A Japanese Adventure: Bamboo Forests and Turkish Delights

A little tired, a little thirsty…. but hungry for more of Kyoto’s beauty we headed to our next stop: Bamboo Groves at “Arashiyama”.

A little background: “The walking paths that cut through the bamboo groves make for a nice walk or bicycle ride. The groves are particularly attractive when there is a light wind and the tall bamboo stalks sway gently back and forth. The bamboo has been used to manufacture various products, such as baskets, cups, boxes and mats at local workshops for centuries.” – (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3912.html)

The small shops and all their little treasures offered us ample distraction from our walk to the bamboo groves. We couldn’t resist exploring each of them for any hidden gems … something to take back: TShirts, Bags (CANNOT STRESS HOW GREAT THE BAGS ARE!! Everywhere!!), souvenirs, jewellery, Matcha flavored icre-creams and snacks.. 🙂 I was too busy shopping or snacking to actually take many pictures of the stores. There was another Lawson’s around (for more info on Lawsons check my first blog post).

The bamboo forest was perfect.. and would have been more perfect still, had we walked through it at night or in spring weather. It was as if you were walking into the past… hidden in nature’s grasp.

There were even some little ‘rickshaws’ that you could use to cruise through the path. In one of the corners, there was a cemetery… I couldn’t possibly think of a more peaceful resting place.



There was yet more beauty to enjoy as we walked towards the the nearby bridge.
Background: “The Togetsukyo Bridge is Arashiyama’s well known, central landmark. Many small shops, restaurants and other attractions are found nearby” – (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3912.html)

Even thinking about it now, weeks later, I can feel a closeness to nature… there was something about the atmosphere; families sitting in the setting sun, just appreciating the moment, quiet conversations, and a light breeze of relief through all the humidity…

I have to praise the way our Sensei had organized the tour. Every little detail or possible concern had been addressed. Our group consisted of a mix of nationalities, most of us not accustomed to Japanese food, and few sushi-lovers (for the record.. I am a sushi-lover.. 🙂 ) .. so the meals each day were organized as:
– Lunch: Japanese cuisine
– Dinner: International cuisine

So after our 11 course traditional vegan lunch (see earlier blog post), our dinner was to be at a Turkish restaurant: “Istanbul Saray”!
It was interesting to observe that every restaurant we went to immediately served cold water… which was perfectly refreshing given the humidity outside. I have to confess, I was famished so I gobbled up my main course before taking any pictures… but here are a few of the starters and the sides:

One word: DELICIOUS!

You can find more coverage on Istanbul Saray at: http://www.deepkyoto.com/istanbul-saray/

And believe it or not, that was the end of Day 2!


The next blog posts will cover the adventures of Day 3: Temples, Shrines, Deer and a touch of Sushi! 🙂


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