Although my family and I have been to Japan several times we still find many places to visit that we had not gone to before. On this second day of travel in Japan, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. My family’s body clock isn’t as strong as mine and they all were in a deep sleep.
I decided to research our options for the day. Based on what I saw, Arashiyama was a perfect option. We didn’t want to activate our JR Railpass yet so we wanted something relatively close to our home base in Osaka. Using my Hyperdia app on my iPhone, I was able to see the train route and cost that we would have to take to get to Arashiyama. It only costs about ¥660 (about $6.00) per person from Shin Osaka station to get there. I picked up a cute Sakura Latte from the combini on the way to the train.
At Arashiyama, we got off the train without much knowledge about where to go and how we would get there. We knew we wanted to see the bamboo forest and the touristy souvenir shopping area but that was about it. We started walking toward the river right outside of the station. There was a beautiful park where Steven could do some running without disturbing others. We went in the same general direction that the other tourists were going and very quickly found our way to the famous bamboo forest. After visiting the bamboo forest, we went exploring and also explored the tourist shopping area and bought some souvenirs. I found some freeze-dried okayu that I thought my MIL might appreciate. I also bought an umbrella that shows its designs only when it gets wet. I had purchased a similar one about three years ago on my last trip and was ready for a new one. There were a lot of street-food vendors in this area. I had a wagyu croquette–delicious! Samantha had a hankering for ramen so we found a place specializing in Kyoto ramen and tried it. The broth was super dark. The warm soup hit the spot on this chilly day.
All day, Sammie was begging us to allow her to row the boats that were for rent at the river. Aaron finally relented and allowed Steven and Sammie to go rowing. I was wearing a very impractical heeled boot and couldn’t go walking on the rocky banks of the river so Aaron went with Sammie while Steven had his own boat. Based on their performance that day, Sammie does not have a bright future as a boat rower.Sammie was not able to control the boat and had to be rescued a couple of times–once from being stuck at the bank of the river and once from floating down the river too far to who knows where she would have ended up. Aaron was her passenger and apparently was yelling at her throughout the trip to be a better rower. “Row like your life depends on it!” Sammie didn’t enjoy the stress at the time, but we are having some good laughs about it after the fact. Steven went through a very similar experience (also in Japan) when he was around six-years-old. He did much better that day at Arashiyama. Maybe the yelling strategy will work out for Sammie and she will row well when she is a little older.
After the boat rowing experience, we went walking on the other side of the river and found a monkey park. Again, because of my impractical (but fashionable) shoes, I couldn’t go on this hike. (Had I known that this would have been an outdoorsy adventure day, I would have worn my sneakers! I guess I didn’t research enough while the family was sleeping.) Anyway, the kids loved the park and seeing the monkeys. What a nice day at Arashiyama! If you are in the Osaka or Kyoto area, I recommend a day trip to Arashiyama.