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On a recent trip to Kyoto I found myself with most of a day free. I had spent the morning at Kiyomizu-dera temple overlooking the city and was looking for something peaceful and more low-key to do for the next couple hours. I vaguely recalled someone recommending that I visit the Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama when I had mentioned I was heading to Kyoto for a few days, and thus decided it might be an ideal opportunity to do just that.

I hopped on a train and relaxed for the 45 min or so journey from central Kyoto to Arashiyama. Arashiyama is located west of central Kyoto adjacent to the Katsura River. I first crossed the Togetsukyo Bridge which provided lovely vistas of the river and the autumn colors winding up the slopes.

I slowly strolled along the river taking in the crisp autumn air as boats floated along. The Japanese maples were showing off and kept perfectly framing various scenes - I know for a fact that I took more pictures of trees in Japan than anywhere else I have visited.

Next stop was the much talked about Bamboo Grove. I sort of happened upon it by chance while walking through the park, but yea, it was definitely impressive. If you want to feel small, this is a good place to go. I imagine this path could be quite spooky at night.

The Bamboo Grove led almost directly to the gardens of the Tenryu-ji temple - another beautifully landscaped garden and impressive wooden temple. I spent some time walking through the temples and relaxing out in the garden in the early afternoon sunshine before doing some window shopping and searching out a warm bowl of udon for a late lunch. As a solo traveler, places like Arashiyama are wonderful to explore and reflect, without feeling "alone." I returned to the city smiling.


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