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Day 1: Discovering Arashiyama the Majestic Bamboo Kyoto Forest and a Day Trip to Osaka

Welcome to the first day of our incredible three-day journey through Kyoto and beyond! Today, we’ll be exploring the beauty and history of Western Kyoto before hopping on a quick day trip to the bustling city of Osaka. Let’s dive into our adventure!

Morning: Arashiyama

Arashiyama Bamboo Kyoto Forest

We kicked off our day with an early visit to Arashiyama, a district in Western Kyoto known for its scenic beauty and historic sites. Our first stop was the iconic Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Walking through the towering bamboo stalks swaying gently in the breeze was like stepping into another world. The early morning light filtering through the bamboo created a serene and almost magical atmosphere.

Bamboo Kyoto Forest

Bamboo Forest Kyoto How to Get There

Getting to the Bamboo Forest Kyoto in Arashiyama is not challenging but since it’s located on the western side of the city there are limited options. The most expensive, but fastest way to get there is obviously by car, Uber, or taxi. There are many hotels that have free shuttle buses for their guests to tourist spots like Arashiyama.

Getting to Arashiyama from Kyoto Station by train: You’ll need to switch various lines and it takes over an hour to get there vs 20 minutes from car.

Tenryu-ji Temple

Just a short walk from the bamboo grove is Tenryu-ji Temple, one of Kyoto’s most important Zen temples. Founded in 1339, this temple boasts stunning gardens designed by the famous landscape architect Muso Soseki. We took our time wandering through the beautifully manicured gardens, with the temple’s main hall offering breathtaking views of the surrounding nature.

Togetsukyo Bridge

After soaking in the tranquility of Tenryu-ji, we strolled over to the picturesque Togetsukyo Bridge, which spans the Katsura River. The bridge, known as the “Moon Crossing Bridge,” offers spectacular views of the river and the lush hillsides. We enjoyed a leisurely walk along the riverbank, taking in the natural beauty and peaceful ambiance.

Togetsukyo Bridge

Midday: Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

After our morning in Arashiyama, we headed to one of Kyoto’s most iconic landmarks, Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion Kyoto or Golden Temple in Kyoto. A quick subway and bus ride later, we arrived at this dazzling site. Covered in gold leaf, Kinkaku-ji is a sight to behold, reflecting beautifully in the surrounding pond. We took countless photos, trying to capture the pavilion’s stunning beauty from every angle. The gardens around Kinkaku-ji were equally impressive, offering a peaceful escape with their meticulously maintained landscapes.

golden temple in kyoto

Afternoon: Day Trip to Osaka

With the afternoon ahead of us, we decided to take a quick day trip to Osaka, just a short 30 minute express train ride from Kyoto. Our main destination: the vibrant and bustling Dotonbori district.

Getting from Kyoto Station to Osaka Station on JR Line:

Exploring Dotonbori

As soon as we stepped off the train in Osaka, we made a beeline for Dotonbori. Known for its neon lights, extravagant signage, and delicious street food, Dotonbori did not disappoint. We spent the afternoon wandering through the bustling streets, sampling local delicacies like takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes). The energy and excitement of Dotonbori were contagious, making it a perfect contrast to the serene temples of Kyoto.

exploring Dontonburi

Shopping in Osaka

No trip to Osaka would be complete without some shopping. We explored the nearby Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street, a long covered arcade filled with shops, boutiques, and cafes. From trendy fashion stores to unique souvenir shops, there was something for everyone. We picked up a few unique items and gifts to remember our visit.

Day trip to Osaka

Evening Return to Kyoto

As the evening set in, we made our way back to Kyoto, reflecting on the incredible day we had just experienced. The blend of tranquility in Western Kyoto and the vibrant energy of Osaka made for a perfect start to our trip.

Stay tuned for our second day, where we’ll explore the eastern side of Kyoto and dive deeper into the city’s rich cultural heritage!

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