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Thu, 08 Aug 2013
nostromo in hello kitty land again, day 05 (0 comments)
today we went to the arashiyama area, which lies in the west of kyoto. so we went with the JR sagano line to the saga-arashi-yama station. first thing we went to was the tenryuiji temple[05-13], but the main hall was under renovation - yet another temple we wanted to see where they built a huge hall around it. too bad. but at least the garden was not closed, so we had a stroll through the park around the temple. also we did not get to see the heavenly dragon there - ownoez, i would have loved to see that one, as there have been postcards and posters around of the dragon at the souvenir shop. so, instead of dragons, we went to see a lot of bamboo, at the bamboo grove[14-20]. a long walking path through a bamboo forest, with loads of shades of green. it was really beautiful in there.
next we wanted to see the gioji temple[27-49], which was nearby. but the nearer we got to it, the fewer english signs and foreigners we spotted, and in the end, we even had troubles to find it, as there were only japanese signs pointing to it. then we found out that those stone pillars that we have already seen from time to time are actually waypoints, pointing to the nearest point of interest. so we compared the signs for the gioji temple from our guide book with the ones on the pillar, and had a match - yippieh! so, in the end, we found our way to this really awesome place. we especially enjoyed the garden, of course only with loads of anti-mosquito spray on our skin, as the bites really itch badly and for a very long time - i still scratch on the ones from our first day in japan. the garden of the temple was pretty small actually, but so beautiful with all the moss on the ground. at the exit we found a little stone cat[40], and also an altar (at least i think it was one) for a white cat[41-43], most likely for a former temple cat - meow. also there was a little graveyard[45-47], with nice stones, full of lichen and moss.
reluctantly we left this peaceful oasis and headed on for the okochi sanso garden[50-71], a 20 square kilometre park surrounding the villa of the famous japanese movie actor denji-rou okouchi, who died in 1962. in a little info folder one gets with the entry ticket, it is said that it took him 30 years to build that garden for this residence (whatever "build" here actually means). the area includes the daijou-kaku[54-55] (main house), a little jibutsudou[57-59] (a buddhist shrine), a separate tea garden[61-63], and a wonderful view over the hozu river gorge[64-66]. it must be breathtaking in autumn with all the trees in this gorge. with the entrance also comes a voucher for tea and cake[70-71], which we had before we left the property again.
we thought about going to the iwatayama monkey park, a park with over a hundred monkeys roaming freely. but then it turned out it would be quite far to walk there, and also it was getting late again, so instead we went back to the saga-arashiyama station, to get a train home again. we tried to get money from ATMs from all kind of banks, but still no luck. so i had to withdraw cash with my credit card again. although i already raised the limit before we went to japan, i raised it again. thankfully this can be made via the internet on the banks homepage, and is usually processed within one day. so by tomorrow i should already have the new limit. i hope the maestro network will be fixed soon.

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