Our day started with a bit of house keeping, buying 2 day Kyoto sightseeing passes for access to the bus and train systems then going to Kyoto Station to reserve our Shinkansen seats to Osaka for a few days time.
Finally our day started with a bus ride to Arashiyama which is a beautiful area surrounding a mountainside and river. Our first activity was to visit the famous Tenryu-ji Temple and Bamboo Forest, fortunately the weather was amazing (17 degrees and sunny) and the garden/temples were beautiful. Unfortunately every man and his dog had the same idea so photos were almost impossible and walking anywhere was a bit of a mission.
After the temple we wanted to check out Arashiyama Monkey Forest, which I was only keen to do if the monkeys were going to be roaming free at their own will like I had read. The walk to the top of the hill where the monkeys hang out is about a 20 minute walk all up hill so be prepared for that but once at the top there is a beautiful view a quite a few monkeys. There didn’t appear to be any fences, the monkeys weren’t on leads or chains and I believe they can leave the area and go further into the forest whenever they wish which I was happy about. There are also plenty of people working to make sure you don’t feed, mistreat or provoke the monkeys which is also good.
We finished our monkey fix then headed back down to the main area in search of some lunch. Lucky for us we came across this tiny little place just down the side street of the main station that sold fried noodles and Okonomiyaki. Amanda and I got fried udon noodles with cabbage, beef and leeks which they cook up then serve onto the hot plate at each table to keep warm. It was amazing, if you’re in this area keep an eye out for this place.
Next stop Kinkaku-ji Temple or the Golden Pavilion which was another 2 buses and busy as hell with people but totally worth it. We arrived at around 3.30-4pm and it was a great time because the sun was behind where we were standing but shining onto the temple which made it glow and the water reflect. If you don’t have much time in Kyoto I would recommend trying to fit this place in, it’s beautiful.
We decided heading back to our room before dinner would be a bad idea because it would result in laziness and probably missing out on dinner or having something crap. Instead we stayed on the bus all the way into central Kyoto where we spent almost an hour with hot chocolates and using the WiFi at Starbucks. Using our best friend TripAdvisor we looked up a place for dinner close by called Chao Chao Gyoza which had great reviews and apparently award winning Gyoza. Set on Gyoza for dinner we walked a few hundred meters to the location and put our name down on the waiting list for a table, this place was well known! After roughly 50 minutes of waiting we were seated. We decided to go with their special Gyoza, shrimp Gyoza, soup Gyoza and chicken wings which was all really tasty. They offered chocolate Gyoza for dessert so we caved and got that too.. yum. After dinner we made the 1.5km walk back to our hotel to shower and bed.