• Shona McCarthy

Arashiyama and It's Texture

(Taken by me, 2019.) When I arrived in Arashiyama, I had come by bus from the main part of Kyoto. But I had come too early to stay in my hotel. So, I dropped off my bag and I went for a walk. Being a tourist area, Arashiyama is full of stores containing specialty items, beautifully decorated restaurants, and tourist related locations.

(Taken by me, 2019.) Since it was not my first time in Arashiyama, I didn't want to immediately follow roads I had before. I decided to walk across the Togetsukyo bridge. It's hard to miss when you look at the river. It is interesting, at least to me, that the vast tributary it crosses is the Katsura River, one of the great rivers of Kyoto, and the same Katsura river the passes close to the Katsura Imperial Villa. There is a curious serenity I felt when watching Arashiyama's distinctive boats taking the courses. Any tourist with the money can buy themselves a seat there. But somehow, leaning on the edge of the bridge, I was happier to simply watch them accept their passengers.

When you cross the bridge, you can find a temple where the famed Monkey Park resides. There are also some public toilets, which are remarkably clean, and some nice places to sit and watch the river. I can imagine that it would be pleasant to return with food and sit there at great length. I remember the distinctive way the wind touched my skin there. I felt as though I were inside one of Hiroshige's woodblock prints, and it was inviting me.

(The entry to the Monkey Park. Note that you are not permitted to touch the monkeys, but only to leave food where they may find it and watch them. I had just been in China where I had held monkeys, so I did not wish to go inside. Selfie, 2019.)

(Taken by me, 2019.)

As I wandered through the various streets in Arashiyama, I found there was a vast variety of shopping options. There were too many for me to fully document. Many of them are unique items to Japan and simply pleasant to look at even if you wish to buy nothing.

(If you arrive in Arashiyama and find you are missing anything, you can easily pick something up in the local shops. Taken by me, 2019.)

Food in the area was very tempting, with one restaurant even offering All-You-Can-Eat Japanese food. But I wanted to live conservatively, so I replaced some meals with instant noodles purchased at a convenience store. Added tip: Convenience stores often also sell small salads and small cooked meats. Buying these items and adding them to your instant noodles can make a nutritionally complete and delicious yet cheap meal.

(Taken by me, 2019.) For me the most surprising thing I saw as I wandered the Arashiyama streets was a workshop where tatami mats were being made. I never thought I would get to see such a thing in person, so this was very exciting. I asked the men inside if taking a photo would be okay. They were shocked I would want a photo, to the point where they responded sarcastically. But I feel this image captures something so rare and remarkable. There are many wonderful activities that can be done in the Arashiyama area and all of them can be easily booked if you CLICK HERE!

There are many stores in the Arashiyama area where you can buy kimono. But maybe you don't know how to wear them? My online store has services that can help you:

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