But before we do any exploring, it's breakfast first. We'd read from various reviews that breakfast at the hotel we were staying at (Mitsubishi Garden Hotel) was great, so we bought some breakfast vouchers. Usually when we're staying at hotels, we avoid hotel breakfasts so we don't miss the opportunity to try some real local food.
In full glory buffet style, here's my traditional Japanese breakfast!! We sat on the higher chairs overlooking the hotel's zen garden - what a great way to start the day.
Being the greedy pig that I am, I wanted to try everything that was on offer. It was all super delicious and it was really from this meal that I fell in love with a traditional Japanese breakfast. Rice, grilled mackerel, seaweed and miso soup seemed too heavy before our Japan trip, but not anymore... Oh no. Unsurprisingly, we were so stuffed that we didn't even need lunch, just a light snack in the afternoon.
As I mentioned on our 2nd day of Kyoto, we loved our hotel. The room size is decent for Japan where everything is naturally tight due to the dense population, the location is great as it sits on 2 subway lines to allow for easier navigation around Kyoto. There is a free onsen (artificial) for guests to use which faces onto an amazingly tranquil zen garden, and massage services in your own room is available if you fancy indulging (I did!). And of course not forgetting the amazing breakfast here. Whilst breakfast wasn't free, we only paid around £12 and it was worth every penny.
The bathroom might be small but it's so well thought out. This washing line can be pulled out if you have some laundry to do and retracted when not required.
From our hotel, Arashiyama was a little over 30 mins away. We took the yellow tozai line, changed at Nijo and then onto the brown line. We didn't have enough time to explore all of Arishiyama but the bamboo groves was the main reason for our visit.
Surrounded by the tall bamboos as we winded around Arashiyama, we felt like we could have been in a movie as ninjas brandishing swords... That little imagination was shattered as soon as we walked into a massive tour group papping away on their phones/iPads/cameras!
There's quite a few bike hire shops just by the station, so I got one whilst G decided to walk as he thought it would be too crowded to cycle. As I don't get much opportunity to ride a bike back in London, I was insistent on getting one. Tough for G when I could speed up and then cycle back to him teasing him to hurry up...!
The obligatory tourist pose.
As we loop around the trail of the bamboo groves, we pass by a park so we go in for a wander. The lake with flowers blooming around it is so beautiful.
The bamboo groves get more and more impressive as we go deeper in. The most beautiful part of the bamboos is just before reaching the Togetsukyo Bridge. We never made it over the bridge but instead, we took a little break by the river.
This tasted like a milder version of Yakult but in a much larger bottle. It was so good!
A light and sweet afternoon snack of black sesame mochi.
Stay tuned for the next part of the day: A visit to Kurama, an outdoor onsen and our insane yakitori dinner.