For Day three of our Kyto Trip we boarded an early morning train to the Arashiyama area and a walk to the famous Togetsu-kyo bridge. Our intent was to beat the crowds and we did.
This 420-year-old wooden bridge known as the “Rising Moon Bridge” provided a nice view of the nearby mountains and what was left of the fall colors. The highlight for me was spotting a Little Ringed Plover searching for his morning breakfast.
From the bridge we walked a short distance to Tenryu-ji Temple (Temple of the Heavenly Dragon), established in 1339 by the shogun Ashikaga Takauji. It is listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site. An interesting tidbit is there was not enough money to finance building this temple so they sent a trade ship to China and used the profits to finish the construction in 1343.
Sagano Romantic Train
We quickly headed back to the Torokko Saga station in time for our Sagano Romantic Train ride. The cars are open air with wooden seats, a little chilly for a cold morning, but the beautiful scenery along the 7.3 kilometers (4.5 miles) route more than made of up for our temporary discomfort. On the return ride we got off at Arashiyama Torokko Station and walked through the bamboo grove over to Nison-In Temple.
An Important Cultural Property, Nison-In Temple consists of lots of stone steps leading up to various view points overlooking Kyoto. It was established in 834 and over its history served multiple Emperors. The grounds were well maintained. On the way out we stopped a Misone-tei Tea room for some hot tea and a sweet. Walked back through the Bamboo Grove to Jojakkoji Temple.
On the side of Ogura Mountain sits Jojakkoji Temple founded in 1596. There were many beautiful buildings surrounded by maple trees and a nice two-story pagoda. Even though this is one of the nicest temples in the Arashiyama area it was very quiet and peaceful without many tourists.
This area of Kyoto is well known for soba and on our way to the next spot we stopped at one of the many restaurants to experience their local dish. I love soba and have never had a bad plate so it is hard to judge, all I can say, it was very tasty.
Another walk through the bamboo grove back to Togetsu-kyo bridge for some additional photos before heading to Kyoto Station. With a few hours to spare before our Shinkansen back to Yokohama Miwa wanted to eat a traditional sweet Oshiruko. It consists of azuki beans, a sweet sauce, and crushed mochi. After our treat we walked from the station to Nishi Hongwanji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nishi Hongwanji Temple
The Goeido or “founders hall” was established in 1636 and is one of the largest wooden structures in Japan. The Hall is designated as a National Treasure of Japan. A nice ending to a great Kyoto trip.