "their thing".
Satoshi decided to stare at the monkey (the one with the arrow), and pointed at it.
The monkey got pissed, screamed and chased him. Of course, Satoshi screamed and...ran...
Me, I stopped dead in my tracks and too frozen to move. So there I was with the groomed monkey to the right of me, and the angry monkey to the left of me, between Satoshi and me.
Satoshi kept calling me, come on Kat, come on Kat...but I was too scared. I could hear the monkey hissing at me.
Finally, the monkey gave up and walked away. I stared at the ground, but still it was scary.
I asked Satoshi, "didn't you see that you weren't supposed to stare at them". He said, "yeah, but I didn't think they would do anything."
I said, "but you shouldn't have ran." He said, "I didn't think it would follow me."
As if I weren't already perspiring enough from the humidity.... talk about panic.
So at the top, there was a beautiful view of Kyoto. There was also a resting area.
You could buy food to give the monkeys, but you could only feed them with you inside the resting area and the monkeys outside.
After all that stress, we climbed down the mountain and decided to have some soft serve or soft cream as it is called here. This one was tofu (white) and kuromame kinako (black bean with soy bean powder), the wafer sticking out is called yatsuhashi, it is a famous sweet in Kyoto and is made with cinnamon. The soft serve was not sweet and hit the spot.
Despite the humidity and unnecessary stress, we still had a nice day and made it home just before the rain.
4-3 Imahori-cho, Saga-Tenryuji
Arashiyama Monkey Park
8 Genrokuyama-cho, Arashiyama
Open: 9:00-17:30 (closes earlier during autumn 16:30)
Closed only during severe weather conditions
Have a great weekend! and Happy 4th of July to you in the States!