“In Kyoto, I was strolling so casually”
The sun was high when I gazed out to the window. I could feel it though I was inside, trying to wake myself up completely by 6.30am. I was a bit tired yet I had to experience Bamboo Groove as my first destination on my second day in Kyoto. I had a conversation on the phone a night before with Aria, my friend that lived in Kyoto then (he’s back for good to Indonesia in the moment). He suggested to come as early as I could if I wanted to get beautiful photographs at Bamboo Groove. He said it won’t be too many tourists if I came in the morning before 9. As I remember, it was our first conversation since we graduated from the university seven years ago
(7? damn I’m old!).
I finally arrived at Bamboo Groove few minutes after 8. The morning sun wasn’t friendly enough to me. It was worse cause I wore black jeans and D&G-ish Zara (had no option but I rushed and just found they were the clean ones). When the sun kissed my skin I swore I won’t do the same mistake if I travel on summer again.
Aria was true. It was well worth to wake up earlier and finally explored Bamboo Groove when it was quite. Like I couldn’t imagine how I would enjoy Bamboo Groove if I found many selfie sticks surround me (cause it could be happened in the afternoon). Though I still felt the sun and the humid, it didn’t stop me to breathe easy, felt the gentle breeze and the wind rustling in the bamboo leaves. And it was a serene morning indeed.
At Bamboo Groove I met with Judith, a solo female traveler from Sant Feliu de Guixols, Spain, who spent three weeks exploring Japan. We met for the first time at the entrance and at the bamboo path later on when we faced the same problem a solo traveler always has, looking for somebody who can take a picture of you through your own camera (you guys too?). Speaking and sharing few things with Judith was truly made my morning. And lucky me, she dropped a post card and wished if someday we can meet again either in Spain or in Indonesia.
It was a simply joy I’ll always remember, Judith.
“iPhone pictures above do not do justice
unless I captured with A7R then!. Arashiyama Bamboo Groove is a must if you have a chance to visit Kyoto”
After spending two hours at Bamboo Groove, I moved to the most important temple in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district, Tenryū-ji Temple. Located just right after Bamboo Groove, it is mandatory to pay a visit to Tenryū-ji which registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. I have to tell you this, I know I should put more attention reading the history of Tenryū-Ji while I was there yet my eyes were more tented by all those beautiful straight lines I could find everywhere surround the temple. I wasn’t wowed by the temple itself
and struggled to ensure I took symmetric pictures of the lines but stood and wondered how beautiful the zen garden would be either in spring or in autumn.
You know sometimes I’d say “oh buddy, money is not everything” to people but sure you can SLAP MY FACE if you were with me in Kyoto on summer then. You would find me easily gave up being “oh I don’t mind to be a backpacker, huh?” and lied “this is an exception because true, summer is crazy hot!” and decided to spend my Japanese ¥ for a big bowl of shaved matcha ice along with two mochies beautifully wrapped with cherry blossom leaves.
I entered a matcha cafe right in front of Tenryū-Ji’s gate and spent an hour with cute green-guys as captured below. I remember when I went to the cafe upstairs, the first time I had in mind was I must have a seat by the window, guess what? yep, for picture purpose. Since I had a nightmare when I found my mirrorless didn’t work in Tokyo, seated by the window where I had bright natural light was significant cause I only had my iPhone 6 in hand
(hello 7! sigh!). Oh come on guys, should I just sat and enjoyed my matchas without taking picture of them for this blog ? How possible?
I admit I was so shy when I was rearranging those trays to get the right composition for my picture when two Japanese women were enjoying their shaved ices beside me. You may say I shouldn’t do that cause it might be rude
(MAYBE??) yet I’m such how garish this might sound a typical Instagramer nowadays when it is so IMPORTANT to snap our food before we eat them, huh? No I’m kidding. What I was thinking just to have them for my own file so that I’ll remember it as one of the memory when I was in Japan.
Don’t worry, two women beside me were typical Japanese, they were so polite and even smiled at me when I was asking to the younger woman (the older one seemed like her mother, I guessed) this question: “Konichiwa
haik, do you speak English? may I ask you, are these leaves can be eaten, too?” (sure I was smiling like oh GOD, WHAT A SUCH A STUPID Q?). But when she did answer in English, I was so pleased at least I didn’t just eat the cherry blossom leaves without knowing and I would look like a fool if they could be eaten or not.
