Japan | Kansai | Day 3 & 4, Arashiyama and Kibune

/ Arashiyama
/ Iwatayama Monkey Park
/ Owl forest zoo
/ Bamboo Grove
/ Okochi Sanso Garden
/ Gion for dinner
/ Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji Night Illumination

Arashiyama Monkey Park

Actually didn't plan to go to the monkey park from the beginning, but somehow I asked my brother and mother, and then they were like "whatever", so we just went up. It serves as a good and easy hiking trip up the mountains anyway. We also had the chance to look out at Kyoto from above.

Unfortunately, it doesn't feel like 20 mins at all

It's quite an easy hike up, there's also some warning signs (what not to do when encountering a wild monkey) and fun facts placed along the route up and down. I think at like 2/3 of the journey up the park, we could already see quite a few monkeys. We even saw some who were fighting and shouting. It's pretty scary guys, I was genuinely afraid. I mean, these are practically wild monkeys and there is no barrier to protect us or whatsoever. 

Not pissed off, just tired from the morning hike.

At the park, you can sit at the bench and observe the monkeys openly. Also, it was good to know that there are a few "monkey keepers" looking out and making sure the monkeys are not misbehaving around people. The visitors can only feed them while inside the "safe house". Strictly no feeding when you're out in the open area. There's also a shop inside selling monkey feeds like fruits and nuts.

And then, they'll be like, hanging around with their arms through the wire fence, palms up, hands open. Free food, how happy. 

Also, caught this interesting sight on camera

I'm not quite sure what I was grimacing at, or what that other guy saw. The monkey was just sitting on the floor. But I find this picture very funny. Hahahaha. Therefore, zoomed in for your enjoyment. 

Enjoying the autumn scene along the routes

We only ate some sandwiches from family mart early in the morning so after the hike, we were quite hungry. Saw some road side stalls selling Fried Karaage, Yakisoba and some really thick bacon(?) meat. Then we started to find some nearby restaurants but most of them are crowded and quite expensive to dine in, so we just passed them by hoping we will pass by some other food stalls. 

and eventually, we did of course. 

Owl Forest Zoo

And right after that, we found an owl zoo. We didn't plan that at all. And we thought since we are there already, why not just go in and look see look see

Owl photos alert! LOADS of them! I also recorded a lot of videos, all the cute and interesting ones are in my vlog.

it's all about the angles.

Haha. I like this one a lot.

cut but this guy has a lot of character!

Hahahaha angry bird much

Okay, end of owl photos. 

If you're thinking why the owls are so obedient, it's because they are all chained so actually, if they wanted to fly, they couldn't. I could see some owls were quite irritated when we tried to pet them, but they couldn't really move much. It was a little cruel in my opinion, though we were really happy when we could pet them. But we did pay for this, and it's actually just encouraging this "business". Not going to be a keyboard warrior but that was what we saw and thoughts. At the moment of this realization, we also saw a sign explaining why they were chained, it's mainly because of "their safety, and at night, they are free to fly about". 

Saw this curious lemon cucumber being sold by the roadside. Thought it was interesting so we went and bought one to try. It's not like the regular pickle... it's not as salty. But I don't remember the lemon taste. Anyway, didn't like it. Hahahaha. 

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

A must have in Japan?? I guess??? But I don't like red beans, only ate the flour part

Me, enjoying the food. 

When we were walking towards the bamboo grove, we did pass by this scene (above). At first I thought this was the "main" bamboo grove area. It doesn't look that impressive or mesmerizing as the pictures I saw online. But then after walking for awhile, we found the correct spot. 

I think this is my best photo from Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. HAHAHAHA. Guys, it's just so crowded there, I don't even know how I can get a good photo from there. 

Oh wait, I actually do know. There was this other private route next to the public one. But you would need to rent a rickshaw to be able to access that part and then you'll get good photos there. But I don't know the price though, we didn't ask. 

