Kyoto gets me feeling like I have stepped back in time, and I am submerged in the Japanese traditions and culture. Once the capital of Japan, this city is bursting with history. It is said that there is over 1000 temples there, and also plenty of gardens, shrines and if lucky a quick glance at the charming Geikos and Maikos.
Waking up at 4 a.m. to take the first train from Osaka to Arashiyama, a very convenient and inexpensive train ride with only one change of trains. My plan was to be the only person at the Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama, and have the ability to take a photo without a single person in it! I am happy to say that I succeeded, but a few had the same idea in mind. Words can’t describe just how beautiful and serene this place is, an enjoyable walk through the path of its grandiose bamboo groves all the way to the gardens of Tenryuji Temple satisfied my soul fully.
I saw this tiny place with modern and simple design by the Hozu river. I was too curious to just continue walking, and what a joy to realise that it is the best coffee shop in Japan. % Arabica is a green bean trading company, making delicious lattes from the best espresso machines in the world (their own creation by the way.) I suggest ordering the machiatto to really taste the coffee.
Another great place for photographs is located in the Arashiyama station, where I found the Kimono Forest. Tall poles wrapped in stunning kimono fabrics from Kyoto creates a lively and unique path, they illuminate at night for a completely different atmosphere.
A 15 minutes train ride took me to Kyoto Station where I visited the Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine to continue this path theme adventure of the day! Famous for its thousands of Torri that seems to never end, creating a vibrant path due to its orange color for its 5 shrines.
I was lucky enough to see two Maikos walking by during my walk back to the station, a sight that I will cherish forever. Kyoto still holds this mesmerizing tradition, an absolyte honour for Japanese girls, who begin their training at a very early age. Anyone has the ability to play dress up for the day and wear a complete attire, costs varies and there are a few places that offers this. I found a good site that provides excellent packages for an idea on what to expect, www.kyoto-maiko.com. I recommend researching online prior to visiting for further information!