See more from my On This Day series here, where I celebrate travel memories on their trip anniversaries.
On November 11, 2018, I was in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan.
Following a day of exploring the city centre, we ventured further afield to the outskirts of Kyoto. The first stop on our second day in Japan was the famed Arashiyama district, which lies west of Kyoto.
As a nationally designated Historic Site and Place of Scenic Beauty, Arashiyama unsurprisingly features several highly popular tourist sites that are prime material for the cover of travel guide books.
In particular, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is a top visited destination, popular to the point that it is effectively impossible to capture an unobstructed photo of the scenic trail surrounded by Moso Bamboo, unless you arrive at some ungodly hour of the morning before the crowds descend.
Adjacent to the forest, sitting on the slopes of Mount Arashiyama, is the Iwatayama Monkey Park. This place was actually the highlight of our visit to the area, where we had the chance to hang out with a troop of 120 little Japanese macaque monkeys who are allowed to roam freely on the grounds.
Once we were bamboo and monkeyed out, we hopped back on the train toward Fushimi Inari Taisha. With its distinctive orange tori gates, this is another spot that you’ve probably seen on the cover of many Japan travel guides. Fushimi Inari is the head shrine of Inari, the kami holy power of rice and agriculture in Shinto religion. It sits at the base of Mount Inari at 233 metres above sea level and includes trails up the mountain to several smaller sub-shrines, spanning four kilometres.
Unfortunately, we arrived at dusk and didn’t have enough time to walk through the entire shrine before it closed. In order to temper our disappointment from missing out on a full exploration of this landmark, we distracted ourselves with another delicious dinner, shabu shabu (Japanese hot pot) at Moritaya Kiyamachi.