Another priceless expression

Thought the couple looked great with the surroundings. stalker mode on

failed selfie, but just want to show my face. lol

Okochi Sanso Garden

I really really wanted to go to the garden because I read that they gave out Japanese green tea and sweets. Wanted to try them out while enjoying the Autumn Japanese garden view. It's so interesting and relaxing. The place is just so pretty! It's also not as crowded as the Bamboo Grove, I guess mostly because it has an entrance fee. BUT I really liked it there, because I hate crowds. Hahaha. 

How pretty is this!?!?

My family doesn't really like the traditional Japanese green tea because it was too bitter, it's completely different than what we usually drink back at home. I'm neutral, I don't really like it, I don't particularly hate it either. It's really good with the sweets though. 

Bamboo scenery behind us. 

After resting awhile, we got up and explored the other areas inside Okochi Sanso Garden. 

As I said, it wasn't as crowded.. but still there were a number of people. Especially when the area is small. Like this one. It's so hard to get a good photo because everyone was trying to get one. 

I really. hate. crowds. 

Japan have really nice longkangs
Saw this rock temple near the station.

And also, only in japan, anime characters are used in ads. 


We were really craving for some ramen so I just googled for some high rating noodle shops around Gion. First ramen shop for the night, Zundouya ramen! Apparently, it's quite famous and also have franchises. The ramen is really good, recommended

Garlic fried rice is really good too!

Second ramen shop, Kairikiya Kawaramachi Sanjo. The ramen there taste more Chinese styled and it has a lighter taste (since it's light broth). It was just okay. We prefer thicker broth. 

Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji

It was actually raining a little in the evening. We were planning to take the bus to Eikan-do Zenrin-ji but somehow, the bus took a really long to arrive. And when it does, it was full. We thought it was quicker to take the taxi so we did. 
We didn't really had a good experience with the taxi driver. It being our first time taking one in Japan anyway. We were scolded by the taxi driver. HAHA. Here's the story. So, apparently the doors on the taxis are automated. So, the passenger doesn't need to physically open or close the door. But of course, thanks to our muscle memory, we would always, always open and close it with our hands. Then this uncle scolded us to not touch the door at all. I don't know if it will destroy the auto-mechanism or what not if we did that but yeah. It's not very pleasant. We took another taxi after the visit, that taxi driver was so much better. What I wanted to say is, not all taxi drivers are mean.. just some particular ones.
Taxis in Japan are not cheap but since there were 3 of us, it was raining, the bus was not reliable, and it was almost the end of visiting hours, so we decided to do so. 

I couldn't really take any good photos of the night sceneries. iPhone camera ain't very good for taking photos when it's dark.

The pictures are not really that impressive. Actually in real life, it was also not that great but still worth visiting once (in my life). Maybe it's mainly because of the overwhelming crowd. Yes, it was damn crowded even if it was raining a little. 
There's also a few other temples which offers night illumination visiting hours during autumn, would love to visit them in the future. 

We were back to city center area for a little shopping before going back to our AirBnb. We stumbled across this Pachinko place, was curious so decided to go in for awhile. I was stopped when I went in because I was recording and it was not allowed, I should have known better. Hahahaha. Anyway, we thought Pachinko was like an arcade game centre but it's actually a gambling centre. No fun. 
Didn't really stumbled upon any arcade game centre though during the whole trip. What a shame. 

End of Day 3

Day 3 // 22 Nov 17 // Kibune

/ Kibune town
/ Kifune Shrine
/ Random walk in Japanese neighborhood

Felt like having gyudon in the morning, so we did. We went to dine at Sukiya in town when we were changing stations to get to Kibune. It's was very early in the morning, there's not that much places open too but luckily Sukiya is a 24 hours fast food restaurant chain. It's not the first time I ate in Sukiya, we also have it in Taipan (but they closed down already now). Love the gyudon there. 

Sukiya in Japan is also very gooooood. Very satisfying meal even if it's considered as fast food. If you notice, I also ordered pudding. I highly recommend the pudding!!! I tried a lot of different puddings during the trip, I still think that the ones they sell in Sukiya is the best one that I have tried. I know, this surprises me as well. 

