** Day 7 will be split into two posts as it's rather photo heavy. Kyoto is just too photogenic.**

For our first full day in Kyoto, we woke up bright and early, walking over to Kyoto Station and then boarding a train to the outlying district of Arashiyama. We wanted to avoid the tourist crowds hence the early start. 

Our purpose for visiting Arashiyama was to walk through Sagano Bamboo Forest, a sprawling area filled with dense and towering bamboo. If you can avoid the crowds, it's a beautiful and serene walk.

While in the forest, we met a real life ninja! ♥‿♥ The owners were very nice and helped pose him for photos.

Although it's turned into a popular tourist attraction, the bamboo in the grove is still used to manufacture various items such as baskets and mats.

I considered ourselves quite lucky as we also stumbled upon a bride and a groom taking wedding photos in traditional kimono. So beautiful!

We also came across a small shrine hidden within the forest known as Nonomiya Shrine.

According to a quick Google search, the shrine was a sanctuary for unmarried princesses to undergo purification before they went to serve as high priestesses. Nowadays, the shrine is believed to help single women in finding a partner or to help ease child delivery for expectant mothers.

Looking back, there's no wonder there were so many heart-shaped wooden plaques, known as ema, where visitors write down their prayers or wishes to be received by the gods.

After we finished making our way through the forest, which wasn't nearly as big as we thought, we stopped for "breakfast" at some street food stands located at the entrance. We shared some steamed pork buns ...

A potato korokke ...

Takoyaki with the usual fixings ...

Kare pan (curry bun) ...

... and finishing off with some tea ice cream. The cone had four different flavours of soft serve -- sencha, roasted tea, matcha, and mugi-cha (oat tea). Creamy and delicious!

We didn't spend too much longer exploring Arashiyama, as we boarded an electric train car and then a bus to go to our next destination, which was --

-- Kinkaku-ji, otherwise known as the Golden Pavilion. This picture really doesn't do it justice because seeing the temple in real life was literally breathtaking. I'm pretty sure I gasped out loud, and LT can vouch for it.

If you ever get the chance to visit Kinkaku-ji, I will warn you that the temple ground will be packed with tons of people, but it's certainly worth braving the crowds for the view.

Short and sweet, but part 2 will be coming soon!

- CT


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CT is a 20-something Edmontonian who started blogging as an excuse for taking pictures of her food.

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf