Japan has a wealth of culture to experience and a wide variety of places to explore. My favourite tourist / cultural experience was the boat ride we did along Hozugawa River to Arashiyama. We started our hot and humid day at Kyoto railway station to find our way to the start of the river boat ride. We had read in reviews that the office was easy to find as it was well signposted from the station, which it was, in Japanese. We did manage to find our way there and after purchasing the best pork bun I have ever tasted for breakfast took the last two places on our river boat.
As soon as we boarded the boat our crew pushed off. We were the only English speaking tourist on board, most were Japanese although there was one German family who had one Japanese speaking member to translate for them. Corina was able to use some of her German to translate back to me. Who would have thought German would come in handy in Japan.
The crew were all characters but especially the youngest of them who really enjoyed playing it up and had everyone on board in stitches. I wished I had understood his jokes as everyone seemed to think he was very funny.
Along the ride we passed over some small rapids on occasions and saw places we could never have seen from land. At one point some traders pulled up along beside us so we could purchase food and bevereages. The boatmen would have to be extremely fit and with one of them looking around 70. How amazing to be able to work like that in the sun at that age. Certainly puts me to shame.
The boat ride ended in Arishyama from where we planned to walk to the bamboo forest. We had totally relied upon our phone service for google maps and google translate without issue until that moment. We had no phone service in Arishyma which meant we couldn’t read the maps or signs. In hindsight some screen clips in advance would have been a wise move.
With some difficulty we managed to find ourway to the bamboo forest. It was extremely hot but worth the walk. We passed a number of temples and stopped in the shade to take in the view. We discovered a garden full of statues in front of one of the temples. They all had different expressions on their faces. Some looked sad, some happy and some angry.
In the forest there were many tourist and some were dressed in traditional costumes which looked very hot. I have no idea how they managed to walk in the shoes as they looked most uncomfortable. Two of the ladies were kind enought to pose for a photo for me.
After walking through the forest we finished our afternoon with a ride on the “Romantic Train”. This was an open aired tourist ride back along the river that took us close to where we needed to catch the train back to Kyoto. When I say close I mean a 20 min walk through the rice fields in the blistering heat.
It is all part of the adventure as we said many times. This is the last post from my Japanese adventure. Looking forward to the next adventure.