It was our second time back in Kyoto and we finally got to visit the famed Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.  Also, like many other photography enthusiasts, I had planned mentally to wake up at 6am to travel from Osaka to Kyoto so that I could get a photo of this beauty before anyone else gets there. But… I should have known better. My tired soul got the better of me and I couldn’t wake up in time, so we ended up reaching at noon. Ha! It was so late that we ended up having a good udon meal before we joined the crazy crowd. With that, my experience at the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove wasn’t too bad, as I still got to take some really nice photos, my favourite being the end of the bamboo forest walk! You can read my visual diary here.

But the post here is not about that. It is what comes after the Bamboo Grove, that’s even better. So if you’re heading to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, please do not turn around when you’ve reached the end. Please. don’t. Go on, walk further, and you’ll be amazed by what you’ll see, in Kyoto, especially during the sakura season.

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um cherry blossoms among the forest?! well it’s a first for me!

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and if you keep going past all these cobbled walkways, you’ll finally end up at this river, which is green and expansive and perfect for water activities. 

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Well, where do I start? Once you walk along this stretch, you’ll be overwhelmed by the visual fiesta that greets you. Beautiful shops lined up opposite the Katsura River, little children running around throwing pebbles, families and couples on the boats paddling away with a Japanese guide… and then you suddenly see a coffee place with a really long queue.

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As typical a Singaporean/tourist we are, we joined the queue. And then, we quickly started googling what this coffee place is about.

They’re a speciality coffee house known as % Arabica, and a quick read on their philosophy will get you hooked – See The World Through Coffee. Indeed, I’m no connoisseur but the thought of seeing the world through a caffeinated drink… why not? The only mysterious thing is the owner is Japanese who lives in California and even bought a coffee farm in Hawaii, has other outlets around the globe in Hong Kong, Berlin, Kuwait City, and Dubai, but there’s no outlet in USA. Steep competition in US eh?

Once you reach the cross junction, it’s another decision to make. Do you turn around and leave, or is there more to explore over the Togetsukyo bridge? I say, GO AHEAD AND CROSS THE BRIDGE if time allows!

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We went during the Sakura season, so chasing sakura trees we were. But I’m sure if you’re there during Autumn, red leaves should be aplenty! These photos are all taken at the Arashiyama Park across the bridge, which happens to be on an island itself. Not to mention during winter, you can consider staying a night or two as they have a few onsen resorts around here. 

Forget downtown Kyoto, this place is way too magical and beautiful. I hope you find yourself a chance to come by here too!

keep travelling,
J