The total time needed to travel from our place to Kibune is almost 2 hours because we were living in the south area and Kibune is all the way up north. But I think it is still worth it as a day trip! Kibune and Kurama are small towns. I was planning to go to both but there was some small complications, so we could only visit Kibune that day. 

Not in Kibune yet, but we had to get off at the last train station. The sceneries was also amazing there.
Then we took the bus up to Kibune town.

Kibune town

There's some lanterns along the river as you can see. I think there's some special night illumination there but we didn't wait till then

Lovely river 

This was the complication that I was saying. I was planning to take this small route to Kurama but unfortunately due to force of nature, we couldn't. We could still get to Kurama but we had to take the longer route. And most of the place we wanted to visit closes at 4pm, so we decided not to go anymore. Instead, we took our sweet time strolling around this quaint town. 

Kifune Shrine

Kifune Shrine

This particular shrine is famous for it's Omikuji which uses water to do fortune telling! The paper is in Japanese but don't worry, they offer translation services online! So high-tech right? Hahahaha.

You can get a slip at the shop nearby for 200 yen. Simply dip the paper in water and you'll get your fortune! Actually I was just thinking, since they already have the QR code there, so you actually just can scan it without dipping it in the water to know the result. HAHAHAHA. But where's the fun in that? 

Fascinating right? My mum got "small luck", I got "luck", and my brother got "big luck". Scan the QR code, choose the language you want to read in and BAM. 

Now everyone knows my fortune

Tying our fortune slip with "future hopes in mind" as instructed. 

Actually it was an accident that we found this restaurant. I was actually finding for this particular shop that serves "flying noodles" on bamboo stream. But I only found out that they only serves the noodles in Summer so the period for "flying noodles" has ended. But anyway, thought we would just eat there even if it's not summer. But then we ended up in another restaurant by mistake. 

But it was a blessing in disguise, because the food they served there were heavenly! I think we had the best Japanese meal in Kibune. I really really like the food in this restaurant. Everything tasted so good. 

I love Chazuke!

After lunch, we just walk around town and enjoyed the surroundings there. It's autumn and raining a little but we didn't mind. I thought it made the town more beautiful like this. 


I look like a pervert somehow with the mask, hat and shades. Hahaha.

Have I told you that I love it when there are no crowds? Yes, for the millionth time I think, but that doesn't matter. I'm still gonna say it again. HAHAHHA

I look like I'm selling some illegal stuff to a high schooler here. 

Can't see ma face HAH

I also read somewhere online that you have to try the amazake in Kibune. There was a souvenir or snack shop near the bus stop and they were selling amazake in the afternoon. Lucky us! It was cold, so a cup of hot amazake was perfect for the weather. I really really like the amazake! At first I thought it was alcohol but after a quick search, amazake usually has low- or non-alcohol.

I was so mesmerized by this fairy-tale scene that we saw while waiting for the train. It was raining a little but it made the scene much more hypnotizing. I only took a few photos, it's a shame I did not record a video! It was exceptionally beautiful. 


Walking around Iwakura is not planned. We decided to stop in Iwakura because the train was too crowded and was moving very slow. Our feet hurt so we thought it would be better to walk around instead of just standing for 30 mins in the train. I'm really glad we did because I enjoyed the walk more than the train ride.  

Another Japanese longkang. Why other people's longkang can be so pretty one?

I feel like I'm in an anime scene. 


We went to the city for some shopping since it was our last day in Kyoto. Then we had teppanyaki pancake in some random restaurant. Actually we planned to go to a famous one but it was full and reservation was recommended. I don't remember the name because I just googled "pancake" and hope there was something nearby. But anyway, nothing great to introduce, the pancakes was just mediocre. It's seems like I talk ady like no talk.

more photos of us in our room

Seems lke I photoshoped him from scene 1 to scene 2. lol

Was teaching my brother on how to take photogenic and hipster-ish photo. He has a lot of learn. 
Anyway, that's it for my Day 3 & Day 4 in Japan! 

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// Bonus Vlog //

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***Day 3 & 4 Vlog***

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