After an hour spent in the cafe I putted on my headsets, played Rather Be, and continued my sightseeing to the central landmark of Arashiyama, Togetsukyo Bridge. Many restaurants, small shops, and attractions can be found nearby. Though the weather in the afternoon was super-duper hot, I was enjoyed every step I took. A little trick I did when I felt too-hot was stopped by the shops and enjoyed the AC. It helped for my body indeed but not for my eyes.
Stopped by two shops with a will to chill but left with some souvenirs in my hand.
Japan was dangerous, tho.
Here are some Arashiyama scenes via iPhone while I was strolling casually before headed to Nara.
Nara was my side trip with no expectation cause what I wanted just to spend the rest of that day at Nara-Koen Park. There was one thing I learnt from my trip to Nara. If I have places to see it is important to fuel myself with good food so I’ll have energy to move around.
When I was inside the train heading to Nara station, I was looking for halal restaurant nearby and my iPhone told me to stop to the next station which was JR Kyobate station. Without thinking that I would spend time an hour or two, I decided to look for a place to have a proper lunch before I went to Nara Park. I found two, one was Indian restaurant (oh, I didn’t mind for basmati rice and chicken curry) and another one was halal Japanese ramen restaurant. I picked Japanese one for a distance wise, and thought a bowl of ramen in the afternoon wasn’t a bad idea.
Stepped at Kyobate station I found myself as if I was in the corner of the country. It was very quite place. I could barely imagine how I would spend my lazy afternoon at one of those Japanese houses with a cold matcha and some dark chocolates if I had a couchsurfing host.
Even though it was past 3 and the sun was still high, it didn’t stop me looking for a halal restaurant called Naramachi Jinniyah. I enjoyed my walk to the restaurant located at Minamijodocho though I almost gave up cause
hell ya the summer sun was suffocated me. Ten minutes walked and guess what? I stood in front of the restaurant with CLOSE sign on the door, plus my flat face, plus my screaming tummy, plus my salty sweat, plus a little feeling “what the hell I was looking for” and just look at the selfie I took below was my cheesy reward cause I failed looking for halal food.
After I stopped by at Lawson in Kawaradocho for two slices fried chicken (yikes I ate part of the chicken I hate the most (read: skin) like a real hunger!) with a bottle of cold matcha drink and a vanilla cream puff, I decided to take a train back to Nara station.
When I arrived at the station my tummy was screaming for a real food for the second time. I felt like I was OK cause I took enough light food from Lawson but I forgot that moved around burned calories and made me hungry more often. I had to ask my iPhone again where I could find a restaurant with halal food on the menu but first, I stopped at Nara City Tourist Information Centre right away after I saw prayer room sign (as I wished I could find prayer room easily like that in Japan).
After I prayed I decided to walk straight to Nara Park since the day was still bright. Strolling in the afternoon in Nara could be one of my best time in Japan. Just I wished I had enough time and sure, a happy tummy then. I was a little worried if I couldn’t visit Nara Park cause the sky was cloudy and gray yet I smiled for second to admire the orange-ish afternoon light as captured below. My worry was true cause in the end of my side trip, I finally flunked to visit a home to hundreds of freely deers. I had to admit that I couldn’t manage my time precisely when in Nara but hey, it shouldn’t be regretted cause I finally found an Indonesian fried rice at one restaurant at Konishico for my dinner.
I knew it was like incomplete journey that I couldn’t see how cute those deers at Nara Park but at least, I could bring two deers home for my beloved best friend. And it was enough to end my very short visit to Nara.
I didn’t take only deers but ah, I shouldn’t say it here how I spent my Japanese ¥ in the evening at some souvenir shops at Nara before I came back to my hostel in Kyoto.
P.S. FYI, I’m kind of person who always try to avoid eating my own food when I travel to another country cause it’s definitely an opportunity to experience local food. But that day, it was an exception for my dinner
since my tummy screamed since afternoon like crazy. And, I had more and more picture I took at Arashiyama and Nara but I didn’t want to boom you with too many pictures here. So more to come!