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The Most Beautiful Spot in Japan?

Last night we went to Kyoto Station to meet Shelley and Jim, two other Fodorites, for dinner. Peter from Hawaii, who has come to Japan many times, recommended that we go to have dinner at one of the restaurants at the top of the Kyoto Station. To get to the top, you get on an escalator that goes all the way to the 11th floor. I can safely say that I’ve never been on an escalator that steep and long before. I felt like I was on a ride.

Kyoto Station escalator

Kyoto Station escalator

The station is an architectural wonder and very lively at night. We had dinner at yet another Italian restaurant. I really enjoyed it, but if you go, you might want to opt for pasta rather than pizza. The pizza margherita Kathie got wasn’t very good. I loved my linguini pescatore, though, and we both really enjoyed meeting and talking travel with Shelley and Jim.

And now, here we are enjoying our last full day in Kyoto before heading off to Hakone on the train tomorrow morning. This visit to Kyoto has been everything we’d hoped for and more. The koyo has been spectacular, we are here right at the prime of fall color. The trees just keep getting more vivid and beautiful. I might be saying that because this morning we decided to go to Arashiyama to walk through the bamboo forest and visit Tenryuji Temple.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

We left even earlier than usual this morning because it’s a good half hour cab ride to Arashiyama. We got there at 8:00 before the crowds arrived. By the time we were walking out of the bamboo garden, the place was jammed with people. Koyo attracts visitors from all over Japan and elsewhere.

We entered Tenryuji from the bamboo path and couldn’t believe our eyes. What a beautiful place and especially in the morning light on a gorgeous sunny day. The reds, yellows and oranges of the maples splashed against the deep green conifers and bamboo were reflected in the still water of the pond. There were plenty of people there but also plenty of room for everyone. That may have been a different story an hour later.

Tenryuji Temple koyo

Tenryuji Temple koyo

After Tenryuji, we walked on a little farther down the bamboo path to Okochi-Sanso Villa, former villa of the popular actor Okochi Denjiro (1896-1962). It cost 1000 yen each to enter and that included matcha green tea and a little snack before leaving. The stone (boulder) path meanders through a large garden which goes up to a lookout at the top before winding back downhill.

Kathie walking in Okochi-Sanso Villa

Kathie walking in Okochi-Sanso Villa

Arashiyama was the perfect place to visit on our last day here, we’re both so glad we chose to go.

We’d planned to have lunch at our Italian restaurant here in the Hyatt, but they were full and it would have been an hour and a half wait. The downstairs restaurant was having a brunch buffet for $40 each, and neither of us were interested in that, so we asked the concierge to recommend a Japanese restaurant nearby where Kathie could get some tempura that didn’t have msg, and I could get whatever I wanted. She sent us to a little place called Manzo.

I loved it; Kathie enjoyed her tempura and I was so glad to get some good neighborhood Japanese food before leaving here. So very glad the Italian restaurant was full. We will have dinner there tonight.

Manzo Japanese Restaurant, Higashiyama

Manzo Japanese Restaurant, Higashiyama

 

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Nancy 11/19/2013, 8:35 am

    Wow, these pictures are just incredible, Cheryl. The trip sounds really wonderful and these pics are an amazing feast for the eyes. I can’t wait to see the rest when you put them up onto your website.

    • Cheryl Marland 11/19/2013, 12:46 pm

      Thanks, Nancy! I’m looking forward to getting them all up, which will be soon after I get home. This really has been a most enjoyable trip for taking pictures and getting to know Japan just a little bit. By our 6th day in Kyoto we felt like we were just beginning to get the hang of it :).

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